Have you ever heard about Old Navy’s plus-size clothing collection? If not, scroll down to learn all about their clothing and the company’s hits and misses when it comes to their collection. Many people don’t realize that marketing a new collection is hard, especially when marketing to a new target audience. Others are unsure of the failures that took place with the company’s launch. Old Navy is not the first company to face challenges launching a new collection to a new market and they certainly won’t be the last. In this article, learn all about Old Navy, their mistakes, and whether or not you would want to try their collection.
Company Overview: Who are they?
Old Navy is one of the largest American clothing and accessory companies. According to themselves, their mission is to make current essentials affordable and accessible for all families. The company celebrates the democracy of style through on-trend, affordable, and high-quality products. In 1994, they opened their first store in Colma, California and within four years were the fastest retailer to make $1 billion in sales. Old Navy is a brand created by Millard Drexler, the former CEO of Gap Inc. Old Navy was created due to potential competition that wanted to make clothing with the same quality as Gap Inc. but less expensive. A total of 59 Old Navy stores were open and the company made USD $120 million in sales. In 1995, 131 stores were opened by the company, generating USD $420 million in sales. Later in 2021, Old Navy launched BODEQUALITY, a line offering all women’s styles in sizes 0-30 with no price difference. Since 2004, the company has offered one of the broadest size ranges in the industry and has been one of the top leaders in driving innovation in women’s fashion. Throughout the years, Old Navy has applied its knowledge from these evolutions through thorough customer feedback from years of shop-along and focus groups.
Old Navy’s Plus Size Line: Everything you Need to Know
What Went Wrong?
Old Navy sounds like it made no mistakes in its business strategies, right? Wrong. BODEEQUALITY seemed perfect yet it experienced challenges since its launch. So what happened? Old Navy poured millions of dollars into its size-inclusivity clothing line. The company said that they developed a new type of technology for their products that would aid to fit better across all body types. They ensured that each garment would cost the same no matter what size. Not only did they redesign their manufacturing process and price strategy system, but they also redesigned their stores. Old Navy tore eliminated the boundaries and walls that separated the plus and straight sizes; Women could shop for the style of clothing they wanted, not the size. These steps were headed in the right direction, however, they lacked the knowledge of how much inventory to buy of their clothing sizes for each of their stores. When BODEQUALITY launched, all of its stores seemed to run out of the middle sizes. Stores were left with too many of the very small or very large sizes; the company’s only option was to heavily discount the excess items. Part of the problem that led to this outcome was that Old Navy’s average customer was, historically, a very small size. They didn’t research the potential number of shoppers who would buy the new plus-size garments or what their size would actually be.
Consumers’ Review & Clothing Creation Process
So what did the shoppers at Old Navy think? Consumers were left frustrated when they couldn’t get their size at their local store because it was unavailable. Consumers said that they liked Old Navy’s message of inclusivity, but it wasn’t enough. However, the clothes themselves were a decent hit. Because Old Navy reinvented its fit process and size standards, they were able to create the most democratic, comfortable, and consistent size and fit ever. They participated in years of research, customer consultation, and design reviews. In order to create this new inclusive clothing line, Old Navy administered body scans of 389 women to create digital avatars based on real women’s bodies. A number of models in sizes 20-28 also participated in fit clinics to develop new fit blocks based on their unique proportions. When producing the clothes, they paid attention to every design detail. The designers looked at pocket placements, denim waistband pitch, and ankle tapers, and body lengths of every garment. They wanted to maintain consistency in fit and aesthetic across styles and sizes. In conclusion, the clothes themselves were a success but the access to buy them was a complete fail.
“Developing BODEQUALITY allowed us to rethink the way we serve women in the retail industry,”
– Alison Partridge Stickney, Head of Women’s and Maternity Merchandising at Old Navy
The Marketing Campaign of BODEQUALITY
Old Navy had some smart marketing strategies for their campaign of BODEQUALITY. To launch their integrated marketing campaign to introduce the line to women they…
- Created a new TV spot starring Emmy-nominated Saturday Night Live and SHRILL actress Aidy Bryant and a diverse group of women danced to Jarina De Marco’s “I Am 100%”. Through television placement and content extensions on Instagram and TikTok, Aidy and her cast brought the fashion revolution to life.
- Produced approximately 500 placements in NY and LA that were made through highly visual wild postings, static bulletins, on LinkNYC screens, in NYC subways, and digital billboards in high-traffic areas like Times Square.
- Wrote an open letter to “women everywhere” announcing the new inclusive and integrated shopping experience for its homepage, social channels, and digital ads.
However, people think that this wasn’t enough. Some think that another possible factor for the downfall of Old Navy’s collection was its ineffective marketing. They failed to create consumer awareness among plus-size customers who didn’t originally shop at their stores due to limited sizing. Effectively acquiring shoppers that were before ignored can be a really challenging hurdle to overcome. Traditionally for retailers that wish to expand to the plus-size market, there is a long gradual process of testing and learning to create more brand awareness. It takes significant promotion of the new collection before success and awareness can be expected.
What is Old Navy Doing with BODEQUALITY Now?
Old Navy launched this new line in August 2021 and not even a full year later, they have decided to scale it back. In May 2022 during a Gap Inc. earning call, they announced their decision to decrease Old Navy’s groundbreaking accessibility of their inclusive clothing launch. However, they have ensured all of their clothing sizes will be available online; these include sizes 0-30 and XS-4X. Dozens of their stores will slowly phase out the collection and they will go back to their previous ways since Old Navy has been selling plus-size clothing online only for over a decade. Gap Inc. claimed that customer demand and supply chain challenges were to blame for the slow phase of the line out of their stores. To this day, according to the company, the collection is alive and well.
In Conclusion, Should you Check it Out?
Because you can still access Old Navy’s collection online, I think consumers should still check it out. The company did so much research to design this line and the clothes are of good quality and have received positive reviews. Their intentions for BODEQUALITY were great as you can truly see all the hard work the company put into it and how much they care about making inclusive sizing a norm. The only problems with the launch were their ineffective marketing campaign and supply chain issues. Old Navy still remains successful despite the challenges experienced in this collection launch. Old Navy has grown majorly in comparison to its parent company, Gap. If you decide to explore Old Navy either in-store or online, check them out during their promotional markdown days. Mondays and Sundays are when their major markdown deals take place.