Tuesday, June 6, 2017

J.Crew's Mickey Drexler Is Stepping Down

"Thanks!" to many of you, who shared the following news: Mickey Drexler is no longer at J.Crew. From the New York Times (click here):
Mickey Drexler Steps Down as Chief of J. Crew, Ending an Era
By Vanessa Friedman and Julie Creswell
June 5, 2017

“As chairman and an owner of the company, it is my responsibility to focus on the future of J. Crew and find the right leadership to execute on our strategic plans,” Mr. Drexler, 72, said in a statement. “Jim has a proven track record of pushing for innovation.”

Same-store sales at J. Crew have fallen in 11 of the last 12 quarters, and the company shut its bridal business last year. In March, J. Crew, which is backed by the private equity firms TPG Capital and Leonard Green & Partners, said revenue fell 2 percent, to $695 million, during the three-month period that ended Jan. 28. In April, it announced plans to eliminate 150 full-time positions.

The retailing industry is now full of prominent brands that have struggled to adjust to consumers’ changing shopping patterns.

Several retailers have filed for bankruptcy this year, including Payless ShoeSource, The Limited, BCBG Max Azria and Wet Seal. Analysts are predicting many more will follow, and J. Crew, with its faltering sales and mountain of debt, has been dogged by speculation that it could file for bankruptcy.

Mr. Drexler was credited with creating the 1990s office uniform of a button-down shirt and khaki pants during his 18-year career at Gap. He saw that brand’s sales grow to $14 billion from $400 million and created Gap’s discount cousin, Old Navy. But he was fired in 2002 after 24 consecutive months of declines in same-store sales.

He joined J. Crew in 2003 and quickly lived up to his nickname, the Merchant Prince, as crisp tailored shirts and bright, springy ballet flats flew out the door. He was known for riding his bicycle around the office and using an intercom to communicate when struck by an idea. Robust sales set up J. Crew for a successful public offering in 2006 and a huge 700 percent return for the private-equity owners TPG.

In 2011, J. Crew was taken private again in a $3 billion deal, this time by TPG and private-equity firm Leonard Green & Partners. Mr. Drexler received $300 million in cash for the buyout but rolled $100 million back into the company for a significant equity stake.

Yet in recent years, J. Crew could not seem to get fashion right. The company was late to the athleisure party. Sometimes, the clothes were unflattering and boxy. Other times, they were oddly luxe — a $1,500 cashmere hoodie — for a customer base more attuned to paying $65 for a sweater.

The result was a very public fall from grace for the brand that was once a favorite of Michelle Obama, and that for almost a decade was a retail fairy tale, with Mr. Drexler as the hero and Ms. Lyons as the heroine.

“Mickey is one of those people I always looked to as a forward thinker,” said Steven Kolb, chief executive of the Council of Fashion Designers of America, a trade group. “So in a way it’s not surprising, given the changes in the business, that he recognized it was time for a change.”

The search for his successor had been underway for some time, said Ms. Fooshee, the J. Crew spokeswoman. The choice of Mr. Brett, who previously worked for brands like Urban Outfitters, Anthropologie and J. C. Penney, suggests that J. Crew may have decided to move further away from the flirtation with fashion instigated by Mr. Drexler and Ms. Lyons — like showing during New York Fashion Week — to retrench and concentrate on its more accessible styles and on online sales.

Since Mr. Brett, 48, was named president of West Elm, a modern furniture retailer that is part of Williams-Sonoma, it has reported strong growth. He established West Elm as a must-have favorite for millennials and was overseeing the brand’s push into boutique hotels in a handful of markets next year.

“Jim has a reputation as a terrific merchant,” said Joshua Schulman, the chief executive of Coach.

Aside from J. Crew, Mr. Brett will also be responsible for J. Crew’s hipper sibling brand, Madewell, which was created by Mr. Drexler and is the bright spot in the group’s portfolio.
So many thoughts... First and foremost, it is a bad economic time to be a brick and mortar retailer. Malls are facing a lot of empty store fronts. Online consumerism is winning based on best prices. J.Crew faced that issue like all other B&M retailers.

However, J.Crew was the retail darling! So how could have it gone all so wrong in the past couple of years? JCAs know the answer to this. They moved away from "classics with a twist". Top it off with high prices and lower quality (cashmere you are afraid to hand-wash, tees that develop holes after a single wear).

Plus, Jenna Lyons and Mickey Drexler were very eager to cater to Fashion Week and the like. Yet, they forgot their core customer. They took them for granted or even worse, purposefully felt like they were not good enough and left them behind. By the time they realized the mistake, it was a little too late to save the financials.

(Take for example this blog. When it first appeared back in 2008, J.Crew ignored it. Often refusing to acknowledge it. They would not even send me public releases, despite many polite requests to be added. Then when they *would* contact me, it was to tell me to remove *public* information, which didn't sit well with me. By the time they truly embraced bloggers, I already felt shunned by the company. It was my love for their clothes and this community that made me blog. But the company did very little to foster that for me. Incidentally, I never asked J.Crew for trips, clothes, discounts, or anything free. In fact, because of my anonymity, I did not think of doing that. Notice this blog still has no ads! I just wanted to be kept in the loop to share with the community.)  

Look, I am sad to see J.Crew in trouble. I have to admit that as of late they have been getting their act together. They are offering more of what I want to see. They are still my go-to for clothes, alongside Madewell. So I want to see them succeed. I sincerely hope Mr. Brett can turn things around.

As for Mickey Drexler... he was always a nice guy. He also made a lot of money from J.Crew so at the end of the day, he will be just fine. ;)

Thoughts on the article? Disagree or agree with Mr. Drexler's move to leave J.Crew?

67 comments:

  1. quote they forgot their core customer. They took them for granted

    always, always the undoing of every company. Not surprised to read this, and I am actually liking the things in store this spring/summer

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    1. Yes! They took us for granted and so it was not terribly surprising the result.

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    2. Agree that it's disappointing and hope there's a turn around. I continue to buy & love the brand because it still works well for me & also pairs with other brands too. Did my part this morning & bought a popback 😜.

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  2. I agree with your take on it. They forgot who and what made them so popular. They turned their back on their core consumers and a lot of us went on to shop at other brands.
    I check in here mostly out of respect for what you have done for us Alexis, much less for the actual clothes. The constant mark ups, bad quality and ridiculous sales have been a turn off.
    You are the only blogger (from when I started reading them in 08-09) that I can think of who hasn't asked or showed off freebies and perks. I've always appreciated your honesty. The way the crew ignored you has always bothered me.

    I hope they can turn things around, but it might be a little too late at this point.

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    1. Yes to everything! They did turn their backs on us.

      Also, Thank you A for the kind words. :) I have some lingering feelings towards J.Crew's reaction to this blog and how they are now treating some of the other, more fashion-wise, bloggers. It would have been nice if they embraced our community a little more, especially since we are/were true fans. Ah well. ;) They have other things on their mind right now.

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    2. The way they treated Alexis represents what went wrong. I don't understand why they partner with other bloggers now and give them free clothes and shoes after denying or ignoring Alexis' respectful requests simply for information. They may have changed their view of how to work with bloggers, but if they did then I think it had to do with their bottom line. I'm usually shaking my head at the bloggers J. Crew has decided to partner with. I remember when I knew they were going in the wrong direction. It was when AJC was reprimanded for taking fitting room photos. I think they've made some changes since then, but I still think they don't understand their customers.

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    3. Thank you Cate for the nice things too. :)

      I totally remember AJC and the fitting room pictures!!! I was thinking about that when I was writing and was going to add it but didn't know if anyone would remember! It is a prime example of taking an enthusiastic customer, who loved the brand and providing free marketing, being shunned *and* reprimanded by J.Crew. Now when I see the "take a selfie" or "don't forget #jcrew" at their stores, I get a tinge of like, "oh now its cool" side-eye. ;)

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    4. You were totally a trailblazer back in the day. I've been reading the blog for at least 10 years, and it's amazing to see how little they tapped into this incredible community. Maybe that's helped keep it special, to some extent. I really appreciate that you haven't monetized yourself or the community you created. Some bloggers have moved heavily in that direction, and it just leaves a weird taste in my mouth, since the tone changes toward the blogger being the brand you support.

      Y'all have been like a little fashion tribe for me over the years, and I hope that continues!

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    5. I totally remember the AJC/fitting room issue! I used to follow her blog as religiously as this one because she had the concept store right by her (and I liked her reviews/writing, of course!). That was unreal. I hope she is doing well.

      Alexis, I can't believe how they have treated you, but when I think through that it is my perception that unless you consistently provide them with only glowing praise, you are not going to be welcomed with open arms. The bloggers who seem to be in their good graces don't really have anything bad to say about J.Crew ever. That's what has made this blog awesome--we all love J.Crew, but at the end of the day we aren't afraid to call the company out on something they are doing wrong, whether its poor fit, quality, or customer service issues. It reminds me of advice my parents gave me when I was a kid playing organized sports and would become upset if my coach would criticize me: when your coach (or here, customers) don't say anything, that's when you start worrying because they have given up on you. Anyway, I'm hoping this change doesn't make J.Crew anything but better!

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    6. Monica Bonica: Love the username! I think that our little fashion tribe is very special. We love the brand but don't mind telling the truth. Which makes it very unique.

      HollDoll129: If memory serves me well, I think after the AJC incident, J.Crew had a nation-wide marketing push on taking selfies and using a J.Crew hashtag. Which only added to the frustration to the previous situation.

      Also, funny you should say about this blog not fitting in with their agenda. I don't check my email account often anymore (the SPAM emails are overwhelming.). But I did a few weeks ago and I noticed there was an email from jcrew.com. I clicked on it and sure enough it was a J.Crew spokesperson reaching out to me... to tell me to take something down. No joke. Apparently they said the JCAs were wrong about a topic and that I should correct them. I thought that (1) it is weird for multiple JCAs to be reporting something incorrect, (2) if it was misguided, JCAs would autocorrect themselves because we just want to share accurate information, and (3) J.Crew's attitude towards our community has not changed from 2008 to 2017. No joke!

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    7. Thanks! I actually legally changed my name to Monica Bonica when I got married and took my husband's last name :-)

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    8. I have never forgotten the AJC fitting room story...how times have changed. Carolyn

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    9. I remember the AJC fitting room story as well. Doesn't seem as if J. Crew likes this blog, and they are misguided in that regard. Remember when there weren't any reviews on the website?

      Well, I'm not too shocked Mickey is stepping aside. I think for me, the hey-day of J.Crew was when Marissa Webb worked there. The catalogue would arrive and I wanted EVERYTHING!!! LOL. Now, today, not-so-much.

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  3. As someone who has followed Mickey's career for a number of years I am glad he still has a role at J Crew. I certainly hope the new CEO has a great understanding and appreciation for the company's heritage and brings back better quality, better fits, better prices. Fast fashion isn't the answer!

    Alexis, a bit belated but its so nice to see you back. I really admire you as a blogger because you've stayed so true to yourself and to us. I've been turned off by bloggers who are all about ads and affiliate links and c/o merchandise! Thank you again!

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    1. Thanks Jane Smith Shops! I am amazed at what some bloggers have done with their "brand", both good and bad. The landscape has definitely changed since 2008. I am an old relic of the time. ;)

      Btw, your quote is spot on: "...a great understanding and appreciation for the company's heritage and brings back better quality, better fits, better prices. Fast fashion isn't the answer!" This. :)

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  4. Even this morning the website is riddled with stupid games. Prices changing in cart, promos changing, and not being able to login. I just wanted a few tanks and maybe an on sale collection item and now I am annoyed. Target came out with these great 100% linen boat neck tops last year, that wash amazing. I can skip the price drama and get quality work appropriate tanks from Target. This is what it has come to.

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    1. Yeah, the pricing game is a turn off. I love that they have constant sales, but not knowing when to buy (or rebuy a piece) is stressful. ;)

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  5. People have expressed concern with the designated replacement. As I mentioned earlier, here are a number of talented, energetic and capable executives in the fashion industry who would make the right move for the right reasons, but nibble-offer-acceptance is a two-way street, and right now J.Crew is radioactive. Headhunters were trying to fill a slot where the hiring pool already knew too many negatives about the company and with 10 minutes research and a phone call or two could learn more.

    Mickey did not get good advice at the time of the first public offering - he seemed to feel surprised and burdened by a public company's obligations to its shareholders and to the government. He did not get good advice when he took the company private - the lawsuit over that move shows that he thought he'd be able to run his fiefdom as he chose. He didn't think of the possibility that creditors would be more demanding than shareholders, and in a better position to enforce their demands, nor did his advisers explain to him that the influx of cash would mean the lenders would own him.

    I've just grabbed a few popbacks for next winter, because winter is coming.

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    1. OMG @ "I've just grabbed a few popbacks for next winter, because winter is coming." Hahahaha!

      In all fairness, it is 55 degrees today where I live (and it should be 77). So it's not like Winter ever left. ;)

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  6. This news isn't surprising....the ship is sinking. Of course it makes me feel a little sad, but what remains exactly like it was 20 years ago. Nothing I can think of. I'll still support the Crew and my local stores as much as possible. I enjoy the friendships I've made at my local stores and would really miss them if they closed. I did my part this morning and ordered a couple swimsuits which I'm happy were on sale and a pair of sandals on popup. Not on sale, but that's fine. I don't expect to always get things on sale. I think we have come to expect to never pay full price at the Crew (while being willing to do so at other retailers)....and that is part of the problem. Thank you, Alexis for all of your devotion. I come here to share, learn and enjoy everything J. Crew!

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    1. Aw, thanks Stray Cat. :) This community is pretty awesome.

      I really hope J.Crew stays around. I want them to get back to classics with a twist. I also think they still have a lot of brand equity with us, that they can still turn things around. :)

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    2. I'm completely with you, Alexis! I SO hope the Crew can rise to the glory they once enjoyed. It still remains my favorite clothier and you're right...they still have a lot of faithful customers and supporters...like yourself. I'm going to make a concerted effort to support the Crew as much as I can! It's great to hear from you and thank you for your kind comment!

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    3. Stray Cat: You are lovely. You have been here for a very long time, so thank you!!!!

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  7. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Alexis, so well said.
    I feel a bit sad too and really hope JCrew can turn things around. They are still my main store. I look forward to every new roll-out, every new style guide. I wear JCrew almost exclusively. Their clothes fit me, size-wise, aesthetic-wise, like no other brand.
    I would also terribly miss this blog and community. I really appreciate you providing this forum for us, Alexis!

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    1. Maryeb: You are sweet. :) Much like you, I wear J.Crew almost exclusively so I need them to stick around. ;)

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  8. I am not surprised. The quality just isn't there, and the brand has felt very stale for at least the past 3 years. I just don't shop there anymore, but I do keep checking in here out of loyalty to the JCA group - there's no other community like it and much of it is thanks to you, Alexis!!

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    1. Louise @ INGREDIENTS: It is good to hear from you! Thank you too! :)

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  9. Alexis, you summed it up perfectly. I have always appreciated the grace and class with which you've maintained this community without commercializing or compromising the intent. I've been a JCA since you started the blog and a lot has changed, but it's always been a little haven to come here to talk all things J Crew. Thank you.

    I am reminded of the middle school scourge of "jumping cliques" when I think of the past ten years at J Crew. The way they treated this blog is a metaphor for what the brand has done to its core customer - they chased the "cool kids," the fashion circles hanging at NYFW, and maybe the crowd Jenna wanted to be a part of. But they never quite fit in permanently, and the nice girls that they abandoned made other friends. Mickey admitted it - they tried too hard to be elitist.

    I still want my old friend back! But it may be too late. I'm really glad I have a closet full of beautiful pieces and I've really appreciated the input from JCA over the years. With a really uncertain future, I'm going to treasure what I have.

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    1. Great metaphor!@Ruffles. "Grace and class", that sums up Alexis perfectly.
      I really hope you are wrong about the 'fast fashion' direction.

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    2. Ruffles: OMG!!! The analogy is spot on. I think the company treated "us" as a given. Instead of nurturing that relationship, they chased the popular girls. And we, the JCAs, miss our old friend. Spot on perspective!

      Maryeb: Thank you! (blushes) :)

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  10. I'm just worried that JCrew is going to move even more towards "fast fashion" - lower prices, lower quality, sad fabrics.

    I can get that in a lot of stores, and I don't want it. I want something more, and something better, and I think JCrew definitely had the right idea for a while.

    It still makes up a huge part of my wardrobe, so we will see what happens!

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    1. Carmen, it seems extremely likely that J Crew will move more towards fast fashion w an emphasis on online sales. Every decision they are making points that way - and there isn't much evidence at all that quality and a real "design aesthetic" like they had in the past is a big part of the strategy going forward.

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    2. CarmenCatalina & Ruffles: I too hope they learn that fast fashion wont work in the long run. High fashion and fast fashion does not work for them.

      J.Crew needs "classics with a twist". I don't care if its just gingham and stripes, make sure the fit, quality and price points are there and I will buy 5 of each. ;)

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    3. The environmental impact of the fast fashion industry is pretty incredible (in a bad way). I think we talked about the documentary a few months ago on Netflix called The True Cost (if you haven't seen it, it's worth your time).

      Madewell seems to be eco-conscious with things like denim recycling. I hope J.Crew is able to see the hypocrisy in potentially moving toward fast fashion while sending a conflicting message from their sister brand.

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    4. One thing that has always bothered me about both JCrew and Madewell is that almost everything is made in China.

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  11. I really hope J Crew will not follow the masses to "fast fashion" and return to their core - well-made, mid-priced clothing that all ages will and can wear. There is a niche there - something less expensive than Tory Burch but better made than Banana Republic. Almost what Kate Spade is doing but will a little more restraint and offering the classic pieces that we all wear. There is no one in that space. They could fill it. Close a lot of their stores. Sell in the bigger markets and sell online.

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    1. Totally agree on the open niche. I've pretty much abandoned BR because it's all so cheap-looking now. I like Tory Burch etc but it is more than I like to spend so I only buy when there is a good dept store sale. Pretty much that's where I'm getting all my stuff now--waiting for nicer dept store brands to get good markdowns or picking it up at places like Gilt, SaksOff5th or the Outnet.

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    2. Sega61: Yes! Basically go back to the core! That space is still available with shoppers.

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  12. First of all thank you Alexis for continuing to allow us a place to come chat. I have not been around as long as some and was a long time lurker before I starting posting but have always found everyone here welcoming and helpful. I will be curious to see what direction they go in but I am not confident that it will be good quality fabrics that are classics with a twist. I tend to think they will move towards fast fashion which will make me sad. I have already spent a lot less this year than last and my wishlist is smaller than it has ever been. I will say in theory I have more then enough clothes to shop my own closet for quite some time. But I do enjoy shopping and will need some place to look for a few pieces to add. I will keep my fingers crossed. Oh and I also remember the fitting room photo incident from a few years back and could not believe it!

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    1. JessF: Thank you for the nice words! :) And I also hope they don't rush to fast fashion. They are not suited for that as the past few years have shown. Let's hope they go back to their basics. ;)

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  13. Thought this was an interesting "blind item" on gossip blog Crazy Days and Nights, which tends to be more accurate with its gossip than others...

    At the CFDA:

    Lots of talk and buzz last night that this fired creative director had a ton of information about her old boss. She sent it to certain people and then wham, the boss was fired too.

    http://crazydaysandnights.net/2017/06/blind-item-12-cfda-awards.html

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    1. Miss Young: Interesting!!! I wonder what that info is. Especially since they always presented themselves as a duo.

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    2. Juicy! I wish we knew the deets.

      Maybe they had a falling out. Jenna was at the CFDA. Saw Eva Chen's IG post with Jenna in her photo....

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  14. Alexis, as a reader who has been with you since 2008, I would like to say thank you for everything that you do. JC has completely blown any benefit they could have reaped from the frank JCA dialogue--we are in effect a free focus group, and we've identified these concerns for years. At the same time, their public statements miss the other half of the equation--quality, which JCAs have also been discussing for years. Despite my gripes, I'm saddened by the woes of my favorite retailer, even if most of my recent purchases are eBay scores of "pre-war" classics.

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  15. @Alexis, I'm very grateful for the ad-free environment you'd maintained here at JCA. I love being able to come and read and/or post without worrying about clicking the wrong spot on my screen and being hauled off to some other site, especially from my phone. I've not been around that long, and am certainly not the biggest J.Crew shopper out there, but I really appreciate the friendly advice and unvarnished reviews I read here. It's amazing to me that when I'm not sure what to wear with "x", I can come here and usually get a response within an hour or two. This site has single-handedly been responsible for many of my J.Crew purchases over the past few years, and I don't bother reading any other J.Crew blogs (there are others?) because I get all the info I need right here. Thanks, Alexis, and thanks to all the JCAs for making this a place worth coming to!

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  16. Alexis, your blog has been a model for the focused fashion point of view, and i am so grateful for the frank interchanges and open discourse that have been its hallmark. The helpful and knowledgeable community you have fostered is not going to fade away because Dear Leader is not at the helm of a failing business. We will still need tips on resellers, close-outs, discoveries... we will still need you. Thank you for all you have done, but please don't let Dear Leader's retirement lead to yours!

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  17. Alexis, I wanted to say thank you for all that you've done over the years. I've been following the blog since I started shopping at Jcrew around 2008 and have loved the great conversations and great jcas that are a part of this community. I think you are amazing for keeping this blog true to yourself rather than for profit. I really appreciate this forum and am hoping Jcrew turns around and gives us many more years of discussions.
    I too am hoping that Jcrew stays away from fast fashion. When I started shopping there it was more expensive than other retailers with few discounts but the quality was worth it. BR, Ann Taylor etc use so much poly I can't stand it. Plus some of the clothes stink of chemicals. I really hope Jcrew doesn't go that route. They don't need to compete with such stores if they return to quality and more classic pieces vs too many trendy pieces. Jcrew was unique and I really hope they can get back to greatness.

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  18. Next up for J.Crew.... more like Old Navy?

    http://www.gq.com/story/jcrews-next-era-will-leave-less-room-for-fashion?mbid=social_facebook

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  19. And for the record, the best blog and classiest act goes to Alexis.

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  20. Canada follow you too! have read the JCA blog every morning for years. You are and continue to be an amazing group for people.
    Alexis...you started and encouraged a wonderful atmosphere.
    Here's hoping our worries are short lived and J Crew survives this latest down turn. Carolyn from Vancouver.
    Just wondering ...do some bloggers get free clothes,trips or better prices? I would have thought not?

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    1. They sure do. It's becoming an increasingly popular marketing tactic. Those bloggers (often called influencers) turn around and promote/evangelize the stuff they receive to their followers, which can be many thousands of people.

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  21. I am remaining cautiously optimistic for the future of J.Crew because I can't think of the alternative. But something needs to change. The J.Crew we know and love is in there somewhere.

    Alexis, thank you so much for all of you have done for this community. I read/lurked for years before I ever posted and eventually crossed over to the blogging/Instagram posting realm. I have met and become friends with several ladies through our mutual love of the brand and I can thank this blog for leading me to them. Whatever comes of J.Crew, I look forward to continuing the sense of community that's been created here.

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  22. Adding to the Alexis love and hopes that J. Crew will return to the quality fabrics, impeccable tailoring, and classic designs with a twist of yesteryear.

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  23. It is the end of an era with departure of Mickey, Jenna and Frank. They helped make a brand that would appeal to college students, workplace professionals as well as the fashionista. I love that they are a store in my mall and show at NYFW. I just don't know how it will be the same without them all, but I am hopeful that they can survive. JCrew is my favorite store and I will continue to support them because no one else appeals to me like they do. I order frequently and would shop more at the b&m if they had a wider selection in store. It seems like the retail store is becoming obsolete and all the store closings just make me sad. It is not just Jcrew that is struggling. Just this week, Michael Kors announced the closing of 100+ stores. Of course I love the fashions but one of my favorite things about Jcrew is this community and all of the friends I have made here and on Instagram. I am just adding my thanks for everything you do Alexis.

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  24. Not wanting to repeat all of the wonderful things that have already been said but I will add my extra thanks to Alexis and everyone here. As I kind of hide my J Crew obsession from friends I appreciate having this space to share opinions and feelings with others who share the same interest. In today's society this probably comes across as superficial to many but it makes me happy, J Crew has made me happy for over 20 years and some of the most important things have happened to me in my life when I was wearing J Crew. Kind of silly I know but again thanks to everyone here and fingers crossed they turn everything around, you have to get through the turmoil in order to get past it. Leave fast fashion to Factory and get back to the basics for the main brand.

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  25. I feel like I'm a bit of a latecomer, I remember finding the blog a few years ago and checking on it for reviews on occasion. Truth of the matter was that as a mom with young kids, J.Crew was a bit of a splurge for me and i don't think I became a regular shopper until about 2010. Now it's basically my entire closet.
    I don't know about the AJC dressing room pics either!
    Thanks to Alexis for this community.

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  26. I think the real problem of all these retailers is overstock. It's becoming an environmental issue (we definitely have too many choices and too much stuff) and there is a shift in fashion towards sustainable clothing production that clearly JCrew under Mickey is not being aware of. The brands that are going to survive are brands that produce less and better. It seems a truism but only the customer can tell what the customer wants. Ultimately the model will be fashion by order only, retailers will produce only the quantity they can sell and reduce the waste. Amen to that.

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    1. I agree with this assessment, too. I've seen a shift in my purchasing to find one amazing item and splurging a little on that rather than having 10 flimsy silk blouses. I've purchased from Cuyana (bomber jacket -- *AMAZING*) and Emerson Fry (shift dress and a linen coat). I've worn each of the items several times and they look great. Juxtapose that with the "chambray" dress I bought from J. Crew last summer that looks like a wrinkly, crumple mess when I went to wear it the other day. It went into the consign pile immediately. I'm over it and it would take a lot to bring me back as a regular customer.

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    2. Also, the things J. Crew used to do well (pretty prints and vibrant colors) aren't there. And pretty prints can be found by lots of designers (loving the Marc Jacobs "polka dots" this summer). I don't know how J. Crew can go back to what it used to be. The retail environment has changed and what worked before may not work again.

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    3. Lastly, thank you to Alexis and this wonderful blog. I enjoy the discussions (way more than the clothing at this point!) and love the genuine reviews and links to styling suggestions via Instagram.

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  27. I'm still curious whose vision was behind the the company's huge success in the early 2000's. Some designer or stylist had the vision that created what I loved about the company - this 'classics with a modern twist'. I don't think it was Jenna - the company faltered when she took a major leadership role. Was it Marissa? Was it someone else - an unsung hero working behind the scenes, creating the more inspired, sell-able designs?

    I still miss that J Crew. The style of that era is gone, but so is the quality - that included nicely lined coats and rather good cashmere. I know there is a constant tug of war between quality and price - but I was always willing to pay a little more for something nice, it pays in the long run. Fast fashion is a terrible idea imo!

    I kept hoping they'd figure out their error and correct it. The first problem (IMO) was style - they got too 'stylish' for their customer base. Little Edie goes to camp? Really? Then the downturn hit, and they skimped on the quality to offer lower prices. But bad quality is no bargain at any price.

    Its all just so sad.

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  28. All that could be said has been said - I love the JCA community. I definitely share my secret passion with you all here. Thank you, Alexis, for so wisely presiding over it all and helping us come together! I'll end on a song ...
    "Must have been love, but it's over now,
    It was all that I wanted, now I'm living without "

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  29. I am remaining cautiously optimistic for the future of J.Crew because I can't think of the alternative. But something needs to change. The J.Crew we know and love is in there somewhere.
    thanks for sharing...

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    ReplyDelete

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