There's a new girl in town, and chances are she's in your daughter's room right now, hiding in her closet.
Her name is Brandy Melville, and if you haven't heard about her yet, you certainly will be soon. Brandy Melville is the latest in teen girl fashion obsessions, besting retailers like Abercrombie, H&M, and even Forever 21 for share of mind and pocket for the young consumer.
What makes Brandy so popular speaks to many trends affecting young women today, and other than a few butt skimming and belly button showing pieces, I don't dislike where the brand is leading its young disciples. Now to be clear, I get hired by lots of companies, but NOT Brandy Melville, so while this may sound like a PR love letter, it merely has to do with my respect for them as a marketer... and possibly my weekly visits with my daughter.
1) Socially Speaking: Brandy speaks to the Millennial girl -- in her language, and where she is looking. Brandy Melville has had little (perhaps no) traditional advertising, turning instead to social media and outreach to spread its message. With over a million Instagram followers, a hundred thousand fans on Facebook, and almost fifty thousand twitter followers, they get their message, lifestyle, and, most importantly, product out to girls where they want it. In addition, Brandy Melville has created "sisterhood" events with sororities, (a retailer's version of shooting fish in a bucket) and they will even let you design your own t-shirts.
2) It's Not About the Money: These days, it's not cool to look rich, and even less cool to waste your money. Have you heard the song "Royals" by Lorde? Even teens are feeling the recession and want a brand that understands that. Any parent who has painfully watched their kid spend $79 of their hard-earned allowance on a logoed sweatshirt, only to lose it at a soccer game a week later will appreciate Miss Melville's (relatively) reasonable pricing. Most pieces are under $40, and a girl can walk out pretty happy for $20. During these tough financial times, it's hitting the dollar mark that these girls want (and need).
3) The Anti-Mean Girl: Brandy Melville feels inclusive. Like they want you and everyone else. No more searching for sizes or worrying about fit: Brandy is the grab-and-go of retailers. I'm not sure how or why it works, but their one size fits most approach means that you see 10-year-old girls rocking the same skirt as an 18-year-old -- and somehow it looks good on both of them. Thanks to social media, there is far less distinction today between ages, and a 10-year-old is acting far more like 14-year-old than her typical tween predecessors. It's no surprise that with fewer clear age distinctions, the retailer that can reach all of them will win. The brand makes the teen girl feel included, which is key to winning the Millennial's heart.
4) California Dreamin': Forget preppy and move over grunge. Today's girls want to look pretty with a little bit of edge, but not enough to bother her parents or look too inappropriate. Brandy Melville offers the Cali-girl-next-door look made popular by celebrities and influencing girls alike. From Selena Gomez to Taylor Swift, Lucy Hale to Ariana Grande, you've seen them in their sweet skirts, oversized hats, and off-the-shoulder slouchy sweaters. Exactly the girl you'd want your son to bring home or your daughter to befriend.
Whether Brandy Melville can stay a fashion fave among this fickle market is yet to be determined, but if they keep playing the Millennial trend as well as they have been, I'd expect to be seeing a lot more of Miss Melville around.
Follow Jane Buckingham on Twitter: www.twitter.com/jane_buckingham