KERHONKSON–The “T” stands for a tough and tireless trio of sisters named Tupper.
The red-white-and-blue letter also happens serve as the logo for a new jeans company they founded that bears the name Tenacity.
Kiersten Tupper of Kerhonkson and her sisters, Karlyn of Syracuse and Kendall of Spokane, Wash., will formally launch the company this September.
They are now finalizing details and getting set for the roll-out after many years of brainstorming, meeting with seamstresses and scouting companies that could produce their pants designed for fit women.
The Tupper sisters, former lacrosse players and figure skaters, came up with the idea after years of settling for ill-fitting blue jeans.
As athletes, they wanted something to flatter their muscular forms without gapping in the back, said Kiersten, who has lived in Ulster County for four years.
“I always had to go a size up to fit my thighs and my butt, and then the waist was huge,” said the 27-year-old University of Connecticut graduate.
“I couldn’t sit down. I couldn’t squat. I couldn’t bend over because everything felt like it was hanging out. They were just very uncomfortable, and they weren’t flattering. I always felt like I was so squeezed in, and I felt that I didn’t look good in them. I wasn’t confident.”
What separates Tenacity Jeans from others on the market, according to Tucker, is the contour waistband that comes up to the hip bone and dips below the belly button.
“Jeans you buy at a store are going to go straight across, so when you put them on, they’re going to dig into your hip bones and cut you in all the wrong places,” she said. “If you have a little muffin top, that will make it look even worse.”
The sisters, who work together via phone and social media, have produced a skinny taper pant that can be easily rolled or worn ankle-length with sandals in the summer or under boots in the winter.
Right now, they only come in navy blue, but the sisters are hoping to expand the line to include different colors and styles.
What they are most proud of is that their jeans are exclusively American-made. That was part of their business plan from the get-go, Tupper said.
“We source our fabric from a company down South. The blend can change depending on what the company has available, but right now, we’re using a blend that has 2 percent Spandex, so there’s a little bit of stretch, but they’re not a legging or jegging.”
The denim is then sent to a production facility in Texas, which has the machinery specializing in the contour waistband.
One production run can take anywhere between two and three months.
So far, the Tupper sisters invested about $13,000 for one batch of jeans—about 200 pairs—in late May.
They launched a Kickstarter campaign (https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/47075816/tenacity-jeans) on June 8, asking for $20,000 in donations, which would allow them to produce another 400 pairs. To date, the campaign has raised a little more than $6,000.
For the time being, the business is housed in their parents’ basement, but once it gets underway, the sisters plan to open an office somewhere in Ulster County.
Tupper, who holds a master’s degree in school counseling, will be in charge of orders as well as shipping and handling.
She doesn’t believe it will interfere with her full-time job as a counselor at a local elementary school. Tupper also coaches three varsity sports for an area district and is starting a girl’s lacrosse program.
These days, she has a lot going on. Not only is she getting married in the next few months, but she and her siblings are developing a website, where customers can order the jeans for $79 a pair.
They also intend to start vending at fitness expositions, health and wellness fairs and at field hockey and lacrosse tournaments.
“These are great places where there will be females built similarly to us,” Tupper said.
She believes that once they hit and word gets out, sales will be steady, and she stressed one need not be an athlete to wear them.
“It’s a niche market–for sure. They’re targeted for active and fit women,” she said.
“It’s OK to feel confident with your curves because when we do work out or walk, run, or hike, our bodies are going to transform, and that’s nothing we should be ashamed of, so we built these jeans with that woman in mind. We want them to feel confident in how they look.”