WATERTOWN — Shoppers can buy denim jeans with “Watertown” on the label of a local entrepreneur’s own brand, which are offered at her new Franklin Street clothing store.
Marylois Queal opened Loft 315 Denim Co., also known as L315, last month to sell her L315-brand of men’s and women’s denim jeans along with clothes and accessories from other companies.
The look of L315-brand jeans, displayed in the front of the store, embodies Mrs. Queal’s slogan, “where edgy meets comfort and style.”
The men’s jeans feature both a classic style, a dark blue skinny pant with straight legs and a modern look, and a signature style, which has a more traditional look in medium-washed and light-washed blue. Her brand for woman’s jeans solely features the classic style.
Workers for a Chinese manufacturer make the L315-brand jeans and individually distress them, or give them a worn and faded look. Individually distressing jeans means each one features a unique look, Mrs. Queal said, adding that she can also ask her manufacturer to enhance or retract the amount of distress.
Mrs. Queal said her pants only come in a 30-inch length, but their widths range from 28 to 32 inches in the classic, skinnier style, and from 28 to 40 inches in the signature style.
“Right now, the manufacturer is working on 32-inch length and 34-inch length. There will be about 300 pairs” for each length of jeans to start with, Mrs. Queal said.
Jeans, pants, shorts, shirts, skirts, tank tops, scarfs, jewelry and accessories from a variety of brands and styles hang along the brickwork walls of the store, 126 Franklin St., and fill shelves, tables and benches. Much of the inventory evokes a modern urban style, but Mrs. Queal said her offerings also highlight a rural, comfortable look that appeals to many north country shoppers.
The wall behind the counter in front features a mural depicting the side of an old rail car with the store name “Loft 315 Denim Co.” displayed above in large, white letters. Shoppers also can use a changing room in back with a sign reading “stress free zone” directing them and a chair and tall mirror inside. Mrs. Queal said she and her family spent months renovating and decorating after signing a lease in June. She originally intended to open in August, but needed more time to prepare. Loft 315 opened Nov. 5 and celebrated a grand opening Nov. 23.
Mrs. Queal spent her professional life working in sales, from her start at Bon Ton when she was 17-years-old to working as a buyer planner for New York Air Brake, her last job before working on her store.
“I’ve always just wanted to work for myself,” she said, “to be able to leave something behind for my children.”
Donald W. Rutherford, CEO of the Watertown Local Development Corp., also know as the Watertown Trust, said he welcomed the addition of Loft 315 to downtown. Few small-scale apparel stores occupy the area, and with Mrs. Queal entering the market, Mr. Rutherford said he hopes to see more.
“If it offers quality services and competitive prices, it should do really well,” he said.
Mrs. Queal said in the future, she wants to offer more denim jeans styles and fits with her L315-brand, along with her own denim jackets, denim shirts and hoodies and shirts with graphic designs. The entrepreneur also wants to incorporate an online store, an in-store pickup service and local delivery, she said. Consumers soon will have access to a magic mirror photo booth, which prints, emails and posts photos to social media.