JENNA LYONS: Here's Why Gap Doesn't Stand A Chance Against J. Crew

jenna lyons

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J. Crew has been dominating its retail sector for years, which has a lot to do with the company’s visionaries, CEO Mickey Drexler and President and Creative Director Jenna Lyons.

Lyons recently spoke with Tommye Fitzpatrick at Business of Fashion about the company’s retail philosophy, and why J. Crew has forged ahead of Gap:

Make people feel special. Making people realise you’re paying attention to them is going to be increasingly important, because I don’t think people feel very special anymore. Instead of the classic model, like, here’s a Gap store and here’s a thousand other Gap stores, we’ve really focused on trying to make sure each of our New York stores feel really special and jewel box. We want you to feel like there’s a reason to go into the store. You were in the downtown store, but that actually has slightly different product, has a different mood than the uptown store.”

The key is differentiation. But in creating that, you can’t make a bunch of huge changes right away, she says, or you risk losing your customer base: “You can’t do anything quickly. You kind of have to go slow because you have a bunch of customers to get there with you. You can’t flip on them because that can get really confusing to people.”

She says that problems are addressed really quickly, too — like how when she complained J. Crew’s cashmere products were terrible years ago, Drexler simply said to “change it,” and now the company is known for its cashmere. As with any industry, brilliant ideas go nowhere if there isn’t good execution.

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