Thursday, October 21, 2010

Can Social Media Turn Things Around For Just My Size?

10/21/10

Even though more than half of American women are plus-sized, with an average women wearing a size 14, sales of plus-size clothing are not bouncing back as quickly as those for the total category (+2.4% versus +4%).

Hanes has decided to try a new approach to support its Just My Size line -- increasing its use of social media. Specifically it is courting plus-sized fashion bloggers with a New York fashion event.

Just My Size already has 80,000 Facebook fans. And their research has shown that plus-sized women spend time online, so they think this is the best way for them to connect with their users. (Mahoney, 2010)

Do you agree? Would a partnership with More magazine online be a better option? Or how about one with Weight Watchers? Or do you have a different idea altogether?

Mahoney, S. (2010, October 19). Hanes Just My Size Bonds With Bloggers. mediapost.com. Retrieved October 20, 2010, from
http://www.mediapost.com/publications/?fa=Articles.showArticle&art_aid=137939&nid=119871

7 comments:

  1. I think the problem is manifold. I think the plus size market is generally use to being relatively ignored by the fashion industry; there aren't a lot of brands out there that make plus size clothes feel fun and attractive. As a result, I think a lot of people in the plus size market are dressing more for function and comfort. In the recession, buying new clothes is probably pretty low on their list of priorities.

    While I do think social media is a good way to reach this demographic, I'm not convinced about the fashion event/fashion bloggers approach. I've been poking around the Just My Size website and the price point seems to be targeted at a market that wouldn't really follow fashion blogs/events. Although, maybe it will help to reinvigorate their primary users about buying new clothes simply for fun and fashion's sake. I'm not sure if they are already doing this, but I think Sunday inserts promoting sales and discount coupons would be helpful.

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  2. I don't think courting fashion bloggers is a bad idea - someone like Jessica Quirk gets 2 million views a month (a growing number, to boot) and that's a lot of eyes. But I wonder if sponsorships - giving the bloggers clothes to wear, to show readers how great they can look - is a better route than a fashion week event. Plus-size fashion is rather niche at runways, I'd imagine, and perhaps they'd have better luck connecting with their target market by going where *they* are.

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  3. I agree with Jason, I am not sure that the fashion event/fashion bloggers approach is the best idea. Although creating a facebook group may be a good idea but other than that, I am not sure that it is the best way to reach the target market. I think that partnering with Weight Watchers is a great idea! I know many of my friends that are plus size have been or want to follow the weight watchers diet..I really think doing something with weight watchers could increase Hanes sales in the plus size department. A possible idea would be that the a consumer would win a Hanes gift certificate by completing a weight watchers challenge.

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  4. I think that this is a great idea. I think that the fashion community is finally coming to terms with the influence that bloggers have - they now get front row seats to fashion shows, and unlike magazines, the preferred medium of the past, there is an extremely short lead-time to getting the material published. Some fashion houses even stream live now. Events for product and clothing launches now consist of 50 - 75% bloggers, a huge difference from even five years ago. The one major disadvantage I see though (and I often get frustrated by this personally) is that the product and fashion designers are still working off of a magazine - driven timeline. They have a three to six month lead time built into the press launch because they know that they won't need to be ready before then, as that is how long it takes for a product to get into a magazine. This is not ideal for bloggers, as they can only show previews and they can't show direct links to product. This is often extremely frustrating for me, and I get much more satisfaction out of being able to click the product I like and have the option to purchase. I don't like having to remember to buy something I like for four months. I don't know how Hanes is planning on combating this, but ideally it would be having the product ready for purchase at the time of press launch (a rarity in the PR world - Holiday previews usually happen in June or July).

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  5. I agree with this idea very well. Hanes can get customer information easily. With these information Hanes will be able to do many kinds of campaigns,for example direct marketing.

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  6. I think the effort is a great idea however has enough buzz been created? Clothing is about self image and is one of the most personal issues women face so the psychology of the movement needs to be created. Since this demographic spends so much time online, the blogs are a significant way of reaching these customers. Through the blogs are how people connect with the same thuoghta and find "support". With this in mind, creating and/or filling the need that is available is huge opportunity. By having a plus size fashion week, this is a step in the right direction. Lastly, if someone could create a high profile fashion mag such as vogue, there would be an explosion of sells.

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  7. Blogging is a good way to get instant feedback from the specific market you are targeting. With 80,000 Facebook fans, Hanes can find ask for suggestions as well receive feedback. These fans can voice their opinions on how they feel about plus size fashions, what outlets they use to find the cloths they want etc. I have noticed that there are not a lot of fashion magazines that target plus sized women. The advertisements in these fashion magazines are usually for small sized women. So this is something Hanes can also look into this outlet as well. Fashion is all about fun and expressing your self, so including Weight Watchers in this equation might not work. Weight Watchers will be a constant reminder of my weight. Which might in-turn depress the consumer. Fashion should be more of an escape and blogging and fashion go hand in hand.

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