Ashley Mason Rolls Out a New Denim Line
Michelle Mulleneaux started her Ashley Mason clothing company more than three years ago with her sights set on growing the venture with new lines and innovations.
With that in mind, Ashley Mason introduced a new women’s denim line in January called Made in Blue, a blue-jeans line with simple and clean looks retailing for $49 to $59.
Made in Blue is the latest in rapid-fire releases ever since the Ashley Mason juniors line was introduced in October 2015. Since then, the Huntington Beach, Calif.–based company has introduced the Prosperity Denim line in 2016, followed by the kids’ line Gloss & Glitter Girls. And a premium-denim line called Prosperity Premium Denim will be coming out in April.
In February, the company is scheduled to unveil its first direct-to-consumer channel, prosperitydenim.com. Mulleaneaux noted that wholesale will remain a core part of the company.
Mulleneaux started Ashley Mason after 27 years of working in fashion sales. Her last sales job was as a senior sales executive for the clothing company Topson Downs, headquartered in downtown Los Angeles.
Mulleneaux’s previous relationships with retailers and manufacturers were key in rolling out her company. But there was nothing to prepare her for making the transition from being an employee to running a business.
“The best analogy is like when you get into a cold pool,” Mulleneaux said. “It’s so cold, you wonder, ‘Why did I get in?’ Then you jump all the way in. I didn’t look back. I had people doubting me, though.”
Mulleneaux took the big jump when she wanted to make a few changes in her daily life. She was tired of commuting from Huntington Beach in Orange County to downtown Los Angeles. She also wanted to control her schedule, so she invested her savings in her first company.
There have been some changes. Currently, she has a two-minute commute by car. Sometimes she walks to work at her new headquarters located a few blocks from the ocean. But there have also been costs. When she worked as a sales executive, she made a six-figure salary. She declined to state what she currently makes in a company that has not yet reached its five-year mark.
While it may not match what she used to make, she says, “I am happier. I am building a business. I am helping people create lifestyles of freedom,” she said of her 10-member staff, who also make their own schedules.
A building block in Ashley Mason’s rollout was listening to what retailers were looking for, Mulleneaux said.
“They would tell me, ‘I need a better price point. How fast can you get this style? What will be the color for next season? I need more of this style,’” she said.
The upcoming Prosperity Premium Denim line will focus on offering tailored looks in a wide range of sizes with retail prices ranging from $100 to $150. It will be offered in petite sizes as well as plus sizes.
Directing a company also has given Mulleneaux the chance to flex her design muscles for the first time in her career. She works with her staff on shaping the look of her styles. The scope of her responsibilities is reflected in her job titles. She is founder, chief executive officer and creative director. “I feel like I’m just beginning to take the company to bigger heights,” she said.