Coldwater Creek

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Dennis and Ann Pence decided to start a catalog business in Sandpoint, Idaho, in 1984. They named the company Coldwater Creek and began on a very small scale--distributing one-color catalogs to a roster of dedicated clients. The brand grew relatively quickly, and it started making a profit within just two years. In a market saturated with catalog companies, Coldwater Creek set itself apart with a strong commitment to customer satisfaction. By the 1990s, the brand was fielding millions of phone calls annually, and it also started to branch out into retail sales. The first Coldwater Creek store opened in 1995 and sparked a new trend.

Supplementing the existing women's lines with men's clothing, the brand expanded its customer base. Stores popped up across the country, and an ecommerce website launched in 2000. Unfortunately, the company was hit hard by the 2008 recession and eventually declared bankruptcy in 2014. Coldwater Creek closed more than 300 stores and temporarily went out of business entirely. The company's name and intellectual property were purchased by Sycamore Partners, however, and it re-launched as a catalog- and online-only brand in late 2014. The new company retains the heritage of its predecessor, but it has implemented a startup mentality to lead it into a new era.

Women's Merchandise


Coldwater Creek has gone back to selling solely women's apparel as part of its re-launch. Clothes are divided into three size categories--misses, petites, and women's plus. The brand offers both casual and formal dresses in styles like fit-and-flare, knits, maxi dresses, and evening gowns. Tops include tees, tanks, button-down shirts, tunics, and blouses, and you can also choose from an extensive collection of sweaters and cardigans. Jackets and vests are primarily designed for style (though they will also offer some warmth), but the brand also features an array of outerwear for particularly cold weather.

Bottoms are available in styles like ponte pants, corduroys, leggings, ankle pants, and crops. Coldwater Creek also offers jeans in different colors and washes--featuring popular cuts that include skinny, straight, bootcut, jegging, and more. Skirts tend to be pretty modest, and maxi skirts are the top styles. In intimates, you can find basics like camis, bras, and shapewear. The brand's sleepwear collection includes nightshirts, pajama sets, and loungewear. Ballet flats, sandals, sneakers, wedges, boots, and booties make up the footwear selection, and other accessories like handbags, jewelry, scarves, and hats can be used to complete an outfit.'s Rating of Coldwater Creek

Coldwater Creek has been through more ups and downs than any typical brand over the last decade, but it appears to have found solid footing once more. The brand's apparel has always been fairly conservative, and that trend remains unchanged in its new era. As a result, it continues to be popular among more traditional women--and especially an older demographic. The company has long struggled with finding appropriate pricing, and its clothes are certainly more expensive than most competitors. Luckily, they are well made, and you may be able to find a good deal buying secondhand. We give Coldwater Creek 4 stars out of 5.

Coldwater Creek

  • Established 1984
  • Traditional women's apparel
Sold at:
Coldwater Creek catalogs and online
Types of items:
Blouses, tunics, tees, tanks, button-down shirts, dresses, skirts, sweaters, cardigans, wraps, skirts, shapewear, bras, sleepwear, jeans, blazers, jackets, vests, outerwear, swimwear, shoes, boots, sandals, hats, gloves, handbags, accessories, home d├ęcor
Related brands:
Aeropostale, Jones New York, Hot Topic, Kasper, Nine West, Torrid, Talbots, Stuart Weitzman
Our rating:
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