Oink, Inc.'s Plump Owners Are Bringing Home the Bacon with Jeans for the Truly Hip
08/19/1985 at 01:00 AM EDT
They come in all sizes, but they are mostly for the ample woman—hip measurements 44 to 60 inches. A cheeky, pastel-colored pig peeks from the hip pocket. The jeans are designed by an Albuquerque outfit named Oink, Inc. and carry the Lardashe logo. That's right, Lardashe. The name, according to Marsha Boles Stafford, 32, co-founder of Oink, comes from a childhood nickname. "I was chubby," she says, "and my grandpa called me 'lard ass.' "
It's a nice story and one that executives of Jordache (pronounced Jordash), the maker of the designer jeans with the horse-head logo, did not believe for a moment. In November 1984 the New York firm, which grosses more than $400 million annually, sued to stop the use of the name of Lardashe. Jordache claimed heavy damages, alleging that Oink, Inc. had ripped off its name and was sullying its reputation with its $48-$60 jeans. Alarmed bankers refused to make further loans to Oink, Inc., forcing the firm to stop production. During a three-day trial Stafford and partner Susan Sale Duran, 34, stuck to their story about the derivation of the Lardashe trademark. "Jordache wants to say our name is crude, nasty, horrible and vulgar," said Stafford. "It's not. It's cute."
Federal district judge Howard Bratton in Albuquerque now has given Oink's owners cause to squeal for joy. He has thrown out the Jordache suit, leaving Stafford and Duran free to pursue the entrepreneurial dream that began a year ago.
A 5'8" mother of two, Duran (180 pounds) knew that her childhood friend Stafford (5'7" and 170 pounds) had long wanted to design a line of jeans for amply proportioned women. Duran had a nest egg of $20,000 from the sale of her house and car, and in July 1984 she said, "Let's do it." In no time at all the initial cottage industry had grown into a prospering business with the women scrambling to fill 1,000 orders in their first month. "We had orders that were written on everything from paper sacks to the backs of canceled checks," recalls Susan.
With the court's blessing and a $30,000 loan from an oilman, Oink, Inc. is back in business, filling more than 100,000 back orders. "It's magnificent," says Susan. "In 45 days we should be on sale all over the country." Jordache says it will appeal, but there's just one way to describe the mood at Oink, Inc. these days: Hog Heaven.