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Mel Ziegler: Banana Republic

Mel Ziegler: Banana Republic | Fashion | Scoop.it
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History of Ziegler

History of Ziegler | Fashion | Scoop.it

The history of Mel Ziegler-- the entrepreneur behind Banana Republic.

Jorgi Klockow's insight:

While little is known about Mel Ziegler's childhood, it is known that he was born in Scranton Pennsylvania in 1952. After graduating from Colombia Graduate School of Journalism he moved to San Francisco and met his wife Patricia. He then started working as a freelancer and went to Australia for a magazine. After picking up a military jacket that resembled a safari jacket from a thrift store his wife repurposed it and everyone started complimenting it. They realized they had a niche on a market and in 1978 they had a lease for a store even with the very little money they had. 

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Personality: Lyons vs. Ziegler

Personality differences between these two fashion icons

Jorgi Klockow's insight:

One overriding character trait that both Ziegler and Lyons share is their absence of fear of failing. Lyons shared that she formed this characteristic when she was diagnosed with incontinetia pigmenti. She was bullied at school because of her looks but she learned to get over her fears and failures and to focus on what she was good at—sewing. Ziegler on the other hand, learned to accept failure when he realized he no longer enjoyed writing. His passion was lost and he had to find something else to be passionate about to make a living. This tolerance of failure has helped their businesses greatly as they venture to new designs in the clothing and store set up which has set them apart from other countries. They are also very down-to-earth and approachable. While they are very successful they do not come across as arrogant like they could get away with doing.

A difference of their personalities is that Lyons is very controlling—she oversees the clothes, look of the store, catalogs, and the J. Crew website. Ziegler is more easy going and did not have a plan for his business. His little business and clothing education did not bother him as he created Banana Republic. 

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Societal Impact

The  impact Banana Republic and J. Crew are having on society

Jorgi Klockow's insight:

On top of providing jobs and contributing to the economy, Banana Republic and J. Crew strive to provide clothing that is both quality and top notch style. They also impact society by actively searching for ways to be responsible. Banana Republic and J. Crew are committed to working with suppliers and manufacturers in a legal way. They both have in place vendor codes and are trying to promote better working conditions. They also have taken steps to improve our environment. Both stores are minimizing energy, paper, and water use within the stores, offices, and distribution centers. Banana Republic also uses wood that is made from Forest Stewardship Council  certified wood from sustainable forests. 

In addition to actively improving the environment, J. Crew partnered with DonorsChoose.com and Teach for America, which promote healthy learning environments. They also donate to other organizations like Boys and Girls Clubs of America, Ronald McDonald House, and The Tiny Miracles Foundation, to name a few. 

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Current Statuses

Where are Banana Republic, J. Crew, Mel Ziegler, and Jenna Lyons now?

Jorgi Klockow's insight:

The net worth of Banana Republic as a sole entity is unknown because they were merged with The Gap. Gap's net worth is a total of $1.1 billion. Jack Calhoun is currently the CEO of Banana Republic with Glenn K. Murphy as the head of all the businesses under Gap. Mel Ziegler's net worth is unknown because he has such a low profile-- he has only tried to start one other business but after time it proved to be a failure. Jenna Lyons is in charge of J. Crew, which has a net worth of about $3.4 billion. Jenna Lyons herself has a net worth of about $1.8 million. 

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Jenna Lyons: J. Crew

Jenna Lyons: J. Crew | Fashion | Scoop.it
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History of Lyons

History of Lyons | Fashion | Scoop.it

A brief history of Jenna Lyons and her life as a fashion guru. 

Jorgi Klockow's insight:

Jenna Lyons was born in Boston in 1970 but grew up in Palos Verdes California. At a young age she was diagnosed with incontinentia pigmenti, which caused her awkward 6 feet tall body at age 12, scarred skin, bald spots on her scalp, and malformed teeth. But in seventh grade she learned to sew-- helping her fit into the crowd as she made clothes that everyone wanted to wear. She went right from Parsons The New School for Design to be an assistant designer of J. Crew men's wear at the age of 21. From there she kept working her way to the top until she became the President of J. Crew. She married Vincent Mazeau in 2002 and had a son named Beckett several years later. Mazeau and Lyons divorced and Lyons started dating Courtney Crangi. 

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Business Methods

Comparing and Contrasting the business methods of Lyons and Ziegler

Jorgi Klockow's insight:

While both Jenna Lyons and Mel Ziegler have a love of creativity some of their business methods do have differences. Lyons was educated in clothing and she started her love of fashion at a young age. Ziegler, on the other hand, picked up fashion when his freelancing business was not going well. Lyons started from the bottom  of J. Crew and worked her way all the way to the top—learning more and more about how to run a business. She runs the business by focusing on the details. She is said to be controlling, which has shown to be effective with J. Crew as their sales have increased in hard economic times. Zieglers success came less from innovation rather than education. His lack of education and experience of what is said to be acceptable is what has brought Banana Republic success. He made a new style with his atypical ideas. Ziegler’s business method was more relaxed, carefree, and unplanned. 

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Factors of a Business

An analysis on the factors that create successful businesses. 

Jorgi Klockow's insight:

Some factors necessary for founding a successful business today are an understanding of technology, passion, ethical and environmental awareness, legal requirements, and funding. In today's world a minimal understanding of technology is crucial for a business. At the very least a business needs to be aware of the vast opportunities phones, apps, and the internet can provide for their company. Passion is also very important for any business venture. If the entrepreneur does not have passion for a company, a customer will not be able to either. Todays world has become concerned about the future which includes the environment. If a company strives to help the environment they can gain customers. In addition, knowing all of the latests legal requirements are very important for any business. And lastly, funding is very important to be able to grow and develop a business. 

Jenna Lyons did not have to worry about the funding, legal requirements, or technology when she stepped into her position because it was a pre-existing company. She did have passion for her company which helped others buy into her items she was selling. The company was trying to conserve some energy but with her help they became even more environmentally friendly. She also stepped in when the world was taking a huge leap in ethical standards. She helped to update the code and donate to more organizations. 

Mel Ziegler founded Banana Republic in 1978. Technology was very minimal and legal requirements and ethical and environmental awareness were much less complex. He did not have to worry about putting Banana Republic on the web or having an app for his store. He also did not have to follow legal requirements for online stores. And the brick-and-mortar laws he did have to follow were much less in number. In the early 1980's some laws were put in place to protect the environment but the majority of people did not jump of the tree-hugging bandwagon until the 2000's. Funding and passion were about the same then as now. It was hard for Patricia and him to start their business because of the little money they had but they had a passion for their business that drove them to become innovative. 

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