Why Juicy Went Sour
Fast Company writes about What Businesses Could Learn From The Fall Of Juicy Couture but while mentioning the sale to Fifth & Pacific to Authentic Brands Group, the piece appears to attribute the fall to a shift in consumer culture — a trending away from ostentatious and over to understated.
While valid, I can’t help feeling that the fall of the brand was almost entirely due to way too aggressive growth by Fifth & Pacific (formerly Liz Claiborne) and then Authentic Brands for allowing the brand to become almost entirely disconnected from its founders, Gela Nash-Taylor and Pamela Skaist-Levy.
And that’s where I think the real lesson for businesses lies. In an age of brand marketing that hinges on authenticity, trust, and storytelling (thanks in part to overwhelming choice), it’s no wonder consumers are often more likely to open their wallets to brands whose founders are still in the picture.
Gela and Pam were part of the appeal of Juicy. Even if, like me, you couldn’t stand the sight of those matchy sweatsuits with JUICY emblazoned below what one could only imagine was a “tramp stamp” on the wearer, you couldn’t help but buy into the story of the increasingly glamorous life of its hard working founders.
The pair of SoCal moms invested their own money in their company and barely a year went by that their beachside homes weren’t featured in C or InStyle. They were a PR machine onto themselves. Yet once the brand was sold, the soul and the story of the company was lost. There was nothing to PR anymore. Not much to care about. Store openings for the sake of store openings and endless line extensions don’t mean much without an underlying, well-told raison d’être.
Sure, shifts in taste and the times are valid. But for those in the big business of acquisition, I believe the fall of Juicy Couture came down to the disappearance of its story.
So as the doors close, people are reassigned to new roles, and the mountains of fast-fashion fabrics are shipped out to deep discounters, we should shift our gaze back to the sparkling shores of Southern California, and wish good luck to the founders on the rise of their new venture, Pam & Gela.
IKEA “Wakes Up” to Behavioral Insights, Cements Itself as a Lifestyle Brand
I am (for shame) one of the 24% of New Yorkers that hits the snooze button more than once, according to a new report by IKEA. The furniture company’s ‘A World Wake Up’ report tracks the habits of people in major cities from New York to Shanghai.
Not only is the infinite scroll UI quite beautiful (like Pew’s Next America report, I love the GIFs in the city ledes), the site is full of domestic ritual data and quotes, which is entirely ownable for a brand like IKEA — a company that describes itself as “a values-driven company with a passion for life at home. Every product we create is our idea for making home a better place. At the IKEA Group, we have 298 stores in 26 countries.”
As you dig into the data, there are some solid insights, like this one from the New York “Play Into the Day” section:
"Wanting to play more, especially with one’s children, is a pattern which repeats itself in all cities. We want to have more play time, and feel it is of utmost importance, but we rarely give ourselves the time to have this fun with our near and dear. Mornings are the time of day when we’re often urged to prepare for the day in an orderly fashion. But what if we’ve got our priorities wrong?
Using time logs, writer Laura Vanderkam has made priorities in her research a priority, and dug into the mystery of mastering a so-called work-life balance. She found that writing down what you spend time on is a golden way of actually finding more time by rescheduling and daring to miss out on other activities or duties that you thought you needed to do. She has changed her language and encourages others to do the same. Instead of saying “I don’t have time”, she now simply pronounces “It’s not a priority”.
What I like about this site and the study is that you can’t hear the marketer’s drumbeat of ROI and sales conversion banging through the content.
This is a story of IKEA, the lifestyle brand — and a company that takes studying their customer’s lifestyles seriously. Perhaps this is a sign of Leontyne Green Skyes’ (newish hire as CMO, IKEA North America) promise to hire a strategic insight manager.
As more retailers and brands have access to data, it’s interesting to see them doing something creative with it, outwardly and hopefully internally, too. Will these insights inform product development? In IKEA’s case, I have to think it does. Mainly because this site calibrates my belief that IKEA makes things with people in mind.