The three sisters behind Double D Ranch’s fashion juggernaut reflect on 30 years in business and their wild ride to the top of Western couture.
By Alana Harrison
As the railroad-turned-cattle town of Yoakum, Texas, welcomes a crisp Sunday morning in January, Cheryl McMullen paces in her office. The creative genius behind Double D Ranch’s enormously successful fashion label sketches a few ideas for her new collection, replies to emails and prioritizes the upcoming week’s schedule—all before meeting up with her sisters,the other two women of Double D’s tour de force, Audrey Franz and Hedy Carter.
With two of their adult children in tow—one driving a van full of Double D apparel and the other hauling a trailer stocked with props—the McMullen sisters volley interview questions as they cruise down a two-lane highway en route to a photo shoot for their summer 2020 collection. When asked if the women are still hands–on in the company’s day-to-day operations,the car erupts into a symphony of infectious laughter.
Stifling a giggle, Audrey concedes that this isn’t even a hectic day; it’s the norm for the fashion trio. January is an especially busy time for Double D, but this year—between styling recording artists at the Grammy Awards, an extended photo shoot in Nashville that culminated in outfitting actor Dennis Quaid for a performance at the Grand Ole Opry, designing their 30thanniversary collection and recording a new podcast series—their schedule reached near insanity.
Yet, from the birth of their fledgling, garage-based business to Double D’s rise as a premier lifestyle brand in Western fashion, the sisters have remained unflappable. With level heads, open eyes and an ever-present sense of humor, the women of Double D weathered the inevitable storms faced by young fashion labels and emerged with a clearer vision of their brand’s essence.
“Fashion is always at the center point of our brand, but we constantly strive to build on that foundation,” Cheryl said. “At its core, our brand is about the lives of the women who wear our clothes—their stories, passions, relationships and what makes them tick.”
Parents Doug and Margie McMullen always fostered entrepreneurship and a deep appreciation of history and culture in their three daughters. The owners of a car dealership in Palacios, Texas,Doug and Margie also enjoyed racing Quarter Horses, and their intrepid daughters never missed an opportunity to accompany their father to the racetracks of Texas and New Mexico, whereDoug employed the calm nature and flashy appearance of the family’s Paints to pony his racehorses.
“We loved going on all of Dad’s crazy adventures and couldn’t wait to head out with him to Memphis or Detroit or New Mexico—wherever,” Audrey recalled. “Those experiences helped broaden our horizons and enriched our appreciation of history and culture.”
This is an excerpt from the full article—get the whole story in the Spring 2020 Chrome magazine, which is sent to all current APHA members. Not a member? Join or renew at apha.com/join.