I ran across the following article from the Business Insider (click here to read in its entirety), that had some interesting quotes from J.Crew's Jenna Lyons:
Here's Why Gap Doesn't Stand A Chance Against J.CrewI do not know why, but this article irked me a bit. There are some quotes I took issue with. Although I love J.Crew (obviously!), I feel like they should not be patting themselves on the back for a job well done, quite yet.
By Aimee Groth
April 20, 2012
J.Crew has been dominating its retail sector for years, which has a lot to do with the company's visionaries, CEO Mickey Drexler and President and Creative Director Jenna Lyons.
Lyons recently spoke with Tommye Fitzpatrick at Business of Fashion about the company's retail philosophy, and why J.Crew has forged ahead of Gap:
"Make people feel special. Making people realize you’re paying attention to them is going to be increasingly important, because I don’t think people feel very special anymore. Instead of the classic model, like, here’s a Gap store and here’s a thousand other Gap stores, we’ve really focused on trying to make sure each of our New York stores feel really special and jewel box. We want you to feel like there’s a reason to go into the store. You were in the downtown store, but that actually has slightly different product, has a different mood than the uptown store.”
The key is differentiation. But in creating that, you can't make a bunch of huge changes right away, she says, or you risk losing your customer base: “You can’t do anything quickly. You kind of have to go slow because you have a bunch of customers to get there with you. You can’t flip on them because that can get really confusing to people."
She says that problems are addressed really quickly, too — like how when she complained J.Crew's cashmere products were terrible years ago, Drexler simply said to "change it," and now the company is known for its cashmere. As with any industry, brilliant ideas go nowhere if there isn't good execution.
For example, their cashmere quality is still no where near as good as their own cashmere from years ago. So let's not pretend like things got turned around recently. Customers are well aware that is not the case (hello terrible pilling and holes). What they do offer is the most beautiful array of colors for their cashmere sweaters. That, I will give them.
Lastly, I think the Gap is starting to turn things around. I have been checking out their dresses which are quite nice in terms of design, quality, and price points. There are a couple of new items that have been selling out quickly too- which is all great news for them.
What are your thoughts on the article? Any points you disagree or agree with? If so, please share! :)