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….
And possibly more things like these, pieces from the Fall 2012 collection.
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.
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.)
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:
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.)
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.
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?