Blue Delta Jeans in January started making jeans based on individual measurements from customers.
“It’s very different from the mass product,” said co-owner Josh West. “Most people don’t believe we actually make the jeans here.”
The jeans are made to order and take four to six weeks from the fitting session to delivery.
Men’s jeans are $172. The company plans to start making women’s jeans this month with a price tag of about $190.
As of last week, West said the business has made 43 pairs of jeans.
“We try to grow very slowly – one order in and one order out,” West said.
The process starts with a fitting session. The next session is June 28 at 7 p.m. at the Downtown Tupelo Farmers Market.
The only style right now is a boot cut jean, but West and his wife, Jill, said the individual measurements make each one unique.
The men can determine if they want the jeans tighter or looser in their thighs. They also get the length fit to them, which has been the biggest selling point so far, Josh West said.
“We’ve had so many guys say they can’t find jeans that fit them,” Jill West said.
After the measurements, customers pick the color denim they want and the fabric for the pocket lining.
The American-made fabric comes from American-grown cotton.
Customers also select pocket styles and the color of the thread in their jeans. The thread, as well, is American made.
The customers then name their jeans, which come with a one-of-a-kind label that includes the name, the seamster and the production number of the jean.
From there, the order goes to a retrofitted body shop building in Verona, about 10 minutes south of Tupelo. The patterns are chalked onto the fabric, cut out and then moved into the sewing area.
Blue Delta Jeans has two seamsters. All together, it has five people on the payroll, in addition to four owners – the Wests and Phil and Susan Daughdrill – and a silent partner.
The jeans are made with older machines, which Josh West prefers because they give him more control versus newer machines that are made for speed. The Wests and the employees spent last year planning the business and training on the equipment.
“We had a lot of jeans going in the trash the first few weeks,” Josh West said. “They were hideous.”
After the sewing, riveting and other processing, the jeans are inspected and delivered to customers.
The jeans come with a warranty for the life of the company. The Wests said they’ll repair their jeans and they’ll even adjust waistlines if customers gain or lose weight.
The Wests right now are making the jeans when they aren’t at their regular jobs. Josh West is an economic developer in Pontotoc and Jill West is a development officer at Blue Mountain College.
Additionally, the New Albany residents are raising one child and adopting another from Taiwan this year. Eventually they want to use some of the company’s profits to help families adopt children.
They also want to expand the Blue Delta brand, but that’s way down the road, the couple said.
“We’re brand new,” Josh West said. “We want to get this right before we start adding styles.”