Just As You Are Interview with Howard Barrett, Marketing Director
By Shannon Hiett
Revolutionizing the way plus size women purchase outerwear, Just As You Are, is off to a booming beginning and it’s all because they decided to take their time. In the interview below with the Marketing Director of Just As You Are, Howard Barrett discusses the lengthy, but necessary process required to make sure that plus size women get what they want out of not only outerwear, but the way the jackets are marketed as well. Focusing on shape rather than size, Just As You Are makes certain that your coat is not too big, not to small, but is just right, just for you, Just As You Are.
Shannon: Tell me about Just As You Are; what types of garments you provide; and how long the garments have been in the design process.
Howard: Just As You Are is brand new, launched in September 2011. It is an Ecommerce only channel and site that offers women, primarily in North America for now and hopefully elsewhere later, a line of wonderful, great-fitting, fashion-forward coats and outerwear; that in this particular season, being fall, will run the gamut from fall to winter. The bottom line is, the products are created, designed and made by a company that’s been making ladies and men’s coats for over 70 years in North America. They are already a formidable coat maker, so they bring that lineage, savoir faire and history; from sourcing material, design, production, to styling and fit into this project. Although this is a new project, a project dealing with plus, they bring all the knowledge of being a premier coat maker to this brand.
Again, these garments, the brand and website (www.asuare.com), the only way women can get these coats and jackets that we believe fit better than anything in the marketplace will be through the website. And that also has enabled us to deliver them to the market at a lower price by going straight to the consumer. Some people do Ecommerce just because it’s the thing to do, but for us, especially in this niche, plus women are so opinionated, focused, expressive and dogmatic about their needs; there’s no better way to do this than go directly to the consumer.
Shannon: I understand that Just As You Are has hosted focus groups for quite some time now and you really listened to what women truly want; thus creating Just As You Are based on the feedback received from the focus groups; is that correct?
Howard: Yeah, we had a lot of our hypotheses and those hypotheses were either confirmed or denied in those focus groups. But certainly the focus groups opened our minds, eyes, and ears to a very clear pattern of response. Regardless of timing of group, regardless of height or width of woman, regardless of skin color, regardless of anything, I think the messages were fairly loud and clear. There were many messages, would you want me to express some of those messages…