THE LIMITED, QUINQUAGENARIAN: Half a century is a long time for any company to stay in business, let alone one that relies on sartorial trends. The Limited, which marks its 50 anniversary in the fall, is celebrating the milestone by donating a portion of sales of commemorative items, including a gold clutch with a 50th anniversary logo charm and a 14-karat gold-plated bracelet with a logo bar, both $50, to Dress for Success.
The retailer’s advertising and marketing campaign, including a microsite that went live this week, is customer-centric. “We want the client to feel a part of the celebration so we’re asking her opinion in a couple of campaigns we’ll release over the next five months,” said Elliot Staples, senior vice president of design. “We want to make sure this campaign celebrates our client.”
In one poll, customers will be asked to choose their favorite of three dresses. Once the voting closes, The Limited will rush the winning design into production. “We may end up putting the other two into production as well,” Staples said. “If the votes are close, it means the consumer likes a few of them. We’re getting all the fabrics lined up so we can push the button after she votes.”
Consumers will be encouraged to submit stories to the “Talk is Chic” section of the Web site. Topics can be life lessons, advice for women or commemorative life moments. The Limited will donate $1 for every story it receives to Dress for Success. Finally, customers will be asked to vote for a store in one of three cities where in late October a celebratory event will be held. One customer will be selected though a drawing to attend the event. “It will be a major location,” Staples said. “But it’s very important that we celebrate all 259 of our stores to commemorate and rededicate our brands.”
Staples described The Limited as “still being on that journey,” referring to the company’s sale by Limited Brands in 2007 to Sun Capital Partners and its development since. “[The business] has been changing and building for the last six or seven years,” Staples said. “We edit trends and make them understandable and pertinent for the customer. She’s changing in terms of what she wants. Our niche is the career woman. But the business wardrobe is very different than it was 10 years ago. It’s more casual.”
The Limited intends to evolve with its customer for another 50 years. “We’re changing as her expectations are changing,” Staples said. “We’re showing her options.”