Over time, (and the perusing of umpteen shopping websites), I’ve discovered that many a store is not the only store on the home company’s list of retail emporiums. One may be widely well known, while others may be slightly elusive. Well, I’m here to expose them. And please let me know if I’ve missed any (I’m sure I will), especially since it seems they’re being somewhat sneaky about this!
First off, this may be more of a given, especially since I’ve blogged about them before. Gymboree has been a love of mine for a long time and sadly my children are now too old to enjoy their product line. But when they were young enough, I reveled in it. And, sadly again, about the time they started their Janie & Jack stores, my kids were too big for them then, too, seeing as they stopped their sizes around the size four range during the outset of their proliferation. But it was just months ago that I discovered they had opened yet another venue, Crazy8, started in 2007, as a slightly more affordable store, yet with very similar style and quality. Oh, how I should have had my kids a little later in life.
Continuing with the kid theory, there has for quite some time existed a catalog for children’s furnishings that I so enjoyed receiving in my mailbox. It was The Land of Nod. They carry very whimsical items, as well as classy and practical necessities for your baby or child’s room. And the marketing of the catalog was always very well done. Who knew they were actually a part of Crate & Barrel? Which I only discovered after heading to the C&B website to find, not only The Land of Nod link, but another one,CB2, started in 2000. CB2 strikes me to be the kin to Crate & Barrel as Crazy8 is to Gymboree (and strangely enough they both use a “C” and a number, but now I’m reaching). CB2 also strives for a more economical line of products, modern in design and attractive to the collegiate young people who have an apartment and have to furnish it - crowd.
Recently I heard that even Trader Joe’s has a sister store, called Aldi, which began as the Albrecht Discount supermarket chain in Germany. If you’ve read the news of late, you might know that it is the Albrecht family of Germany who now owns the Trader Joe’s chains in the US. Aldi stores can be found in many European countries, but have now popped up in the Eastern half of the United States, as well. They carry some of the widely known Trader Joe’s brands, and hopefully they may spread to the western part of the country one day. Til then, we’ll have to be satisfied with Trader Joe’s.
Only recently I discovered Madewell, which is a sister to J. Crew. They actually started in Massachusetts in 1937 as a company that produced work wear like jeans, but was introduced by J. Crew in 2006. Their online site was only introduced this summer, so we really haven’t been missing out!
I’m sure we all know that Gap, Old Navy & Banana Republic are all linked. You can use one of their credit cards at all three stores. Awhile ago they added Piperlime to the mix, which I always thought was only shoes, though they actually do have clothing. And more recently they’ve added Athleta, that showcases work-out wear.
Many are also familiar that Marshall’s and TJ Maxx are affiliated under the TJX Companies. Some of us are unlucky in that we don’t live close to their other stores Homegoods and A.J. Wright as well. Because these are discount stores, they don’t have websites we can shop from. So when we see one on the road, we stop.
One of my favorite branches of a retail tree was Ann Taylor Loft that sprouted from Ann Taylor and was far more my style. Ann Taylor focused (and still does, in my opinion) on the career woman with a slightly more classic flair while Ann Taylor Loft is more casual and carefree. They also offer Outlets for both stores, frequently found in outlet malls, and much of the time clothing is made specifically for the outlet location and can provide another taste of Ann Taylor/Loft fashion at possibly an even lower price (though I find their ultimate sales at all stores to be pretty equal and often very inexpensive: $4.88 for SHORTS!!!).
Finally, it was a reminder to remember that Williams Sonoma owns Pottery Barn (which it acquired in 1986) and went on to develop Pottery Barn Kids, PB Teen and West Elm. They seem to be perfect examples of how an idea can snowball.
It’s smart, obviously, that these retailers, who know what they’re doing, open additional stores to cater to a slightly different clientele that they’ve been missing out on with their original vision. Why not expand to reach as many customers as you can with products and marketing techniques that have been tested and proven over time? I’m sure I’ll be kicking myself after I write this when I remember other affiliated stores. It seems the list goes on and on ...