When Melanie and Brynn joined forces in 2014 to create Charley and Hudson, they had no idea they would be creating shirts that people would covet around Jersey City and Hoboken. They take their inspiration from where they live, the businesses they work with, and the ever changing landscape of Hudson County. They work extremely well together always trusting each other and trying new things or letting things go. And you can totally see this because when I interviewed them they finished each other sentences and you can see the support they have for each other.
What makes their business special is the support they get back. At the festivals they see a lot of other mothers and “everyone is our cheerleader. They tell us, ‘it is so awesome you are doing this and this is so great you are representing Hoboken and Jersey City.’ We are in the community and it is neighborhoody and everyone wants everyone to succeed.” They also make excellent product. The t-shirts are soft, comfy, and cozy and fit so well. The tank is a HUGE hit for working out and “it is sexy!”
Their partnership started when their children Charley and Hudson took class at Urban Arts in the Monroe Center in Hoboken. They started talking and became instant friends. Brynn says, “It was almost like dating. She (Melanie) is such a cool mom … I would think ‘is she going to be here next week?’” Their kids would be dressed similarly so they’d always be talking about their clothes and the children got along too and had playdates. It was at the same time they were both going through a transition as their children were about to start kindergarten full time and they would talk about what they wanted to do. Melanie had an interest in creating dresses and Brynn had the idea to make cozy pants and Charley and Hudson was created.
Melanie had always wanted a kids clothing line. Since they both loved the clothes that they bought for their children, it was a natural progression. To get started with the project, Brynn took sewing classes at M. Avery Sewing, another studio space at the Monroe Center. Once they made the dresses and the pants they needed a shirt to match the pants. This is how they came up with the onesies and the kids shirts with Hoboken screen print. Their 1st screen print was of the Lackwanna Train Station, which was rendered from a photo Brynn’s husband took, JP (he is a DJ and photographer), and then a friend helped design it. “We found a local printer up in The Heights to print it. And now it has become the most successful item in our line” (and the longest running print).
Their other designs they began organically as well. Melanie lives in The Heights so it was only natural to expand there and people were asking for one. “We thought of iconic things in The Heights: at first we talked about the Gazebo, but the new gazebo doesn’t exist yet. So then we said, ‘what’s next?’ and it was the 100 steps because it is a bridge connecting Jersey City and Hoboken.” They then came up with the Jersey City shirt because they were doing festivals all over and needed to make sure everyone was represented.
When they started selling the dresses, cozy pants, onesies, and kids shirts, they knew they wanted to start growing their business through festivals. They did their 1st at Rummage and Ruffage, the Hoboken midtown farmer’s market. They also worked with Black Rail, a local coffee shop in Hoboken, who had a partnership with Urban Arts and sold their onesies and kids shirts. Then they got accepted into the Hoboken Christmas Market in 2015 and “People said ‘We want this in adult!’ We said ‘no this is just a kids shirt! ’ and this was when we realized the t-shirt was going to be a big hit because everyone was asking for it.”
They have partnerships with other stores including our friends at Noellery. “With Noellery it was just a fluke,” Brynn explains. Brynn was in the store buying a gift and Noel’s partner was wearing the Hoboken shirt. Brynn (at the urging of her husband) said hi and told them that that was her shirt! Noel asked if they’d ever thought about doing a tank, which they had, but this gave them even more impetus to get it in the line. And when Noel opened her Jersey City store on Grove, she immediately asked about a Jersey City tank and of course now we have that tank top too.
Other partnerships include Hoboken General Store, where Brynn walked into the store with the onesie as they thought it would be perfect for their clientele. They were in a pop-up shop at Bloomsbury Sq for 2 weeks in the fall and then at their winter popup shop over Thanksgiving Weekend. Bloomsbury Sq helped Charley and Hudson get into the Riverview Farmer’s Market. Working with these businesses has shown them “they are locals supporting local promoting their neighborhoods.”
The best thing that has come from having this business is seeing their product around town. When they are on the playground Charley will say to Melanie, ‘“Mom! Mom! There is our t-shirt.’ It is so awesome to see someone wearing our tee or someone from Riverview buying t-shirts for the whole family. People are so revved up to wear it.” What keeps them going is the energy from their supporters and the partnerships they have.
They are now focusing on the markets in the next coming weeks, but they have some new products coming out. Including a sweatshirt that is so awesome and is out now! Find their holiday schedule below and a special code to buy your own Charley and Hudson T-shirt.
Hoboken Holiday Craft Fair - 12/3 & 12/4, 11:00 AM - 5:00 PM
JC Artist and Maker Market - Grove Street; 12/8 and 12/15 - 4PM - 8 PM
6th Borough Market at Harborside Financial Center: 12/13.
Use code GROWJC to get 10% off at checkout from http://charleyandhudson.com
Photos provided by @loveyourlightphotos
Big thank you to my models Jordana and Julianna!