Monday, August 1, 2011

A plea to Anthropolgie

Dear friends at Anthropologie,

Anthroplogie stores are more than a shopping environment, they are a refuge; at least for me they are. The classic and vintage-inspired clothing is a relief against the keystone cop approach to trendy fashion hooking most Americans and dressing them like lost children in a deep and desperate identity crisis, one that will never find peace.

Antropologie, your stores have provided many Americans with fashion/style rehabilitation.

The problem is many Americans cannot afford your current prices.

Given this, I ask you to stand behind your product, it’s quality and test of time by opening an Anthropolgie resale market. Do not develop a lower grade product to broaden your market like so many other retailers before you in the form of false outlets. Do not compromise your quality or design. Take your current customers and offer them the opportunity to sell back items they no longer need. Offer them store credit towards new purchases to strengthen that initial market and open a new market of second hand Anthropolgie. Toss in authentic vintage if you like. Go beyond selling and teach. Yes, teach your customers about quality. Teach us how to own something wonderful and wear it for 20 years. Be good to your customer, consider what will keep them healthy and they will return the good will by remaining loyal and marketing your efforts over coffee with friends. What better marketing effort is there than personal testimony?

The current store theme evokes the feeling of a French flea market. Designers decorate stores with simple, everyday items and make them beautiful if not enchanting. Why not broaden that to wholly embrace the French flea market style economy?

Please lead American consumers in a market that is not addicted to trends, but integrity, dignity and poise. Be more a kin to the original flea markets of France. Help us appreciate re-use for your profits, consumer pocket books and the Earth’s general well being. Promoting reuse would make a bigger difference than selling reusable shopping bags.

Please help pioneer this new market and smart business model. I’m not certain that many companies would buy back their products from consumers when their product is cheaply made or is so trendy, it’s obsolete a month after purchase. You, on the other hand, have the goods to go the distance.

Smart, economically sound customers are good customers. When all the other customers have maxed out their credit, your stable customers will go the distance.

I have hope,
Ms. Shopping Golightly

Posted in the Comments but thought it should be elevated as a Post Script:
I can only hope that retailers go back to the old ways of business. Reciprocity has become passé in so many segments of our current culture, especially in the retail world.

I hope that someday retailers learn they cannot bleed consumers of their assets to meet Wall Street projections. How short-sighted can a buisness be? The monetary bloodletting of a customer base is either extremely selfish or stupid. Most American consumers are out of cash, maxed out on credit, unemployed or underemployed.

Competition must not always boil down to money. There are plenty of other ways to operate a smart, sound and lasting business model. I've no doubt that many will view these words with disdain. Too bad, we've reached the point of a retail revolution.


texmimi said...

file this under really great ideas that will never happen!! anthro is in it for the $$$$$, trust me, I know.

Anonymous said...

This will NEVER happen! The higher up's at Anthro would turn white at the thought of an Anthro resale store that they endorse. They would lose regular customers who pay full price for their merchandise.

I never buy anthing at Anthro unless it is marked down. The merchandise is WAY over priced to begin with. I even get hives paying their sale prices.

I love looking around the store and can spend a good hour in there. I would rather have Anthro do something along the lines of Foever 21. I have bought jewerly at F21 that has help up VERY well considering the price I paid for it. I would buy some lesser quality Anthro knock-off's...heck yes!

I never keep my clothes for years any way. I get bored and have to buy new things.

Anonymous said...

Best idea I've heard in a long time regarding retail. I would be a loyal customer. I've posted a link to this article to my Facebook page. I hope enough others agree to this to make this idea reality

Shopping Golightly said...

I can only hope that retailers go back to the old ways of business. Reciprocity has become passé in so many segments of our current culture, especially in the retail world.

I hope that someday retailers learn they cannot bleed consumers of their assets to meet Wall Street projections. How short-sighted can a buisness be? The monetary bloodletting of a customer base is either extremely selfish or stupid. Most American consumers are out of cash, maxed out on credit, unemployed or underemployed.

Competition must not always boil down to money. There are plenty of other ways to operate a smart, sound and lasting business model.

Beth said...

So what's the proposal? That Anthropologie lower its price point so more consumers will buy its products? Seems to me it's doing quite well with an ever-expanding band of loyal customers who'll pay the freight and can only love the glam experience seeing the the rest of us salivating behind the barricades. Anthropologie isn't a social service agency and the model it follows is very, very strategic. Your model is too: You're paying what...less than 95% off retail. Now that cannot be beat. As you often remind your followers, there's no need to buy retail.

Catherine said...

I love this idea! I too adore their classic and vintage-inspired clothing which I find now at thrift and consignment shops, but how great would it be to find it in one location. Someone asked me if I shop there and I said, "no but I wear their clothes!"

That said, I would really like to know the labor conditions where they make their clothes. Are we just paying for the fancy interiors, catalogues and real estate? Since I don't know I really stick to thrift/consignment/swaps for clothing. I don't want some woman toiling in Bangladesh so I can feel like I'm in a French farmhouse.

Shopping Golightly said...


"I don't want some woman toiling in Bangladesh so I can feel like I'm in a French farmhouse."

How true. How true. How about we just settle for the old French farmhouse?

Anonymous said...

It is so over-priced. I love some of their things and do love to go in there for inspiration but mostly just to get ideas. You can make so much of what they have selling for $100+ or find very very very similar things at thrift stores. I have a couple of things from there but they were all marked WAYYYYY down. I've had my eye on a skirt there for an age but I'm just not going to pay $88 for a skirt, no matter how much I like it. It is a bit ridiculous, no matter how good their style is.

Joy said...

(sorry, spelling error)....I believe, "thoughts are things, so choose them wisely", and not only is this a great idea; it's a money-making idea whose time has come & will be adopted by many companies bold enough to go expand their notion of an outlet store!

Lolly said...

Interesting idea, but

All of Anthrop, clothing and home decor is a look that I can obtain at the thrift stores and flea markets already.

If retailers became resale-ers that dainty and ethnic chic hand embroidered smock top that originally sold at $128 would resale at $88.50. We know that that's how their pricing would be.

When we are savvy enough to find that top or something very similar at the thrift store for $4.99

Beth said...

Hanna Andersson takes back their clothing twice or so a year through their retail stores. As I recall, they don't resell the items but rather donate their customers store credit. Now that's a real inducement that benefits the shopper and needy families. I think Lolly's right: were Anthropologie to 'recycle' it would offer customer's a discount that reflected their costs (physical space, transaction time, profit margin, etc.). When all is said and done, their price would be several multiples of the item in a thrift store. Where I thrift, 'full-price' skirts and dresses go for $6.99. Oftentimes, I get a futher discount (and a credit toward future purchases). Anthros recycled item prices just couldn't compare to that so why not keep supporting the thrifts?

Shopping Golightly said...

Yes, keep supporting the thrifts.

Something else to chew on:

Anthro is mimicking an upscale flea market. It's no challenge for fellow thrift shoppers to have an Anthro style al a thrift. But the American thrift shopper is a minority.

How silly is it that manufacturers make new "old-looking" items when the original is available for 90% less? Consumers gobble this stuff up while they look down their noses at better quality second hand items.

We are in need of a new retail economy, one that incorporates reuse. It saves money and lowers the American carbon footprint. We cannot continue to yell "More!" when we sit upon piles of imported consumer waste with maxed out credit cards. This is not sustainable. There are alternative solutions that are not so difficult to activate.

Second-hand items are not market dregs. We've been taught to think this within the last 40 or so years so that companies could report higher earnings to Wall Street. As a result, many Americans think they are above second-hand and thus buy cheap crap that does not last from overseas manufacturers, items quickly tossed in landfills so more can be purchased.

More Americans need to cut their intake of retail goods. We cannot continue to spend at the level we've reached. Plus, we've such a huge inventory in this country sitting in homes awaiting re-birth.

Good grief, in CO Marilyn Musgrave ran televisions ads that were meant to drive sympathy that she wore "second-hand clothes as a child". Yeah, that's how crazy this has become.

I love it how we are turning to Community Supported Agriculture and alternative sources of energy and fuel. But we will not be truly successful until we address this serious problem the majority of Americans have with the current retail system that is not only hurting our pocketbooks, our economy but the planet at large.

erin said...

love your writing, love your blog, love the whole thrift mentality that you encourage so well. BUT i dislike the love which you have for anthro. you speak of it often, i notice you throwing the store name around in most of your posts. as a die-hard thrift store, vintage-selling gal myself, stores like anthro have come to bother me for the simple fact that they are faking it, and consumers eat it up with a spoon anyway.

what's the use of putting more waste into the waste stream when the real deal can be had? making new inevitably creates waste, and lots of their clothes have a timeless appeal, let's face the true facts: trends are trends, and americans replace their wardrobes at lightning speeds.

what's the true essence of vintage and handmade? that it cannot be recreated by mass merchants. at least in my humble opinion. and even though they're a "better" mass merchant, anthro is still very much a mass merchant. even worse, they mark up their products so highly that "good" mass produced clothes are out of reach for the common person. or the average american is raking up debt to wear their stuff. even at reduced prices!

the whole retail world really turns me off, for various reasons you state so well, and anthro is starting to do the same. it reminds me of "upcycled" vintage turned home decor, new uses for old things, etc. used to be only found in the handmade and vintage markets, now found at your local 99 cent store. what's the freaking point??? how many cool ideas does american retail have to rip off and run into the ground?

your program, however, is a lovely idea and if there were any chance in hell anthro would step up to bat on that one, i'd be greatly impressed. and a possible customer!

Stace D. Farrow MEd, LPC said...

Love this idea. If you're ever in Texas you should stop in Fredericksburg. Beautiful little town with wonderful resale shops...antique stores everywhere. Here...history is valued. :-)

Serena said...

While I applaud your efforts to encourage a healthy reuse market, I must voice my objections when it comes to Anthropology. While I love their styles, as the daughter of a former seamstress who made almost all my clothes growing up, the quality of Anthro's clothing is not all that great. I find the material they use to be quite flimsy, esp for the price. In short, their items are not made to last and are instead made for conspicuous consumption. They are after all, made in foreign countries using cheap labor.

Hanna Andersson, on the other hand, is known for their quality. It makes sense that they give their clothing a second life by donating their used clothes to charity.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, but I do not share your enthusiasm for Anthro - you have been spellbound by their marketing that appeals predominantly to people like you. They are a BUSINESS and one that does NOT emphasize clothing made in America or in other places with decent worker wages. Yet, still they dare to charge top dollar for their brand - simply because it has been defined politically cool. They have a great business model already: Thrift-store chic at expensive department store prices. And the notion of replicating French fleamarkets? Wow, that just says a lot about the success of their marketing campaign ;-)

There is one place they can never compete - the original thrift and vintage stores. THOSE are the sources of unique, environmentally friendly and inexpensive style. However, I do like the Hanna Andersson program. Very clever on all sides.

Shopping Golightly said...

Looks like my original message is unclear. I am not suggesting Anthro or any other store compete head on with thrift. IF that could ever come to pass, it certainly would not be in my lifetime. Americans are stubborn shoppers.

I'm suggesting conventional retailers dare to help open doors to alternative forms of retail. Perhaps the person who thinks second hand is disgusting might think a little differently if they see some of the flagships of fashion offering their clothing as gently-used at prices that make more sense.

I'm not catering to the those who already thrift.

I'm brainstorming ways to get more people into the reuse market, even if it is at a higher price point, it's a step.Simply put, we need to change our shopping behavior, even in hard times, our shopping behavior is not sustainable.

I'm searching for a way for more Americans to get other the notion, "if it's not new it's ewww." I'd like to see changes in conventional retail just like we're experiencing changes and alternatives to the market on energy.

Annthro came to mind because they mimic the French flea at absurd prices.And, they appeal more to a longer lasting sense of style.

If not Anthro then Brooks Brothers or Jos. A Banks. Just some business sees value in fostering a new style of a second hand market.

There was a time when Captions on Nantucket laughed at the thought that coal would ever rise above whale oil. It's time for our retail market to evolve. Status quo is going to zap future generations.

Anonymous said...

What a fabulous idea!!! now if only it would come to fruition...

Daisy said...

Anthropologie should look at programs like Hanna Anderson's Hanna Downs.

Anonymous said...

I buy Antro at a discount close out retailer, Gabriel Brothers. I am in Cincinnati, OH.

Janeen said...

Even though it's a different (and very uniform) product -- books, cds, DVDs -- comes to mind here. Amazon has somehow mastered a method of encouraging a reuse market and a trade-in program for its goods. It "competes" with its new product, but continues to prosper.

I buy and sell used goods online at Amazon and it has worked out well. They certainly get their cut, but on the other hand they have created a robust re-use market that did not exist before. Books I would previously sold at a garage sale for a buck (if I was lucky, and if I wanted to take the time), now garner $10. The consumer benefits because they get exactly what they want, when they want it.

I am ambivalent about Anthropologie, but seem to think has found a business model that works. I know that both the model and the software algorithms (I know one of the developers) that support it are valuable properties for Perhaps if Anthropologie or others don't do it on their own Amazon will do it for them.

Several thrift retailers already sell in stores on Amazon.