Using Furniture to Sell Fashion: Jenna Lyons and J.Crew

Using Furniture to Sell Fashion: Jenna Lyons and J.Crew

Jennifer Hunter
Apr 24, 2013

As I often do, yesterday I stopped by my local J.Crew to browse. As I walked in, the first thing that caught my eye wasn’t the clothes, but a gorgeous vignette near the front of the store — two pebbled leather wine-colored lounge chairs with brass accents around a low, surtboard-shaped marble table. 

When I inquired about them, the dapper sales associate informed me they came from a very exclusive (and very expensive) local shop.  “Jenna,” he whispered conspiratorially, “is very particular.” Turns out the chairs cost $16,000 a pop.  Particular?  I’d say so.  And the more I browsed, the more I noticed: Tolix stools in the dressing rooms, a burl-wood table holding purses. The carefully cultivated high-low mix of fashion that J.Crew president Jenna Lyons (and in fact J.Crew itself) has become famous for also seems to apply to their furniture.

Creating an identity in the retail market is not a new concept by any means, but  lately I've become very aware of just how stores have begun using decor and design aesthetics to develop their brand and market themselves to their target customer. And nowhere is that more evident than the current brand du jour, J.Crew. 

One can hardly mention Jenna these days without hearing the response “girl crush!”  And so, for our readers, who are, no doubt, as interested in the furniture as the fashion, this great article from Fast Company  features a full 360° view of Jenna’s J.Crew office, courtesy of Sam Rohn’s panoramic photography.  

Just as she is the ultimate, walking J.Crew ad campaign, her office is representative of the style of the company's stores; she's clearly spread her aesthetic to every corner of the brand.  A white leather Eames chair with a peach fur throw accent sits behind her desk next to what appears to be a paint-spattered stool made from a pallet.  A calm, tonal herringbone wood floor contrasts with the (albeit fashionable) clutter that covers table surfaces.  And did I really just spot the same IKEA trash can that is currently sitting next to my desk as I type this? 

As Jenna herself points out in the article,

“You have to get people to understand why having that Serge Mouille light fixture is better, because it’s beautiful and people will know something’s different. Maybe when you look at that $200 cashmere sweater, you’ll feel like, ‘Oh yeah, look at the store, it’s so beautiful. This $200 sweater is a steal.’”

As for my J.Crew visit, in case you’re wondering, I did wind up with a lovely new silk blouse, which (although it was also on sale) did make me feel like I got a great deal. 

Read the article and play around with the interactive panoramic photos of Jenna’s office at Fast Company

(Image: Sam Rohn via Fast Company)

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