By Kelli B. Grant
Outside of Black Friday, it’s rare for a product launch to bring frenzied crowds to stores and crash a retailer’s web site. Target’s new collaborative collection from Missoni achieved both today — with all the wares at full-price.
This morning, more than 100 people waited outside the Target in Brooklyn’s Atlantic Avenue location, at first in an orderly line, but then crowding the doors as the 8 a.m. store opening approached. As soon as gates were raised, some customers jogged up still-unmoving escalators to get plates, sheets and furniture upstairs; others beelined for the clothing racks and began grabbing handfuls. Within 10 minutes, the racks were all but empty, with shoppers huddled in aisles throughout the store sorting through their hauls. Scavengers lingered near overflowing carts, hoping for rejects. “If I’d have known that this would happen,” remarked one employee saddled with the dangerous task of bringing fitting-room rejects back to the floor, “I’d have asked to switch shifts.”
The rush wasn’t unexpected. Designers have turned to less-expensive secondary lines and designer collaborations with retailers like Target and eBay in recent years because shoppers tend to respond enthusiastically. Such tactics are a great way to lure back occasional luxury buyers who don’t have as much spending cash in the down economy. Target’s partnership with Missoni created more buzz because it’s the best-known fashion house that’s done such a partnership, says Michelle Madhok, founder of sale site SheFinds.com. “It’s almost a collectible, and it is within reach compared with full-price Missoni goods,” she says. The collection – which includes men’s, women’s and children’s clothing, fashion accessories, furniture, home goods, and stationary — is in stores and online. Assuming, of course, there’s any left post-frenzy and that the site loads.
But for quality, is it cheap Missoni or expensive Target? There’s bound to be fabric and stitching differences, Madhok says, but the price points seem reasonable for what are likely to be collectible items. (A Target spokeswoman says Missoni had a “heavy hand” in creating the products. “There’s no question that for the price point, there’s a huge value there,” she says. “This is trademarked Missoni.”)
Shoppers didn’t seem concerned. By the time Brooklyn resident Jasmine Avilez arrived at the store around 7:15 a.m., she has already shopped Target.com, snapping up enough Missoni shower curtains, rugs, towels and other items for her new apartment to hit the site’s usual 29-item order limit. She hit the store hoping for a few last items, including a $40 blanket in Missoni’s signature zig zags. But Avilez wasn’t worried about getting her money’s worth. “You can’t really tell the quality online,” she says. “But they have a good return policy. I have 90 days to return it.”
Or put it on eBay. The same throw Avilez was looking for has already topped $200 in bids on one eBay auction.