WeWork Companies is launching a partnership with J.Crew to host a panel discussion series at select WeWork locations in New York City, San Francisco, Atlanta and Philadelphia. As part of the partnership, these venues will also sell merchandise from J.Crew’s spring collection at pop-up shops that offer discounts to WeWork members. The events aim to bring together professionals and unique voices to talk about what success and the power of community means to them. The events will also include a philanthropic element, as a portion of proceeds will support local charities in each respective city. J.Crew also developed editorial content for its blog that features WeWork members wearing styles from the spring collection and sharing career advice. WeWork said the events are intended to convene WeWork members on shared topics of interest, noting this is the company’s first major fashion partner. The partnership was forged in part due to shared company missions around diversity, authenticity and empowerment.
Total Retail’s Take: This is an interesting partnership, although not entirely surprising. It’s interesting because struggling J.Crew gets increased brand visibility, as well as the opportunity to build upon past marketing efforts that feature non-models for campaigns and presentations. The WeWork partnership also sheds light on an evolving strategy under recently appointed CEO Jim Brett, who took over following the departure of Mickey Drexler in June 2017. J.Crew has already made efforts to diversify stale product offerings that contributed to slumping sales, including expanding into plus-sizes. And the partnership isn’t entirely surprising since it’s widely known that WeWork is growing and expanding in unique ways. The company, for example, purchased Hudson’s Bay Co.’s Lord & Taylor flagship store on Fifth Avenue in New York City for $850 million last year. For WeWork, that deal offers access to HBC’s global real estate portfolio, which means it can attract new members through locations associated with premium retail. Both benefit in that the program will allow the global membership of WeWork to participate in exclusive HBC sales online and in-store, and HBC customers gain access to WeWork’s We Membership platform.