Wednesday, September 28, 2016

A little More About Fashion Brands

Fast Company has a good piece about the decline of iconic fashion brands like Polo Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger.  The article, penned by Elizabeth Segran, astutely points out that these companies, in a race to expand and make cheaper clothes to sell to a larger audience, have killed the meaning of their brand.  She perfectly labels it the T.J. Maxxification of their brand.

I encourage all to read it, especially the folks at Under Armor.  The recently decided, in a move likely to appease the investors on Wall Street, dilute its athletic brand with a high-end fashion line.

Even before it begins, we already know how this story ends. 

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Everlane Upends Fashion's Pricing Strategy

Everlane is a six-year old web-based fashion brand that specializes in logo free essentials.  I know, I know... what the hell is so special about some upstart fashion brand on the internet? They're one of a million.

Initially, I thought the same thing myself.  On first glance, their shop looks like every other online clothing store with pictures of models, prices and the all important add to cart button.  But after clicking around a bit, I noticed their amazing infographics on their product pages. These are what separate Everlane  from those other million brands.

To be fair, it all starts with Everlane's dedication to transparency. The infographic with itemized costs of each item are the helpful bi-product.

This isn't so helpful for other retailers however.  Everlane's open book pricing strategy repositions their brands as overpriced and effectively challenging consumers' widely held notion that higher prices equate to better quality (that's right, they disclose their factories too).

Everlane's strategy is a bold one; but also one that works.  It's impossible to look at their transparent pricing and not have flashbacks of sticker shocks at their competitors; thus making a very compelling pitch to place an order.

For more good stuff on the this disruptive brand, check out this terrific interview with their founder Michael Preysman on The Unconventionals (a PJA podcast).

As always, thank you for reading and sharing.    

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

On Buying American Made

I just want to share a quote on American Made goods from Aaron Draplin.  It comes from an interview with Al James and was originally published on A Continueous Lean.  I really like this quote because it feels like the definition of American Made is evolving to become something of a justification for overcharging consumers. 

James: Has the meaning or feeling around “Made In The USA” changed for you over the years?

Draplin: It’s still a little benchmark for me. Still feels special. And more and more, I’m seeing things made here, and celebrated beautifully. That’s a good thing for all of us. Just today, I got a run of ear plug containers in! You know those little “pinch pocket” holders where you squeeze it and it holds your ear plugs? Simple stuff, and still made in the states. I like championing that sort of stuff. As the brother of an audiologist, we all need ear plugs for the rock shows. 

But of course, there’s a threshold. If “Made in the U.S.A” translates to “We Can Charge You 500% What It Actually Should Be For The Thing”, then I’m out. I like the stuff that just operates like it always did. Don’t get me wrong, I love all the cool axes, paddles, jizz rags and leather doodads out there being sold at exorbitant prices like anyone else. Sure. But sometimes, that shit’s just a little too high brow for me. Do this: Do a search for “chain wallets.” And you’ll find crusty, little sources that sell wallets for $20-25. Weird as hell. And if you dig hard enough, you’ll find ones made in the states, just as they always were. I bought one of those in 1989, and still have it to this day. It was $20 then, and still is $20. When folks start adding a zero to price, whilst holding some bullshit artisanal knife to your throat, that makes me squirm a bit.