NEW YORK — All Access Apparel Inc., manufacturer of the Montebello, Calif.-based Self Esteem junior apparel brand, has set the launch of its first ad campaign, to break for back-to-school.

The new print ad campaign, titled “Inspire to be,” will bow in August issues of YM, Teen People, Elle Girl, Twist and J-14. In addition, the campaign will be placed in mall kiosks throughout the country. Future campaigns will run for holiday and spring break.

Self Esteem also plans to partner with retailers for mall promotions and events. The ad budget for 2003 is $1 million.

Each ad features a model who is meant to appear approachable, nonintimidating and represents individuality and freedom. Capturing the brand identity of its butterfly icon, the ad will portray each girl as the body of a butterfly, with illustrated butterfly wings behind her.

“Launching our first ad campaign is a major step toward the expansion of our brand,” said Richard Clareman, president of Self Esteem. “We’re confident that our image-driven campaign will dramatically raise the consumer awareness of the Self Esteem brand.”

Shot by fashion photographer Stan Musilek, the campaign’s artists were Celia Calle and Marcos Chin, who illustrated the butterfly images. The creative force behind the concept is ParkerWhite, a San Diego-based creative agency specializing in strategic brand communications.

“Self Esteem is about more than just selling fashion. They understand and are concerned about the issues that face today’s teens,” said Cindy White, ParkerWhite’s creative director. “They want to inspire girls to have dreams and follow them, to inspire girls to feel comfortable with who they are and who they want to be. Their message is powerful, yet simple: ‘Inspire to be.’”

Broadening the product assortment was a natural extension of the brand, Clareman said, in response to the multiple e-mails and letters from customers seeking more categories. Already, talks are in the works with candidates for swimwear, denim, hosiery, eyewear and jewelry licenses. Denim and swimwear deals should close by the end of the year.

Licensing made sense to Clareman, who didn’t want to stray from the core tops business.“I don’t want to lose focus by working on something we don’t know — we make T-shirts and knits and we’ll let others worry about the rest,” he said.

Clareman projects the new licensing deals should boost sales 15 to 20 percent this year for the $150 million company.

Launched in 1997, Self Esteem produces junior sportswear and junior plus-size lines. In 2003, the company expanded its line through licensing agreements to include footwear, bags and accessories, sleepwear, intimates and girls’ wear. Self Esteem is carried in more than 3,000 retail locations across the country, including major department stores, specialty chains and specialty boutiques.

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