Tag Archives: J. Crew fall 2012

Talbots & J. Crew Chase Core Customers

Hello-Hello, we hope you are enjoying a splendid week.

Today we share updates on two brands readers know; we begin with an update on the situation at Talbots.  You may recall hearing that the company has been struggling for years, with wild swings in its merchandise mix and a host of other challenges.  A brief refresher from Boston.com:

Talbots foundered for five years under the leadership of Trudy F. Sullivan, who strayed from the company’s classic styles in an effort to lure younger, more fashionable consumers.

That strategy backfired and alienated core customers — those 55 and older. The merchant, which still operates about 516 stores, has shuttered its men’s and children’s divisions and slashed expenses as a way to stem losses.

Yesterday the company announced a new management team; the incoming CEO, Michael Archbold, is the former president of Vitamin Shoppe, he has also worked at Saks. It seems Mr. Archbold hopes to return, at least in part, to the brand’s heritage. Women’s Wear Daily quoted from a statement by the new CEO in its story about the changes:

““By restoring the company’s focus on Talbots’ classic styling, we will be able to reconnect with the company’s historical customer base.

Presumably that means we will see less of this sort of thing….

Talbots September 2011

And possibly more things like these, pieces from the Fall 2012 collection.

Talbots

Trade publication Women’s Wear Daily shared more insight from a source in its its story:

This source also said Kaluzny emphasized that the “collective focus will be on financial discipline, protecting the integrity of the Talbots brand and, most importantly, on our customers….”

While a few ghastly reminders remain of the company’s loss of direction (like this Drape-Wrap Top, now $11.99), the majority of pieces seem to be closer to the brand’s original aesthetic.

Talbots.com

The harsh reality remains that even if Talbots can bring back its core customers, they still need to appeal to some portion of the under-55 crowd without completely turning off the older buyers.  Hopefully the new management team will be able to help bring the retailer back to a healthier position. (Psst, a shopping note: if you can find something you like, there appear to be some amazing bargains online and in-store.)

It looks like Talbots isn’t the only retailer trying to get more in touch with its customer base, Tuesday’s Times carried a story titled “J. Crew Wants to Reconnect with its Base“.

J. CREW, the popular purveyor of clothing classics, is rolling out a broad new advertising campaign aimed at galvanizing its customers — some of whom call themselves “jcrewaholics” — and also making them smile.

Elizabeth Olson’s story features images from the company’s new advertising campaign:

J. Crew via the New York Times

Back to the article in the Times:

The campaign ads use the line, “We know you are out there,” to appeal to its aficionados along with close-ups of fashion-forward artists, editors and others who, J. Crew says, wear its clothing not only in the ads but also in their daily lives.

The campaign will span major print outlets as well as digital and social media, and will be the first time the company, officially known as the J. Crew Group Inc., has embarked on such a wide multimedia marketing initiative.

The story points out that previously Crew has used very limited advertising, relying more on word of mouth and things like its catalog, officially called the ‘Style Guide’.  (Below, August’s catalog.)

J. Crew August Style Guide

The story quotes chief marketing officer Diego Scotti:

“We are in a moment when we need to tell our story louder,” explained Mr. Scotti. “We are on a mission to elevate our product and customer demand. We have not done much advertising in the past, other than niche magazines.”

The company’s stepped-up effort will expand its presence in publications including Vanity Fair, Vogue, Fast Company and the Sunday New York Times Magazine as well as in social media and online. There are no television commercials.

Another two-page spread from the August catalog.

J. Crew August Catalog

Hmmmm. I know a number of our treasured readers have ‘broken up’ with J. Crew, disenchanted with the retailer’s turn to higher fashion and ‘boho prep’ (an oxymoron IMO) styles. It would be grand to hear some thoughts from those who have left one or both brands – are you ready to forgive and forget?

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An Inside Look at J. Crew & Its CEO

Hello-Hello, happy mid-week. In reality it is a bit beyond that, as Friday is a half-day at many places of business.

We thought readers might be interested in a television program airing tomorrow night on CNBC.

CNBC

J. Crew & The Man Who Dressed America” is an hour-long special focused on Crew’s CEO Mickey Drexler.

CNBC

The show airs on CNBC at 10pm:

J.Crew has transformed from a once-flailing, lackluster brand to a fashion force. Leading J.Crew is CEO Millard “Mickey” Drexler, known for his intuitive sense of what the public craves and his ability to lift troubled companies to new heights.

J. Crew Collection

Back to the news release:

Since taking over J.Crew in 2003, Drexler has successfully introduced designer quality clothing for the masses — driving the company’s revenues up 170 percent.

J. Crew

Those fond of the retailer, along with those interested in the fashion industry, are sure to enjoy this one. One of the segments is a behind the scenes look at putting together a J. Crew catalog. (Click here for a preview of the segment.)

CNBC

From a review of the show in North Jersey:

J. Crew is one of America’s most ubiquitous brands. Step into any mall and you’ll likely see one of the stores. It’s associated with words like “preppy,” “classic” and “all-American,” a place where you can buy button-down shirts in myriad colors and a pair of jeans fit for work or play.

CNBC delves into the inner workings of Drexler’s intense and borderline obsessive involvement in the company…

Jenna Lyons is featured throughout the documentary, including a segment on the Fall 2012 collection. (Click here for a preview of the segment.)

CNBC

More from North Jersey’s story:

The hour-long special delves into everything from Drexler’s days growing up in the Bronx (he still eats lunch with his childhood friends) to his intensely hands-on style of management (he installed a loudspeaker system in J. Crew’s New York City headquarters and often spouts words of wisdom through its halls).

Boston.com has their own reason people should watch the program:

….you can see the always unnerving collected Vogue editor Anna Wintour dish about J.Crew CEO Mickey Drexler on CNBC’s “J.Crew and the Man Who Dressed America.” It’s no visit with Stephen Colbert, but Wintour does offer some good tidbits on Drexler.

The company continues to evolve, energy has recently been redirected back to basics like its popular ballet flats.

J. Crew

We’ve been tediously repetitive candid in this space about concerns the retailer drifted away from its roots in efforts to reach a more “fashion forward” clientele. I’m looking forward to watching the special,it’s likely we’ll be able to tell form the interviews if the focus will remain close to Crew’s lineage or not.

A quick Sales & Savings note: Crew’s Memorial Day Sale offers an additional 30% off sale merchandise with the code LOVEIT. (With apologies, I have no idea why this is blinking, or how to make it stop.)

J. Crew

(My inability to make that stop blinking is arguably today’s greatest failure.)

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One other tidbit today, word of a new company with prep leanings (at least new to us), Chicago Belt.

Chicago Belt

The Prepatorium is located in The Great Midwest and we love learning about things reflecting our roots. The company features grosgrain ribbon belts made in the USA, including this one showcasing the Great Lakes.

Chicago Belt Company

An added bonus? 10% of sales from this belt goes to the Shedd Aquarium (one of our favorite places to visit) and its “Keep the Lake Great” program. Our thanks to Great Lakes Prep for the tip on this one!

Thanks for popping in, g’bye until next time!

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