February 29, 2024


A Passion for Better Health

What Tommy Bahama Can Instruct Banana Republic About Lifestyle Branding

Most people talks about it. Several brands assert it, but the specific definition of a lifestyle model is elusive.

In a analyze led by Universidad Villanueva professor Teresa Pérez del Castillo and printed in The Journal of Worldwide Trend Marketing, they wrote, “The time period itself is ubiquitous in management, but stays undefined from a holistic place of watch and is understudied in the academic literature.” And they additional, “There is no past system of know-how all-around lifestyle branding or idea.”

Without having evidently described terms and verified most effective techniques for attaining it, we only have the apocryphal “I know it when I see” definition to slide back again on. And it looks the extra a brand name talks about being a life-style brand name, the significantly less most likely it is to be it.

That appears to be the circumstance for Banana Republic, which is heading all out in its lifestyle brand transformation by launching a selection of art, bed linens and rugs with much more to come.

And it hopes its new San Francisco Banana Republic shop on three floors at 152 Geary Avenue, with a bar offering visitor cocktails, will further its mission to become “a place for discovery, experience and imagination,” as business president and CEO Sandra Stangl reported in a assertion.

But Banana Republic is violating one particular of del Castillo’s life style branding ideas. “Lifestyle branding grows out of preexisting neighborhood and can’t be imposed.” It’s tricky to consider that consumers are beating down Banana Republic’s doorways to explore imaginative residence decorating adventures.

Contrast that with Tommy Bahama devoted to the island way of living. It’s developed from a men’s tropical camp shirt model into a vary of products and experiential classes organically and strategically by following its customers’ guide, no imposition required.

Oxford Industries
, which owns the Tommy Bahama brand, alongside with Lily Pulitzer and Johnny Was, described its technique to way of life branding:

“We contemplate way of living brand names to be all those models that have a obviously defined and qualified level of check out motivated by an attractive way of life or perspective. We think the attraction of a life style manufacturer is dependent on building persuasive products, effectively communicating the respective way of living manufacturer message and distributing solutions to individuals exactly where and when they want them.”

Tommy Bahama has acquired the title of a life style brand, whilst Banana Republic has a extended way to go, if it ever gets there.

Banana Republic’s Arrive at Exceeds Its Grasp

Stangl was introduced into the corporation at the conclude of 2020 to commence creating Banana Republic around from a occupation-traditional manner model to a whole-on life style brand.

A inventive spark was essential to revive the brand name right after it attained its high drinking water mark in 2014 with just less than $3 billion in revenues, then fell to $2.5 billion in 2019. And the pandemic took far more wind out of its sails, dropping to $1.5 billion in 2020. It got a submit-pandemic bump to access $2.1 in 2022, but it is nonetheless very well below levels achieved in its heyday.

Alternatively of leaning into fashion to reach life style standing, it decided to increase into dwelling, a category it experienced dabbled in ahead of. Stangl seemed correctly suited to the position immediately after serving 23 a long time with Williams Sonoma where by she still left as president of Pottery Barn, followed by a stint with RH.

But house field observer Warren Shoulberg reminds us, “They introduced what looks like virtually the similar application about 20 years back, and no person remembers due to the fact it failed. Those outfits merchants are not set up to market dwelling. They cannot in good shape a mattress on the selling floor with no that, it truly is rough to get people’s consideration.”

Presented that constraint, the property collection is going into 15 U.S. suppliers, considerably less than 4% of its 420 outlets. Nevertheless, the firm is likely full steam ahead into dwelling.

“BR produced a new eyesight and established out to be the premier lifestyle model that enhances people’s life anywhere they are,” a corporation spokesperson shared upon my request for remark. “The upcoming crucial move in our brand journey is the start of BR Residence. This new lifestyle product classification is a natural intersection with our clothing company.”

Having said that, the household fashions on present never look to be anything one couldn’t find at Stangl’s alums or any other luxury-leaning bedding brand. And its refined title adjust from Banana Republic to BR indicates the business is next anyone else’s guide fairly than producing its have revolutionary eyesight.

It experienced it once on its founding in 1978 as Banana Republic Journey & Safari Clothing Organization, marketing the virtual safari working experience through manner. Then in 1983, Hole Inc. obtained the business, slice the travel and safari from its identify, and altered with the established formula. It started off as a life-style brand, but then Gap lost it.

To get paid the title of a life-style brand yet again, Banana Republic has to really stand for some thing, not just toss some search-alike home products and solutions into the combine.

It have to mirror a level of perspective that buyers can seize on to and want to make section of their lives, like Tommy Bahama, a manufacturer that has correctly navigated the transformation from style model to life-style manufacturer status.

Residing Tommy Bahama’s Island Existence

Tommy Bahama commenced as a manufacturer to “Live the Island Life” in 1993 and hardly ever still left the island, even following it was acquired in 2003 by Oxford Industries. Revenues reached $880 million in 2022, up 22% calendar year-above-yr, with running revenue at 19.6%. Tommy Bahama contributed above 60% of Oxford’s $1.4 billion revenues last 12 months.

Tommy Bahama was the brainchild of Bob Emfield, Tony Margolis and Lucio Dalla Gasperina, all trend marketplace insiders, who envisioned a Tommy Bahama persona to establish the manufacturer close to.

Initially and foremost, Tommy Bahama wants his and significantly her family vacation under no circumstances to finish, and that persona yardstick is employed to measure every single determination the model will make.

“Our guest will come to us hunting for that island way of life which is a condition of intellect that would make them come to feel like they are heading to unwind at the exact same time, they can dwell differently,” shared CEO Doug Wooden, who’s steered the model for the past 22 a long time.

“Everything we do has a bit of sand in it that presents us the chance to branch out into other groups for the reason that they belief us. And as extensive as we really don’t wreck that have faith in, we can establish it out,” he ongoing.

Changing With The Periods

Renowned for its vibrant silk camp men’s shirts, which were to start with released by means of department stores and unbiased specialty retailers and produced up 80% of revenues in the early times, the category now accounts for about 5% of gross sales as the model has expanded into a lot more menswear and women’s trend.

These days its style profits are even now skewed, two-thirds men’s and one-3rd women’s, but the business continues to see inexperienced shoots in women’s. “Women’s as a percentage is increasing quicker than men’s. We see a real upside for the manufacturer to keep making the women’s facet of the business,” he said.

And whilst wholesale remains an critical distribution channel, it only accounts for 17% of web product sales, with its immediate-to-customer channels bringing in the lion’s share of profits as a result of its web-site, 103 complete-priced retail shops, furthermore 23 combined retail and food items and beverage locations and 33 outlets.

Expanding into meals and beverage was a happy incident that furthered its way of living mission.

“When we required to open a retail store in Naples, FL, the landlord believed it should really have a restaurant way too. We did not know nearly anything about dining establishments, and that can be the worst enterprise conclusion mainly because about 95% of eating places fail. But we did it, and currently our Marlin bars and complete-assistance dining places provide in about $100 million in small business,” he described.

Licensing Expands Access

Tommy Bahama’s good results in creating a life-style brand with a unique place of watch has permitted it to extend as a result of strategic licensing partnerships. Licensing is a virtuous circle increasing its reach to new clients by way of unique channels, but in a brand name reinforcing way with significantly less possibility and additional earnings.

Its iconic Tommy Bahama seashore chair is the excellent illustration. When the principle of a beach chair was launched it manufactured sense, but in partnership with Costco didn’t.

“I was not guaranteed about offering through Costco but figured we’d give it a consider. Now with 25 million offered to date, if you are on a beach wherever, you’ll see our beach front chairs,” he noticed.

The business also licenses the model throughout a assortment of island-centric products and solutions, such as head equipment, hosiery, sleepwear, shampoo, toiletries, fragrance, leather-based items and gifts, distilled spirits and bedding and bathtub products. It’s even observed traction with Airstream in the RV sector.

But its premiere way of living license is for furnishings in partnership with Lexington Property Makes. The line incorporates indoor and out of doors household furniture marketed by way of four devoted Tommy Bahama Residence retailers, a focused web site and pick out Lexington home furniture dealers. The corporation expects to produce around $160 million this 12 months in furniture sales.

“I never phone us a luxury brand we are an cost-effective luxurious that you have to arrive at for a little bit,” he shared. “That suggests we really don’t cut corners we have terrific top quality, materials and craft. And as lengthy as we retain that excellent and interest to depth, our visitors will return. Which is what is retained us all over for this extended.”

And now, with its life-style picture firmly protected, it is taking yet another massive leap and opening its initial vacation resort, slated for November this year in Indian Wells, CA. The Tommy Bahama Miramonte Resort and Spa will have about 220 rooms with all the luxurious accouterments.

“We’ve been attempting to get a resort off the floor for pretty much 15 many years, and we have taken our time to get it appropriate. Since if we never get it ideal the 1st time, the guests won’t occur again. I’m hoping we’ll see a good deal a lot more Tommy Bahama resorts in our upcoming.”

Life-style Branding Done Appropriate

Ironically, Banana Republic and Tommy Bahama commenced in the similar way of living brand name house with a obvious place of look at and an expansive eyesight that gave clients home to desire of a lifestyle they could turn into section of.

But Banana Republic abandoned that immediately after Gap took in excess of. It’s impossible to consider a Banana Republic resort today, but it would not have been considerably of a extend back again in the day.

Tommy Bahama stayed the system. It followed the path encouraged by Professor del Castillo, et al. in their life style model study:

“Lifestyle branding is a strategic strategy that differs from way of life imagery and implies manufacturer-oriented positioning targeted a lot more on intangibles and fewer on solution-selection or model extensions. It will involve building the brand about consumers’ ‘life moments’ and producing information all around the target’s fascination, affinities, preferences and life style.”

Contrary to the proverbial home built on sand that could not stand up to the rain, the floods and the wind, Tommy Bahama has constructed its home on sand and withstood every little thing consumers’ altering preferences and acquiring routines could toss at it.

“In just about every choice, we usually request, ‘How can we set sand into it?’ That is what allowed us to continue to keep growing and thriving more than the previous 30 a long time,” Wooden concluded.