I If there ever was a truly positive tale to tell during this pandemic, it lies in the story of Classic Prep Childrenswear (CPC).
You may have noticed the prime real estate the brand now has at 161 Rowayton Avenue. CPC owners and Rowayton residents GINGER DRYSDALE and JOSH JEWETT decided late last year to open their expanded headquarters and first retail outpost there shortly after The Collected Home moved out.
“When I noticed it was available, I just knew we had to be there,” Drysdale says. “It has a lot of space, it’s right on the water and it’s just the perfect spot for us.”
Some might call them crazy to open a shop when so many businesses are struggling as Covid-19 rages on—after all, there were a number of scary months in there when some of their retailers canceled or scaled back on orders. But, even with the challenges, CPC is having one of its best years to date.
“May 2020 was a record month and then every month after that was better and better,” Jewett explains. “We knew we were really onto something and needed to grow.”
In just over one year, they’ve massively expanded, launching a catalog business and focusing more on its website and direct-to-consumer businesses. You can still find the brand at more than 100 high-end specialty stores like Maisonette, Bergdorf Goodman and Neiman Marcus, but Drysdale and Jewett saw the pandemic challenges as an opportunity to move in a different direction. They more than doubled their team, hiring nine new people to deal with everything from production and sales to digital marketing. They also expanded clothing options to include a children’s and women’s tennis capsule collection, children’s golf, mommy and me, and even a “dad and lad” collection launching in the fall.
“This store is all about getting to know our neighbors and becoming that one-stop-shop for kids,” Drysdale explains. Product will refresh monthly and they plan to expand services in personal and after hours shopping and home delivery. “We want this to be an easy place for moms to come and find everything they need in one place.”
It was 2015 when then husband-and-wife team Ginger Drysdale and Josh Jewett purchased the CPC brand—Drysdale armed with a background in fashion production and sales and Jewett, an Air Force vet with experience in finance. Shortly after purchasing the young brand, they decided to make a move from New York to Rowayton, the home of New England prep, Jewett recalled. Drysdale, who spent her childhood in Hawaii and Greenwich, loved Rowayton’s charm and seaside chill, making it even more appealing for them to live, work and raise their now seven-year-old daughter, Piper.
Although Jewett and Drysdale ended their marriage, their business partnership remains strong and Jewett even left his position at Goldman Sachs a few years ago in order to run everything on the finance end at Classic Prep.
Known best for its timeless high-end fashion pieces for children, Classic Prep’s team pays close attention to creating clothing that not only appeals to moms (no dry cleaning needed), but also provides comfort and ease for littles. Fabrics are never itchy or rough and prints tend to be playful and full of color. Fabrics are sourced from some of the best factories, like the popular tartan plaid from Scotland which, is often seen throughout the brand’s holiday collections.
“We want this to be an easy place for moms to come and find everything they need in one place.”
— Ginger Drysdale, co-owner