When Target announced a collaboration with luxury department chain Neiman Marcus, the retail industry expected an echo of the discount chain's highly popular Missoni line.
Designers like Marc Jacobs, Oscar de la Renta and Diane Von Furstenberg were on board, and the collection was launched during the busiest shopping season of the year.
Despite looking great on paper, the collaboration was a huge flop, with pieces now marked down 70 percent.
Part of of the problem was that designers released obscure items instead of the staples they're known for, writes Martha White at Time Magazine.
"Some complained that designers like Tory Burch and Diane von Furstenberg, known for their distinctive clothes, turned out thermoses and yoga mats (respectively), instead," White said. " Oscar de la Renta — who outfits celebrities in red-carpet looks — offered pet accessories: dog bowls and rhinestone collars."
Another problem was that many of the products were priced higher than most of Target's items, but weren't any higher quality. We experienced this when we saw a $70 Marc Jacobs scarf at a Target in Ohio. Despite its sizeable price tag, the scarf was very thin and already fraying badly.
Target's worst mistake, however, was failing to adapt the Neiman Marcus collection for a mass market.
" Neiman Marcus is famous for its holiday catalog chock-full of whimsical (read:strictly discretionary) items with sky-high price tags, but the people at both stores who curated the collection overestimated the appetite for this kind of stuff in the mass market," wrote White. "The brand isn’t really considered trendy or edgy; instead, it’s the vanguard of aspirational consumerism."
The Target/Neiman Marcus flop paired with the disastrous Maison Martin Margiela for H&M collection should teach retailers that a fancy designer name doesn't mean automatic success. The products should be both high-quality and appeal to the retailer's audience.
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