J. Jill Debuts 'One Wardrobe. No Limits.' Campaign

J. Jill thinks women are sick of having their work clothes in one corner of the closet and their fun clothes in the other. With “One Wardrobe. No Limits," the retailer hopes to change not just its marketing, but also the way its customers shop. Kara Howard, the chain’s senior vice president of marketing and customer experience, tells Retail Insider what the brand hopes to accomplish.

Retail Insider: What insights led to this new campaign?

Kara Howard: We started with a qualitative exercise with some of our best customers and what they want in their wardrobes. She didn’t like having one set of clothes for work, another for going out to dinner, and another set of vacation clothes. She wanted more versatile pieces, which was the magic: What if I had a closet full of clothes that met all my needs and were super comfortable and stylish?

That became the concept of “One wardrobe.” And then, we focused on how limitless it feels to have clothes that can do anything. So, “No Limits” speaks to how we’ve designed apparel for many occasions. That appeals to our audience, who are typically between 40 and 65. They don’t need us to give them confidence – they are already confident. And competent. They like to try new things.

Retail Insider: What makes clothing versatile?

Howard: Comfort and the ability to move throughout your day. That’s at the heart of it. And style. Imagine if you went through your closet and said, 'I can pick anything out of my closet and wear it anywhere.’ And people feel frustrated with clothes that aren’t working for them.

Retail Insider: I love that your research discovered that 36% of the clothing currently in women’s closets has been sitting for at least two years! But back to comfort -- how is this different than athleisure? Because I think some of us are getting tired of that, no matter how much we love leggings.

Howard: We dug into that. Comfort does mean more than athleisure. She kept saying, "I want to look nice." That means pulled together, polished. And thoughtful. She doesn’t want to look like she just threw something on.

Retail Insider: How does that translate to new collections?

Howard: They’re consistent and sophisticated. The shapes allow her to mix and match. And we’re a very fabric-first company, so they have quality, longevity, and that kind of polish.

Retail Insider: Who is the J. Jill shopper these days?

Howard: She’s between 40 and 65, which is a lot of acreage. And she is very intentional -- not just with her clothes, but with her money, with friendships. She’s busy and has a lot going on.


Retail Insider: Say more about her money. J. Jill’s latest sales showed a slight tick upwards, which is saying something in a tougher climate -- many apparel brands are reporting declines.

Howard: Because our customers are more affluent, they are somewhat insulated from the macroeconomic environment. But she has different priorities over the course of the year, and we’re seeing strong sales in items that go beyond one season.

Retail Insider: How is this “One wardrobe” concept changing the shopping experience?

Howard: We’re making sure it comes through in stores and all our channels. We’re using QR codes in different ways to highlight the styling versatility of these clothes. That’s new for us. Our shoppers have always loved our catalogs, but they have a finite number of pages. QR codes can show you how to style one piece for work or over a bathing suit. And in stores, we’re working differently with associates, so they can also help her think about many ways to wear a single piece.

Retail Insider: How much are you spending?

Howard: I can’t say, but this is a major campaign for us. We want to make sure we're getting in front of customers who may have heard of us. They may know what we stand for, but just don't have us top of mind.

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