Last week, I posted about J.Crew’s faltering sales and their attempts to reinvigorate the once-beloved brand. The retailer’s executives seem to think that style is the brand’s only critical flaw. However, the primary concern of the J.Crew shoppers who read this blog–many of whom were once brand loyalists–is not style, but quality and value.
For example, I put on my Collection Secretary Blouse this weekend and discovered two noticeable holes. I wore the blouse, which costs $188 and purports to be made from “the finest silk,” only twice and cleaned it once before it died a premature death. To say that I felt robbed would be an understatement.
Middle-income, working women are the foundation of the J.Crew pyramid. We want a brand that creates stylish, good-quality clothing that we can wear for several seasons before it gives up the ghost. We’re tired of buying poorly made pieces that need to be discounted to “40-percent-off sale price” before we feel like they’re a good value. J.Crew is a business, so of course it wants to increase profits. But when they obliterate quality construction to lower costs, they cut themselves off at the knees by turning off loyal shoppers.
Almost every reader who shopped at J.Crew in the 2006-2010 era talks about how much better the quality was then. Their evidence is anecdotal, but if a buyer feels that their seven-year-old suit is better made than the one they bought last year, they’re going to shop elsewhere. If we want “fast fashion,” we’ll shop at H&M.
J.Crew was once a closet staple with loyal devotees, and it could be again. So how do we spread the message that middle-income women want brands to go back to selling chic pieces at reasonable prices without sacrificing quality?
A reader on last week’s post suggested a social media campaign to spread the word about J.Crew shopper’s concerns. So I created a hashtag, #reviveJCrew, and the graphic at the top of this post to go with it. Maybe the campaign goes nowhere, but maybe a little pressure from the brand’s main customer base will get our message across.
If you want to promote the campaign on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook, use the hashtag/image and make a brief statement about what they can do to resuscitate the brand and earn your loyalty. For example, “Bring back fabrics that aren’t see through! #reviveJCrew” or “When did lined pants and dresses become unicorns? #reviveJCrew.”
P.S.: This piece from The Hairpin about J.Crew’s unrealistic costs and aesthetic is tragically funny because it’s so accurate.