Tons of girls loves Target.

Tons of girls love Lilly Pulitzer.

What could be bad about combining the two?

Lilly Pulitzer

I personally am not a fan of most Lilly Pulitzer designs. I do love that Lilly herself started the company on her own, originally running a juice stand in FL, and after being inspired to make clothes became a hardworking woman who young women today can now look to as an inspiration of their own. That’s awesome. That’s something I can always get behind, the clothes on the other hand, not so much.

There was a time, when I was obsessed with fitting in at my private, Southern, Christian university optimal breeding ground for Lilly lovers, and I too fixated upon Lilly’s bright prints. Now, after a bit of self discovery, and becoming a bit more willing to go against the norm, I’ve just decided I’m not really into it. That doesn’t mean I’m judging anyone who is, or that I’m less classy for not wanting to clad myself in bright pink and blue seahorses or palm trees, or that I won’t one day change my mind and rave about my love for Lilly on this very blog. Who knows? It is what it is. There are plenty of other brands that make nice clothes that I do love and look nice in. There are plenty of people who do love Lilly Pulitzer and look nice in it. It’s okay to like whatever and dislike whatever. Now we can move on.

Although I didn’t take a ton of Marketing classes in college, the ones I did take taught me enough to know that I find marketing incredibly interesting and also happen to have a bit of a knack for it. The first day of my Intro class, I was quick to nail down the overall major marketing points of Starbucks and since I’ve just found it fun to try to analyze a company’s tactics and promotions.

I also love playing devil’s advocate. I love to see every single side of an argument, and think about a problem or decision from every angle. So here are my thoughts on Lilly Pulitzer’s new collaboration with Target.

I have to say it’s probably one of the best partnerships Target could ever hope for. Target reigns supreme in the hearts of women of pretty much all ages. Maybe it’s that stores have Starbucks right there for you, too. Maybe it’s the company’s many other limited time partnerships in the past with higher end brands and designers like Toms and Phillip Lim. Maybe it’s simply the quality and selection of its stores’ goods, like always seeming to have the special edition holiday Clif Bars I can’t find anywhere else.

Whatever the reason, Target has made a name for itself as the superstore to shop at, and women love to shop. Women, most definitely including the subset of the teens and twenty-somethings most associated with Lilly P. It’s a no brainer to partner with a clothing company associated with such an obvious target market, and I expect this to be a HUGE win for Target.

Lilly Pulitzer for Target Logo

For Lilly Pulitzer however, it’s hard to be so sure. I just finished saying that Lilly’s target market also loves Target, right? So then why wouldn’t the partnership be equally as beneficial for both parties?

It’s simple. There’s something to be said for high quality. Think about it, you see a guy pull up to the swanky, new club you and your friends are checking out, he hands the keys of a sleek black Ferrari to the valet. You, along with all your friends, are immediately interested in him. You assume his clothes are designer, and that he has a nice job; you quickly set your sights on him for the night.

Now consider this: what if everyone drove Ferraris? What if Ferrari started making affordable cars, so that everyone had the opportunity to own one? Would you be as interested in the guy from the first scenario? Would you draw the same conclusions about him as you would in the first scenario? Probably not.

I told you, there’s something to be said for high quality.

So Lilly Pulitzer has this market of girls who love their Lilly clothes and accessories. They’re willing to pay a higher price for these things because of the statement that wearing them makes. When they put on their new Lilly Pulitzer dress to wear to the Kentucky Derby or to their annoying cousin’s wedding, they feel a level of class and sophistication mixed with trendiness and whimsy not wholly derived from the colorful sailboat patterned on their clothes, but because those colorful sailboats cost a certain price.

The news of this exciting new partnership begs the question, does this union diminish the overall value and reputation of Lilly Pulitzer? It’s difficult to say for certain. I’m no expert, and I can’t see into the future, but I’m excited to find out. My guess is the reputation will for the most part remained intact. It seems to have worked fine for Target’s many previous partnerships, and the limited time component helps maintain the integrity and status of the Lilly name; because it’s only available for a time, people still feel that the product is special and somehow greater than. However, I can understand both sides. I can understand being a Lilly lover excited for the more affordable options, and I can understand being a Lilly lover disappointed that your most hallowed clothing brand is being made more available for the masses.

I guess we’ll all see in due time. In the mean time, you can find me shopping at Target for everything I could ever need with a venti latte in one hand.

What do you all think about Target’s new partnership? Will it be a success for both Target and Lilly Pulitzer? Are you a Lilly fan ready to stock up on the more affordable options? Let’s hear what you have to say in the comments below. 

Photo Credits: 1, 2, 3


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