Avenue Re-Brand Promises A New Exciting Shopping Experience
Spring is here and we’re celebrating with Avenue on the re-launch of the brand and all the amazing things that come along with that.
As the fashion industry continues to embrace the plus size woman and her desire to express herself with fashion options, it’s no surprise to see brands who are “customer-centric” make changes to help her achieve her goals.
I had the privilege of sitting with Chief Merchandising Officer, Nancy Viall and Chief Marketing Officer Steve Silbaugh for an exclusive look behind the brand.
Maddy: We have seen so many amazing things happening at Avenue. Could you give me some insight on the journey Avenue has taken and where it is today?
Nancy: We’ve always been the plus size destination for fashion and value for our customer. We’ve taken what has been successful with us and upgraded it. From a fit point of view we’ve been listening to our customer more than we ever have.
Steven: Our customer is at the prime of her life. She’s on the go, she’s super busy and she’s the hub of her family. She’s most likely working and has a lot of demand on her time and money and so we want to give her a great brand and product experience.
When Nancy and I got here a little over a year ago, we saw a brand that was in need of being upgraded. It needed to be contemporary, it needed to be real, it needed to be authentic and it needed to have confidence. If you think about everything that is happening today like the body positivity movement and how there is a lot more size inclusivity out there today, our brand needed to reflect that because our customer was there. We just weren’t there.
Maddy: Today we are celebrating ‘A Promise Of A New Day’ at Avenue. Could you tell us about it?
Nancy: A ‘New Day’ from a product point of view means we’re listening to our customer and following her lead. We’re a team of merchants that are customer centric and we needed to give her a more modern way of dressing. I think in the past they were repeating silhouettes and updating them slightly. Now we are making it and moving her forward. We’re giving her things she was not able to get at Avenue prior. We’re introducing colors and silhouettes she’s never seen before.
Maddy: I’ve visited a lot of Avenue stores and I have to say, that the people I meet working for the brand are very passionate about their customer and the clothing. It’s not just a job!
Steven: I would just echo and say that it’s such a personal brand for our customers and we have sort of a stewardship to maintain that because we have a tremendous opportunity to engage her and actually satisfy what she needs. She wants to feel on trend and she wants to feel great. We have a great opportunity to provide great customer experiences along with the great product.
Maddy: Let’s talk about what’s been happening in March.
Steven: We are very excited about it and it really is ‘The Promise of A New Day’ on all fronts. The product looks fantastic and we wanted to celebrate that with great imagery and almost an unveiling of a new brand. And we are super proud of that. We think customers are going to be excited when they see the NEW Avenue. As part of that, we recruited a few of our friends to help us and you are one of them. And so we started this journey to confidence and we really are on the same journey to confidence as our customer.
We started on this journey in Fall and you and three others were kind enough to participate with us on that journey. We put together this series and it had great feedback from our customers, associates and others within the industry. We knew we were on to something and as Nancy got more excited about the product, we got more excited about the confidence series and it was like a train rolling downhill. We just got super excited and we decided to evolve that in the Spring and brought back three ladies and you’re one of them. We are super excited that you’ve joined us. The Confidence series is going to be bigger than ever and we have a lot more to celebrate now.
Maddy: Moving into the second Confidence Series, what is different from the first, what did you learn from it and what do you want that message to be?
Steve: I want it to be a celebration of the brand and the customer and who she is. She does so much for her family, she does so much in her work environment today and we have to celebrate her because she deserves it and she deserves to look and feel great.
Maddy: What can we expect to see in regard to fashion trends at Avenue?
Nancy: We stand for color, bright colors and we’re taking advantage of the yellow color family but the pinks and jades are important as well. Here at Avenue, we have a large novelty offering that we give our customer. She’s bold; she wants to express herself with a novelty whether it’s a floral or a piece of fabric or a dot. Stripes are trending extremely well right now and we delivered it to our customer a little early and she has reacted favorably to print and border pants, striped pants, as well as draping and tying in the front.
Maddy: One of the things we chatted about offline was about the way Avenue is listening. Could you tell us about that?
Steve: We’re listening but we are also changing the way we’re listening. And as part of that, we’ve created a new way for customers to give us feedback. They can use the hashtag #wearelistening and we have a page that connects directly to our site; you give us direct feedback and you will get a response from us.
Many thanks to Nancy Viall and Steve Silbaugh for their time and to the entire team at Avenue for such an amazing opportunity.