The price was considered extravagant for a tiny sweater that the wearer would likely spill pureed peas on. Twitter exploded at the news, expressing disbelief that a big retailer would be so "stupid."
"I'm sorry J. Crew, but no baby needs a $145 cashmere sweater," tweeted one user, while another asked "Who will buy it?"
But the luxe sweater actually hits a booming market of 30 and 40-something professionals in a very sweet spot: their children. Many of these professionals have money to blow, but aren't yet wealthy.
Luxury marketing expert Pam Danziger calls these people HENRYs, for "High Earners Not Rich Yet." They earn between $100,000 and $250,000 annually.
HENRYs are a growing segment, while the wealthiest people are making less than they used to.
This consumer insight makes J. Crew's thinking on the expensive baby sweater more clear.
People are generally more willing to spend on their children than themselves, a mentality that, combined with the group's spending power, could mean J. Crew will sell a lot of sweaters.
Consumers spending on gifts for their children could help holiday sales go up 3.7 percent this year, according to a study by IBISWorld.
Eve Vawter at Mommyish writes that she would buy the sweater for her children.
"There is nothing wrong with wanting to splurge on expensive baby clothes on occasion, and I think all parents have done this," she writes. "A cashmere sweater never goes out of style."
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