Children’s apparel, much like denim, is an industry built on family-run companies.
Born into a family that has made quality children’s clothing for private label brands for more than 35 years, Blu & Blue founder Aaina Jain was exposed to the “art of cut and sew” long before she began her professional career in marketing for companies like Jo Malone, La Mer and Gap Inc.
Jain’s lineage eventually caught up to her, however. She launched Blu & Blue in 2016, a children’s denim brand that leverages her family’s children’s wear expertise and resources with the classic yet cool aesthetics, plus quality that modern parents seek in their little one’s clothing.
Made with ultra-soft 100 percent cotton fabrics sourced from Italy and Turkey, and 100 percent Tencel fabrics from Japan, which Jain said produces the best Tencel denim, the collection offers retailers a new way to sell jeans.
And consumers are responding. “Denim is always perceived to be rigid, rough and tough. Blu & Blue comes with quality you can feel. Soft to touch—that’s the feedback from customers. They’re always surprised by the hand feel,” Jain said.
Jain’s goal in creating Blu & Blue was to introduce a more premium and safer contemporary clothing brand for children, meaning every garment is passed through a series of safety and quality tests.
Finished garments are taken through needle detector machines, every fabric is free of lead, phthalates and is flame-retardant, and all buttons are nickle-free and subjected to a 16-pound pressure to secure attachment. Jain describes the garments as “saliva-friendly,” aware that most babies will chomp on the clothes they’re wearing.
“Our mission is to do denim right,” she said. “We care about our kids, our craftsmanship and our heritage. Each item is made with our customer in mind—a quality-conscious, fashion forward parent who values well designed, elegant and sustainable clothing for their children. Each product is thoroughly quality checked and given the Blu seal of approval before it is packaged and shipped to our retailers,” she said.
In addition to using environmentally-friendly fabrics like Tencel, the company also uses solar panels to heat the water used in its washing process. “Our facility has the capacity to process and treat 300,000 liters of chemical water per day,” Jain said. “We also heat 75,000 liters of water everyday using our solar water heating plant. We care for our environment and have made effective policies to save trees and paper throughout the company.”
Blu & Blue offers more than 300 styles for boys and girls size 0 to 16 years. Fan favorites return each season, but Jain leaves the typical 5-pocket jean to traditional denim brands so she can focus on fashion-forward boutique pieces like dual color double pocket joggers for babies, dark wash bomber jackets with embroidery for girls and striped denim blazers for boys.
Jain said rompers are among the brand’s best-selling items. The brand also does well with its range of dresses, which blend European styling like peter pan collars, pintucks and intricate embroideries with classic Americana sensbility. “Denim is classic America and when we combine that with European silhouettes, that catches consumers’ attention,” she added.
The Junior’s collection—spanning patchwork denim shift dresses and high neck, bohemian-inspired embroidery tops—offers a level of age-appropriate sophistication that also speaks to adults. In fact, Jain said a women’s collection is in the pipeline.
Prices vary, depending on the materials and details that go into making garments, but Jain said the collection retails on average for $25-$55. Junior’s dresses go up to $90.
“The good thing about having our own manufacturing is there’s no middle man involved. We make it ourselves and ship directly to retailers, so we really sell product at the right price,” Jain explained. “It’s a good value and they love that about us.”
The collection is currently available in more than 150 U.S. doors including department stores like Dillard’s. Jain said the company is looking at Asia and Europe for more opportunities. The brand recently opened doors in Germany, France and Holland. Amazon may be on the horizon too.
While Blu & Blue’s soft hand feel is one of its most important selling points, Jain believes the brand’s unique designs and elevated styling translates online, too.
“There is something modern yet traditional about denim, and we embrace that in our clothing,” Jain said. “Our clothes are wearable all year long and versatile enough to be dressed up or down. We bring a whole new meaning to denim.”