Aside

From a shopper and outsider’s point of view, JCP (JCPenney) has struggled with identity over the past two years. Figuring out what they want to be and who exactly they want to sell to. One could say that JCP has been through the trenches the past few years. Ron Johnson (previously of Apple and Target fame), attempted to revamp the brand. He brought in new designers, freshened up the logo, and monikered the name to JCP, and he even nabbed Ellen as a spokesperson. It all seemed like a good plan, until people stopped shopping.

I must admit, I began to shop at JCP during the attempted-revamp. They launched a new menswear (and womenswear) line called JCP, which was set to replace the aging St. John’s Bay-line. The line was great! Trim-fit button-downs, polos and slimmer-legged pants all fit into my budget and my style.

What I believe happened was that JCP attempted to rebrand too fast. They dumped the less modern brands in lieu of the slimmer fits, and more trendy, forward styles. This scared the devoted JCPenney customer, where I believe most reside in the 50+ age range. They also attempted a new pricing strategy, which didn’t abode well with the bargain-hungry consumer. JCP built their sales on “Our Everyday Low Prices.” This didn’t give the bargain-hungry the deals they were expecting (even though the pricing was supremely lower compared to the competition mainly in Kohl’s, Macy’s, and Sears). They did away with coupons and the majority of promotions. I believe the price-conscious consumer wants to believe that they’re getting a phenomenal deal by using coupons, in-store promotions, first-borns, and sales to get that rock-bottom price (hey, I’m one of them).

The new store construction with the goal of Shoppes-in-Shop (think of a mall within a mall with ever-changing brands) was timely, costly, and confused customers. JCP has since backtracked as much as they could to return to their heyday. They quickly brought back old merchandise and brands, changed pricing-strategies, brought back sales and coupons, and halted pricey construction. They even brought back the vehemently JCPenney logo. There’s even been talks about reissuing the catalogue (remember that 30lb. book?).

My advice? I’m no MBA-student but I’m a seasoned-shopper. I know sales, and I know bargains. JCP could have been successful if they were more conscious on who their prime target audience is. Don’t alienate them. There’s room at the party for both. Keep bringing in fresh merchandise and off-shoot brands from well-known designers. It works, it’s appealing, and it’s exclusive. The pricing strategy was smart but still people LOVE those coupons. Keep the coupons and make the customer believe that they’re getting the best deal already at JCP, but it’s sweetened even more with that extra 10, 15, or 20%-off coupon, if this is fathomable.

One place they should’ve invested heavily (and still can) on was JCP.com. Their website is the forefront of business for the busy technophile. Their current website is a bit boring. Make it modern. Hire a few geeks (love ya!) from Silicon Valley to amp up the style. Modernize your shipping for Pete’s sake! 10 days to get a package? Unheard of! Ship-to-Store? Really? C’mon! Offer JCP-cardholders free 2-day shipping or a fresh “$3 ships it all” price. Maybe subscribe to ShopRunner (Lord and Taylor and Neiman Marcus have been successful with it…even American Express has invested heavily in it). I don’t want to wait to get my shipment. Another thing, don’t completely drop the JCP-moniker. It’s easy, smart, and still sounds better than saying JCPenney or the dreaded Penney’s (umm hi, Grandma). JCP, you don’t want to be Macy’s (and their awful service) and you’re definitely doing better than Sears. Figure out your identity, you’ll be okay. I know plenty of people who love you, me included!

2014 changes.

Wow! It’s been so long since I’ve posted. I feel like I abandoned you! Don’t feel blue, I’m still here, just going through a bit of change. So many things have happened, some good and some bad, but always moving forward (I hope).

For 2014, I want to change this blog up with an inclusion of video chat. Look at it as a video diary, where I’ll speak about a topic that I’m interested in or something that’s been on my mind. I’m really excited about this and have been constantly getting ideas that I’d like to bring to you.

A few ideas that I’ve been jonesing to chat about are…

1. Being a conscious consumer (you wouldn’t believe how much stuff a single person goes through…and where does it all go?)

2. Becoming comfortable with emotional vulnerability.

3. My own journey forward (with hopes you all can relate, too)

…and so much more (I’m literally have brain flatulence…but I promise some cool conversation)

…P.S…I’ll still include product reviews to appease the masses.

My hope is to keep you thinking about your own self and your own life (and A LOT about how we communicate and interact with others) by giving you some information from my experience and ideas. I’m not trying to get all emotional on your asses, but truly, why the hell not?

Now, just let me get used to being in front of this computer camera, and we’ll be in business for sure! I’m excited!

Take care ya’ll!

Sale and Run

Quick sale blast for you shoppers. In-store, Neiman Marcus is running a 25% off sale on basically everything including some high-end designers, even certain McQueen and Gucci. Not included were Tom Ford and certain accessories. Get in there! I rarely see this type of deal at Neimans. The deal beats Bloomingdales Friends & Family 20%-off (going on now both online and in-store). Luckily, Nordstrom will also match either discount in-store or online on the same product, just call customer service or speak with a sales associate.

BUT, before you shop, get out and vote! It counts, silly!

Not so Lands’ End

I got the chance to peruse the new Lands’ End Canvas fall collection inside my local Sears store. I came away completely impressed with what was available. 

When you think Lands’ End, forward-fashion doesn’t immediately come to mind. You think monogrammed school backpacks, canvas tote bags, turtlenecks, and preppy-mom apparel. 

For about a year or two, Lands’ End has launched a more modern, tailored collection called Canvas. The fit and fabrics are different and geared more toward an trendy urbanite that loves his/her coffee runs, concerts in the park, and gallery openings at dusk. 

The men’s collection screams dapper New Englander with durable flannels, slim chinos, and oversized sweaters that demand to be worn on a blustery day. The outerwear is great with duffle coats and puffer vests. You can really feel the quality in the fabrics and the price point is quite great. The styling could be compared to that of J. Crew, Polo Ralph Lauren, and Signature L.L.Bean. I would even go as far as to say the quality exceeds that of J. Crew. 

What really stuck out to me was Lands’ End’s new push to reincorporate American-made apparel into the collection. Canvas’ new denim in American sourced and manufactured. The denim is strong, tailored, and ready to become your go-to pair, either for work or play. The price-point is a great value at $98. Allen Edmunds shoes (also American-made) have made their way onto shelves in the Canvas shop with exclusive styles just for Lands’ End. 

With Sears reevaluating their sales pitch, Lands’ End would be a shop to heavily invest in, in my opinion. It’s trusted by customers and backed with a warranty that’s nearly best on the block (Guaranteed. Period.) One suggestion would be to give Canvas its own shop…Perhaps a pop-up in NYC, Boston, or Chicago, or a store-front where people can experience Canvas without having to venture into their local Sears. Keep heading in this direction! Bravo Lands’ End! Check out the collection at canvas.landsend.com

Back to Basics

Everybody is familiar with the saying “back to basics.” Major corporations use the saying countless times when things get a haywire and business sags. Let’s incorporate that into your wardrobe. I’ve heard well-known stylists always referring to keeping things basic. So what does it actually mean to go “back to basics,” in terms of wardrobe?

Basics are that of quality, simple pieces. They don’t have to be insanely expensive, but you do pay for higher quality. My list of basics consists of well-fitted jeans/khakis, a nice shoe/sneaker, tailored shirts, slim polos and t-shirts, timepiece, eyewear, and bag to hold daily needs. Throw in some fun socks, undies, and seasonable outerwear. Color choice is always important, but remember that when you re-wear, people will remember a strong color. My advice is to keep it simple. Leave the bold statements for occasions (ie. wear that blood red polo once every other week). 

I’m curious why people invest on an item that they only wear on occasion? Your daily-wear should be where you spend your money. Whether you wear khakis or denim on a daily basis, invest in what you wear consistently. Don’t spend hundreds of dollars on one pair of pants, but invest wisely in a brand that’s known for quality and fit and that works with your frame. Get to a tailor to have shirts darted, legs tapered (if you so choose), and waists cinched. EVERYTHING looks better when it actually fits your body frame. I cringe when I spot a man walking around in a suit that’s swimming on his body. Oversized-shirt ballooning out of ill-fitting pleated trousers, pant legs nearly swallowing up round-toed (ugh) shoes. Yes, some people don’t care about how they look. I give you props…ish.

My current wardrobe could be considered basic. I’m a big fan of denim, so I have a decent selection of jeans in styles and washes I know I’ll wear, and can match with nearly every shirt I own. Never will you see me with a pair of acid wash denim emblazoned with studs or highly decorated rear pockets. I prefer to keep things quiet. A great dark wash jean works with everything. I tend to follow the idea of “less is more”. I have stock-piles of white t-shirts because I think they looks crisp and clean with a pair of jeans and fun kicks. A great fitting colored t-shirt can be a knockout, as well. T-shirts can be played with, but try to keep the brand-screaming shirts to the tweens and teens. A well-fitted t-shirt can be sexier than even the most prestigious suit. 

Some people will argue with me about keeping your wardrobe basic, but for me, it works. Take or don’t take my advice, but please, get to know a tailor. They can work wonders. 

Sale and Run

This weekend is Bloomingdale’s Friend & Family sale! Get in and stock up on basics, especially the likes of Calvin Klein Underwear, which is already 25% off for their semi-annual sale. Nab up some Dockers Alpha Khakis at 20% off. Add the discount to already marked-down prices.

Get yourself a fresh pair of sunglasses for the summer. If you hit up the flagship on 59th street, they’re known for having a great sale section. Just know you’re bound to get lost. Bloomingdales online selection is pretty good. Sign up for their newsletter, and get an additional 10% coupon sent to you (sometimes it takes a day or two). 

 

Sale and Run

Got a few promotion codes to throw your way for some great retailers.

Banana Republic. Save 40% on one full-price item. They always get you with the “full-price item” but you can find some great shirts for spring. Plus, update your khaki’s with a slimmer cut. Their just released “Mad Men” collection is always lovely, as well as their “Monogram” collection. I might nab a pair of Adidas kicks for the summer with the 40%. Can’t beat the discount. 

Code – BRNOW40
 

Piperlime – Another GapInc. company, but they’re offering 20%-off for 3-days. Piperlime now carries a wide-selection of men’s designer duds from Lacoste, J-Brand, 7FAM, Alternative, and Jack Spade, just to name a few. The coupon also works on sale items, which gives you a damn good deal. Nab some spring t-shirts, kicks, and/or jeans. Also get yourself a new gym bag…I know a few people who could use one…Shhh.

Code – SPRING
 

Daffy’s – With its selection of European designers, you might find a more tailored fit in jackets, shirts, and pants. Use this coupon to get an extra 20% your entire purchase. Making those low-prices even lower. I’ll stop by for a new spring coat, and maybe some undies.

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If I come upon more coupons and/or promotion codes, I’ll be sure to post them! Happy Shopping!