Issue No. 224: Better never than late

What went wrong?

  • Rise of eCommerce
  • Failing mall traffic
  • Discounting culture
  • Increased competition
  • And as BOF says, “post-recessionary mindset.”
  • “As J.Crew’s fashion credentials began to grow, its focus on staple items suffered and an increasingly cool and expensive product mix alienated once-loyal customers.”
  • Use of cheap textile materials, 2013 and on
  • Complete ignorance of the athleisure movement

Moment of Truth (1): 

July 2013, when an unhappy customer wrote Drexler an email saying, “I am so disheartened and disappointed that you are leaving your core values and styling and abandoning your loyal customers. I would have thought you had learned your lesson at the Gap!! Why mess with these iconic brands and change them into something they’re not?”

Drexler’s Response: 

“We are on it for sure,” he emailed the customer after the call. “I hope you see a difference this Fall.” 

This was the beginning of the low quality of product that has flooded J. Crew stores and outlets. Drexler adjusted by undermining Jenna Lyons’ work, returning J. Crew to basics in a time when the brand desperately needed to move up market.

Moment of Truth (2):

Back in 2014, Drexler repeatedly said J.Crew would never get into the so-called “athleisure” segment.

Drexler’s Response:

J. Crew launched an athleisure effort with New Balance, in late 2016, that has been widely panned as ‘late’ and ‘bland.’

Read the full rundown here on BoF.

See more of the issue here.

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