Business of Fashion

2015 Pulitzer Prize Winners are Successful Customers

If something is limited edition I consider the item for longer than I would if it were infinitely available. Similarly, fashion collaborations are an excellent lesson in scarcity working as a marketing tactic.

According to Target, their Lilly Pulitzer collection was supposed to last weeks and instead lasted hours. No surprise there. Target is not going to admit to purposely making a small amount of items to create bigger buzz around future capsule collections. It is also not surprising that there are eBay sellers who were able to get their hands on pieces from this collaboration are selling them at increased prices.Lilly Pulitzer chairs

Did you get a piece of the Lilly Pulitzer for Target collection?

The prices people are willing to pay resellers could instead buy many non-cheapened Pulitzer pieces. On eBay, a Lilly Pulitzer hammock (originally $150) sold for $499.99 and a patio umbrella with two chairs (originally $220) sold for $700. People fawning over this collaboration are not necessarily people who have always wanted to add Lilly Pulitzer to their wardrobe. Instead this cult following seems to stem from the allure of exclusivity.

Lilly Pulitzer dresses in completed eBay listings

Lilly Pulitzer for Target dresses (originally $38/each at Target)

Here’s a little Lilly Pulitzer brand history lesson: Using produce from her husband’s groves, Lilly Pulitzer opened a juice stand in Palm Beach. She designed shift dresses out of necessity because her clothing got messy from juice stains. Her customers liked her dresses so she started selling them at her stand. When dress sales surpassed juice sales, a brand was born.

When Jackie O (who knew Lilly Pulitzer from school) was featured in Life magazine wearing one of Lilly’s dresses while on vacation, the brand started to boom. It is not impossible to find Lilly Pulitzer at end of season sales for prices akin to Target’s pricing. And designs and colors are generally the same.

If you want to look like a sorority girl, below are Lilly Pulitzer clothes ranging from $88 to $188, which are better buys than marked up Target clothes.

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