For weeks, I’ve been looking forward to Lilly Pulitzer’s collaboration with Target. Back in January, Target announced that they had partnered with the iconic Palm Beach-style designer for an exclusive, limited edition 250 piece collection.
In the past, Target has partnered with designers such as Missoni and Phillip Lim for low-priced collections for their stores.
You can see how people get excited about these partnerships. The price of one of Lilly’s brightly coloured shift dresses regularly sells around $US198. The Lilly for Target shift was around $US40.
The collection was scheduled to debut in stores on Sunday, April 19 at 8 a.m. The collection was also available online in the early morning hours of Sunday. (We were anticipating a launch between midnight and 2 am ET).
On Twitter, customers anxiously awaited the arrival of the collection using the hashtag #LillyforTarget to share their excitement. A few minutes after midnight, one Twitter user found a link on the mobile site to a pair of the gold Lilly Pulitzer espadrilles for sale on Target’s mobile site.
At that time, the collection was not yet available on Target’s website. It was impossible to search for those espadrilles on Target.com. I tried several times.
Soon after, though, other Twitter users began to find and share links to the mobile site. We were able to find the Lilly for Target merchandise early by using our smartphones and Googling the exact name of the product. We were successfully able to make purchases too.
Target quickly caught on to our strategy. Jason Goldberger, the president of Target.com and mobile, acknowledged that some of the merchandise was available early on mobile. He also Tweeted that those orders would still be honored.
When the website finally opened after 3 a.m. it was impossible to make any purchases.
Eventually, I fell asleep. I made it to the Target in Flatbush before 8 a.m. for the debut.
When the doors opened, it was insane. The racks and shelves were emptied in a matter of minutes. That was the case around the country.
Lilly Pulitzer was created by the late Lilly Pulitzer in 1959. While she was living with her first husband, Peter Pulitzer, the grandson of newspaper publisher Joseph Pulitzer, in Palm Beach, Florida, she wanted something to keep her occupied. Her husband’s family had an orchard so she opened up a juice stand.
The juice left stains on her clothes, so she went to her seamstress to make dresses in a print that would disguise the juice stains. That’s how it all started. People came to her stand for the juice, but they also wanted to buy the brightly-coloured dresses she was wearing.
At that time, clothing was pretty conservative. There weren’t many bright colours or anything wild. Lilly really created something avant garde.
In 1962, Lilly’s former classmate and then-First Lady, Jacqueline Kennedy, appeared on a LIFE magazine cover wearing a Lilly shift dress. The brand took off from there.
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