The following is an article from the Huffington Post (click here to read in its entirety) about their take on J.Crew's current situation & future plans:
J.Crew and Me: A Hopeful Plan to Invigorate the EconomyI actually agree with the author in that I want J.Crew to succeed too. I hope it stays around for a long time as it is still my favorite retailer! :)
By Pamela Tom
August 30, 2010
Three years ago, I discovered J.Crew. You know, the somewhat preppy clothing store that eludes a sense of fashionable elegance all the same? I was looking for a place that offered my style: classic with a fresh flare. I had outgrown the predictable offerings of Banana Republic and the once-fresh, but now too conservative picks at Ann Taylor. J. Crew was perfect: all American fare with a little spice.
First of all, let's clear up the mystery. According to Yahoo! Answers, the "J" in J. Crew means something: "According to a J.Crew sales rep," The man who started the company liked to row, so he chose 'crew' and a letter that looked good in front of it."
It didn't matter what letter the company chose ... "crew" translates to active, healthy - success. And their clothes do a good job of living up to the name.
My first purchase was a pair of jeans. I needed a good fit but more importantly, I was looking for fabric. Not just any ol' denim would do ... it had to be the right shade of blue, faded but not distressed, cool enough to wear on days off but nice enough to feel "dressed." And please - soft and wearable. My old standby, Levi's 501's, looked like I was stuck in the past.
My "hip slung" jeans were the answer. (I'm wearing them right now!) As J.Crew would have me, I was hooked. Soon I was buying shirts, skirts, sweaters, and dresses. Thanks to J.Crew, I embraced cashmere. Lambs wool blends became a thing of the past. I own crew necks, V-necks, and cardigans in every color imaginable - from basic black and navy to emerald green and orange. I even delved into accessories: belts, jewelry and (sigh) ... shoes!
For years now, shoppers could attempt to satisfy their fix (and pocketbooks) by checking out the J. Crew outlet store, always found in a "Premium Mall Outlet." There one can find classic J.Crew styles and the upcoming season's trends at a sizable discount. The company's rewards program encouraged our appetites.
In today's Wall Street Journal, however, it was announced that J.Crew outlet apparel will be available online in September. A first, and telling sign of the times. Americans are keeping a tight grip on their wallets these days and the economy will not rebound without increased consumer spending.
I'm one of those consumers. In my attempt to spend more wisely these days and do what I think is best, I am also one of the millions of Americans who is stalling an economic recovery. Economists are proposing numerous ways to kick start spending but debilitating unemployment puts the brakes on any frills. Most of us don't "need" new clothes. We simply want them. We like treating ourselves to something we deem as "special." Funny how a label signifies, "I made it." Of course, it didn't hurt sales when we saw that Michelle Obama often wears clothing from J.Crew.
J.Crew is chic yet accessible. You can buy it off the rack. While some high end designers and clothing manufacturers have reduced their prices to weather the storm, others fear such a move will compromise their image. J. Crew's foray into cheaper online bargains is clearly a necessary move. CEO Mickey Drexler (former GAP superman) is no dummy. It's no longer just about branding, it's about revenue.
I hope J.Crew succeeds, not because I'm a faithful fan, but because the US needs a multitude of stimulus ideas and implementation. So it's just one company trying to stay out of the red. Even though I made a pledge not to buy any more clothes (my closet, even with slim hangers, is at its max), I'll be one of the first to check out the new online outlet.
I applaud any effort to jump start our economy, to get housing prices back to normal, to reduce foreclosures, and to get Americans back to work. Only when all of those things occur will I be able to strut my stuff with true confidence.
What are your thoughts on the article? Did you agree or disagree with any of the points made? Please share your take! :)