Sunday, March 14, 2010

Day 0.5: Meeting passionate people from Gymboree

(Forgive the delay, but I was a walking zombie yesterday and simply could not type to save my life. I tried three times yesterday!)

Flying alone has one advantage: you're forced to meet people on the plane. Every once and a while you meet folks who are really interesting. The Miami flight was a discussion on children's clothing.

I met two district managers for the company Gymboree on the Miami flight. Carmen and Hiram worked in Miami and Puerto Rico respectively. They were on their way back from a company all-hand meeting. They were also extremely passionate about the company; I have not see this feverent of passion in a while. We talked about what were Gymboree's differentiators and what was the value proposition.

It turns out that Gymboree creates styled collections for their customers. They capture a customer, typically women, when they are pregnant and have had great success in keeping them throughout the 8-10 years of a child's growth. The clothes are high quality so they can be used by multiple families or families with more than one child. They also told me about a different brand, Janie and Jack, that targets a bit more upscale experience.

Their customers are such big fans that they create fan websites, separate from the parent organization (i.e. GymboFriends). These fan websites discuss the latest collections, swap sales information, and generally help build the Gymboree experience for their customers. It's really interesting how a clothing retailer can have such passionate people.

I was practicing some of my new marketing knowledge so during our discussion we swapped value propositions:

I came up with "We never take our customers for granted" for Gymboree

They came up with "We are the foundational experience for tomorrow's professionals" for the University of Washington.

Business geek, I know. ;-) The next post is about the Chilean economist I sat next to on the next leg of the flight! Fun eh?

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