Wednesday, March 4, 2009

J.Crew Has One Of The Best Brand Names Around

There is an article over at BrandWeek (click here for the article in its entirety) about a survey of brands and their influence... and J.Crew was mentioned!

Study: Value Trumps Price Among Shoppers
New Brand Keys ‘Customer Engagement Loyalty Index’ finds that shoppers will still pay more for top brands provided they feel they are getting good value for their money.
By Brand Week
March 2009

Consumers are not buying based on price alone. Instead, they are relying more on their perception of value when deciding which brands to stay loyal to during the recession.

In fact, consumer expectations regarding brand value went up 20 percent, according to the 2009 Brand Keys Customer Loyalty Engagement Index. Those brands that aren’t perceived as being worth it will fall to the wayside, said Brand Keys president Robert Passikoff.

Brand Keys polled 26,000 consumers of 441 brands in 63 categories earlier this year. Among the brands that received the highest marks for meeting or exceeding consumer expectations, “there is a price-value formula consumers use to calculate brand differences and to decide which brands to buy,” said Passikoff. “Shopper consciousness has shifted from just trying to ferret out deals to looking for brands that provide value.” ...

...While, J.Crew also isn’t the cheapest apparel brand, it was ranked No. 1 in both the catalog and retail categories thanks to its style, value, shopping experience and buzz. The latter was generated during the elections. “Thank you Mrs. President,” said Passikoff. “After [Sarah] Palin spent a billion dollars on her appearance, Mrs. Obama tells the world her entire outfit cost $140 at J.Crew . . . They’ve scored on quality, value for the price and customer service.”...

I am thrilled to see J.Crew made the list and scored well among consumers! I am also thrilled to see it ranked #1 in both catalog and retail- that's fantastic!!! :)

Are you surprised by J.Crew's rating in catalog and retail? Do you agree with the reasons ("style, value, shopping experience, and buzz") as the reasons for its success?


  1. I agree with this a couple of years ago for the quality aspect but I don't think JCrew's quality is all it is cracked up to be anymore. It may take some time but people will notice (and already are)it's decline. Also, notice Michelle O. did not wear JCrew shoes! I wish they still made their flats with leather bottoms. Mine fell apart after a few wearings and I am not hard on shoes. I still have pair 10 years old that I polish and care for and look great from other companies.

  2. J Crew is all style with very little substance, quality is declining and is not worth the high price, website problems, and shipping costs.

  3. OT - I have a nice J.Crew customer service story. I placed an order last Thursday with regular shipping. None of the items were FS, all were showing plenty of stock. When I checked last night it had still not shipped so I sent an email to ContactUs at JCrew dot com to ask why the delay? Here is the response:

    Dear XXXXX:

    We apologize for the delay in shipping your order and any inconvenience that this may have caused.

    Your order is being processed now and will be shipping from our
    distribution center on March 4th, 2009. Due to the delay we have filed a request for the shipping charge of $20.50 to be credited back to your MasterCard; this credit will appear within one or two billing statements. Again we regret any inconvenience.

    If we can be of further assistance, please let me know by responding
    directly to this email or through my contact information which I have
    provided below.



    I guess that is one way to get free shipping, but I am curious why the delay for regular merchandise. It's all spring clothing that I can't wear until the snow melts anyway so no big deal!

  4. ^BTW, shipment is coming to Canada, which is why the larger cost. We always get hosed on shipping up here. Makes it that much better to get free shipping for a change.

  5. Quality has declined, and that is evident across the retail industry, not just J.Crew. The brand seems to be more visible on celebrities both on and off the screen, which likely helps sales. It certainly fuels discussion on particular items.
    I feel J.Crew style is a reflection of my own style and it has evolved, so have I. I sure don't like everything and there are seasons where I like nothing but overall there are some great pieces that can be styled in different ways and work with my current wardrobe.

  6. I am surprised J Crew did not come back with the 9 day shipping line to fill Canadian orders. I have never received fs for delays, however my parcels are shipping within 24 hrs and take 4 days to arrive at my door so I disagree that we are hosed for the shipping charges. They get the parcel through the border for us pretty fast so I am not complaining. It is still cheaper than driving 3.5 hours to the J Crew store, which is small and does not carry much stock.

    I ordered a tee last Thursday and my parcel is being delivered tomorrow.

  7. I placed an order very early Sat. morning and it did not ship out until late yesterday (Wed.) It seems like it is taking 48 hours/2 business days for any of my things to ship here in the US to IL. I only had two items in the order as well.

    I agree that quality is declining throughout the garment/clothing industry but JCrew's increased price point and lower quality just don't jive with me anymore.

  8. Correction: I mean shipped out late on Tuesday!

  9. First, the continued website problems are what really bother me the most.

    Second, it would be inconsistent policies/practices with online ordering and discounts.

    Third, would be receiving final sale items that have been worn, are defective and not checked before reselling.

    Fourth, I love their style and fit of clothes. A BIG POSITIVE.

    Fifth, declining quality:( sad:(

    Sixth, great customer service for big issues:)

  10. I think my relationship with JC is funny, like the high school feelings for a boy that's wicked cute but flakes constantly. I'm always going to be attracted to, and buy things, but there's too much inconsistency w/r/t quality, CS, and practices. I can't quit you J. Crew!

  11. I don't know if this has been mentioned already, but I got an email today about select shoe styles being 30% off. And there's free shipping on $150+ with the code SPRING.

    Too bad the shoes I want are NOT one of the 30% off styles. (I want the Joley patent flats in stone) :(

  12. PS. SPRING expires tomorrow. That's fast.

  13. Oh, I got all excited about a one day 30% off (online) and it is for shoes:( I don't buy JCrew's shoes.

  14. The main quality issue I've had with J.Crew is their wool and cashmere sweaters pilling. It isn't just them though, my sweaters from Anthropologie and Banana Republic are doing the same thing.

  15. I was just in the store yesterday and I was noticing there was nothing I had to buy, and that was partly because it seems like the clothes are starting to look cheaper. I don't know where they are trying to go style-wise so far this spring but I do not like it.

  16. jcrew did a huge update today. there is tons of new sale stuff, including quite a few items from the latest spring rollout. Now when are they doing another additional percentage sale?! :)

    my thoughts on the current spring collection is too much freyed chiffon trim. Geez, louise...i feel like everything has a freyed edge!

  17. So what is wrong with the slub silk hobatai dress in bright sun that it is already down to 69.99 and available in virtually all sizes?
    anyone seen it IRL, how bright is it?

  18. I don't think J Crew offers a lot of "value for the price" unless the item is on sale, but in all other respects I think that it's a great business. The stores and catalogs and clothes are stylish and refined. I've been very pleased with the vast majority of my purchases, only a few have been clunkers.

  19. I don't read any blogs about the Gap, Ann Taylor, Club Monaco, etc. I guess that alone says a lot about my feelings towards the brand. That said, I agree with previous posts that quality has declined in recent years but also that it has been happening across the board, not just with J Crew.

  20. casual-crew, do you live in T.O.? My orders to Calgary take forever and often do a tour of the northern U.S. before getting to my door. I had one order that took just over a month from the time it shipped to arrive on my doorstep. J.Crew refunded the shipping for that and for other orders that have been delayed as it happens often. It is average 9 days minimum in the 10+ years I have been ordering from J.Crew, usually more like 12-15 days. During the holiday promos it was fast but it has gone back to the slow pace again now.

    There are several JCAs who will not ship to Canada on the weekly exchange because it is so expensive and when I shipped my last return to J.Crew via UPS it cost $58 for shipping and insurance for $310 CDN worth of items. If you think that is a good deal then good for you. It is probably nowhere near as much from T.O.

  21. Wow, the atelier jacket is already in the sale section.

  22. 30% off select shoes in stores and online.
    Free shipping with orders of $150.00 with code SPRING

    Just came in over email!!

  23. I agree with the comments that the quality is declining across all brands. For the money, J Crew is still pretty reasonable. It's not like forking over hundreds for sweats ala Juicy Couture or thousands for a canvas bag like some designer bags.

    I love the silk habatoi dress. Its fitted but with some ease on the waist, and the belt is very unique/pretty. It's predominantly yellow so I think that's why people don't buy it. I would top it off with a light pewter Jackie cardigan which will tone the yellow down.

    I am waiting for the % off before buying more stuff. I can't believe the Atelier is $50 off now. I have to do a price adjust.

  24. I have been buying stuff from J Crew for several years.

    Recently, my wardrobe is oozing J. Crew, but that is only because of the massive discounts recently.

    In the 3+ years of loveing everything J. Crew, I have only purchased 5 things at full price. Of those 5 items: 2 still serve me well; one was just passed down to a sister-in-law; and the other two didn't even put up a good fight and lost the battle long ago.

    That being said, I love the fact that my closet is filled with $9.99 tees, $19.99 sweaters, a few dresses and skirts. Despite the lack of quality in some items, I have not found another retailer that has J. Crew's style.

  25. I just managed to pick up a few items from my "missed it?" list on FS. Hope they ship and are not used returns.

  26. dani california -- i tried on the slub silk dress and loved it! i almost bought it for $130 in the store but wanted to size up and they didn't have the next size up -- lucky for me since it's so much cheaper online! it's a really cute dress, very nice shape, not at all sack-like as some shifts can be (on me at least). and i generally hate yellow, but really liked this print. i was afraid it would be too dressy, but i think it could be worn casually as well, especially with a cardigan over it. right now i'm trying to figure out what color cardigan i can wear with it, though. any suggestions? maybe light pewter? anyway, it's a great dress and i would definitely recommend it, especially at that price!

  27. lol just read anon @11:48 -- light pewter it is!! :)

  28. I sometimes think with all of the hassles, etc... J Crew is just not that into me.

  29. Considering how many items are getting discounted already, perhaps we will see quality at a lower price point after all, even if it's not the original price.
    I was able to use the SPRING promo for FS on $180 order. There are still a lot of items I want so I hope we get a promo soon.


  30. Nothing I want from the new line is on sale:(

    I hope there is a % off or private sale very soon. Otherwise, with the economy I won't bite.

    I have been on a 30 day shopping ban and it ends in 2 glad nothing I want is on sale yet!

  31. anon 11:18: No I am in Ottawa, close enough. To ship things back to JC it cost about $20.00 UPS.

  32. casual-crew, you are lucky you live closer to J.Crew than I do. I'm in Edmonton and it takes a long time for packages to arrive here as well and the cost to ship returns is also pretty high. I cannot drive to a store in 3 hours. I cannot get halfway to the U.S. border in that amount of time. Not to be too much of a whiner (maybe that ship has already sailed), but it does make me really consider if items are worth the extra cost of shipping, duty and exchange rate, never mind a return where the credit card companies will refund at a lower rate. Visa, MC, Amex, they all do it. Anyway, I still love J.Crew enough to purchase, but only if I'm really, really sure. And I have never even asked anyone on the weekly exchange about shipping to Canada...

  33. I just placed an order with items that were already in my shopping cart from weeks ago, but just went on sale.... nothing came up as Final Sale in my email confirmation, even though they are now in the Final Sale section! Way cool!

  34. Speaking of quality issues, maybe a JCA can help me with a return question. I recently ordered the 3/4 sleeve crewneck soft tee. Got it in two colors. I wore one, and it was a piece of crap. The sleeves stretched had twice their diameter by 10 a.m. (BTW, this has also happened to me with the painter T.) So, I took back the second color, which I hadn't worn yet, today and told the SA why. She said I might be able to return the one I wore. My question is: Do I wash it first? I mean, on one hand it seems gross to return a worn shirt. On the other, it's possible the sleeves will draw up in washing and I won't really look all that stretched out anymore. TIA for any advice!

  35. I love J.Crew and I began shopping there for all the reasons mentioned in the article: style, value, quality and customer service.

    I've noticed a decline in the latter 3 (but improvement with re to style) in the last year or so.**

    Even given the recent decline J.Crew overall is still heads and tails above the competition.

    I just really hope Drexler and Co. don't take this for granted and continue to strive for and to be the best.

    **This is constructive criticism. I love J.Crew. Say it not to dump on J.Crew which some seem to like to do but in the hopes that maybe someone in corporate will read, wake-up and address the concerns of long-time customers represented on this blog.

  36. The 30% sale on shoes is a joke. Honestly, it's such bs. More than $200 for a pair of shoes with man made sole and lining (i.e. NON-BREATHABLE, SWEATY INSOLE). The last pair of shoes I bought were the Kinzie flats last year which did have leather soles and appear to have leather lining. I'm done with J's shoes. As far as I'm concerned their shoes are comparable to Nine West shoes which I won't even buy anymore. So, for my $200 I'll buy Cole Haan, Kate Spade, Bernardo, or Stuart Weitzman. Think about it, ladies, now that they've switched to man made soles and lining, how are J Crew's shoes different from what we find at Target? Are the designs cute? Yes, but even Target has gotten pretty good at selling similar styles en vogue for that season. I like JC's jackets; let's hope they don't screw those up, too. I'm taking care of the all leather shoes from JC purchased a few years ago and will take them to the cobbler if deemed worthy of having the sole/heels redone.

  37. That atelier reminds me of the jackets my 87 year old grandma wears. Hmm, I'm just not sure about that one.

  38. I agree that the quality and materials of J.Crew footwear are really declining. I bought several pairs of shoes, sandals and boots each year until they went with the plastic soles and lining. Last year I bought 1 pair and have no desire to buy more. I've got my sights on these, which aren't really for spring but I can still get a bit of use now and then again next fall and winter.

    Comments? Opinions? I'd love to hear with you stylish JCAs think of them.

  39. Anony 4:49 - yes, those are nice boots. I have some Chie's myself and love them. Quality all round and comfortable thanks to the hidden platform inside. The heels are high but the rise is not as high as it looks thanks to the platform. Enjoy your boots!

    Amazon has some great deals on shoes and boots. Who knew?!

  40. Speaking of quality...

    I was SO excited about the cricket sweater. I ordered it and was horribly disappointed when I got it. It was slightly big, but overall true to size. On me, it looked like something my Grandma would have owned (and not in a good way). Additionally, the cotton was REALLY rough. It wasn't itchy, but it felt horrible against my skin.


  41. I really like J.Crew, my wardrobe is probably 80% or more from them, but I am getting fed up.

    I've already complained about the shipping charges and the bad website, but today I had a bad experience at B&M.

    Normally at this particular B&M (Norfolk, VA), the SA's are very attentive and helpful. Today I had a return and had to wait a few minutes for someone to even come up to the register. I left my things up there because I wanted to do an exchange not a return.

    Long story short, the one SA that attempted to help me was super unhelpful. I kept asking her questions like "What would go with this", "What color sweater could I wear with this tank" and she kept giving me blank stares and acting annoyed. A few minutes later I went back into the store to find stuff myself and I saw her being really nice to some older ladies telling them all kinds of stuff they could match up and what went with what. This made me mad because it was clear she just thought I wasn't going to buy much so I wasn't worth her time.

    I used to enjoy shopping in store. Now I don't like that (not to mention I have to drive an hour to get there) and I refuse to pay these crazy shipping charges. It's going to force me to start shopping elsewhere.

  42. jj, i'm a jcrew associate. try writing to the store or at least the headquarters. if you don't know the name of the employee, write down when you were there, and maybe a brief description of her. she'll get reprimanded in some way for sure... there's no way i would ever treat a customer like that, but then again, maybe that's why our store gets lots and lots of regulars :)

  43. thanks, anon. I actually used to work at a factory store (it's closer than retail) and I would have been in big trouble for acting that way. I almost asked for the manager but the SA that rang me up (who I had never seen before) had the same rude attitude so I just got my stuff and left.

  44. I think quality is an issue with alot of brands. I think I am starting to have a love hate relationship with JC.

  45. OT - Club Monaco has some wonderful must-haves this month.

    Click on the items for more info and similar pieces.

    The Jolie silk lilac dress is gorgeous and the georgette tank would be a wonderful layering piece for summer. The prices are reasonable, especially the accessories.

    The jewelry is priced decent as well, as it should be for costume jewelry.

    I find I am buying more and more at CM lately. There are many styles similar to JC and the prices are better and the sales are fabulous. The student discount is 20%, the best I've seen.

  46. And here is the link to the monthly mens must-haves at Club Monaco.

    My husband would love the linen western-style shirts as he lives in linen all summer and is getting bored of the Baird-McNutt basic style.

  47. I love Club Monaco as well and find that the most popular sizes often sell out. I bought a windowpane plaid pencil skirt recently that was shipped from another city as they had run out in my size. It is very "spring" and really cute. Stretch cotton sateen with a stretch lining and pieced waistband, very well-made. I've seen many pieces that look like JCrew styles at Club M and the quality seems comparable or better. The staff always bend over backwards for me too. Nice! Definitely designed for the younger crowd in both style and sizing, which I like. I have to wear suits mostly but Club M let's me kick it up with a bit of fun from time to time and also has good casual and club wear too. If only I could get a student discount I would be in heaven.

  48. I did see the Habatoi dress on the sale rack yesterday. I think its very pretty. I am going to return this weekend to try it on and decide if it will go home with me. I was thinking of pairing it with the short sleeved cardigan and using the belt on the outside of the sweater.

  49. totally irrelevant question- do you know which store that picture is from?

  50. Thanks everyone for your great comments!

    Allison: Unfortunately, I don't remember which store that image if of. :(


Dear J.Crew Aficionadas & Aficionados: Please feel free (and encouraged) to share your thoughts and opinions. :) However, please note that this is still a personal blog. So comments that are considered inappropriate (e.g. obscene, racist, homophobic, personal attacks, rude, and just plain mean) will be removed.

And now back to J.Crew! :)