ENTERING THE IVY LEAGUE
F.L. MALIK’S NEW SEPARATES LINE, IVY JANE, IS ONE OF THE LATEST MUST-HAVES FOR BUYERS.

Byline: Rusty Williamson

Ivy Jane, a new updated separates line that launched Sept. 1 for early spring, is quickly garnering a following among women’s specialty-store buyers
Its first week out, it sold 5,000 units, with average orders of 120 pieces, or $3,200.
Wholesale prices are $20 to $37, with printed fashion pants and sleeveless novelty knit tops leading the early bestseller’s list. The line, shown in 3B05 at the Dallas Mart, is owned by Dallas-based F.L. Malik moderate sportswear and dress company.
Ivy Jane’s auspicious debut caused company executives to recalculate first-year volume projections, now planned at $2 million, up from original estimates of $1.5 million, said David A. Neumann, president and chief executive officer.
His wife, Frances L. Neumann, is senior vice president and chief designer. Her maiden name is Malik, hence the name of the F.L. Malik label.
The Ivy Jane label is named after the Neumanns’ eight-year-old daughter.
To inspire retailers’ interest in Ivy Jane, the Neumanns rolled out a direct-mail advertising campaign in August targeted to women’s specialty stores.
They blitzed much of the country with colorful flyers extolling the Ivy Jane line and playing up its fashion-forward styling and misses’ fit, noting that it is designed to appeal to women ages 20 to 45.
And the company’s in-house traveling sales representatives blanketed the country in August previewing the collection to key retail accounts.
Though it is cut with a misses’ fit, the Ivy Jane line is designed with a strong emphasis on trendy items.
Among the styles set for February, March and April deliveries are Asian-themed prints and embroideries, Spanish-inspired tops and bottoms with sexy ruffles and festive prints, sparkling denim jeans and jackets, tropical-tone skirts, T-shirts and mesh shirts, preppy and equestrian-influenced slim pants and lots of stripes. Most are made of stretch cotton fabrics.
Conversely, the F.L. Malik label, which made its debut in 1989, is known for its conservative trend interpretation and misses’ styling for women ages 30 and up. It’s a popular label that generates $40,000 a week in reorders and fill-ins. Volume is planned at around $10 million next year.
“We launched Ivy Jane because stores asked us to expand our reach with a more fashion-forward line that could appeal to a younger consumer,” said Frances L. Neumann. “The F.L. Malik brand has an established and growing following, so we didn’t want to confuse the issue by altering the image of that line. So we introduced a new label that’s younger in attitude.”
David A. Neumann said value is also a key component of Ivy Jane.
“Ivy Jane’s customer is a woman between 25 and 45 who wants style at a value. She may be a recent college graduate with a limited income or a slightly older consumer who is fit and young in attitude. These women want to keep up with fashion trends without spending a lot of money. In either case, the Ivy Jane customer is not willing or able to pay better price points.”

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