The Target Model

With 1770 total stores in 49 states and more than 250 Super Target Stores in the continental United States, most shoppers have at least heard of, if not shopped in, a Target store.  With a massive property footprint and it’s signature red bulls-eye logo and slogan of “Expect more, Pay less,” Target has become a household name, where one can find everything from household goods and DVDs to high-end fashion designer collections and organic groceries, in a one-stop shopping experience.

Celebrating its 50-year anniversary, Target has established itself as the pioneer in a successful collaboration, by bringing clothes from high-end designers to the everyday consumer. [Target has the incorrect image of being more expensive than Walmart, but in 2008, prices fell within 1-2% of one another, including designer wears, between the two stores.] First partnering with Sonia Kashuk, a forward thinking make-up artist, and Michael Graves, an architect who designed scaffolding for the Washington Monument restoration in 1999, the company has worked with more than 75 designers to create a unique shopping experience for consumers, by launching the “design for all” brand message.  This concept was created in an effort to bring high-end design to a greater number of shoppers, without the large price tag most often associated with the designers.

From 2003-2008, Target carried a clothing collaboration with Isaac Mizrahi, an American clothing designer, stylist and creative personality who is now on the hit show, Project Runway.  Not the first collaboration of its kind, as Halston debuted a bridge line for JC Penny in 1973, for which his brand took a huge hit, both in public opinion and financial detriment, but Target did establish itself as the first successful collaboration, of bringing high-end designer collections to women everywhere.    Ever on the forefront of creative concepts, Target introduced the first-ever online trunk show to highlight the Isaac Mizrahi for Target Fall line in 2005, bringing a “fashion insider” experience to women everywhere. During a three-week window, customers could visit an online store to see key pieces from the collection and available only online, weeks before the merchandise was scheduled to hit stores.

In 2006 Target unveils GO International, a limited time fashion program designed to provide affordable fashion in the stores, created by emerging designers.  Since it’s debut, more than twenty designers have been featured.  For example, a Jonathan Saunders skirt that retails for $1600 in boutiques, were available at Target in 2006 for $26.99.  Since it’s inception, the line has featured Proenza Schouler, Erin Fetherston (whose eponymous label debuted at a Paris Haute Couture show in 2005) Rodarte (designed the costumes for the movie Black Swan), McQ by Alexander McQueen (the creative director of McQueen, Sarah Burton, designed Kate Middleton’s wedding dress last year and William Rast (Justin Timberlake launched and owns).

At the end of 2011, Target collaborated with family owned and privately held, Italian brand, Missoni.  With knit ware in a distinct pattern of stripes and geometrics, in a kaleidoscope of colors, the company entered into a partnership to design not only clothing, but also shoes, home décor and handbags.  Launched during New York Fashion Week on September 13, 2011, the collection was given a three-week window during which the items were scheduled for sale.  Not available in all Target stores, the highly anticipated line opened with such fervor, the website crashed from the online demand.  The website was fully restored after being off-line for approximately 12-hours, to show that all of the items had been purchased, and the company would not be restocking the collection.  Several savvy shoppers purchased mass quantities of the items and resold them on the auction website eBay, for 2-3 times the original asking price.

The most recent collection with Jason Wu, a designer who flew below the radar for years before Mrs. Obama wore a dress from his collection to an Inauguration Ball in 2009, was another homerun for Target.  While not opening to quite the same exuberance as Missoni, the collection moved quickly, selling out of most stores, with few remaining pieces in select sizes available online.  (Target restocked the collection online, only for it to nearly sell out a second time).  Clearly a fan of the brand, Ms. Obama was recently spotted wearing a Jason Wu for Target Collection dress, while dining with a family in Florida.

Attempting to once again transform retail, Target is bringing an experience entitled “The Shops at Target,” an approach that simulates a boutique shopping experience.  Beginning May 6, Target is launching the concept in all of its 1770 stores, providing shoppers a six-week window during which they can experience boutique-style shopping within the Target store. The first run will introduce five small U.S based specialty shops to the Target shopper including: Miami’s The Webster, San Francisco's The Candy Store, Aspen, Colo.'s Cos Bar, Boston's Polka Dog Bakery, Connecticut's Privet House and Miami's The Webster.  Products on sale will range in price from $1 to $160 and include clothing, dog biscuits, cosmetics, candy and home décor.

Diane Campbell, who co-founded The Candy Store with her husband, Brian, said partnering with Target is "like finding the golden ticket." "This opportunity is amazing and it has been such a pleasure to work with Target on this," she said. "We're not exactly sure what's in store for us, but we're so excited for the future."