HUE sells various clothing products, including sleepwear, leggings, tights, socks, and tops. The brand has been around for decades and has managed to become one of the most popular brands in the U.S.
But the brand doesn’t belong to a billion-dollar corporation. It was started by a passionate college dropout determined to innovate and open to experimentation.
In this article, we take you through HUE’s journey from inception to a famous brand.
Plus, learn how we can coach you to get started growing your own 7-figure business for FREE!
|Sandra Chilewich and Kathy Moskal
Who Founded HUE?
The brand's journey started in 1978. Two New Yorkers, Sandra Chilewich and Kathy Moskal, founded HUE, a company that transformed the hosiery industry.
What is HUE’s Origin Story?
HUE came about when Sandra decided to quit college and dye some Chinese slippers in multiple colors.
At the time, they were just playing around. But that was the idea that led to starting a brand for colorful shoes, tights, and stockings.
Chilewich’s fascination with unusual materials led her to create mesh and metal RayBowl — introduced in 1997 at the MOMA in New York.
Soon, she discovered the opportunities offered by extruded yarns. She wanted to produce timeless namesake products that never wear out.
It’s been almost 20 years, and Kayser-Roth continues to own HUE, according to the company’s website.
Here’s a timeline of the brand's innovations and accomplishments:
- 1978: HUE launches with colorful Chinese slippers
- 1979: Introduced colored tights in an open package
- 2003: HUE sleepwear for women launched with hand-drawn designs
- 2004: HUE invents Foot Tube
- 2007: First guest designer collaboration in legwear with Tracy Reese and invented the Furry Sock
- 2010: First HUTique in the U.S.
- 2014: HUE introduces seamless lights
- 2015: HUE unveils its first flagship millennial shop for Macy’s Herald Square
- 2016: HUE launches men’s socks
- 2017: The wellness legwear and leggings collection launches
- 2018: HUE’s performance sleepwear with the temperature-regulating cooling feature, SleepWell, launches
- 2019: HUE innovates reversible leggings and CUSHN socks and tights with sewn-in foot pads
- 2020: Introduced Theracom CBD sleepwear and The Perfect Legging Tee
- 2021: Introduced the Black Designer Collection and PPA (personal protective apparel) tees with masks
- 2023: HUE Liflat shoes introduced
How was HUE Funded?
There’s no public information on how HUE funded. It’s reasonable to presume that Sandra and Kathy bootstrapped the company. When it sold, the acquiring companies induced capital as required.
What Lessons Can Entrepreneurs Learn from Hue's Story?
Sandra and Kathy didn’t intend to create a major brand. Their only goal was to experiment.
In fact, they didn’t know much about the hosiery business, and that’s what helped them become successful according to Chilewich:
“I think it was because we weren't familiar with the hosiery business that we became successful.”
Not knowing about the conventions allowed them the freedom to do what felt right.
As entrepreneurs, you’ll often have to trust yourself and not follow the herd. The courage to experiment is critical to innovation and building a successful product-based business.
Sandra and Kathy started a business based on just one thing: passion.
They didn’t have a fancy business degree or millions in the bank. But they started small and consistently built a company, one day at a time.
A purpose-driven business thrives, just like HUE. If you’re passionate about a business you want to grow, we can help.
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