Of course, how can we talk about J. Crew without mentioning the catalog? I wait patiently every month to see what new and inspiring pieces J. Crew has dropped in my mailbox. After speaking with Tracy Crane, who is in Marketing at J. Crew, I was given some firsthand insight into how the catalog is created. J. Crew’s catalog is essential to their company. It tells customers every month who J. Crew is and where they are going. It keeps customers updated on the latest trends and styles. And most importantly it inspires people to get up, get dressed and have fun.
In an interview for the Wall Street Journal, Jenna Lyons said, “One of the things that I think is unique about what we do is the way that we present the clothes. Sometimes it's a little kooky—sometimes it's too kooky—but it's this idea that you can make it your own . . . We're not saying you have to walk down the street like that, but what we are saying is you can have fun with it.” The catalog is a great way to convey these ideas, and it often includes new, exciting pieces that can add a bit of pop to your wardrobe and classic pieces that have been remixed and rematched to inspire you with new ideas.
Something so vital to a company does not come together over night. Months of preparation and work are put into every issue. The photo shoot often occurs three to four months in advance, depending on the theme and location of the shoot. When discussing the work environment at J. Crew, Crane said, “Something that differentiates us and makes us a great organization is the open nature of the environment. People are encouraged to share ideas and new methods, and as a result there are always evolving ideas and designs.” The catalog is no exception.
The design and production of the catalog is definitely a team effort. Both Mickey Drexler and Lyons are very involved in the process down to the most minuscule detail. They both help make layout design decisions and choose what language to use. While there are a variety of people who specialize in different areas, no one person can claim the final product as theirs. A core team of seven calls the shots and makes essential decisions, but at the end of the day, the catalog is the product of about 20 different people and their hard work.
What do you think? Is it something worth getting excited about?