I love J.Crew for a number (an infinity) of reasons… but the main reason why I'm enamoured is because of the people behind the brand. The heads of the J.Crew household are, of course, the geniuses Jenna Lyons and Mickey Drexler. I'd already devoured everything I could find about Jenna (Love Garance's video interview). I set out to learn about Mickey… and the more I learned about him, the more I loved him. He has an inspiring story, mostly hard work managing brands such as Bloomingdale's, Banana Republic, Ann Taylor, Gap, and Apple. He is known for his eye for detail and insistent drive for perfection; the utter passion he has for his work. Hmm… sound familiar? Yes -- he was colleagues and friends with Steve Jobs. Birds of the same feather, for sure. They served on each other's boards (Apple and Gap) for a period. And Mickey is credited with the look and atmosphere of Apple stores.
Anyway, so I found this great two-part video interview. It's with a Canadian talk show host Fanny Kiefer. She seem's really seasoned as a host, skillfully directing their conversation, which as a result is a great one. He talks about his background, J.Crew, Apple, marketing to men, and more.
What caught my ears was what Mickey said about marketing to men and their purchasing behavior. I think a lot of what he says complements all the new attention to male shoppers (e.g., Hermès' exhibition A Man's World). And of course, the men are reciprocating this attention. In addition to golf and coupes, men are increasingly having a look around the sartorial section. My boyfriend would be a textbook case of his. In as little as two years, a slew of new names have been added to his wardrobe: John Varvatos, J.Crew, Cartier, Club Monaco… even some chic Japanese brands I introduced him to.
So anyway… back to my ode to Mickey. There's quite a lot of material on him, but here are my favorites:
Part 1 of the Fanny Kiefer interview:
Part 2 of Fanny Kiefer Interview
Stanford Business School Talk (video)
The New Yorker profile (article)
(This one isn't about Mickey) Jenna Lyons and Frank Muytjens talking about their men's specialty shop, and targeting male shoppers (video)