Monday, October 3, 2011

Other Merchants...J. Crew

There are a lot of merchants I learn from, big and small. I'll write about some of them in a new category of posts (click "Other Merchants"). If there are any you think I should know about please shout!

J. Crew

I don't think there's a better clothing mass merchant these days than Mickey Drexler at J. Crew. He's like the Steve Jobs of moderately preppy. His taste, fit and overall merchandising are diabolically good. Their stores are fairly well run, which is saying a lot for a company that has over 200 locations, mostly in malls. Stylistically, Mickey almost never makes a wrong move and, eight years in, he just seems to be getting better. If I had to compete with him I'd be very scared.

I particularly like how he's picking iconic brands both popular (Timex) and somewhat unknown (Loro Piana, the legendary Italian fabric maker) and mixing them in. Sometimes they're sold as an item with a J. Crew twist. Sometimes they're part of a garment. In either case, he doesn't hide them, but he also makes sure you know it's J. Crew that's running the show in how they're included. He also uses facts and education to help sell clothes rather than just trend, which is how I've always tried to sell food.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Recent Reading

Is junk food cheaper than good food? Bittman says no.

The guy who runs Zappos fines his employees for saying the words "Social Media." Also, he loves orders by phone.

The Parking Lot is a documentary on a group of parking lot attendants that turns into a pretty funny take on the metaphysics of the service industry. There are so few films that get anything right about work life. This one does. (For one of my favorites go see Office Space.) It left me wondering, do you need to be a hopeless romantic to enjoy being in service?