As we've made obvious here, we can't get enough of the fashion-forward styling that Jenna Lyons and Mickey Drexler have brought to J.Crew. But not everyone feels that way about the brand--and it turns out Drexler might agree with at least some of those customers.
Chris DeRose writes about his wife Elizabeth's recent interaction with J.Crew's CEO for Forbes. DeRose sent an angry customer service email after receiving a preview of the holiday collection, which apparently didn't meet her standards for the brand.
"I am so disheartened and disappointed that you are leaving your core values and styling and abandoning your loyal customers," she fired off in an email to J.Crew. "I would have thought you had learned your lesson at the Gap!! Why mess with these iconic brands and change them into something they’re not?"
Drexler, who is probably pretty busy running a multi-million company but is also a notorious micromanager, went above and beyond to get in touch with DeRose; first, he emailed her a response within 24 hours, followed up by a voice mail with his cell phone number. When DeRose called back, he answered right away, putting J.Crew President Libby Wadle on the line as well. Creative director Jenna Lyons would have been on the call too, he said, except that she was on vacation.
While it would be easy for Drexler to celebrate his success in turning the brand into a cult favorite--and indeed, he "stood his ground" on evolving the brand and moving it forward--he also conceded that "some of the styling had perhaps strayed too far" from the brand's core.
"We are on it for sure," he told DeRose in a follow up email (yes, he even sent a follow-up email). "I hope you see a difference this fall."
It's a delicate balancing act: retaining your core customer while expanding your business. But considering what Drexler and Lyons have done for the brand (including landing it on the backs of the First Family on Inauguration Day), we think they're headed in the right direction.