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DALLAS — Knitwear is the focus at One Girl Who, a new sweater line hitting stores this fall.
This story first appeared in the March 12, 2003 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
The collection will feature some 150 styles and 400 pieces, in solids, stripes, embroideries, appliqués and prints. Fine and heavy gauges, basics to novelties, man-made fibers, silk and cashmere will also be included. Olive and pink hangtags bear upbeat definitions of the target shopper, such as “One Girl Who knows where she is, knows where she is going.”
“I want to take over the sweater world,” said co-owner Bruce Gifford. “The sweater business in the U.S. is huge.”
Gifford put total annual apparel sales in the U.S. at $240 billion, with sweaters holding a 10 percent market share, although the NPD Group reported Monday that the total amount spent on apparel last year decreased 1.7 percent to $163 billion.
The tactic for Gifford and his business partner, Dan Jaffe, is to offer a branded sweater collection that interprets designer trends at better prices and is sold only to specialty retailers. First-month bookings in October were $600,000, and Gifford projects $4 million to $7 million in first-year revenue.
“The big lines like Cyrus, August Silk and Joseph A. are in department stores, and as soon as you sell department stores, it becomes very difficult to sell specialty stores for many reasons, especially pricing,” Gifford said. “Macy’s wants $29.99 promotions, and the specialty stores want quality and customer service, so it’s hard to do that with one label.”
Gifford, who has 20 years experience in the sweater business, most recently as the owner of the defunct Molto Fino, oversees finance, production and distribution. Design, merchandising and sales are managed by Jaffe, a principal in the former Apparel Industries, who retired temporarily after consulting with Joseph A.
The fall collection is divided into three groups, with items wholesaling from $39 to $90. A selection of two-ply cashmere sweaters from $75 to $90 offers solids, stripes and intarsias, including a heather beige moon-and-star pattern with a matching scarf. Another group is comprised of lightweight knits, like a poppy-embroidered multicolor silk and nylon tank for $49, while a third assortment emphasizes heavier-weight knit blends, such as a wool and acrylic double-zip jacket for $59.