She did it for Diddy, Jennifer Lopez and then for Beyoncé. Now Heather Thomson is doing something for herself.
After a soft launch for spring, Thomson, the former cocreative director at brands such as Sean John, JLO by Jennifer Lopez and House of Deréon, is producing her own line for fall, called Yummie Tummie.
Thomson, who eventually plans to branch out into a full mix of separates, described the line as a "modern body shaper." She came up with the idea after giving birth to her son, Alexander Jack, 3, and daughter Ella Rae, nine months, and gaining hard-to-lose pregnancy weight.
"I had some big babies," she said, noting her son was 8 pounds, 6 oz., and her daughter, 8 pounds, 8 oz. "With my first, I gained 65 pounds and with my second, I gained 68 pounds. Of course, I lost a lot of the weight, but my stomach just never seemed to get flat again."
The Yummie Tummie line wholesales from $26 for the basic tank to $34 for the long-sleeve or the nursing tank. Thomson, based in New York, declined to give first-year sales volume expectations.
About two years ago, Thomson was working as a co-founder and co-creative director at Beyond Productions with Tina and Beyoncé Knowles. She helped in the creation of the House of Deréon, Miss Tina and Deréon labels. In her spare time, Thomson sewed what she called her Yummie Tummies in her living room. They were tank tops made of pima cotton and a tight spandex fabric that would hold in her stomach. She made a few of them in basic colors, so she could wear them under her clothes. The response was immediate.
"People would ask if I lost weight and I would say, 'Nope, it's just my Yummie Tummie,'" she said. "This was after I literally tried everything — every body shaper on the market — and they would never fit quite right. They would roll up or fall down, they were just not right for my body. I spent thousands on these things. My mother even suggested I get a girdle, which I did. When people would hug me, they would ask what I had under my clothes. It was so embarrassing."So, after four years working with the Knowleses, Thomson decided to leave and do her own collection of Yummie Tummies. She sewed 1,000 of them in her home and took them to the Fashion Coterie this month.
"For the soft launch, we only shipped to about 40 stores. For fall, we will sell [to] 400 stores," she said.
The line consists of eight tops available in 10 colors, ranging from basic black, white and ivory to pale pink, navy and bright red. There is the basic tank top, a satin-trim adjustable tank, a scoopneck long-sleeve top, a short-sleeve top and a nursing tank. All are made with pima cotton on top (which is meant to be seen under a blouse or a dress) and bottom (to hold it in place), and the middle is made of a patent-pending microdenier fabric, which holds the stomach in. They are all available in short and long models.
"The whole idea was to make a shaper that looks good, is comfortable and really works," Thomson explained. "The fabric is designed to not roll up over your belly and is made for layering over or tucking into pants or skirts. The panel will fit comfortably smooth and will naturally whisk moisture away, which makes them great for the gym. I seriously wear a Yummie Tummie every single day — my bra, my underwear, my Yummie Tummie."
Eventually, Thomson said she will add embellished necklines, new colors and prints, which she is developing. She envisions the brand slowly moving into a full range. For now, she is concentrating on pleasing her customers, including specialty retailers such as Montmartre and Precision in New York and Shop Intuition and Lisa Kline in Los Angeles.
"We cannot keep our Yummie Tummies in stock," said Jaye Hersh, owner of Shop Intuition. "The minute I saw this item, I knew it was going to be the next big thing. The buzz has already begun. The calls started coming in asking for that secret special tank they saw their friend wearing. We have a waiting list for new colors and styles. We are selling at least one to every customer that walks in the store."
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