So it appeared that a chance for JCPenney to light a fire under its women's apparel was being ignored. Hankins may well have been the most talented person under the Legacy roofs, but so far it only mattered to the few Penney store managers who had large numbers of African-American customers. And only the L.A. manufacturers who were plugged into that market were producing A.M.H. designs. Hankins always wanted to design for womenbut all women of modest means, no matter. He felt he was now in the design ghetto.
Then a strange thing happened . Distribution gremlins caused the Hankins line to land at a Houston location dubbed "the country club store" where there were almost no nonwhite customers and the demographics skewed to upper-middle. Intrigued by the look of the clothes, the manager whimsically set them out instead of returning them.
They sold. Fast. Hankins, of course, got word of this. There , he thought, is all the proof I need! He quickly jumped to the conclusion that he had earned a shot at designing for all of Penney's women customers. He thought he had also at last qualified for marketing and promotional support as well. After all, what more could he have done?