GLOBAL VIEW: J. Crew has a soft-sell approach to the hard task of cultivating an international audience.

Starting today, the homepage of overseas will have a “Hello World” greeting designating a section featuring “style-makers” from different countries and different realms. Publishers, retailers, photographers and bloggers are profiled with photo diaries, short videos and concise commentaries on their personal style. They also wear an item from J. Crew, to show how it integrates into their outfits and lifestyles, but the profiles focus on the individuals rather than J. Crew product. “We’re looking to make a real personal connection, not just splash ads all over the place,” J. Crew president and creative director Jenna Lyons told WWD. “We’re not talking about us so much. We wanted a different level of honesty and integrity. It’s more humble.”

This story first appeared in the June 15, 2012 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today. features Hilary Tsui, style blogger and owner of the well-known Hong Kong boutique Liger; TK Mak, creator of Hong Kong-based pop culture magazine Milk; Berlin’s Sven Schumann, founder of online magazine The Talks, and Popeye Magazine editor in chief Takahiro Kinoshita of Tokyo. In July, five more style influencers from Paris, Milan, London and Sydney will be on Hello World.

To create Hello World, J. Crew enlisted CFDA Award-winning fashion photographers and bloggers Garance Doré and Scott Schuman, who happen to be a couple, to travel the globe and photograph, film and profile the tastemakers.

Also, Hello World offers customers outside of North America “insider” benefits such as complementary expedited shipping, priority access to personal shoppers and duty-free shopping through Aug. 31.

Asked how familiar people overseas are with J. Crew, Lyons replied, “That’s the magic question. We don’t know,” though she said in some places, the response is surprising. “The people on Hello World will help validate and spread the word for us. They have cool, individual styles — a point of view.”

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