Sunday, January 31, 2010

i'm on team anthro

"the anthropologie customer is affluent but not materialistic... she's focused on building a nest but hankers for exotic travel... she'd like to be a domestic goddess but has no problem cutting corners... she's in tune with trends, but she's a confident individualist when it comes to style... she lives in the suburbs but would never consider herself a suburbanite... she's not so much conflicted as she is resistant to categorization... she's a yoga-practicing filmmaker with an organic garden, a collection of antique musical instruments, and an abiding interest in chinese culture." - fast company magazine article

i love clothes ... and housewares ... and shoes ... and accessories ... and beauty products ... and everything else sold at anthropologie. it's kind of like a girls-only department store [no boyz allowed].

its corporate profile uses words like fashionable, educated, creative, unique, casual, diverse and inimitable. there are three distinct anthro looks: multicultural/ethnic, pretty/feminine and clean/modern. according to the fast company article quoted above, it caters to women 30-45, with an average household income of over $150,000/year, though i'd argue it reaches a broader age spectrum, and seriously, who are they kidding with that income figure?! not all of their customers live in a bubble of range rovers, whole foods and tod's loafers. but every woman i know loves this store - and every woman i know hates the prices. anthro ain't cheap, y'all. the good news is that it always has a great sale section ... you just need some patience and you gotta be ready to hunt.

anthropologie doesn't advertise, and its merchandising isn't so much about product as it is mood. yet its loyal customers stay an average of one hour and 15 minutes - almost double the time spent in similar stores - and spend an average of $80. in the past eight years, the number of stores has more than doubled and they've expanded into canada & the UK. corporate CEO glen senk says that one of their core philosophies is spending "the money that other companies spend on marketing to create a store experience that exceeds people's expectations. we don't spend money on messages - we invest in execution." they're less about trends than customer knowledge; they're more lifestyle emporium than retail store.

on last month's palm springs/los angeles trip (#2), i braved the rain (in LA!) and stopped in at one of my favourite anthros @ the grove [i prefer this location to santa monica], where i bought these gems...

*almost all on sale ;-)

speaking of anthro locations, i'm sure we all have our favourites. despite its snooty sales people, another location i love is downtown seattle. sure, they're nicer at the uvillage location (sad but true), but there's something special about the downtown store, whether it's its proximity to 10 different starbucks or the flagship nordstrom, or because it was *my first*. on my last trip down i bought this lovely vase which now sits atop the mantle (next to a crying lauren conrad, for those with an eye for vapid pop culture)...

all this shopping & travel talk makes me want to hit the road again. good news - there's an anthropologie opening this summer in palm desert, my destination du jour. sadly i have to travel in order to reach the closest anthro, exactly 190 kms away from my house. in true vancouver tradition, we're always the last in line [see: h&m, forever 21, urban outfitters, abercrombie, sephora]. despite my best internet scouring abilities, no word on a vancouver store just yet. though they seem like an intelligent company, so i'm staying glass half full. besides, if places i've never heard of like danville, CA & reston, VA have stores, well, then... there's hope for us polite little canadians yet, eh?

did you know?
  • everything in their stores is for sale. according to house & garden, anthro's the no. 1 purveyor of decorative antiques in the US.
  • the sundance channel series man shops globe follows buyer-at-large keith johnson on his world travels. [stupid canada doesn't air this show]
  • johnson's partner is aforementioned urbn CEO glen senk - they've been an item since they were 12!
  • anthro corporate refers to sister store urban outfitters' style as "upscale homeless".
  • the newest sibling in the urbn family is terrain, a home & garden store/nursery/cafe.
  • get ready to hate your workplace. urbn's uh-mazing home to its 1,000 corporate employees is an ex-navy yard. video here. images here (portfolio -> work). more images here.
*** oh and i found my perfect job. so if anyone from urbn corporate is reading, i'm a doll to work with ... if you're open to giving me a work visa or marrying off an intern to have me: anthropologie - brand copywriter / alternate dream job: free people - assistant stylist.