Thursday, July 31, 2008

Article on J.Crew Apology

"Thanks!" to Anonymous at 3:42 PM & Naomi who let us know in the post "J.Crew Admits {Some} Mistakes" that Bloomberg.com had an article on J.Crew's Apology. (Click here to see original article). I highlighted text (in dark orange) that I found interesting in read.

J.Crew Sends Apology Letter for `Issues' in Orders (Update2)
By Heather Burke
July 30, 2008

J.Crew Group Inc., the clothing retailer run by former Gap Inc. Chief Executive Officer Millard Drexler, apologized to customers, asking shoppers to excuse problems with Internet and phone orders in the past few weeks.


"We know we've let you down,'' Drexler, 63, and President Tracy Gardner said
in the apology sent to customers by e-mail today and posted on the Internet site. J.Crew is making "enhancements'' to its site and call center and "unfortunately, encountered some bumps along the way,'' they wrote. "We've made some mistakes (too many in our mind),'' the executives wrote in the statement. "Please bear with us as we work through these issues.''

The retailer's Web site wasn't accessible as of 1:47 p.m. New York time and showed a "Be back soon'' note. As of 2:30 p.m., the site worked and had the apology note on the home page.


J.Crew, a men's and women's clothing retailer known for khaki shorts, chinos and cashmere sweaters, fell $1.11, or 3.7 percent, to $28.98 as of 4:15 p.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading. The stock has dropped 40 percent this year through today.


In the first quarter, Internet and catalog sales comprised 30 percent, or $100.9 million, of New York-based J.Crew's total revenue.

A recent upgrade to search and zoom functions online has caused some issues when shoppers place orders, J.Crew spokeswoman Margot Fooshee said today in an e-mail without elaborating. "In our eyes, any inconvenience to our customers is unacceptable,'' she said.


"As a result, we proactively wanted to address them through an e-mail and on our home page, letting them know that they might experience some delays,'' Fooshee said, adding that shoppers were notified the company was trying to fix the problems immediately.

I am pleased to see that J.Crew put this notice on their website. However, I have a few issues with what Ms. Fooshee had to say. First, I don't think the website/system fiasco was in direct rela
tionship to the new "search and zoom functions". I seriously doubt that is what is causing ghost orders, false charges, delayed shipping, etc. But, I could be wrong. ;) Second, I don't agree with the terms "proactive" and "immediately" used in her quote. ("Proactive" & "immediately" would have been appropriate actions a month ago.) Third, the quote "any inconvenience to our customers is unacceptable" bothers me- considering customers were inconvenienced for over a month, (without any apology notice before).

...I realize I come across a bit harsh on the Crew. I love them, I really do! However, I want J.Crew to be completely
upfront and honest about the situation. I think we would all be more understanding of the situation if they let us know what was going on from the beginning. I would even be understanding if J.Crew decided to shut down their website completely in order to fix it properly, (instead of this half-working site we have now.) :)

What do you think of the articles and J.Crew's comments in the article? What do you think of the situation?

* * * * * * * * * * * *
Mini Update: "Thanks!" also to Lauren (in the post "Article on J.Crew Apology") who let us know that the Consumerist had a mini-article on this situation as well. (Click here for link.)

J.Crew Apologizes For Bad Website, But That's All They Do"
A dozen readers (and probably a couple of PR flacks) must have forwarded us J.Crew's email today, in which the CEO and president of the company extend a mutual apology for the non-workingness of their "enhanced" website and call center. Oddly, the email simply asks customers to "bear with us" but doesn't offer any discount or sale. Well, maybe they figured driving more traffic to a broken site would only make things worse.

J.Crew Responds to an Aficionada: Jenn_Brak

In the "J.Crew Admits {Some} Mistakes" post, Jenn_brak shared the following {exciting} news with us:
Ladies - I totally apologize for this very long post. However, I thought the message on the website this morning was surprising due to the e-mails you will see below. I sent an e-mail directly to Mickey last evening. Received a reply this morning, and then that message is on the website.

Dear Mr. Drexler,

My name is Jennifer Brak** and I am a pretty good J. Crew customer. The style and service offered at J. Crew is beyond amazing, and my last year as a frequent shopper has been profitable for your company and beneficial to my wardrobe. '


However, I am writing right now to tell you of my dismay with your recent updates, upgrades and changes. First of all, I like change. Love that you now have a zoom feature and that there is a size search within the sale section. Other than that, these alterations have been a fiasco. Your wonderful customer service reps have been left to deal with the fall-out from the mishandled upgrades and they have so much less information than usual. Just last night I called to find out when a bracelet from the Look Book would be available, they had NO information. When I called a local store today it was in stock? That is just so unfair to your phone reps. I talked to three different people who were all willing to help, just not able.


I am writing now because I recently found a blog called J Crew Aficionada and realized that others have shared my frustration and are planning on spending less than usual. A problem that probably reached critical mass within your organization about 20 days ago has now become a nightmare for your consumers. I personally saved about $500 or more by not having the sale items updates daily at 6:45AM. Hopefully, this news is as disappointing to you as it was thrilling for my husband.


My hope is that this e-mail spurs you to action on two fronts. Please do something to boost the morale of your poor phone reps. They have had a rough month of it from the public, I am sure, and need it. Second, we, the customers, want to hear from you regarding the expected dates of solutions for these problems. Erica on the phone and a message on the website is no longer enough. Please speak to your customers about when we can expect our service to return to previous levels.


Hoping to continue our mutually beneficial relationship.

Thank You,
Jennifer



His Reply came via Blackberry at 5:28 this morning:

Hi And thanks for taking the time to send your email-i am totally aware of and living with "24/7"-and totally sorry and embarrassed-we clearly did not anticipate the extent of the issues we are having-i'd like to say will be "fixed" sooner than later-doing what needs to be done now and hope you'll see some signs of imoprovement day by day-here if you need anything-
Mickey

He also sent his phone number.

Jenn_brak then shared the following-up news with us:
Hi All - Just wanted to let you know I just finished a 25 minute phone conversation with one of the Customer Service Managers from Va who called me in response to my email to Mickey. One interesting fact. If you send an e-mail to contactus@jcrew.com and it is addressed to Mickey, it gets to him. They are painfully aware of all of our frustrations and share them. Also, I am pretty sure they are aware of this blog (even though she did not say so) so people are seeing your comments and concerns.

First, I am very excited for Jenn_brak! Second, I think it is great that Mickey contacted her. You always read about him contacting customers personally, but you are never sure if it is true. It is great to read that it, in fact, is true! (P.S. Mickey: you are totally welcome to guest blog here anytime. This is an open invitation.)

What do you think about Mickey's reply to Jenn_brak? What questions (or comments) would you ask Mickey if you could?

Darlings, is it time for a J.Crew coupon code?

Yes, it is that wonderful time again! :)

J.Crew is offering free shipping on orders of $100+ with promo code SCHOOL. This offer expires 8/7/08.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

J.Crew Admits {Some} Mistakes

I have to say I am pleasantly surprised to see this. In a way, I feel it's about time they were more honest with their customers about their system upgrade situation. :)

What do you think of their message? Does it make you feel more confident in the firm? Is their notice too late for you to return to J.Crew?

J.Crew's New Formats

Although this article is from a month ago (click here for original article), I still find it interesting (and I hope you do too!)

New Formats on J. Crew Agenda
By David Moin
Friday, June 06, 2008

NEW YORK —
J. Crew Group wants to discover what's cool and unique and break out new formats for selling the goods, Millard "Mickey" Drexler, chairman and chief executive officer, told shareholders Thursday.


"We are trying to be world curators, in a sense," Drexler said during the firm's annual meeting at the Gramercy Park Hotel here. "Our goal is not to be the biggest. It's to be the best. But as we get bigger, we spend more time on smaller things. Whatever we do is for the long term, although we get measured quarter to quarter."

Drexler outlined a 2008 agenda that includes:

- The first J. Crew freestanding men's store at 235 West Broadway in SoHo opening in mid-summer. The 1,200-square-foot space has a two-year lease, and J. Crew is searching for a bigger and more permanent site in lower Manhattan. It will be followed by a unit in Garden State Plaza in Paramus, N.J.

- The first women's Collection store on 79th Street and Madison Avenue is to open in August.

- The "Just Ask" program for enhanced service is being rolled out. It started at the Rockefeller Center store three weeks ago and offers experts trained to help customers with everything from arranging alterations or appointments with personal shoppers, to getting fabric swatches for bridesmaid dresses.

J. Crew features a growing assortment of brands and exclusives from around the globe, without the J. Crew label, which for about the past year have been appearing in the retailer's catalogues, online and in the stores. Red Wing men's boots from Minnesota made its debut at J. Crew last winter. Globe Trotter luggage from London appeared in the June catalogue and exclusively designed Selima sunglasses launched this spring.

Vintage Timex watches made exclusively for J. Crew will launch in August, and in the past, Land Cruisers and Jorg and Olif bicycles could be purchased by special order direct from the manufacturer.

"Whether it be special luggage, vintage watches, old cars, vintage work boots, very cool straw hats — when something strikes our fancy as 'wow,' or as very cool, and there's not a lot of it around, we just think it's fun to include in the assortments," Drexler told WWD. In addition, the company conducted its first trunk show this week, a two-day event for the Crewcuts kids' division held in an Upper East Side town house. Future trunk shows for Crewcuts or other categories are possible.

Drexler also updated progress at the two-year-old Madewell division, which he considers a work in progress. Madewell will launch e-commerce in July and soon open two stores on Boston's Newbury Street and on Greenwich Avenue in Greenwich, Conn. Six are up and running.

The $1.4 billion J. Crew has a strategy to go after the designer customer, with quality comparable to designer goods, prices that are much lower and with styles and items that are scarce. Drexler wouldn't put a figure on how much volume the company does with products bearing labels that aren't J. Crew. It is a small but growing percentage.

"To be cool today, you don't really have to spend a fortune," he said. "As importantly, the world is always looking for scarcity. As designers get bigger and bigger, they get less special."

"We are seeing a lessening of what we consider special and unique, people are constantly on the hunt for special. If you don't create or innovate, you basically move backwards" Drexler said. "We're getting behind what we think is cool."

The retailer last month reported first-quarter net income up 23.7 percent to $30.5 million, or 48 cents a diluted share, compared with $24.6 million, or 39 cents, in the first quarter of fiscal 2007. However, due to concerns about the economy, some slowing of comp-store sales gains and resistance to summer shorts and T-shirts, the company now projects diluted earnings per share in the range of $1.70 to $1.75, compared with its previous guidance range of $1.85 to $1.87.

What are your thoughts on the article? Do you agree or disagree on any points made by J.Crew? Also, do you think the article meant "vintage Rolex" watches instead of "Timex"? Because I can totally afford vintage Timex (regular price too!), not vintage Rolex. ;) Also, I would like to have known about the "Trunk Show" earlier this year- did anyone get to go or know more about it?

Interview with Madewell's Head Stylist

There is an interesting entry over at the Guest of a Guest blog about Madewell and one of their Head (or "Hed" as they spelled it) Stylists, Lisa Schulner. The following is the entry in its entirety (click here to see original entry):

Lately, it seems like everyone is catching the “fashion can mean average prices” bug. Vera Wang has a line at Kohl’s, Italian superstar Roberto Cavalli and rocker Madonna have lines at H&M, Sarah Jessica Parker makes clothing for Steve & Barry’s, and don’t even get us started with Tar-geh. And why not mix and match? Fashion should always be about confidence and individualism. This fall, even preppy refined J.Crew caught on. Madewell was launched as a hipper, little sister of the popular brand. Their pop-up store in Soho this Christmas is making way for the real thing coming this Spring on Broadway and Broome. Awhile ago, we got the scoop on the likes and dislikes of Lisa Schulner, the hed stylist over at Madewell. Here is what the artistic-skateboarding-Audrey Hepburn had to share:

Who came up with the idea of Madewell and what does it stand for?
Madewell was a real workwear brand from the 1930’s. Our CEO Mickey Drexler, fell in love with the heritage of the brand and new that girls today would love a cool, casual, affordable denim brand with a real design sense.

What’s the best part about your job?
Being pushed creatively every day of the week!

Does “cheaper” mean less quality?
Not at all. Cheaper means not taking advantage of the market today. We know girls would pay more for our clothes but why should we make them?

My personal style can be best described as…
A skateboarding Audrey Hepburn in art school

All I want this New Year’s is….
The beach in my backyard. Is that possible?

From what I have seen, I personally still prefer J.Crew clothes over Madewell clothes. I feel like I would save more by buying J.Crew on sale (while getting better quality goods) over Madewell's regular priced items. Not to say that I won't visit the Madewell store that is expected to open in Greenwich, CT later this year. ;)

What do you prefer: J.Crew or Madewell? Would you shop at Madewell when it comes online later this year (or if there was a store near you)?

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

J.Crew's Website is Down

Seems like the website is down for the... I can even remember how many times it has been already. ;)

P.S. I still haven't ordered anything through their website. There have been many times I was close to clicking "submit order" but hesitated each time. Reading others experiences (about ordering online) and seeing the "be back soon" image just now, reminds me to wait a bit longer (or buy in stores).

Update: As Tired Memphian pointed out in this post, it looks like the website is back up and running (as of 12:20PM).

J.Crew's Personal Shopper

Many of us J.Crew Aficionadas (including myself) have wondered what a Personal Shopper (aka Client Specialist) from J.Crew offers its clients. Fortunately for us, Blumre was kind enough to share her experience with her J.Crew Personal Shopper. The following italicized text is a direct quote of her comment:

First of all everyone should know the "request a personal shopper" online isn't working (yet another feature of the site that isn't "up and running"). I would call in and request to speak with one. Each personal shopper (PS) has their own phone extension and e-mail address. The main line used to call PSs is (800) 205-3877. Personally, I have not used an in-store PS but I would imagine they are just as good, if not better because then they can actually see you so they know what will and wont work on your body.

Basically, its the same as calling in to talk to a CS Rep but without the wait time. They can suggest outfits for occasions, tell you how different garments fit, order for you and you can e-mail or call them on an as-needed basis. PSs also seem to have miraculous powers when it comes to making orders actually arrive and billing customers correctly (three cheers for that!).

I think technically PS's are supposed to be used for events like weddings, or that was their original purpose anyway. However, I know other people have used them to just order sweaters or whatever they need. Malanie, a manger, recommended I work with one because I wanted to be able to order securely even though the clothes I needed weren't for an "event." She said it was the most secure way to order until their system was running again. I am thrilled I took her recommendation.

I have worked with Tammy before (I didn't get her last name, but I have her phone number) she got a dress to me in 3 business days flat (too bad its a little too big. I might keep it and have it taken in, I haven't decided). I am working with Rachel Grey right now and I am debating buying the Domino Skirt (I tried the 6 on in the store and it was too big, I need the 4). I think it could be useful and fun. And I could still wear it in the fall too. Rachel is amazing and so is Tammy.

Overall, I must say I have been truly pleased with my PS experience at J.Crew and if you want to order right now and have a guarentee that your package will arrive I think its the best option other than hoofing it down to the warehouse.

Jacquie in the post "Thanks for the Email J.Crew!" also shared her experience with a J.Crew personal shopper: They can make your shopping experience much smoother. I have one guy that I've been a client of for 8 years. He's gotten me items shipped overnight, for free. Found items that seem to be sold out, put collections together and mailed them to me (sight unseen and I just returned what I didn't like), they can call CS and price match w/in-store discounts at the red phone.

I have to admit, after reading these reviews I am strongly considering contacting J.Crew for a Personal Shopper. It sounds like a great service to use right now as ordering online still has some issues.

What do you think of J.Crew's Personal Shopper service? What are your experiences with the service (if you have used it)? After reading these reviews, would you try a personal shopper?

P.S. A big "thanks!" to Blumre & Jacquie who shared with us! We really appreciate knowing more about the service. :)

J.Crew Stores: Additional 50% Percent Off Sale

An enormous "thanks!" again goes to J. Crew Insider who was kind enough to share with us that there is a strong possibility that J.Crew stores will have an additional "50% off" sale items starting this Thursday or Friday. Can you believe that? 50% off! (I couldn't believe they had 40% off sale items last week, now it could be 50% off? Love it!!)

J. Crew Insider wanted to stress said that the "additional 50% off" sale is still a possibility (and should also be true for all stores, store wide, if it does happen) :)

Will you be planning on visiting your local J.Crew if they are offering an additional 50% off? Or do you not need to visit the store since your your store already sent back the "good" sale merchandise?

P.S. Thanks again to J. Crew Insider!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Darlings, is it time for a J.Crew coupon code?

Yes, it is that wonderful time again! :) A big "thanks!" goes to Mandy in the "Thanks for the Email J.Crew!" post who let us know that J.Crew is offering free shipping on orders of $150+ with promo code AGR-100. This offer expires 8/9/08.

Thanks for the Email J.Crew!

J.Crew just sent this email today. Now you know I love the Crew, so when the New Arrivals actually arrived online and in-stores, I immediately posted about it (refer to the "JCrew's Website is Updated" post, the "J.Crew's Fall Collection In Stores This Week!" post, as just some examples). So to get this email today... well seems a little "late" in my opinion.

As a J.Crew fan (okay- fanatic) and a true aficionada of the label, I would like to know about New Arrivals with advance notice (at the very least, on the day it happens). ;)

What do you think of this email? Do you think it is a little late? Did you even get the email?

The Great (Weekly) Exchange

This post (of weekly posts) is for individual members who want to swap/sell/share among yourselves. This post is where you can mention your items and outside listing/ auction site (like eBay and eCrater). Please note: this posting is not for resellers.

Individual members can also request in this post, items that they are looking for and interested in buying. :)

Please note that any transactions are independent of this blog. (Especially since you will be using an outside listing/ auction site like eBay or eCrater.) I have no dealings or interactions with any of the potential communication, listings, or transactions. :) Moreover, please limit comments about items to swap/sell/share to the "Great (Weekly) Exchange" posts. (Refer to "A Quick Note to J.Crew Aficionadas" post.)

Do you have any items you would like to swap/sell/share among yourselves through your outside listing/auction site? Is there an item (or items) that you are looking for and interested in purchasing?

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Off on a tangent: Banana Republic's 30% Off Sale

"Thanks!" to TN Mimi who let us know that Banana Republic is curently having a sale that offers 30% off select new arrivals both online and in-stores. This offer expires July 31, 2008.

The image's links are: Men | Women | Petites | Women's Tall

J.Crew Pins: A Tad Overpriced

I really do like most of J.Crew's jewelry. I own several pieces- from rings to necklaces to bracelets. However, I cannot imagine why these particular pins in the new Fall Jewelry Collection cost so much. Especially the Bugle-Beaded Bug Pin (Item 11348; $50.00), which I can probably make for less than $5 or find at Etsy for less than $50. I don't understand how "handmade, dimensional little brooch in glass-beaded charmeuse backed with tulle and charmeuse" can be worth fifty dollars (plus shipping & tax!)

The following are the items shown above in the pin collage image:

  1. Clear sun pin (Item 10376; $45.00)
  2. Bugle-Beaded Bug Pin (Item 11348; $50.00)
  3. Jet star pin (Item 10422; $55.00)
What do you think of these pins? Are you fans of the design? Would you purchase one of these pins? Do you think the pins are priced reasonably or overpriced?

Charlie Rose's Conversation With Mickey Drexler

Sally mentioned (in the "Holiday Season Will Be Tough on Retailers" post) an episode of Charlie Rose (click here) where Mickey Drexler was the featured guest. This episode really is a fascinating look inside the retailing world.

I first watched the video (in the "Weekend Video | Millard “Mickey” Drexler" post) at the A Continuous Lean Blog (a smart site on "men's style, fashion, design, media and technology"), who summarized the episode very well by saying: There are a lot of great things to be learned from Mr. Drexler in this interview — specifically about hiring talented people, treating those around you with respect, returning every phone call and acting like a small company in the “anti-customer service era”...I specifically identified with one of the things Mr. Drexler said in the interview: “I have a uniform, I wear what is comfortable, not what is fashiony.”

The interview is 31 minutes long, perfect to watch this lazy Sunday afternoon.

The following are some interesting articles on Mickey Drexler & J.Crew worth checking out:

  1. "A C.E.O. Sells the Store" by Joe Nocera
    Published March 1, 2008 | NY Times
  2. "A Whole New Crew" by Barbara Kiviat
    Published March 15, 2007 | Time
  3. "Mickey Drexler’s Redemption" by Meryl Gordon
    Published November 22, 2004 | NY Magazine
What do you think of the interview? Do you agree/disagree with Mickey Drexler's insights/advice/comments? Do you like Mickey Drexler more or less, now that you have seen this interview?

Saturday, July 26, 2008

J.Crew: Men's Look Book & Men's Only Store

The Look Books for J.Crew that I have seen, were always targeted for women. So I was pleasantly surprised to see at their website a Look Book exclusively for men (click here for link). I think that is fabulous and hope that they decide to print the Look Book as well (if it's not already available in a paper version). I always felt like the men got a little short changed in the catalogs (e.g. not enough pages showcasing men's fashion), so it's nice to see that J.Crew is devoting more pages to them. :)

The Men's Look Book coincides with J.Crew's latest news (that JRL pointed out in the "JCrew's Website is Updated" post,) which is they are opening a "men's only store" in Tribeca, NY (during August of this year). J.Crew is also showcasing "Tribeca Mens Shop" at their website (click here), which has items that will be featured at the men's only shop in NY.

The following are excerpts of an article in DNR about the men's store in NYC (click here to see the article in its entirety):

J.Crew to Open First Men’s Store in Tribeca
By Jean E. Palmieri
Mar. 11, 2008

"J.Crew has found the location for its first men’s-only store. It will be located at The Liquor Store, a landmark building at 235 West Broadway at White Street in Tribeca. It will be smaller and more intimate than the company’s other stores, according to a spokesperson, and is slated to open in the early summer.

It will carry “the best-of-the-best” of the J.Crew men’s collection, including Collector’s Items, its upscale, limited-edition items. It will also offer the company’s “list” of the items that every man should own.

Millard Drexler, CEO of J.Crew, mentioned the planned debut of the men’s-only store during the company’s fourth quarter and year-end conference call on Tuesday. He said the store is “a very short-term lease,” involving “very little investment and risk,” that will allow the company “to fool around and play with a men’s store. It’s going to be small.” Drexler said the company is continuing to work on finding locations for “one or two” larger freestanding men’s stores, but no leases have been found."

What do you think about the Men's Look Book? Are you excited that J.Crew will have a men's only store? Do you think they should open more "men's only stores"?

Creating J.Crew Outfits with Polyvore!

Slastena in the "Will you visit J.Crew this Weekend?" post came up with a great post suggestion, which is to share our favorite outfits utilizing Polyvore.

According to Polyvore's website, they allow you to "mix and match images from anywhere on the web, to create outfits, interior designs, or any kind of collage." You can also "browse and shop thousands of looks created by our vibrant community of stylish people."

I won't lie, this site is addictive (in a good, fun and entertaining kind of way). You get to play paper dolls with all the clothes & accessories you actually own (or want to own) in your closet. I love that! The image to the left (click here for original link) is an example (by Jcrew chick/Slastena) of the beautiful outfits you can create. (I love that outfit in the image too! So classically divine!)

Do you use Polyvore for outfit creations, ideas, and inspirations? What are some of your favorite J.Crew outfits created utilizing Polyvore?

J.Crew's JGift Commercial

I have to say that I don't remember this commercial. I also don't know when it aired. But it is pretty funny and clever. ;)


What do you think of this commercial? Should J.Crew have more commercials (besides the videos on their website)? Should they use direct ads in magazines more often (besides placing their products in regular features of magazines)?

Friday, July 25, 2008

J.Crew Selling Rolex Watches Now?

There's an interesting entry over at The Frisky about J.Crew now offering Rolex watches. The following is an excerpt of the entry (click here to see the original entry):

Rolex For J. Crew?
by: Catherine
Friday July 25th 2008

"While perusing JCrew.com this morning, searching for something amazing and preferably on sale, I happened to click on the jewelry section. Scrolling through it, I saw beaded necklaces, pearl earrings, and then, what’s this, two Rolex watches? Now, the product details are lacking—instead of a product name and description, it says, “Product Short Desc—Please update at the product level,” but unless someone at the company is playing a joke by putting up photos of gold Rolexes with price tags of $4,500 and $5,200, J. Crew has gotten into the luxury timepiece game. Now, will someone give me a J. Crew gift card for $5,000? With it, I could either buy the watch to the left, or 900 pairs of these pearl earrings, which just don’t quite compare."
I am surprised they're offering Rolex watches now (click here for a J.Crew Rolex link). I am not sure what to think of this move. Are they really going that upscale now? Will it be too expensive for me to shop at anymore? ;)

What do you think about J.Crew selling Rolex watches? Do you think this is the right move for them? What kind of message do you think J.Crew is trying to send its customers (or potential customers)?

New Madewell Store at Tysons Corner Center

"Thanks!" to Jacquie who let us know that Madewell is coming to Tyson's Corner (in the Mclean, VA/Washington, DC area) on Tuesday, August 5th!

There is also a related article which I took excerpts from in the Washington Business Journal about Madewell at Tysons (click here for the full article):

Tysons Corner Center opens three new stores
by Gillian Gaynair
May 14, 2008

"Madewell 1937, a new chain of affordable, casual apparel by preppy retail chain J. Crew, also joins the Tysons mix. The merchandise is generally 20 to 30 percent less than that at J. Crew. Seven Madewell retail stores are open nationwide; an eighth one is coming soon to Westfield Annapolis mall. At Tysons, a late summer opening is planned."

For those in the in the Mclean, VA/Washington, DC area, are you excited about visiting the Madewell store?

Seek & Find: Will you visit J.Crew this Weekend?

As promised, I am making this feature a weekly "sale watch" post, in order to help each other find sale items at our various local J.Crew stores. ;)

If you are stopping by a J.Crew store this weekend (to take advantage of the "additional 40% off" sale items or to see the new Fall arrivals), maybe you might be willing to share that with us in this post. In particular, if you could share with us a few sale items that are available, at what prices, and potential sizes the store is carrying (as well as the store location)- that would be fantastic! Thanks in advance!!! :)

P.S. I noticed that many of you have already been reporting sale items (and in which stores) in other posts, which by the way "thank you!" :) I really love how helpful we are for each other!

JCrew's Website is Updated

As many of you have pointed out, J.Crew's website has been updated! I for one am thrilled to see the new changes.

First, the main page (link here) shows various New Arrivals items on rotation. Second, the main pages per department (women|men|crewcuts) also feature their respective new arrivals. Third, the Sale section (link here) has been updated as well with many sale items being lowered in price. (Of course, I am still overly cautious about the website showing proper sale inventory and checking me out properly.)

Also, Naomi & Dawn mentioned in the "Darlings, is it time for a J.Crew coupon code?" that J.Crew was offering code FREESHIP on their website this morning (around 5-6AM EST) because the site was running slow. I am not sure if that offer still works (e.g. J.Crew took FREESHIP away) or not. But it's worth a try. :)

Are you excited about the update to the website? Are you excited that the Sale section has been updated as well?

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Back to School Sweekpstakes with J.Crew!

A big "thanks!" to Blumre, FabulousFloridaMommy (in the "J.Crew Bridesmaid Dresses for Fall and Spring" post), and jcrew fanatic! (in the "Darlings, is it time for a J.Crew coupon code?" post) who let us know about J.Crew's Set-for-school Sweepstakes. The grand prize is a $2,000 Crewcuts wardrobe! There's a daily prize too (small amagansett tote with your choice of critter monogram).

Click here for the link:
http://jcrew.eprize.net/promotion2008/index.tbapp?page=intro

J.Crew is also offering free shipping along with a 1 year subscription to Cookie Magazine (click here for more info) with any Crewcuts order of $100 or more with code CRITTER. This offer expires 7/30/08.

Good luck! :)

Darlings, is it time for a J.Crew coupon code?

Yes, it is that wonderful time again! :)

A big "thanks!" goes to Anonymous at 5:37 PM in the "J.Crew Stores: Additional 40% Percent Off Sale" post who let us know that J.Crew is offering free shipping on orders of $150+ with promo code IJY-150. This offer expires 8/2/08.

To Our Candadian J.Crew Shoppers

"Thanks!" to Raj who was kind enough to share in the "J.Crew Stores: Additional 40% Percent Off Sale"post the response received from J.Crew about orders to Canada:

"This is Deronda from J. Crew. We wanted to let you know that international shipping is unavailable right now. We?re upgrading our systems and will be able to ship internationally again very soon. We apologize for the inconvenience and will ship your order as soon as possible. We appreciate your patience."

I am not sure how long this "inconvenience" will last. Hopefully international orders will be shipped soon. :)

J.Crew Stores: Additional 40% Percent Off Sale

An enormous "thanks!" goes to J. Crew Insider who was kind enough to share with us that her local J.Crew store has just put up signs indicating an additional "40% off" sale items. Can you believe that? 40% off! (I have only seen 30% off at the very most.)

J. Crew Insider also said that the "additional 40% off" sale should be true for all stores, store wide. :)

Will you be planning on visiting your local J.Crew if they are offering an additional 40% off? Or do you not need to visit the store since your your store already sent back the "good" sale merchandise?

P.S. Thanks again to J. Crew Insider!

J.Crew Bridesmaid Dresses for Fall and Spring

There is a great site called Brides.com that not only has J.Crew's bridesmaid dress for Fall 2008, but also Spring 2009. There are so many beautiful styles that I can't wait to see them in person! :)


Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.

Click here to view more of J.Crew's dresses for the upcoming Fall and Spring season. What is great about the Brides.com site is that when you click on an image of the dress, there are additional views of the item. How fantastic!?!

What do you think of the latest styles? If you are a future bride, would you consider using one of the styles for your bridesmaids?

Holiday Season Will Be Tough on Retailers

There is another great article in the Chicago Tribune about what retailers should expect (or maybe what they should not expect) this holiday season.

Again, I just took excerpts of the article, but you can find the entire article here.

Even now, retailers see a blue Christmas
by Sandra M. Jones
July 24, 2008

"There's no cheerful way to say it: Get ready for a sober Christmas season.

Yes, it's only July, but retailers already are deep in planning mode for the holiday season, and what they are sensing adds up to potential trouble, with some experts saying this could be the toughest environment in almost 30 years...

J. Crew Group Inc., the high-end preppy retailer, is planning "very conservatively" for the holiday and attempting to simplify its assortments, Chairman and CEO Millard "Mickey" Drexler said in the company's May 29 earnings conference call. December has become "the biggest promotional month in the world," he said, a fact that retailers can't escape.

"I guarantee this year—I guess, it's a personal opinion—that the customers are going to continue to wait [for sale prices]," said Drexler. "I was in the shopping center the last two weeks; there are so many sale signs everywhere. People are smart, they know it, and they will wait."...

Economist Scott Hoyt expects more consumers to rediscover the need to save for the holidays."

I can't say that I am surprised that this holiday season is not predicted to be "wonderful" for retailers. Although J.Crew has acknowledged that they will be impacted by the current economic situation, I wonder if they will still recognize sale shoppers are important to retain. I just feel like some of their actions recently haven't been too "sale-shopper" friendly.

What do you think of the article? What do you think of CEO Mickey Drexler's response? Will his response reflect J.Crew's actions in the holiday season (e.g. more sales at J.Crew)?

Trend Setting: Ankle-baring pant cuffs for men

There is an interesting article in the Wall Street Journal about the latest fashion trend for men: ankle baring pant cuffs!

I just took excerpts of the article, but you can find the entire article here.

Ankle-baring pant cuffs raise the ante on men's fashion
by Ray A. Smith
July 24, 2008


"After noticing other young men doing it, 30-year-old Victor Holguin recently started baring his ankles. When he wears jeans, he rolls them up, and he gets his pants hemmed short

Changing hemlines have long been a hallmark of women's fashion. But this summer, it's men's hems that are rising. Brooks Brothers has raised pant hems about half an inch in its top-of-the-line Golden Fleece suits and is leaning toward a slightly shorter pant length across its more moderately priced collection.

J. Crew has been featuring models in rolled-up, ankle-baring chinos. Traditional haberdasher Paul Stuart is producing suit trousers that touch the top of the shoe, rather than breaking slightly over the shoe...

The last time so-called floods for men were in style in the U.S. was the 1950s (with upturned tight jeans) and 1960s (with preppy pants rolled up on the beach). The '60s also saw skinnier suits, with narrow-leg trousers that were shorter in length. Todd Snyder, J. Crew's head of men's design, says some of its looks were inspired by images of James Dean, Paul Newman and John F. Kennedy from the '50s and '60s."

What is funny about this new trend, is that my husband has lots of pants he wears that are too short on him. (Of course, he picked out those pants himself before trying them on. Since he never exchanged them for the right length, he ended up wearing them.) When I showed him this article, he just smiled and said "I knew that trend was going to happen!"

What do you think of the ankle-baring pant cuff look? If you are a guy, would you rock this style or go with the more traditional look?

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

J.Crew's Additional 20% Off Final Sale Gets Shortchanged

RatsOnParade made an excellent observation in the "J.Crew Website Update: Incentive to Check! :)" post. She observed that J.Crew changed the terms of the "20% off the final sale" with the code EXTRA20 on their website. This offer use to expire Monday, 7/28/08 (click here for image of original offer) but now it expires this Friday, 7/25/08 (as shown in the image above). I have to be honest, I am not sure why J.Crew would do this. :(

Why do you think J.Crew would reduced the number of days during this promotional offer? Do you think the original offer of until Monday was just a mistake by J.Crew which they fixed at some point today? Or do you think some issue provoked J.Crew to reduced the EXTRA20 offer until Friday?

Quick Note on Post Labels

After a couple of hours, I finally fixed all the labels of this blog's posts! :) Now, when you click a label from a post like "catalogs", "Love it or Leave it", "product review", "Great (Weekly) Exchange", etc. you will see all the relevant posts with those same labels (i.e. topics).

Hopefully this will make navigation to previous and similar posts a lot easier! :)

J.Crew Website Update: Incentive to Check! :)

Robert in the "JCrew Rewards Card & Gift Cards" post was kind enough to share the following with us:

"Just a note for you guys: I work at a J Crew and the new catalogs are in and will be on display tomorrow. Also, the new website will go up tomorrow morning, with all the new fall items. I don't know what time they update the website (seems like it must be around 4 AM or so), but check it tomorrow morning."

First, "thank you!" to Robert. Second, I must admit I am excited to check the website tomorrow morning. It will be like old times... waking up early, having my links ready, my mouse ready to click on some item pages. :)

What do you think about Robert's comments? Will you be checking J.Crew's website early tomorrow morning? Are you excited about the website update?

J.Crew Rewards Card & Gift Cards

"Thanks!" to Anonymous at 9:01 AM in the "J.Crew's Additional 20% Off on Final Sale" post who let us know the following:

"Just got off the phone with JCrew credit card services... reward cards are set to be mail around July 30, 31, Aug. 1 time frame. All should be received by Aug. 10."

Also, "thanks!" to Anonymous at 9:03AM in the same post who shared with us the following about gift cards:

"the nice 15 year CS vet told me all gift cards got canceled. It is a system wide problem that they are still working on...no end in site...but they are working on it...."

Hopefully, those who are expecting their reward and gift cards will see them soon! :)

J.Crew Email About Final Sale

J.Crew sent this email with the subject line of "Final sale. New styles added." Now you know I love the Crew, but I have to just say "c'mon now J.Crew!"

First, the sale didn't have that many new styles added. Second, there is no mention in the email about the "Additional 20% Off" sale. (Personally, I would lead with this point instead of the additional styles point.) Also, the sale section is getting really boring. I am just tired of seeing that Fiona Jacket in Pale Almond (click here for page) taunting me at its $29.99 price to only see it's still $null.

I still love visiting their brick and mortar stores, but their online site is just not working for me. Which is sad because I use to shop at their website daily (I know- it was an addiction for me!)

What do you think of this email? Did you think the sale section was full of "new styles" as the promotional email suggests?

J.Crew's Additional 20% Off on Final Sale

J.Crew is offering 20% off the final sale with the code EXTRA20. This offer expires 7/28/08. "Thanks!" to RatsOnParade, as well as Naomi, Mary, & Michelle in the "Sneak Peek: J.Crew Fall (Regular) Catalog" post, for letting us know about the additional percent off sale. :)

UPDATE: Angela & 3carmelitos (in the "J.Crew's Additional 20% Off Final Sale Gets Shortchanged" post) have found that the code works for regular sale items too!

I must say that I am disappointed that in order to enjoy the 20% off, we now have to enter the code. This code for additional percent off on the sale seems to be a regular feature. Now, you have to decide if you want to use a code like "free shipping" or "an additional percent off" from your order. I prefer the additional percent off being either "a given" (e.g. no need to use a code) like it use to be or allowing the site to handle multiple codes to be used per order (e.g. stackable codes). Not a fan of these new types of coupon codes. :(

What do you think about the "additional 20% off sale" this week (as oppose to last week's 30% off)? What do you think about the sale requiring the use of a code now?

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Sneak Peek: J.Crew Fall (Regular) Catalog

Seriously, this blog has the BEST members. Another enormous "thank you!" goes to Sky who shared with us some images of the regular catalog that is coming out this week as well. These items all look girlicious! I cannot wait to see them (let alone purchase them!)

UPDATE: Sky (who also rocks!) was even more generous by sharing seven additional images of the new catalog. I am thrilled with what I am seeing. :) After a couple of weeks, I am finally excited about J.Crew again. Again, Sky thank you so much!


Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.

What items you are most looking forward to purchasing and which ones you are not going to? :) Are you planning to get a hard copy of the catalog (if you don't have one already)? Are you more excited by the items in the Look Book or in the Sneak Peek of the regular Fall catalog?

Product Review: Flowy Jersey Bateau Dress

Flowy jersey bateau dress
Click here for product page
Item 95804
Regular: $88.00 (but on sale in stores for $59.99, before any additional discounts)

When I first saw this dress hanging in a store, I didn't think much of it. After two weeks went by, my local J.Crew was having an "additional 25% off sale" so I decided to try one on "for fun." I was already purchasing quite a few items, so I decided to leave this dress behind... But the moment I came home, I regretted the decision. I immediately called the store and asked them to hold the dress in navy for me. The next day I picked it up for $38 (thanks to the 25% off, plus 15% teacher discount) and washed it immediately so I could wear it later that evening with some capri sandals.

Why do I love this dress so much? It is such a light and airy dress (perfect for the hot summer weather) that is both casual (thanks to the jersey fabric) and elegant (thanks to the boat neck and three-quarter sleeves which "dresses up" this item) looking at the same time. I also love the empire waist- which emphasizes tiny waists while downplaying the hips (perfect for my pear-shaped body). :)

I loved this dress so much that I went back during the "additional 30% off sale" this weekend and got this dress in the dark slate color too (just for $35!) I would definitely recommend this dress.

Do you own the Flowy jersey bateau dress? What is your impression of the dress? Would you recommend someone to buy it? Have you noticed that the dress is still featured as a "New Arrival" (and at regular price) even though it has been "on sale" in-stores for some time?

J.Crew Fall Look Book is {finally} HERE!

An enormous "thank you!" goes to Megan G. who was kind enough to share with us the entire J. Crew Fall Look Book. I am so excited by many of the new items (and not so excited by some). I don't know where to begin! :)


Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.

What items you are most looking forward to purchasing and which ones you are not going to? :) Are you planning to get a hard copy of the Look Book? Can you even get a copy of the Look Book?

P.S. Megan G. rocks!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Off on a tangent: Free Shipping Offer at the Gap, Banana Republic, Old Navy, and Piperlime

I was on the "hunt" for a classic white v-neck cardigan at the Banana Republic website. In my search for a coupon code, I stumbled across one that is quite useful but limited time-wise (unfortunately).

Gap Inc. is offering free shipping with code SCHOOL on any order (and any size) as long as you shop at 2 or more of their online stores in the same order. This offer expires 7/22/08 (at 11:59 pm ET). Not enough time to take advantage of the offer, but at least it is something. :)

New Shoe Debut? Define "New" Then!

JCrew sent this email about its "new" shoes which featured the Penelope peep toes (Item 94650; $225). These high heels are anything but "new." As many of you have pointed out in other posts, these peep toes have been on J.Crew's main home page (and main shoe page) online for quite some time now. So it leads me to ask J.Crew, "what does "new" mean to you?" Apparently J.Crew's interpretation of "new" is not the same as the rest of us. Especially considering their last promo email about new arrivals, which also featured items (e.g. the long cardi and skinny pant) that had been available online (even on sale!) for some time.

Therefore, the following is my plea to J.Crew: Dear J. Crew, I really do love your merchandise. But I have to say, I am a little annoyed that you think some of your customers are not clever enough to figure out that the items you feature as "new arrivals" in fact are not. I hope you don't continue this practice, because some of us get very excited about the prospects of seeing actual "new" items. To disappoint us even more (refer to system upgrade fiasco) could be very detrimental to your business. Sincerely yours, J.Crew Aficionada.

What do you think about this promo email? Are you excited about these "new" shoes? :)

J.Crew's Fall Collection In Stores This Week!

J.Crew stores should be receiving some (if not all) of the Fall Collection this week. The J.Crew store in Westport, CT had cleared out their shelves on Friday of last week, to make room for the new items this week. I was also told by a store associate at the J.Crew in New Haven, CT that they are suppose to have the "new arrivals" on the floor by this Tuesday.

Therefore, it is safe to assume that all J.Crew stores this week, will be putting out their new "Fall Collection" for sale. :)

Have your local J.Crew stores been clearing out "space" for the new arrivals? Have you already seen some of the new Fall Collection at your stores? Do you think the website will display the new "Fall Collection" despite it still not functioning properly?

The Great (Weekly) Exchange

This post (of weekly posts) is for individual members who want to swap/sell/share among yourselves. The items discussed should be mainly J.Crew. This post is where you can mention your items and outside listing/ auction site (like eBay and eCrater). Please note: this posting is not for resellers. Also, individual members can request in this post, items that they are looking for and interested in buying.

Also, please note that any transactions are independent of this blog. (Especially since you will be using an outside listing/ auction site like eBay or eCrater.) I have no dealings or interactions with any of the potential communication, listings, or transactions. :) Moreover, please limit comments about items to swap/sell/share to just the "Great (Weekly) Exchange" posts. (Refer to "A Quick Note to J.Crew Aficionadas" post.)

Do you have any items you would like to swap/sell/share among yourselves through your outside listing/auction site? Is there an item (or items) that you are looking for and interested in purchasing?

Friday, July 18, 2008

Time to Shine: J.Crew's Mature Models

"Thanks!" to ccbmum who let us know in the "J.Crew's Additional 30% Off on Final Sale" post about this article from Bloomacious, discussing J.Crew's latest move to use more mature models in their catalog. The following is the article (which can also be found in its entirety here):

J Crew will update more than fabric and hemlines this fall.
July 17, 2008

This year as the leaves start to turn orange and red, and the clothing catalogs fill your mailbox, you may note a subtle change.

As you flip through the pages you will most likely see women modeling clothes that look good on them! At least that's the plan for the J Crew catalog that drops in September. In their Fall 08 book, J Crew will unveil a strong section featuring model Pia Gronning.

A trend towards classic catalog models is certainly in the air according to most industry experts. "The market for older models has exploded," Ginni Conquest of Wilhelmina Models told writer Monica Corcoran of the Chicago Tribune in a recent interview on the subject. "It's our fastest-growing area, and it's a first for the industry."

In an article published yesterday Corcoran writes: "The trend is driven by the $2 trillion spending power of Baby Boomers—born between 1946 and 1964—who make up 26 percent of the population. After all, what middle-age woman wants to buy moisturizer from a model who's too young to order a martini?"

Or as I like to say, who wants to buy Chanel from someone who would look more appropriate in Garanimals?

The article the Bloomacious one refers to is "Time to shine" by Monica Corcoran published on July 10, 2008 in the Sydney Morning Herald. The article can be found here.

I personally think it is great that J.Crew is using mature models. This definitely has not been the first time J.Crew has incorporated mature models in their catalog. As many of you have pointed out, they have several unknown (like the one in the Paris image above) and known (like Lauren Hutton) mature models throughout their past seasons.

What do you think of J.Crew's latest venture with mature models? Are you happy that the demographic seems to include all aspects (in terms of ages) in their catalog?

Off on a tangent: Boden's and Nordstrom

"Thanks!" to Michelle in the post "J.Crew's Additional 30% Off on Final Sale" post, who let us know that Boden (click here for site) is offering 10% off and free shipping (& free returns) with promo code YB266998. This offer expires 7/20/08.

Also, "thanks!" to La Belle Helene and others in the same post who let us know that Nordstrom (click here for site) is having their Anniversary Sale. Their offer (e.g. prices go up) expires 8/4/08.

J.Crew's Additional 30% Off on Final Sale

J.Crew is offering 30% off the final sale with the code EXTRA30. This offer expires 7/20/08. ("Thanks!" to Silver Lining for also pointing this out in the "Will you visit J.Crew this Weekend?" post.) As many of you have mentioned, the sale section seems to have been re-stocked a bit- so that is good news. It would be even better if they removed the $null items (like the Fiona Jacket).

Moreover... As many of you have pointed out, J.Crew stores also have the "additional 30% off" sale items.

I must say that I am disappointed that in order to enjoy the 30% off, you have to enter the code. Now, you have to decide if you want to use a code like "free shipping" or "an additional percent off" from your order. Remember when the additional percent off was "a given" (e.g. no need to use a code)? I mean, I don't mind entering the EXTRA30 code, if the site allowed for multiple codes to be used per order (e.g. stackable codes).