Jessica Gagnon McClintock is Founder, President and CEO of Jessica McClintock, Inc., an American retail company based in San Francisco, California. Jessica McClintock (June 19, 1930 – Present) Born with the name Jessica Gagnon, born in Presque Isle, Maine. McClintock, retired now, was an American fashion designer specifically known for her formal dress gowns she designed for young women around the world.
Growing up in the state of Maine, Jessica's father was a shoe salesman and her mother was a beautician. Her mother always encouraged Jessica to use her creative side when Jessica told her about her dream of designing dresses. Using skills she learned at an early age from her grandmother, Jessica McClintock was soon a big face in fashion. Jessica McClintock attended Boston University from 1947 to 1949. At age 19, Jessica quit Boston University to marry Al Staples, an engineering student at MIT. Shortly after her marriage, McClintock obtained her Bachelor of Arts Degree from San Jose State University in California.
Eventually, Staples and Jessica had a son, Scott (who is now a Hollywood actor and also worked for his mother's business), and moved to Santa Clara California where Jessica taught sixth grade teaching music and science. Unfortunately, in 1963, Al Staples had died in an automobile accident. This led to her second marriage, marrying airplane pilot, Fred McClintock who was a friend of her husband's, but shortly ended in a divorce in 1967. After the divorce, McClintock and her son Scott moved to San Francisco, California.
Start of Career
In 1969 while living in San Francisco, Jessica met a woman by the name Eleanor Bailey. Eleanor was the head of design and production and looking for investors for a studio called Gunne Sax Company, a local dress store. In the year 1970, McClintock invested $5,000 from her savings and became partners with Eleanor and became directly in charge of the designing and marketing of the new dress line. Eleanor stepped down, leaving Jessica the sole owner of Gunne Sax.
Jessica started with a single line company and expanded it into a multifaceted outlet targeting customers that were looking to purchase to bridal, junior and children's wear designer clothing. Jessica's main focus of her design was on "romance". Her designs were not only sold nationally, but also world-wide including places such as, the Middle East, Asia and Europe. In 1979, two new clothing lines were created. One was to target girls under the Gunne Sax line and the other was a secondary contemporary line under the McClintock's name/label. Since these two lines became such a success, McClintock was able to open her very own retail stores. The first Jessica McClintock store was opened in San Francisco in 1981. A year later, Scott McClintock, Jessica's son joined the company and made two clothing lines which were manufactured under labels of Scott McClintock dresses and Scott McClintock sport. In 1987, McClintock renamed Gunne Sax to Jessica McClintock and also added sleepwear lines and her fragrance line. Eventually, by the mid-90's, Jessica had opened a total of 41 boutiques and her dresses were also sold in department stores around the U.S and other countries. She also made her company a family affair having her brother, Jack Hedrich, as Vice President of the company, Bruce Hutchins, her cousin, who was put in charge of the McClintock boutiques. Also, Jessica Hutchins her granddaughter was responsible for the bridal wear range.
Jessica had developed her fragrance line in 1988. The perfume was called Jessica McClintock and had become one of the top selling fragrances in the U.S. Her second fragrance to come out was called Jess, which started selling in the year 1995. McClintock also came out with a men's fragrance called Scott McClintock, which was sold exclusively at her boutiques. In the summer of 2001, Jessica came out with another fragrance called Jessica McClintock Number 3 and also in the spring of 2003, she launched three Gunne Sax fragrances called, Jasmine Kiss, Vintage Vanilla and Raspberry Romance. Other popular scents in the brand include, New Victorian, Gunne Sax and Jessica McClintock Silk Ribbons which is a bridal inspired fragrance. Jessica's perfumes are still sold online and in stores at places including, Walgreens, Target, Perfume Euphorium, Perfume Mart, K Mart, Macy's, TJ Maxx, FragranceNet and Perfume Blvd.
Other Products and Lines
Jessica also formed a licensing division which are product lines that include, Fine China, Eyewear, Jewelry, Handbags, Homemade Rugs, Home Furniture and furnishings.
After spending over 40 years of creating rich satin, silk and tulle gowns, fragrances and other products, at the age of 83, McClintock quietly retired after all of the designer's stores and outlets were closed by November 2013 including her online store. Starting her business at age 38, Jessica had opened 41 stores in which had a reported annual sales of $100 million. The business was then hit by the 2008 recession when people were not buying special gowns, which hit the company hard with much less sales than years before. In the future, despite Jessica McClintock stores will no longer exist, there are plans to license her prom and bridal products again.
Awards and Achievements
1981 Ernie Award, 1985 Best California Designers Award, 1986 Tommy Award, American Printed Fabric Council, 1988 Press Appreciation Award, 1989 Merit Award Design, 1996 Tommy Award from The American Printed Fabric Council, 1996 & 1997 Bridal Information Resource's Retail Choice Award, 1999 DEBI Lifetime Achievement Award, McClintock also received the California Excellence Award, California Mart's California Designer of the Year Award, two Lifetime Achievement Awards, an Excalibur Award from the American Cancer Society and has been repeatedly mentioned in the list of Working Women's Top 50 Women Business Owners since the year 1994. McClintock has also been granted a Doctorate of Humane Letters given by the Academy of Arts in San Francisco.
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