Monday, July 02, 2007

Christopher Blue Banks on Big Word of Mouth

Home spun denim line finds a gaping hole in the marketplace and sneaks in to dominate the Missy market with fit, comfort, quality and style.

Never did husband and wife design duo Mel and Barbara Matsui expect to be doing $50 million in annual sales when they created the Christopher Blue denim line in their garage back in 1996, nor did they really want to --- at the time. After working in the apparel industry for 15 years for such brands as Brittania, Code Bleu, and Quiksilver, the Matsuis intended for Christopher Blue to be a $1 million company at best that they could have fun with in the comfort of their Seattle home. Little did they know that they would become the unsuspecting victims of word-of-mouth. Ten years after its humble inception, Christopher Blue is now one of the best kept secrets in apparel with not a dime spent on marketing, advertising or publicity. By word of mouth alone, they are a hot-selling denim line at Neiman-Marcus, a big success at Nordstrom and a favorite among nearly 1000 specialty clothing boutiques in the US.

“The wealth of our experience in apparel was telling us that there was a huge void in the denim marketplace that was being neglected by all of the big name brands at the time,” says Mel Matsui. They were so focused on hip jeans for young starlets that they inadvertently turned a blind eye on the 9 out of 10 women in America who were past the trend chasing phase of their lives and who had few choices but for ill fitting all-purpose jeans cut from heavy construction grade denim. We’re basically talking about women from 35 to 50 with families and/or careers, an evolved sense of style, and a body that no longer squeeze into jeans cut for runway models. We basically identified a need in the market place for an upscale “missy” denim line, a high quality product for fashionable women over the age of 35 who didn’t care to compromise comfort and fit for seasonal trends. Our hunch was really validated by the enormous growth of the brand without a stitch of marketing or publicity.

BeansTalk has had the opportunity to try a pair of these cool denims, and while we still feel we are hip enough to wear some of the trendier brands (and we do….) we were pleased with the fit and feel or our Christopher Blues. They feel like a good friend the minute you put them on, and exude a California dressy casual attitude. We found the very slightly higher waist very forgiving of figure flaws without really screaming “missy.” Even though we are just the other side of forty, we just can’t mentally go there. Pair em’ up with a Pink Polka Dot dress and you are good to go. It’s a no brainer.

Pictured: Christopher Blue 'Lloyd's Daughter' Stretch Jeans
Decoratively stitched front pockets style faded, low-rise jeans with Western flap pockets in back. Approx. inseam: 33". Approx. rise: front 9"; back 14". CottonRetail: $150.00 Available at Nordstrom