Many retail stores issue credit cards which further serve to reinforce their brand name. J. Crew does this. The initial offer, if you qualify for their credit card, is 10% discounted from your first purchase. Ten percent is really only a bit above sales tax, but a discount is a discount. I filled out the paperwork, simple in today’s world & ended up with a middle initial that is not mine. That took more time to fix than my actual shopping & looking around for items to photograph. One unsettling visual is the use of two logos. For a brand that is attempting to retain a loyalty-based shopping group, it seems a bit pulled in two directions, one logo being presented via simple, Latin-alphabet, block letters; the other logo is closer to cursive writing. This second effort seems to want to distance itself from the stronger & bolder simplicity of the J. Crew type font, the one that appears on the outside signage, the credit card, and the shopping bag. For this store, this brand, one logo, is enough, and to add the less distinctive, “softer” form diminishes the original & leaves a message of identity indecisiveness.
Despite the strangeness of being assigned a middle initial that I do not have, the staff were quite nice & certainly apologetic for this blip that seemed to be no one’s fault.
As things turned out, they did not fix the issue, and the robot prevailed. I am still, days later, after being assured that the problem had been fixed, in possession of their credit card which has reference to this randomly assigned middle initial. How they will deal with this may turn into another installment. Today, 22 September 2013-I presented myself in person just to address this issue a final time, being told that a new card, sans middle initial, would be issued. It would seem that a manual override would be one method of correcting such errors. But thinking simply often does not translate into the digital world of today (which is certainly not all it is cracked up to be!).
J. Crew is a nice store, a bit pricey for my day-to-day needs, but in order to learn more about a brand that became part of a class assignment, it seemed to behoove me to get acquainted with the style & the pace of the store.
Finding it was a bit problematic, the design layout of the upper floors of Westfield Centre, are not easy to navigate, and probably one of the reasons I don’t venture very far from the food court. Only a robot would love the layout of Westfield Centre. I do shudder to think what might happen in the event of a true emergency, getting all of those people out in an orderly fashion–a digression not to be taken lightly. But, find it I did & what follows is a bit of photo-journalism, reflecting my impressions of the experience.
Despite limitations of a small point & click camera, you can see that the simple & straight forward theme & concept is carried out in their other business to consumer messages in terms of how they present their brand persona.
At this point, I have not even entered the store, simply seeking out what messages this company, this brand, is sending to me. J. Crew member, Yes or No?
Still outside, looking in–before taking the leap.
So, at this point the message that I am getting from the store window is one that tells me that I am about to enter an environment where upscale clothing awaits me in a casual setting, one that is enhanced by reminders of classic & vintage symbols from earlier eras-a poster from Let’s Get Lost, a documentary about the late Chet Baker, is the beginning of our shopping experience.
The signals sent out by the store design & decoration are Janus-like in nature, looking two directions at once, to the future & referencing the past. While their online presence seems to be striking out in a direction that is a departure from the classic business wear they have been known for, the clothing & the design elements in the actual store look more to the past.
Researching their website & other online resources indicated that J. Crew is attempting to become a global presence. Will they, like Sherwin Williams paints, cover the earth?
CODA: If J. Crew can live up the the standards presented in the You Tube Holy Jackets, they will retain their loyal base without needing to dilute quality. The Holy Jacket will become their Holy Grail. Ciao