Should Brands Like J.Crew Sell Bags for over 1K?

Recently, Refinery29 posted an article featuring J.Crew’s latest Edie bag with a price tag of $1,500 US, asking if it’s really worth it.  This bag, only available at their Madison Avenue store – there is a python version that is around $800 (around $900 in Canada) is, with the exception of material, no different from their standard mini Edie bags, which cost some five times less.  So, is it really worth it?  Should J.Crew have launched a luxury version of an existing bag?

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My personal opinion is no.  While I understand that J.Crew is trying to become a luxury brand, I also feel that they are not playing by the “rules.”  Many brands have several different lines at different price points, but the general rule for this is that each major price point is under a different name.  Think Marc Jacobs versus Marc by Marc Jacobs or the numerous Ralph Lauren lines.  Sure, J.Crew has “Collection,” but if I were Jenna Lyons or Micky Drexler, I would have started with a completely different style of bag.  It would make it stand out a bit more.  Selling a luxury Edie is like Volkswagen selling a car at Audi price points without calling it an Audi.  In addition, many people will just look at the price and think “well, at that price point, I can pretty much get a PS1 pouch, even if it’s leather.”

Of course, this isn’t anything new. The aforementioned “Collection” line has been around for several years and there are plenty of other brands that sell items at both “affordable” and “higher end” prices.  However, for the most part, Collection pieces tip at the $1,000 mark and brands like Coach, which sell some products over $1,000, are seen as entry level luxury brands.  J.Crew is still not seen by the vast majority as an entry level luxury brand, no matter what the prices are.  It is also interesting to note that the python version of the bag is NOT listed as a Collection item, despite the price point.  As the alligator version is not available online, it is unknown whether this is part of the more luxurious line.  Even if it were, it would have been in the best interest of J.Crew to create a completely different style rather than a more expensive version of something that has long been available.

What are your thoughts on this?  Do you think J.Crew made the right decision to create a luxury version of an existing bag or do you think they should have come up with something completely different?  What about other brands?

About Cynthia Cheng Mintz


Cynthia Cheng Mintz is the founder and webitor-in-chief of this site and the petite-focused site, Shorty Stories. She has also written for other publications including the Toronto Star and has blogged for The Huffington Post. Her first novel, Aspirations, was published in 2007.

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