Fort Wayne-based Matilda Jane Clothing coliseum sale shows the frills of being a girl
Ruffles, colorful patterns and lace were emerging from boxes and plastic-encased racks Wednesday as Matilda Jane Clothing workers got ready for the third annual warehouse sale of past-season items at Allen County Memorial Coliseum.
The sale, which will include clothing for baby, girls, tweens and women along with housewares and clothing accessories, runs 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday. Admission is free.
The Fort Wayne-based company headquartered at 3619 Centennial Drive has a mission of “keeping little girls little,” said Emily Richwine, the company’s brand marketing manager.
It was the same mission under its late founder, Denise DeMarchis, who started the business in 2005 after being asked by a friend to design apparel for young girls. DeMarchis, who died in 2015 at age 41, saw the business grow from a store on Brackenridge Street that racked up $300,000 in sales its first year to grossing $18 million in 2011.
She had sold the company, which is now a private equity-backed company, and its majority equity investor is Waltham, Mass.-based Webster Capital, according to CEO Jeff Blade. He didn’t provide a current figure for sales but wrote in an email, “Over the past several years, we have continued to grow rapidly. We are currently represented by more than 1,800 Trunk Keepers throughout the U.S.”
The “trunk keepers” host in-home sales events, and some will be at this weekend’s sale to show the current collection, said Richwine. Some dresses, tops, bottoms and accessories also are available at www.matildajaneclothing.com and for a limited time on Zulily.com, which is aimed at mothers who are shopping for unique items.
Richwine started Wednesday by cutting free a rackload of multi-patterned colorful little dresses that are part of the company’s Platinum collection. The Fort Wayne-sewn dresses are in limited supplies, so customers will likely be highly interested in them, Richwine said.
The company has more than 100 employees at its 50,000-plus square feet of space at its Centennial location, which houses its design center, corporate support functions and distribution center, according to Blade. Not all of the clothing is locally made, but, “All our clothing is designed in Fort Wayne, and (some is) sourced with partners primarily in Asia,” Blade wrote.
The company has had housewares at its previous warehouse sales, Richwine said.
“This year, shoppers will see even more home items at the Warehouse Sale including bedding, kitchen accessories, play tents, and even some holiday home items,” she said.
The company didn’t release how much items at the sale will cost, only that “Shoppers will see really good deals,” according to Richwine. Platinum collection dresses on its website sell for $64-$74 each, and the regular collection dresses are about $46-$56 each.