Home Fairfield Sisters doin’ it for themselves with Dudley Stephens fleece apparel brand

Sisters doin’ it for themselves with Dudley Stephens fleece apparel brand

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Direct-to-consumer lifestyle fleece brand Dudley Stephens takes the “best of both worlds” idiom to an extreme.

Dudley Stephens fleece
Dudley Stephens co-founders and sisters Kaki McGrath (left) and Lauren Stephens. Photo by Kevin Zimmerman

It capitalizes on being located in Greenwich and having a factory in Brooklyn. It’s slowly adding more brick-and-mortar to its primarily e-commerce retail approach. And it’s run by two sisters, one with a fashion background and the other with marketing experience.

“We’d talked about starting something where we could work together for a while,” Katherine (Kaki) McGrath said at Dudley Stephens’ office/showroom at 6 W. Putnam Ave. in Greenwich. “We thought that our different strengths would work well together.”

McGrath said she draws on her previous tenure in sports and entertainment marketing as the firm’s COO while co-founder and CEO Lauren Stephens’ experience in celebrity dressing and VIP relations for such houses as Calvin Klein and Gucci made her the obvious choice to oversee product design, styling, strategic partnerships and the creative execution of the brand.

Launched in 2015, the company acquired its 1,500-square-foot space in Greenwich in February. Prior to that, “It was run from my home,” Stephens laughed.

Dudley
Family matriarch Bonnie Dudley and her daughters, Lauren Stephens and Kaki McGrath.

Not to be left out is their mother, Bonnie Dudley. Though she ended up teaching, fashion “has always been her passion,” McGrath said. “She’s at all design meetings and she always has input.”

Having linked up with a factory in Brooklyn to manufacture its clothing, the firm profits from that borough’s cachet by naming several of its designs after a Brooklyn street or neighborhood: The Cobble Hill and Park Slope turtlenecks, for example, and the Highland and Brighton tops.

Prices range from $78 to $200 for outerwear. There are also lines for toddlers (starting at $48) and young girls (starting at $88).

Items are made from sustainable fleece.

“We feel it’s important for us all to do our part for the environment,” McGrath said. “The fleece we work with is soft, cozy, washable, durable and sustainable.”

Stephens allowed that additional fabrics could be made available in the future.

Word-of-mouth — and Instagram — are driving much of the firm’s sales. While Dudley Stephens has offered the occasional pop-up store in both the Greenwich and Boston areas, it is looking to do more at its Greenwich address. Open houses will take place there on Nov. 14 and Dec. 6, 13 and 20.

“We get a lot of inquiries about trying stuff on and feeling it before buying it,” Stephens explained. “The timing around the holidays felt right and we’re really excited to do it.”

Having grown up in Darien — McGrath still lives there, while Stephens now resides in Greenwich — the sisters said they had long hoped to open a physical store near Greenwich Avenue.

“It pulls in people from a lot of areas besides Greenwich,” McGrath added. “We’re close to Westchester County and New York City and we’ve done trunk shows in the city and beyond.”

The brand was recently showcased on Fox Business News’ “Mornings With Maria,” an indication of how large — and quickly — the company’s reputation has grown.

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