What Happened When Banana Republic Went Trendy
The Gist: Banana Republic tried to go trendy and ditched customer favorites (bright, tailored cuts) in favor of boxy, neutral silhouettes. That didn’t work out so well.
Lesson Learned: Never forget who your core customer is.
Dive Deeper: Banana’s fall from grace is a classic example of a brand that forgot the identity of their target customer.
It’s easy to see how the company got bullish (awesome sales, new talent), but the dramatic shift in creative vision didn’t align with the retailer’s best customers and ultimately broke their trust. Thanks to that year-long detour, it will be a long, pleading courtship for the brand to win back their estranged audience.
One change that suggests Banana will be wiser in the future is the new take on their “collections.” These small, seasonal collaborations are a great way to test new designs and find out what the true Banana lover wants more of. Plus, it provides the variety the brand needs to keep from feeling stagnant. That’s the kind of win-win they’re going to need a lot more of this year!
A year and a half ago, Banana Republic was chugging along. It had just posted $2.4 billion in net sales in the US in fiscal 2014, the highest sales numbers recorded in a decade.
Aeropostale Clashes with Sycamore as Top Backer Becomes Frenemy
The Gist: Aeropostale will not be making a comeback anytime soon.
Lesson Learned: More money is not an instant solve.
Dive Deeper: For some reason I love watching the fall of my youth’s most popular retailers. Witnessing the likes of Aeropostale or Abercrombie tumble into the depths of the “uncool” provides the same guilty satisfaction as seeing Mr. Popular hawking cigarettes at Circle K.
But once they’ve reached the bottom, you can’t help but hope for an underdog come-back story. We got here because teens are no longer unloading their money on clothes that turn them into walking billboards, which means legacy teen brands like Aeropostale are having to redefine their position in the marketplace. That’s tough!
If they want to reclaim their spot at the top, they’ll need to re-answer these three, core questions:
- What should our market expect to find here?
- Why is it different then what competitors are offering?
- Why should our market come to us to get that unique value?”
Aeropostale store | Source: Aeropostale NEW YORK, United States – When Sycamore Partners bought a big stake in Aeropostale Inc. in 2013 and then loaned it $150 million, the private equity firm was seen as a possible saviour for the teen- apparel chain.
Can SurfStitch Resuscitate the Surfwear Industry?
The Gist: As surf “inspired” teen brands bite the dust, the more authentic, niche Surfstitch may be rising from the ashes.
Lesson Learned: Success comes from knowing who your target customer is and how to talk to them, dude.
Dive Deeper: Surfstitch, a online, Australian-based surf wear retailer has been experiencing remarkable growth that’s allowed them to gobble up brands like Billabong and PacSun. If you’re surprised by this growth join the club. Although board shorts and flip-flops seem relics from 2003, it turns out there is still an audience for surf wear: surfers. Yep, their secret sauce is selling surf gear to actual surfers, not Cali-obsessed junior high schoolers. On top of this obvious product/market fit, the company has attacked this niche with digital-first approach by acquiring a surf magazine and other targeted brands. Although I love seeing the old, tween giants wipeout, I can’t help but root for this underdog comeback story that’s riding a new wave.
HUNTINGTON BEACH, United States – If the surfwear business were a streaming soap opera, it would go like this. Shares of Billabong and Quiksilver, the industry’s biggest labels, surge to records in 2007, then crash.