This preppy retailer that refuses to hire models might be worth $1 billion

Vineyard vines instagramInstagram/Vineyard VinesA photo from Vineyard Vines’ Instagram.

Preppy retailer Vineyard Vines has been around since brothers Ian and Shep Murray quit their jobs to start the brand in 1998, but it’s becoming more and more ubiquitous.

The company has over 75 stores, with a loyal following in the Northeast. 

The company prides itself on selling”the good life” to consumers through preppy designs that evoke summer vacations on the water. 

One thing that sets Vineyard Vines apart? It refuses to hire models. 

For its most recent catalogue, the company went to Anguilla and shot photos of real people who lived there, such as one couple who relocated from New York City and a musician from Anguilla.

Vineyard Vines Spring 2016 CatalogueVineyard VinesPeter and Anne Parles posed for the catalogue.
Vineyard vines catalogueVineyard VinesBankie Banx, a musician, posed for Vineyard Vines’ most recent catalogue.

The company started hiring real people for its marketing because when it first launched, it didn’t have enough money to hire models.

“When we started — we simply, because we were two brothers with minimal resources, we couldn’t afford models so what we did was we put our friends in the catalogues,” Ian said. He said they weren’t trying to mislead customers or pass these people off as models — rather, they told customers about the people in the photos.

Soon, customers were sending them photos of themselves wearing Vineyard Vines apparel.

On its Instagram, the company shows off customers wearing their favourite Vineyard Vines clothes. (On the company’s website, though, models show off the apparel when people are looking to buy clothes.)

Somehow, the company has managed to capture a following when many other retailers are failing. They chalk it up to the fact that they’re evolving — they’re not fast fashion, but not a heritage brand, either.

It’s all paying off, too; according to Reuters, the company was looking to sell a stake to Goldman Sachs in May, which would make it wroth $1 billion. (The company wasn’t able to comment on this.)

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