Wednesday, August 31, 2011

"Looking to VENT" with J.Crew

This is the weekly "Looking to VENT with J.Crew" post, a place to share our not-so-stellar experiences with J.Crew.

If you have recently experienced a frustrating situation with J.Crew, maybe you might be willing to share that information with us in this post.

Please feel free to share your story on almost any topic— including poor experiences with purchases & orders, promotions/ offers, in-store visits, transactions with store associates, etc.

Weekly Share: Other JCrew-like Retailers

This is the weekly "Other JCrew-like Retailers" post (similar to the "Off On A Tangent" posts), where we can share our finds from other retailers that have offerings similar to J.Crew (like LE Canvas, Gap, BR, Talbots, Ann Taylor, and the like.)

If you have recently encountered items that are similar to J.Crew, maybe you might be willing to share that information with us in this post.

Please feel free to share your story on almost any topic— including experiences with certain merchandise pieces, promotions/ offers, in-store visits, transactions with store associates, etc.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Quick Update!

Hi everyone! Fortunately Hurricane/Storm Irene didn't cause too much damage where I live. Unfortunately, the big trees that fell down the opening of our dead end street not only took down the power lines, but are blocking traffic (no one is getting in or out). I haven't had any power since the storm stopped by on Sunday. (I am writing this quickly, with limited Internet access.) Since our street is low priority, who knows when power will be restored. That means I won't be able to check email or update the blog this week. Apologies in advance!

P.S. I should be up to speed by next week!

P.S.S. I hope everyone impacted by Irene is safe and okay. :)

J.Crew Reviews {straight from the JCAs!}

This is the weekly "J.Crew Reviews {straight from the JCAs}" post, to help each other share our reviews.

So if you have recently purchased, or stopped by a J.Crew store to try on an item (or two) from J.Crew, maybe you might be willing to share that information with us in this post.

Also, this request is not just limited to clothes. Please feel free to discuss bags, shoes, jewelry, accessories, etc.

In particular, if you could mention a few of the noteworthy details like fit, size, fabric, and the like— that would be fantastic! Thanks in advance! :)

Monday, August 29, 2011

The Great (Weekly) Exchange {looking to sell}

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 & the corresponding user ID).


Please note: this posting is not for resellers. If you are a reseller, your comment gets automatically deleted & you will get publicly called out on it. :( So instead of this, simply do not post in the Weekly Exchanges. Thanks in advance for your cooperation! :)


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?

Sidenote: What's up with JCAs writing "sub" or "subscribing" as their comment? It just means they are subscribing to all the comments (which are then automatically sent to their email) in that particular thread. This way they can stay aware of all the comments posted. :)

The Great (Weekly) Exchange {looking to find}

This post (of weekly posts) is for individual members who are looking for and interested in buying certain items. Please feel free to share a J.Crew store location and/or your outside listing/ auction site if it matches the requests made in this post.


Please note: this posting is not for resellers. If you are a reseller, your comment gets automatically deleted & you will get publicly called out on it. :( So instead of this, simply do not post in the Weekly Exchanges. Thanks in advance for your cooperation! :)


Also 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/finding to the "Great (Weekly) Exchange" posts. (Refer to "A Quick Note to J.Crew Aficionadas" post.)

Is there an item (or items) that you are looking for and interested in purchasing?

Sought & Found: Did you visit J.Crew this {past} Weekend?

This is the weekly "sale watch" post, to help each other find sale items at our various local J.Crew stores. ;)

If you are stopped by a J.Crew store this past weekend to see what's available (if anything!) in the SUMMER sale, or to see some new FALL arrivals {sigh!} in person, maybe you might be willing to share that with us in this post. In particular, if you could share with us a few of the noteworthy items that are available, at what prices, and potential sizes the store is carrying (as well as the store location)- that would be fantastic!

Also, please let us know if your local store was/ is carrying an additional percent off sale. Thanks in advance!!! :)

Friday, August 26, 2011

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

This is the weekly "sale watch" post, 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 see what's available (if anything!) in the SUMMER sale, or to see some new FALL arrivals {sigh!} in person, maybe you might be willing to share that with us in this post. In particular, if you could share with us a few of the noteworthy items that are available, at what prices, and potential sizes the store is carrying (as well as the store location)- that would be fantastic!

Also, please let us know if your local store is carrying an additional percent off sale. 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 appreciate how helpful we are for each other!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

J.Crew Makes Changes to International Commerce Sites

"Thanks!" to many of you, including T.J., Laura & DaniBP (in this post), who shared the following update to J.Crew's online sites for international customers.

J.Crew's Canadian site had a few changes this morning: (1) prices are shown in U.S. Dollars; (2) shipping at a flat rate of USD 9.95; (3) an image titled "Canada News Updated Shopping Experience", with a link, on the upper right hand corner announcing:
What will the duties and taxes on my order be?
No additional duties will be applied at checkout or upon delivery. For purchases made in Canada, we collect GST and PST where applicable.
I am happy to see that J.Crew changed their double charge policy. I am also impressed by how quickly they handled it. (Honestly, I am. Do you remember how long it took them to fix upgrade their website back in 2008? The reaction time for this seems very quick in comparison.)

Madewell Gets Own Catalog

"Thanks!" to IRL (in this post), who let us know that Madewell is introducing their own catalog. To request a catalog, click HERE. It's a great move for them, and I hope they offer an online version as well.

Madewell is also offering for free shipping (no min! any order!) with YESPLEASE. This offer ends Wednesday, August 31, 2011.

Will you be adding your name to the Madewell catalog list? Are you excited they will have their own dedicated catalog?

J.Crew Shopping Benefit for HAA {Honolulu, HI}

A super big "thanks!" to Anonymous in Hawaii who let us know about another wonderful offer from J.Crew.

J.Crew is teaming up with the Honolulu Academy of Arts (click here) to offer 15% off all purchases (no minimum & regular + sale priced items). Even sweeter... a portion of the proceeds goes to the Honolulu Academy of Arts. Shopping for a good cause- loves it!

This event is for one day only (today!), August 25th., between 6-9PM. Please RSVIP beforehand by calling (808) 532-8722.

Just click on the image above or here (which will take you to a larger version of the image) in case you need to print it out.

The location for the store is:
J.Crew at Ala Moana
1450 Ala Moana Blvd.
Honolulu, HI

Happy Shopping!!! :)

JCA "Help Style Me!" Weekly Post

This is the weekly "Help Style Me!" post, where we can share items we are having trouble putting outfits together with. Elaine (in this post) says it best, "You know, that thing you bought because you love it and you keep pulling it out and then putting it away without wearing it?"

Please share your J.Crew item (either that you own or are thinking about getting) that you would love help creating an outfit with.

Also, please help out by offering your styling advice. Feel free to include links to your blog (where you incorporated that piece) or to Polyvore (where you showcased an outfit with that piece). Thanks in advance! :)

"Looking to LOVE" with J.Crew

This is the weekly "Looking to LOVE with J.Crew" post, a place to share our favorite experiences with J.Crew.

If you have recently experienced a positive situation with J.Crew, maybe you might be willing to share that information with us in this post.

Please feel free to share your story on almost any topic— including stellar experiences with purchases & orders, promotions/ offers, in-store visits, transactions with store associates, etc.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

J.Crew Expected to Change International Pricing {yey!}

"Thanks!" to West Coast Crew'ner (in this post) who let us know about the following article from Money (click here to read it in its entirety):
J. Crew scraps duties after CDN price war spreads to Europe
By Stefania Moretti
August 24, 2011

J.Crew is expected to remove duties on all items purchased through its new Canadian online store after a bitter price war erupted in Canada, eventually reaching as far as Europe.

... J.Crew president Jenna Lyons first responded to irate shoppers earlier this week with a letter explaining, “the change in cost for merchandise purchased in our stores and online was necessary to keep pricing consistent with our new - and expanding - retail operations in Canada."

The letter did little to calm infuriated shoppers, including Fraser, forcing J.Crew to scrap duties from its Canadian website altogether, according to reports.

The higher base prices on goods sold in Canada however are expected to remain. J.Crew did not return QMI Agency’s repeated requests for comment.

Stories like Fraser's made waves as far Europe. ...
"Thanks!" also to GetFresh (in this post) who let us know about the following article from the Globe and Mail (click here to read it in its entirety):
J.Crew backtracks on higher Canadian prices
By Marina Strauss
August 24, 2011

...J.Crew Group Inc. has backed down in the face of a backlash from customers angry about higher prices at its newly opened Canadian store and website.

Starting on Thursday, it is reversing its decision to charge its e-commerce customers in Canada for duties, which raised the final price to as much as 50 per cent above those at its U.S. stores and on its U.S. website.

Still, J.Crew will continue to charge an average of about 15 per cent more in Canada than at its U.S. outlets and website. But to ease the e-pricing pain, it offers a flat $9.95 shipping fee.

New York-based J.Crew’s about-face came after The Globe and Mail reported on Monday the reaction to the higher prices in Canada following the retailer’s much-anticipated opening of its first store in this country – in Toronto’s Yorkdale Mall – four days earlier. At the same time, it had launched a separate Canadian website with higher base prices as well as an added duty folded into the taxes.

The price increases sparked a quick and angry response from J.Crew’s long-time customers, who were familiar with its prices from shopping through its U.S. website or stores.

“We have to deal with what we didn’t do right,” Mickey Drexler, chief executive officer of J.Crew, said in an interview late Tuesday. “We’re fixing that now … If we didn’t do anything about it – guaranteed, we would see a deterioration” in business.

As it was, J.Crew’s sales in the first six days of operations in Canada weren’t noticeably pinched by the controversy, he said. In fact, all the publicity about the pricing probably drew more people than otherwise to the store, he said.

A lot of our loyal customers got hugely upset about it,” Mr. Drexler said. “I would have, too. … If it happened to me personally, I’d feel the same way … The lesson I learned: We were doing a lot to get the store opened. I imagine we should have done it better. We didn’t follow, perhaps, the details as well as we should have.”

Nevertheless, J. rew’s decision to drop duty fees wasn’t enough to appease all its infuriated customers. Suzanne Dugard, who returned $600 of clothes at the Toronto store this week after buying them on Thursday, was still disappointed about the higher base prices.

“We still end up paying more than before,” said Ms. Dugard, 42, who spent thousands of dollars at J. Crew last year alone but has decided to no longer shop there because of the pricing. “Not all Canadian shoppers are going to swallow that.”

Mr. Drexler countered that the 15-per-cent higher prices cover the increased cost of doing business in Canada, adding that other U.S. retailers charge a premium. “We are looking at what others do … The fact is, prices are higher in Canada than they are in America.”

J.Crew officials said while duties vary, the online rate change will scale back prices by between 10 and 20 per cent – bringing them to virtually the same amount as in the U.S. Although base prices are about 15 per cent higher, J.Crew is absorbing the duties and has introduced a lower, $9.95 shipping rate, they said.

On Thursday, J.Crew is sending a message to its customers explaining the changes, refunding any duty paid on purchases since Aug. 18 and offering a $25 e-gift card.

“We have received many messages like yours in the past few days and appreciate that you took the time to reach out,” the CEO says in the letter, signed “Mickey.”

“We have taken these concerns very seriously. When we opened our first Canadian store in Toronto last week, we aligned our store, online and catalogue prices to be consistent. In the days following the launch of our updated website, we quickly realized that we could have done things better for our online shoppers. And now we are making it right,” the letter says.

...The Canada-U.S. price gap reflects different dynamics in each of the markets. The U.S. retail landscape is hugely competitive, resulting in prices that are frequently lower than in the rest of the world, according to Douglas Porter, deputy chief economist at Bank of Montreal, which conducted last spring’s price survey. ...

...Canada provides fewer economies of scale, resulting in higher costs to distribute products, she has said.
I am so happy to hear that J.Crew is quickly changing their shipping policy! I am also impressed by how they are giving customers a $25 gift card, and refunding the difference to past purchases. Classy J.Crew, nice move. Mickey Drexler also gave a lot of great quotes recognizing their mistake and willing to make it right. Yey!

What are your thoughts on the article? Any points you found interesting? Do you think the change will occur, and if so, how quickly?

J.Crew in the News: International Price Wars

"Thanks!" to laura (in this post) who let us know about the following article from the Toronto Sun (click here to read it in its entirety):
J.Crew's Canadian price war spreads to Europe
By Stefania Moretti
August 24, 2011

The cross-border price war that's erupted over sticker shock at J.Crew's new Canadian outlets has reached as far as Europe, QMI Agency has learned.

U.S.-based J. Crew ...opened the doors to its first Canadian location in Toronto last week with throngs of shoppers and media in tow. The retail honeymoon didn't last long, however, as complaints poured in over the company's Canadian pricing strategy, and now that of its U.K. stores.

Like many J.Crew loyals, Laura Fraser, 26, of Toronto, was excited to visit the new Yorkdale Mall location. When the store sold out of two items she liked - a set of pumps and a blazer - she went online to make her purchases instead.

After the initial sticker shock subsided, she did a little comparison shopping. Buying the goods from the U.S. website and shipping them to her granny's home stateside would have cost her $419.

The same items bought off J.Crew's new Canadian online store and shipped to her downtown Toronto address would have cost $623. That's a difference of 48%. But what really got fashionistas like Fraser rioting on Twitter and in other forums is that until a week ago, many Canadians shopped on J. Crew's U.S. website, where they were used to paying up to 25% more to cover duties, taxes and shipping.

As of last week, however, Canadians must now order from the new Canadian website, which charges duty, tax and shipping on top of already higher base prices. Before duties, taxes and shipping fees, Fraser's bag of goodies cost 16% more on the Canadian website (US$230 for each the jacket and the shoes, as opposed to US$198).

"It makes me feel like they think Canadians are lesser than Americans, because they are charging us a significant amount more," Fraser said. "I think as Canadians we are used to being charged more for things, but this is a significant increase in price."

Fraser, along with other disgruntled Canadian shoppers, received a letter from J.Crew president Jenna Lyons. "The change in cost for merchandise purchased in our stores and online was necessary to keep pricing consistent with our new - and expanding - retail operations in Canada," Lyons wrote, adding that duties, taxes and shipping are separate.

The letter infuriated Fraser even more because, she said, it backs up her theory that the price increases have nothing to do with exchange rates, duties, taxes and shipping. "I think they've priced me out is what they've really done."

Stories like Fraser's made waves as far Europe. Cristiana Senni has been following the price saga from Italy and is concerned since J.Crew is expected to launch more European websites this fall. The new U.K. online store opened the same day as Canada's with even more inflated prices, Senni said.

J. Crew's No. 2 pencil skirt in double serge wool comes with a price tag of 110,17 pounds, or US$181.80, before duties, taxes and shipping. On the American website the same skirt sells for US$120.

"This increase has no justification whatsoever. There are no J.Crew stores in Europe and none of the U.S. retailers shipping to Europe have ever increased their prices to this level," Senni wrote in an e-mail to QMI Agency. "I can't say how the sales will go in Canada, but if they keep the current prices for Europe I am quite sure that they will sell very little, as we can find much better quality clothing for less and J.Crew is almost totally unknown in Europe," she said.

QMI Agency is awaiting comment from J.Crew on its European pricing.

RETAIL RIPPLE EFFECT
The backlash has raised questions about how other U.S. retailers headed north will tackle their Canadian pricing strategies.

"Price is key no matter where we are," Target spokeswoman Amy Reilly said. "We're still working out the overall pricing strategy for the Canada market, but we are definitely aware that it is a critical part of our guests' shopping decision and we intend to have very competitively priced products in Canada," she said.
First, it is clear that the media is taking notice of J.Crew's international pricing strategy. Second, this article does a good job explaining the double charge for online shopping. Third, I am happy attention is being given to the U.K. shoppers and their high prices. J.Crew's U.K. site even removed the sale section! :(

Lastly, a big "thanks!" to laura who did a great job in her interview! :) She clearly articulated the issue with J.Crew's new pricing policy.

What are your thoughts on the article? Any points you found interesting?

Another Q&A With J.Crew's Jenna

The following article is from the National Post (click here to read in its entirety):
Q&A: Jenna Lyons, creative director of J.Crew
By Nathalie Atkinson
August 20, 2011

When the venerable American retailer J.Crew was born as a catalogue business in 1983, it was an ultra-preppy brand. Who could have imagined their signature look would evolve to include both madras stripe and saucy leopard print? Jenna Lyons started as an assistant designer in 1990, and as she ascended to become the company’s president and executive creative director, J.Crew’s glamour quotient grew accordingly. The opening of the retailer’s first Canadian store in Toronto on Thursday (with more stores to come in key cities across Canada) coincides with the launch of a new Canadian catalogue and website. Lyons and her much-admired personal style were in attendance, bringing with her the clinking of bracelets and an arresting Astroturf-green sequined pencil skirt paired with gauzy Breton-stripe sweater. Nathalie Atkinson sat down with Lyons to talk value, colour and feathers.

Q Styling plays an important role in the brand, both in merchandising the store and in the catalogue.
A And there’s a lot of personalization here [in Canada], which I love. That works really well for us because so much of what we do is about that, making things your own. We try to show a similar item in many different ways. One of the nice things about having a catalogue is that every month we’re able to show maybe the same sweater but completely differently. One month it might be with little shorts and ballet flats and really casual, the next a pencil skirt, more jewellery and more tailored, and the next might be with a slouchy men’s trouser. We also might be giving you a way to wear it that you hadn’t thought of, that moment of ‘I already own that sweater, maybe I’ll buy those pants.’ Or, oh gosh, you’d forgotten about a piece and pull it out and wear it a different way. That’s so important — that people feel that they’re getting value and quality out of something and not just style. I think everyone works really hard — we know what it means to part with your cash and want you to feel good about what you’ve bought. And also that there’s a quality of timelessness so that you’re not shelving it three months later and feeling just, ugh.

Q Since 2008, there’s been a monthly feature called Jenna’s Picks, singling out non-J.Crew products that you love. This seems to be a time, not just at J.Crew, but places like Net-a-Porter, when retailers are edging more and more into creating editorial for their customers.
A I think there is a need to make things feel a little more intimate and exciting and people are looking for a level of integrity, and a different level of interest, in something. For instance, we’ve been selling branded products that we buy like Sperry, Alden Shoes and Lulu Frost jewellery. One of the things of having that curated element and things feeling a bit more, to your point, editorialized is that it’s not all about us. It’s about our point of view on all kinds of things. I think people want that — most people don’t have the time to really shop and find things on their own, so being able to have something curated for someone well, nine times out of 10 you’re interested in the same things your friends are interested in. That’s how it works, right? So if you like the group of people who are making the clothes, chances are very good that you’re going to like some of the other things we’re looking at, whether it’s the best lipstick we think is out there or the right nail polish, the book, the sunscreen, the perfume or the record.

Q The approach to women’s collaborations seems a bit different from the mens heritage brands like Red Wing or Thomas Mason.
A There’s also for us, I think, a generosity of spirit to talk about somebody who’s maybe a young and unknown designer and give them some exposure that maybe they didn’t have. That is important to us, the idea of being generous, supporting those who don’t have the same voice, audience and exposure that we do. We mail three million catalogues a month so there’s a lot of people who get to see your name if you’re on a page! And that’s a nice thing to be able to do.

Q On the runways and in designer fashion, colour is the new neutral. J.Crew went heavy on colour this fall, too. How do you know when the core customer is ready for that trend, to make fuchsia pants the new basic?
A When we think about it too much, I think we stumble. We do what we think is right and there is a pulse that we feel inside the office. Do I think that [customers] were as ready for the fuchsia pant and the blue or red pant as we thought? They were actually so ready for it that we don’t have any more stock in it, which is kind of a bummer! I think we can under-estimate in some cases what the customer is ready for.
Jenna is so pretty in that photo! Onto the article... (1) It's great that J.Crew puts effort into producing catalogs. It is also great that they recognize how important it is as a styling tool. Then who came up with the stupid decision to remove it from their online website? (2) The quotes about customers wanting quality and timeless pieces really resonated with me. It is why I am drawn to J.Crew. But I have to be honest, the last few years, J.Crew has stepped away from this concept. So I am happy to hear there will be a return to it.

What are your thoughts on the article? Any points you found particularly interesting?

Want to Look Like a Model in J.Crew's September Catalog?

"Thanks!" to lapetitelavande (in this post) who let us know about the following post over at Refinery 29 (click here to check it out in its entirety):
J.Crew's September Catalog + Beauty Tips!
By Katie Hintz-Zambrano
August 23, 2011


One of the reasons the J.Crew catalog sucks us in so fast? The ridiculously fresh-faced girls that grace every single page. The dewy complexion, slightly undone hairdo, and bright burst of lip-color—we trust you know exactly who we’re talking about. To find out how to achieve this fresh, understatedly fancy look on your own, we tapped Marissa Webb, J.Crew’s VP of Women’s Design, and asked her to share some of the brand’s beauty secrets. And, while she was at it, she threw in an exclusive preview of the September catalog, which should be hitting your mailbox any day now. Check it out, and prepare to get mega-inspired. We know we are.


  1. We’re obsessed with the girls in the J.Crew catalogs. What are your rules when it comes to creating the signature J.Crew beauty look?

    Marissa Webb: “I think it’s been pretty consistent for a number of years now. It’s usually a clean face and dewy complexion and an emphasis either on the lips or the eye, but never on both. And on the lip there’s often a really vibrant color.”
  2. If someone wanted to recreate the makeup look at home, what tips would you give them?

    “For the everyday J.Crew girl, there are just three simple three steps. For your face, keep the makeup not too heavy and don’t wear too much overall. For myself, I don’t cake on a lot of foundation. And with bronzer I keep it light with maybe just a little light cheek powder. Then, to keep it fresh looking, if you put a boldly colored lip on, just add mascara. That’s it. Don’t do the bold eye at the same time. Or just emphasis your eye.”
  3. Tell us about the Fall 2011 collection and how the beauty look fit into it.
    
“The J.Crew fall look is very classic. It was based on two movies, Bonnie and Clyde and The Great Gatsby. So, there’s a lot of whimsy, but also lots of structured garments and the color is very intense and bright. We really wanted to focus on tailoring and clean brights, so it’s more primary than we’ve done in the past. To pair the makeup with that, we played down the face a little bit and allowed the lip to pop in certain areas of the catalog. For J.Crew it’s usually about the lip. And in this case it’s nice to have a softer lip to play off of the bolder colors of the apparel. In the catalog there’s a mixture of some looks with a softer frosty lip, because you don’t always want primary colors head to toe. But if you turn to the next page, she has a vibrant lip again. And that bright coral is still there and we all still love it! So, there are two shades that you’ll notice.”
  4. In the past, you guys have spilled that NARS Red Square is one of your favorite shades. Are there other specific brands or colors you use on your models?
    “It’s tricky because we have never selected just one beauty brand for a whole shoot because we’ve worked with so many makeup artists and each one of them have different brands that they like to work with. So, I wouldn’t say that it’s all NARS or it’s all this or that. We have our signature coral red lipstick and I don’t think that’s going away anytime soon. And then this season, again, we mixed it up a bit where you might see a more frosty lip, which I think goes really well with those primary colors.”
  5. How would someone achieve the perfect coral hue?
    
“I wear the coral lipstick myself all the time and you can achieve that lip in so many different ways. It’s all about trying out different coral shades and it’s usually just not a shot of one color, but a mixture of a lipstick and then a pencil on top or a powder on top. Right now we’re offering our own Poppy King lipstick, which just came out last month. It wasn’t used in the catalog, but it was based on our coral lipstick. We received so many requests for that lipstick, so Poppy King and I worked on developing it. It took us a long time, but we tried the shade on people all around the office and it’s exciting because the coral really does work on many, many people. It’s sort of a way to achieve that lip without having to figure it out yourself.”
  6. What are your rules when it comes to creating the easy-breezy hairdos in the catalog?

    “For the most part, we are pretty consistent with the hair, too. It’s natural. It’s always a little bit messy. It’s never too perfect, too uptight, or too coiffed. It’s usually either a center part, a little bit of a side part, or a soft pulled back look. If you’re too tailored from your head to your toe, there’s a bit of added interest and texture if you have a more natural look to your hair. Just remember to pull it back lightly and gently.”

It is great to hear from Marissa Webb again! It's nice to hear her advice on how to look like a J.Crew model.

What are your thoughts on the article? Do you agree with the advice shared? Any points you found interesting?

"Looking to VENT" with J.Crew

This is the weekly "Looking to VENT with J.Crew" post, a place to share our not-so-stellar experiences with J.Crew.

If you have recently experienced a frustrating situation with J.Crew, maybe you might be willing to share that information with us in this post.

Please feel free to share your story on almost any topic— including poor experiences with purchases & orders, promotions/ offers, in-store visits, transactions with store associates, etc.

Weekly Share: Other JCrew-like Retailers

This is the weekly "Other JCrew-like Retailers" post (similar to the "Off On A Tangent" posts), where we can share our finds from other retailers that have offerings similar to J.Crew (like LE Canvas, Gap, BR, Talbots, Ann Taylor, and the like.)

If you have recently encountered items that are similar to J.Crew, maybe you might be willing to share that information with us in this post.

Please feel free to share your story on almost any topic— including experiences with certain merchandise pieces, promotions/ offers, in-store visits, transactions with store associates, etc.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Video Over J.Crew's Prices in Canada


"Thanks!" to Moose (in this post) who let us know that the video from Global Toronto over this topic is up for viewing (click here to watch from original site).
News Hour - Retail markups?
By Sean O'Shea
August 22, 2011

J.Crew is a high-profile fashion chain that has had a big Canadian following for years -- but the cross-border price hike has many saying "no thanks".
Also, another "thanks!" to Sudu, who is speaking up on the issue of being double charged for online purchases. She handled herself with such grace while being interviewed. She also mentioned (in this post) the following news:
I just had a very encouraging experience. I went to Yorkdale after work this evening to return my purchases. In the midst of the transaction the store manager came over because he recognized me from the Globe article and we had a very good, quite lengthy conversation. I explained that the issue was not the in-store pricing so much as the online pricing. The problem isn’t that we’re paying more than U.S. customers, it’s that we’re paying more than ourselves one week ago, before there was a store here.

I was very impressed by him and what he said, which included that they really are taking this seriously and are working on some kind of solution. Although he couldn’t be specific about what it might be,
he was such a good ambassador for the company that I came away feeling very positive. He absolutely understood that people are passionate about JCrew and I was very clear that I wanted to shop there and would be happy to do so again – just as soon as this issue is resolved. Until then, though, I couldn’t keep my purchases when I know there are people who don’t have the option of shopping in person who are really being hit by this increase.

One thing he said in passing that I think is important for everyone to know is that they have been looking into this issue since Friday
. As in, well before the Globe & Mail article appeared. Which means that everyone who is calling and emailing is being heard and having an impact. And I’m obviously not the first person to have made a return on the same grounds, which has also been noticed.

The Global TV News story has aired and I think it was mostly good, although the portion at the end where the reporter relayed the JCrew response just repeated their line without really dissecting it. On the whole, though, I think the message came across. I was pleased that they included some of the positive things I said.

Hopefully there will be a resolution sooner rather than later. In the meantime, don’t stop making your opinions known!
First, I love that the store manager was so nice and willing to hear a fellow JCA's concerns. Second, I am also encouraged to hear that J.Crew is listening to their customers and working on a better solution. That is one of the reasons I love them so!

What are your thoughts on the video? Do you agree or disagree with any points made by Jenna Lyons? Do you think J.Crew will re-address the double charging of online orders in Canada?

P.S. How amazing does that new Toronto store look during the first half of that video!?! The wall of colorful sweaters behind Jenna Lyons looks so pretty! I also kept pausing the video to check out the mannequins outfits. ;)

J.Crew Email: Change is good: $8.95 flat-rate shipping (plus, free shipping on $175+)

"Thanks!" to Irina who shared the following email J.Crew sent today.

The email announces J.Crew's new shipping fee structure: free shipping on orders of $175 without a code and flat-rate shipping of $8.95 for all orders underneath $175!

The verdict is out whether or not JCAs are excited about this change. From the comments in various posts, some JCAs are concerned that (1) the new shipping rates will reduce the number of promotions offering free shipping with lower minimums; (2) the minimum for free shipping is still too steep; and (3) the flat shipping rate of $9 is high for low purchase amounts.

Personally, I was all excited for J.Crew to introduce a flat-shipping rate. But I was hoping to see free shipping with a lower minimum (maybe over $125?)

On a bright note, at least J.Crew's flat shipping rate is similar to ordering $60 worth of merchandise from their old shipping chart (which is a fair amount to order). They could have easily chosen a higher flat shipping rate. I am grateful they did not. :)

Also, J.Crew's standard shipping-delivery time is one of the best for online retailers. The turnaround from time of order to delivery at doorstep for me is very quick. (I cannot say the same thing for Gap, Inc., or Lands End Canvas, whose standard shipping times are much slower for me.)

Behind the September J.Crew Catalog

There is a new post over at J.Crew's 770 blog, called "Setting the Scene" by Ashley Sargent Price, art director in chief. She shares a few quotes about the photos of Saint Petersburg that made it into the catalog.
Because so many things factor into getting the picture right— timing the light, choosing angles, editing backgrounds—our scouting days are crucial. In Russia, our planning ended up translating literally. Our scouting snapshots matched the final catalog edit almost exactly. –Ashley
We wanted the iconic Hermitage Museum to frame the model, not compete with her. Shooting at a low angle makes her long and elegant.
Canal + cobblestone + traditional onion dome architecture = quintessential Saint Petersburg.
Turn the camera a few degrees and you can’t avoid the growing crowd. Shooting into the building (with a tight crop) gave us control over the background and highlights one of our location musts, the Mariinsky Theatre (one-time home to Mikhail Baryshnikov).
Many of the dance studios we scouted were basic and dark. When we found these windows, I knew we had to take advantage of the milky (and ever forgiving) backlight.
Shooting from the bottom of the hill hides the groups of tourists visiting the Spas na Kravi Church without obstructing the picture-worthy architecture
A happy accident—we stumbled upon this location while scouting a bridge nearby.
Timing is everything! This picture taken an hour later in the day wouldn’t have worked—once the sun gets too high, the light instantly turns hard and unflattering.
This really is one of J.Crew's better blog posts. This is exactly what I want to see more of— these behind the scenes look at how J.Crew puts together their catalogs. LOVES IT!

What are your thoughts on the J.Crew blog post? Do you like learning more about their location catalogs?

J.Crew Reviews {straight from the JCAs!}

This is the weekly "J.Crew Reviews {straight from the JCAs}" post, to help each other share our reviews.

So if you have recently purchased, or stopped by a J.Crew store to try on an item (or two) from J.Crew, maybe you might be willing to share that information with us in this post.

Also, this request is not just limited to clothes. Please feel free to discuss bags, shoes, jewelry, accessories, etc.

In particular, if you could mention a few of the noteworthy details like fit, size, fabric, and the like— that would be fantastic! Thanks in advance! :)

J.Crew In the News Over Canadian Prices

First, it was the Globe and Mail who covered J.Crew's higher prices in Canada (refer to the "Dear J.Crew, Stop Double Charging International Customers" post). Now there is more coverage. "Thanks!" to Sudu (in this post) who shared the following article from the Star (click here to read in its entirety):
Higher Canadian prices irk J. Crew customers
By Dana Flavelle
August 22, 2011

Popular U.S. retailer J. Crew opened its first store in Canada to long line-ups and immediate controversy over its pricing strategy.

Like many other U.S. retailers, the preppy fashion chain is charging higher prices in Canada than in the U.S., on average 15 per cent more before taxes.

The move has annoyed some of its Canadian customers, who believe Canadian prices should be on par with the U.S., given the currencies are roughly equivalent.

J. Crew has responded to customers with a letter signed by President Jenna Lyons that said the retailer is taking the concerns very seriously.

“The change in cost for merchandise purchased in our stores and online as necessary to keep pricing consistent with our new – and expanding – retail operations,” the letter said.

“However, we understand your concerns and will continue to work to provide you with an excellent online shopping experience. For J. Crew, the reception to our new store in Canada has been nothing short of extraordinary,” the letter also said.

The disparity is particularly noticeable online, where the final prices on J. Crew’s Canadian site are as much as 40 per cent higher than on its U.S. site once taxes and shipping are added.

For example, the U.S. price for a pair of Café Capri plaid wool pants is $138 while the Canadian price is $160, a difference of 15 per cent. Once shipping and taxes are added, the U.S. price is $159, while the Canadian price is $223, a difference of 40 per cent.

Many Canadians are familiar with J. Crew’s U.S. prices because they previously ordered online from the U.S. site, or drove to border stores such as the one in Buffalo to make purchases.

The controversy has taken some of the shine off J. Crew’s widely anticipated move into Canada.

There were long lineups outside on opening day at the Yorkdale shopping mall store last Thursday, Aug. 18, its first outside the U.S. market.

J. Crew isn’t the only U.S. retailer to charge higher prices in Canada. Many retailers do so, citing the higher cost of doing business in a smaller market and also higher government-mandated duties and tariffs.
It is good to see continuing media attention on this topic. I am still hopeful that J.Crew will reconsider their current pricing strategy for international customers.

Do you think J.Crew will change its current pricing strategy for international customers? In particular, will they revert back their Canadian pricing to before the site upgrade?

Monday, August 22, 2011

Extra 30% Off Final Sale Items With Code MUSTSHOP

"Thanks!" to many of you, including GigiOfCa (in this post), as well as Irina & Marietta, who shared the following update from J.Crew this morning.

J.Crew is offering customers 30% off all sale items (no min) with promo code MUSTSHOP. This offer expires Thursday, August 25, 2011. The fine print includes:
*No exchanges, no returns on items marked as final sale. Offer valid at jcrew.com only. Offer is not valid at J.Crew retail stores or J.Crew Factory stores. Offer does not apply to previous purchases or the purchase of gift cards. 30% off discount applies to J.Crew sale and Factory online sale items only. Offer valid through Thursday, August 25, 2011, 11:59pm ET. Savings are applied at checkout with code MUSTSHOP. Offer not valid on phone orders. Limit one promotional code per order. Details of offer are subject to change.
J.Crew makes it very clear that all sales are final in their Final Sale (click here to shop online). They also let us know that this offer does NOT apply to J.Crew's brick & mortar stores.

And there is free shipping (automatically applied) on orders of $175. Otherwise, the flat rate shipping will be applied to your order.

Will you be checking out the Sale section? Are there any items you are hoping to see or to get?

The Great (Weekly) Exchange {looking to sell}

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 & the corresponding user ID).


Please note: this posting is not for resellers. If you are a reseller, your comment gets automatically deleted & you will get publicly called out on it. :( So instead of this, simply do not post in the Weekly Exchanges. Thanks in advance for your cooperation! :)


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?

Sidenote: What's up with JCAs writing "sub" or "subscribing" as their comment? It just means they are subscribing to all the comments (which are then automatically sent to their email) in that particular thread. This way they can stay aware of all the comments posted. :)

The Great (Weekly) Exchange {looking to find}

This post (of weekly posts) is for individual members who are looking for and interested in buying certain items. Please feel free to share a J.Crew store location and/or your outside listing/ auction site if it matches the requests made in this post.


Please note: this posting is not for resellers. If you are a reseller, your comment gets automatically deleted & you will get publicly called out on it. :( So instead of this, simply do not post in the Weekly Exchanges. Thanks in advance for your cooperation! :)


Also 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/finding to the "Great (Weekly) Exchange" posts. (Refer to "A Quick Note to J.Crew Aficionadas" post.)

Is there an item (or items) that you are looking for and interested in purchasing?

Sought & Found: Did you visit J.Crew this {past} Weekend?

This is the weekly "sale watch" post, to help each other find sale items at our various local J.Crew stores. ;)

If you are stopped by a J.Crew store this past weekend to see what's available (if anything!) in the SUMMER sale, or to see some new FALL arrivals {sigh!} in person, maybe you might be willing to share that with us in this post. In particular, if you could share with us a few of the noteworthy items that are available, at what prices, and potential sizes the store is carrying (as well as the store location)- that would be fantastic!

Also, please let us know if your local store was/ is carrying an additional percent off sale. Thanks in advance!!! :)

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Dear J.Crew, Stop Double Charging International Customers {part three}

"Thanks!" to GetFresh (in this post) who shared the following article from the Globe and Mail (click here to read in its entirety):
J.Crew’s Canadian shoppers balk at higher prices
By Marina Strauss
August 21, 2011

High-profile U.S. fashion chain J.Crew Group Inc. launched its first store in Canada last week to lineups at the change rooms and plenty of buzz. But many shoppers came away with sticker shock.

J.Crew has raised its merchandise prices by about 15 per cent in its Canadian store and on its new Canadian e-commerce site compared with those at its U.S. outlets. For online customers, taxes and duties raised the final price for orders in some cases by as much as 50 per cent compared with the U.S. site they previously ordered from.

Irate customers flooded online forums with complaints about the steep price increases. Some said they will ditch J. Crew or even return their latest purchases.

“I will not spend another penny there,” said Suzanne Dugard, a longtime J. Crew customer who bought about $600 worth of clothes at the Toronto store on Thursday and plans to take them all back. “I feel once again as a Canadian, I’m getting screwed.”

While J.Crew is in the spotlight over its cross-border pricing, it joins other U.S. retailers that have increased prices here. The price gap between Canadian and U.S. products has widened in many categories of goods over the past couple of years, despite a surge in the loonie that should reduce prices on this side of the border.

Retailers point to the higher cost of doing business in Canada, including duties and fewer economies of scale. But the quick and angry response from customers to J.Crew’s hiking of domestic prices underscores its customers’ familiarity with its products and prices, and the easy access to its e-commerce site to make fast price comparisons.

Before ever opening its first store here, J.Crew had built a stalwart following of Canadian customers, ... Current CEO Mickey Drexler, ...shifted it up-market and gave it flair by updating the classics with eye-catching linings and trims. Now the Canadian launch is a test for an international expansion.

Ms. Dugard is among its fans. She shopped regularly on J.Crew’s website and couldn’t wait for the physical store to arrive in Toronto.

J.Crew officials replied to The Globe and Mail’s inquiry about the price increase by e-mailing a letter the company has sent to infuriated customers. Signed by president Jenna Lyons, the message says it is taking the feedback very seriously.

The change in cost for merchandise purchased in our stores and online was necessary to keep pricing consistent with our new – and expanding – retail operations in Canada,” the retailer’s letter says.

“However, we understand your concerns, and will continue to work to provide you with an excellent online shopping experience. For J.Crew, the reception to our new store in Canada has been nothing short of extraordinary.”

The online price discrepancies can be hefty. Ms. Dugard, 42, calculated that four items she purchased online from J.Crew earlier this summer for $260 (U.S.) would cost $385.57 today – almost 50 per cent more. The latest rate includes taxes and duties of $93.12 as well as the chain’s new $9.95 shipping rate (which is lower than the previous shipping and handling fee of $34.50).

“I keep thinking it must be a mistake,” she said in an interview, clad in a J.Crew twin set, jeans and ballet flats. She previously bought virtually her whole wardrobe from J.Crew, having shelled out thousands of dollars last year alone on the merchant’s e-commerce site.

Besides the taxes and duties, base prices also are higher on the Canadian site. For example, the retailer’s No. 2 leopard pencil skirt costs $144 at the store in Toronto and online, but just $118 (U.S.) on its U.S. website (about $117 Canadian) – a 23-per-cent increase.

Other retailers have felt consumers’ wrath about higher prices in Canada compared with the U.S. Last spring, a study found that Canadian prices were 20-per-cent higher than those of the same products in the United States, while two years earlier the spread was less than 7 per cent. The differential this year came despite the value of the loonie soaring above the U.S. dollar.

The Canada-U.S. price gap reflects different dynamics in each of the markets. The U.S. retail landscape is hugely competitive, resulting in prices that are frequently lower than in the rest of the world, according to Douglas Porter, deputy chief economist at Bank of Montreal, which conducted last spring’s price survey.

Diane Brisebois, president of the Retail Council of Canada, has estimated that North American and global producers charge Canadian retailers 12- to 25-per-cent more than they do U.S. merchants. Canada provides fewer economies of scale, resulting in higher costs to distribute products, she has said.
A big "thanks!" to Sudu, who spoke up about this concerning issue for all international shoppers!!! As for the article... I was really hoping that J.Crew would provide a better reason behind their pricing strategy abroad. Also, imbachick (in this post) points out:
... I feel kind of like the Globe article missed one major point - they failed to point out the major price difference between the store and internet as well. If I buy something in the Toronto store, it costs me about the same as if I had purchased online last week. However, if I purchase online, I am paying an extra 18% in duties. If they can offer a price for an item in the store that includes duties already, why can't they offer that same price online? It just seems completely unfair.
My hope is that continued attention on this subject with cause J.Crew to rethink their current international pricing strategy.

Viva la JCAs!

Dear J.Crew, Stop Double Charging International Customers {part two}

In the "Dear J.Crew, Stop Double Charging International Customers" post, we have heard the voices of {international and American} JCAs outraged over the price hikes and double charge J.Crew is imposing on international customers.

There are lots of great comments being made in the post too. The following are just a few that I wanted to highlight.

DaniBP shares:
I emailed Mickey this morning, have had a reply from him and a phone call from one of his assistants. Apparently the situation is under a complete review.

They have heard us loud and clear, but keep emailing and phoning. And posting here too (THANKS ALEXIS!) I told the lovely young man who phoned me that things should just go back to the way they were, we all know we have to pay duty and HST, we live in Canada, we "get" taxes! ...It will be interesting to see what happens.
Sudu shares:
An update for all the outraged JCAs…A photographer from the Globe & Mail was at my house earlier this afternoon (taking pictures of me and my soon-to-be-returned Toronto JCrew purchases) and I just got off the phone with the reporter – things can always change with newspapers, but it seems at this point that the JCrew story will be running in tomorrow’s edition.

I try to keep a low profile and I’ve only lurked here in the past, but I am posting now and pursuing this story for all of us because it is just so wrong. ... I do love and live in JCrew and I thought this was an important consumer issue to bring to light and was able to find a way to do it.

When I realized on Thursday what was going on, this was the first place I turned to and it made me feel better to see that the JCAs were already way ahead of me. All of your comments here are just as important as your emails to the company, because you had better believe there are both PR people and reporters reading this site regularly, too. I also know they are looking at the math some of you have done and it does not look good for JCrew. Clearly, none of us are fooled by the responses we have received about pricing needing to be consistent with the Toronto store etc. We’re Canadian, we’re used to getting screwed at the cash register, but even if we might have found an increase acceptable in-store to offset duty charges, there is no acceptable explanation for why an order I paid $260 for a month ago online would cost me $385 today on the Canadian JCrew site when the only circumstance that has changed is that they’ve opened a store here. I wish now that I hadn’t spent the past 9 years asking JCrew when they were going to come to Canada every single time I had a customer service interaction with them.

I haven’t heard anything further about Global News (which I’d mentioned on Friday), but there is always the possibility that once this hits a national newspaper it will stir up further media interest. I will keep you all posted. In the meantime, keep your eyes peeled for tomorrow’s paper and keep making your opinions known!
"Thanks!" DaniBP, Sudu, and everyone for continuing to share your concerns and thoughts on the price hike and double charge.

For my part, I will continue to post and shed light on this topic until J.Crew provides a better solution or even a reasonable explanation. (Right now, the lines of "the cost of doing business internationally" and "to keep pricing consistent with our new - and expanding - retail operations in Canada" seem unsatisfactory to me.)

Viva la JCAs!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Dear J.Crew, Stop Double Charging International Customers

"Thanks!" to Alexandra from the U.K. who had the following to share:
So J Crew have started shipping to the UK and Canada! It is now a bit clearer about how they are doing it. I have made some observations below.

Good news: UK customers can get direct shipments from the main site: all the same things as US customers including petites, bridal, shoes, etc.
Bad news: Prices are in UK pounds. And the exchange rates the site uses to convert from US prices are really REALLY terrible: today it was 1.09 dollars to the pound. That compares to today's market rate of about 1.65, and the 1.61 rate that UK customs uses.
Bad news: UK customers can only pay by Visa and Mastercard. Not American Express (unlike the US customers).

Good news: the site calculates and charges UK customs duty and tax upfront. So you know precisely what you are in for when you order.
Bad news: because the UK prices are so high, customs duty is triggered on many items (anything over £140 in value).

Good news: There is only one shipping method available: flat rate 1-2 week international shipping to the UK for only £9.95, or about $15. That compares to the average $40 I pay for 2 day Fedex shipping at the moment via my mail forwarder.
Bad news: All parcels are sent by DHL: in my experience the slowest and least reliable transtlantic carrier.

Just to give you a couple of examples to illustrate what all this means: a Taryn wedding dress would cost $598 to a customer living in Florida, including all taxes and shipping. The same dress would cost a staggering US$1071 (£650) to a UK customer if shipped direct! A pair of classic leather ballet flats - which are cheap enough to come in below the customs duty threshold - will cost a US customer $128.27 - but a UK customer will pay $211 (£128).

My conclusion from all this is that J Crew's e-commerce partner is using an appalling dollar-pound exchange rate to subsidise its (quite slow) flat rate shipping. This means that the price points are very high and even worse, a lot of parcels will wind up as worth over £140 and trigger customs duty, which is a disaster.

Please please do the math before you choose the direct shipment option to the UK. By my calculations, it will always be quicker and nearly always cheaper to do this instead: order from the US website, pay US tax and shipping, get it delivered to a US friend or mail forwarder, then get it sent onto the UK via Fedex (ideally in parcels worth $200 or less), and pay the UK tax!!!!

Shipment example under $200 value: Classic ballet flats direct from J Crew to UK: $211. Same flats via US mail forwarder: $199 ($128 incl US tax and shipping + $35 Fedex+ $36 UK Vat and handling fee)
Shipment example over $200 value: Taryn dress direct from J Crew to UK: $1071. Same dress via US mail forwarder: $803 ($598 incl US tax and US shipping + $40 Fedex + $155 UK vat and duty and handling fee)
So in the end, J.Crew has really hiked up the prices for international shoppers! Just read the comments in the "J.Crew Opens its Doors in Toronto" & "J.Crew Updates Website with New Arrivals!" posts and you can find a lot of heated words over this topic.

There are lots of posts on other blogs about this too, including:
Well, I am going to add my two cents... Although this change does not impact me directly, I find it really discouraging that they would charge significantly higher prices for international shoppers, in addition to duty and tax! (Charging fair rate prices based on a reasonable conversion is one thing, what J.Crew is doing... well, it doesn't appear to be that way. It appears like a 30-50% markup.)

Right now, it is unclear why they need to “double charge” international customers. J.Crew claims it is "the cost of doing business internationally". Well that line does not sit well with me. Especially since J.Crew was selling the same merchandise just one week ago in Canada without the extra costs.

J.Crew's CEO, Mickey Drexler, always talks about the importance of taking care of its customers. We have seen it first hand from the special gifts to excellent service from Personal Shoppers. It's one of the main reasons why I love them. So I hope J.Crew will quickly reconsider the ridiculous double charge. Keeping the double charge will only drive loyal {international} customers away.