Jess Gierisch

Archive for May, 2010|Monthly archive page

Bridal!

In Anthropologie on May 24, 2010 at 3:28 pm

Gasp.

Girl falls down.

Next Spring, 2011 Anthropologie’s parent company Urban Outfitters, Inc. will debut a bridal division. It will be an independent brand and launch online. It is being developed by the same design minds behind Anthropologie.

The still unnamed label will carry gowns retailing from $750 to $5000. Bridesmaid dresses will start at $200. Included in the bridal collection will be fine jewelry, shoes, accessories, gifts, and bridal services including stationary, floral, planning, and honeymoon booking.

Bananas.

Brick and mortar locations are also in the works.

Anthropologie co-president Wendy B. McDevitt-

“We have found that many brides-to-be are inspired by our aesthetic. We will unveil a brand that addresses this very special moment in her life with a goal of exceeding her expectations.”

This is kind of a big deal. I can think of nothing more fitting to the romance of the Anthropologie brand than a wedding collection. Brilliant. I have no doubt that the woman who shops Anthro for its distinctive, feminine, ethereal quality will quickly look to the new label for that aesthetic on their special day.

BM Anthropologie style.

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The Competition

In Anthropologie on May 17, 2010 at 3:34 pm

Gap Inc. and J. Crew

Gap Inc. is a retail giant. The company owns Gap, Banana Republic, Old Navy, and Piperlime.  Gap claims $15.8 billion in revenue and 150,000 employees; Anthropologie by comparison has $142.2 million in revenue and 2600 employees. Interesting fact-the majority of Anthropologie’s employees are reported to have previously worked for Gap Inc.  So, the companies are competing for employees, but do they also compete for customers?

Like Anthropologie, Gap, and Banana are specialty retailers operating retail and online stores selling apparel, accessories, and personal care products for women. Gap and Banana, however are also very successful in menswear. Here, there is no competition-Anthropologie does not offer anything for men. What a huge opportunity. Also, Gap Kids is very successful, and while Anthropologie makes a small children’s offering the majority of it is online only. This I think, even more so than launching menswear, is a great opportunity. I could really see Anthropologie fleshing out their children’s apparel and accessories in their stores and being very successful. What balances the lack of mens and childrens clothing for Anthropologie is their home goods. They do it big and are successful at it. Half of any Anthropologie store is items for the home, and with most of it carrying a higher price tag I wonder if it makes up half their revenue as well. Gap Inc. does not offer home goods through any of their retailers, and it wouldn’t really make sense if they did. It would be so much less of a stretch for Anthropologie to offer men’s and kids, than for Gap to start carrying items for the home. Again, opportunity!

Whereas Gap is accessible, basic casual apparel, Banana comes closer to the Anthropologie aesthetic with their city type style. The same women that shop Banana for their elevated design and career apparel shop Anthropologie for the weekend, for the romance. It’s the same customer, just using each for a different occasion.

However, in my opinion J. Crew is Anthropologie’s biggest competition. Unlike Gap or Banana, and like Anthropologie,  J. Crew is a lifestyle brand. Their marketing is similar to Anthropologie’s. A trip to each website is an invitation to follow a story.  The customer for both is often crazy loyal and shop only that store, making it hard to compete. The price points are similar. J. Crew is very good at making everything look beautiful and artistic, like Anthro. And while Anthropologie makes a name for themselves with unrivaled visuals, J.Crew brilliantly offers exclusive and specialty items on a couture detail level. They also offer menswear and childrens clothing, and actually have two mens only boutiques. Because J.Crew is good at doing what Anthropologie does best (telling a story with their product that makes women feel special, romantic, and beautiful) AND they reach a larger market with men and children they are competing for Anthropologie’s customers.

J. Crew’s revenue is reported as being $1.3. They have 7600 employees.

At press-time, anyone has yet to rival J. Crew in the rosette department.

J. Crew really loves rosettes.

If I had a million dollars I’d buy your love.

In Anthropologie on May 10, 2010 at 3:13 pm

Anthropologie webisodes.

I’m not going to do all the work for you Anthropologie, but it goes something like this:

100, 5-10 minute webisodes that stream from the website or from the blog.

Four female leads, four different European cities, living four different lives.

“The explorer/traveler”, “the romantic”, “the art student”, “the model/actress”.

Each girl makes up for a quarter of the storyline content. Different adventures, dramas, and lovestories, of course.

It’d be like Sex and City meets Anthro. Perfect timing, P.S.

This is a perfect way to capture the idealistic romance of the brand. These characters live in Anthropologie clothing and act out their stories surrounded by Anthropologie interiors. I think its totally in line with the art that the company loves and setting the webisodes in beautiful and exotic cities is a great escape for the women watching. And then those women will escape to their nearest Anthropologie and try to live out the dream as best they can.

(Like when I watch an iconic French film from the fifties or sixties and desperately want to be the heroine in my everyday life so I only wear flats, and black and white striped shirts for a week.)

The most successful branded web show to date is Ikea’s Easy to Assemble.  Last year the show captured 5 million watchers in its second season and now has a couple spin offs in the works. This series is comedy, but the idea behind a romantic Anthropologie series would remain the same:

Push the entertainment while not seeming like you’re pushing a product, when in fact you are.

Related Links:

adage.com

brandchannel.com

newteevee.com

Additional ideas:

  • Launch a menswear line. That would be ultra dreamy.
  • Increase kids wear offerings, in stores and online. Young mothers who are obsessed with Anthropologie are dying to dress their children in the clothes as well.
  • Exclusive, specialty pop up shops in major cities. Sell limited edition apparel in rented spaces in major metros across the country and in Europe.
  • Anthropologie outlets. That have rugs and curtains. Because the stores don’t carry the rugs and curtains. And EVERYONE thinks its super annoying.
  • Better publicized partnerships with eclectic artists or musicians. Like this, with Hatch Show Print, which was awesome.
  • The Anthro Wardrobe. Similar to a polyvore site. Collect your Anthropologie clothes virtually.
  • But 1, get 10. That’s right-BOGT? Buy one specific accessory at a slightly above average price point, choose 10 low price point items (tiny barrettes, etc.) for free.