Byline: Melanie Kletter

NEW YORK — One Tuff Babe is looking to elbow its way into the packed junior scene.
A division of Mobile Eight Apparel Co., new brand One Tough Babe will complement its boys’ line, One Tough Brand, which started about eight years ago and is sold primarily in department stores. The junior line will begin shipping later this month.
“A lot of people said we were crazy to open a new division right now, since there are so many companies, but many people are looking for something different and we feel we have something different to offer,” said Jerry Friedman, a former executive at Dollhouse who is heading up the new venture. “People are looking for alternatives in this market.”
Some specific merchandise he noted as offering “an alternative” are a knit top with a drawstring pull, patchwork embroidered denim and microfiber pants, which zip off from flood length to shorts.
The extensive line carries a wide range of apparel for teens, including denim tops and jackets, nylon bottoms, T-shirts and skirts. Fabrics include cotton, Lycra spandex, microfiber and corduroy, as well as polyester and cotton blends and a fabric the firm is calling “electric denim,” which consists of a shiny jeans material. Frayed denim, beads and metallic finishes are hallmarks of the line. Most of the offerings are also available in girls sizes 7 to 16.
Wholesale prices range from $7 to $16 for tops, $8 to $15 for shorts and $10 to $18 for bottoms.
Friedman said the company is looking to achieve a wholesale volume of $15 million this year with the combined junior and girls’ lines, which are targeting department and specialty stores.
While many firms in the junior market start small and work their way up to a major marketing campaign, One Tuff Babe is taking an aggressive approach to building its business.
The company late last year embarked on a multimillion-dollar advertising campaign before it even started shipping products. Ads on subways and buses feature images such as a close-up of a model with pursed lips and the OTB logo, which ran late last year in New York. It also had national television spots on networks such as MTV and is advertising in magazines such as Teen Style, Teen, Spin and Rolling Stone.
As part of the launch, the company recently moved into a 15,000-square-foot showroom here at 1407 Broadway that also houses the administrative functions of the women’s division.

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