The genius of J.Crew continues to manifest itself.
Yesterday, the company sent out its 2009 annual report, revealing a $40 million profit for 2009. Sales last year increased by 11% (over 2008 numbers) to $1.6 billion dollars.
The retailer's secret to success is an old one: Give the customer what they want before they know that they want it.
When CEO Mickey Drexler (who also happens to serve on the board of directors at Apple, another can't-touch-this American brand) headed to J.Crew in 2003 after being abruptly fired by Gap, he anointed creative director Jenna Lyons the face and aesthetic leader of the brand.
This bold move resulted in a cult of shoppers that wanted to wear her soft pastels, bow/pearl necklaces and brocade skirts. As Lyons' style has progressed, so have her designs, and they are certainly a big reason the chain is so successful today.
But no company's perfect.
If we could make one teeny, tiny suggestion to Drexler:
Mickey, We love your women's wear--Jenna, you're a legend!--but not every girl feels comfortable in ultra-girlie clothes. We may spend a half-hour perusing your women's floor, but we always end up in the men's department, feeling up the plaid flannels, Barbour jackets and unbelievably perfect broken-in chinos. Why not have menswear designer Frank Muytjens and Jenna collaborate on a guys-for-girls capsule collection? We're sure we're not the only ones who'd scoop it up in a second.
We've said our piece. Now it's time to hop back on the J.Crew bandwagon.