2011 Marketer Of The Year Shortlist: Joe Fresh

November 18, 2011  |  Kristin Laird  |  Comments

It’s time to look at the shortlist for Marketer of the Year, which appears in Marketing’s Nov. 28 issue. We’ll be featuring each one online as a lead-up to our January 2012 issue, where you’ll find out which marketer will reign supreme.

Joe Fresh

From behind the Loblaws produce aisle to New York’s Fifth Avenue

Mention Fifth Avenue and people immediately think fashion, style and shopping. Armed with a designer bag and the conviction that money is meant to be spent, the fashion-forward shopper strolls the New York City street’s elite boutiques—Hugo Boss, Prada and Burberry.

In recent years however, more accessible retail chains like H&M, Zara and Banana Republic have moved in, hoping to lure savvy consumers looking for stylish and affordable apparel.

And now, nestled within the historic Flatiron district at 110 Fifth Ave. with a bright orange logo in the window is a store called Joe Fresh.

The 9,800-sq.-ft. space is one of six locations the Loblaw-owned fashion line has opened in the tri-state area over the past few months, including two pop-up holiday fashion shops. The brand also expects to open an 18,000-sq.-ft. international flagship location on Fifth Avenue in March.

As U.S. retailers rush to set up shop north of the border, Joe Fresh is going in the opposite direction, charting a slow but steady expansion course. Its bold move to bloom into an international brand, along with its continued success on home turf, landed Joe Fresh a spot on Marketing’s Top 10 Marketers list.

So how does a grocery-based fashion label with zero brand recognition south of the border introduce its cheap-and-chic fare to the fashion centre of the world?

It first opens a temporary location in the trendy town of East Hampton, a popular summer weekend destination where rich kids go to play. It’s also home to style mavens on the hunt for the next big thing in fashion. The Joe Fresh summer store sold polo shirts, silk summer dresses, bikinis and flip-flops from $4 to $69–prices that shoppers in the Hamptons don’t often see.

TheFeast.com, a blog that rates the best places to eat, shop and play in New York City, was there opening weekend. The article quotes one shopper who sent text messages to her daughter and friends when she discovered Joe Fresh. “It’s cheap, decent quality, and so cute. Everybody’s like, ‘Oh my God, the secret’s out,’” she said.

“Incredibly wealthy people love clothes and love a bargain. I think they recognized our quality, they recognized our fashion,” says Craig Hutchison, senior vice-president, marketing and public relations for Joe Fresh, of the 650-sq.-ft. East Hampton store that opened July 4 and closed Labour Day weekend.

As much as the locals love to shop, they also love the beach. However, parking in the area is quite restricted, so to make life easier, 10 pedal-pushers clad in Joe Fresh piloted orange rickshaws to transport people to and from the beach. Hutchison says the company also advertised in East Hampton magazines, but relied predominantly on word-of-mouth to promote the pop-up store.

There’s more! Check out the Nov. 28 issue of Marketing for the full profile, and subscribe to find out who will be named the Marketer of the Year for 2011.

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