Apple Bottoms clothing was launched in 2003 by St Louis Rap artist Nelly, cousin Yomi Martin, and friend Ian Kelly. The three came off the major success of their menswear line Vokal and saw a major void in the urban fashion industry for a women’s wear line that catered to a woman with curves.
In a television article, Nelly explained that the name Apple Bottoms came from a random thought that partners Martin and Kelly were instantly sold on.
Upon hearing the name and concept of catering to women with an Apple Bottom figure, the three began plotting their next move with the clothing line. Leslie Ungar, president of the company, said the clothing line is about the correct fit, in combination with being fashionable. She said the clothing is designed to fit the woman, rather than the woman trying to fit the clothes.
The final decision to launch Apple Bottoms clothing, was based on a six-city tour to seek the perfect ‘Apple Bottoms Girls,’ a young woman aged 18-25 that represented the clothing line ideally. The six-city tour, which began in New York, included a stop in St. Louis, and ended in Las Vegas.
For the tour, VH1 and the Apple Bottoms team collaborated for a reality show focused on the tour. The success of the Apple Bottoms model contest series had people glued to the television and YouTube being searched heavily for episodes missed. VH1 station programmers had major Hip Hop audience interests sparked by the reality series.
The first collection launched by the company was Apple Bottoms jeans. The Apple Bottom women’s denim collection sold out nationally in a period faster than anticipated by the company. Nelly’s thought turned out to be a golden idea for Hip Hop clothing and the partners were right, women needed clothing to fit them and not vice versa.
Since it’s launch Apple Bottoms has expanded into Apple Bottoms for girls. The expansion showed there is no age limit on the market that needs clothing that fits the woman or young lady wearing it.
Apple Bottoms has done exceptionally well in sales as the brand projected 50 million dollars revenue for 2004, only one year after it’s launch.
Martin, Nelly, and Kelly have each gone on to create other businesses since their launch. Nelly is a part owner of NBA expansion team Charlotte Bobcats and co-owner of Pimp Juice energy drink. Ian Kelly is the founder of Greedy Genius sneakers and street wear brand. Yomi Martin is the founder of the upscale sports lounge chain ‘Jerseyville’.