Flanigan, When Jeans Don’t Fit, WSJ, Sept. 2006.
“When Jeans Don't Fit a Woman Past Adolescence, a Business Is Born”
By JAMES FLANIGAN
Lisa Rudes Sandel recalled an unhappy experience in the Barneys New York store in Beverly
Hills a few years ago. She said she had tried on a fashionable pair of jeans but found they didn't
fit right -- too small in places, made for the low-cut look that was then the rage.
Ms. Sandel told the sales clerk she didn't like the jeans. ''But I felt worse when I left the store
than when I walked in,'' she recalled recently. ''They didn't fit me, but no way I'm a size 13. The
jeans weren't made for someone 40 years old.''
Ms. Sandel, however, was not just any woman shopping in vain for a garment that fit right. She
was in the apparel business, working with her father, George Rudes, at St. Germain, a maker of
women's sportswear. So she talked to him about her idea of ''making a jean for women who were
not being paid attention to.''
From that beginning in 2004, the family started a new company, named Not Your Daughter's
Jeans -- with a NYDJ label. Ms. Sandel, her father and her sister, Leslie Rudes, put together an
investment of $250,000 for the start-up. And in April 2005, they brought out the Tummy Tuck
jean line, which features strategic reinforcements.
''We put in panels to reinforce the tummy,'' Mr. Rudes explained, demonstrating with a pair of
NYDJ jeans at his factory in Vernon, an exclusively industrial city with no residents near
downtown Los Angeles. ''But we use stretch fabric so there is give in the thighs. This jean is
made for women with curves.''
Understanding the older customer is one of two advantages he says the company has. ''Our
customers are sizes 10, 12 and 14 -- we're reaching the baby boomers who are in their 50's,'' said