A segment ran on The Today Show this morning featuring J.Crew’s president and creative director Jenna Lyons. And her interviewer was none other than Jenna Bush Hager, former first daughter, author and sometimes Today Show correspondent. At one point during the segment Bush Hager said she took a casual office poll and I wondered if we were really supposed to believe that Jenna goes in and actually works in The Today Show offices instead of just flitting in and out every few months to film fluff pieces.
Anyway, Bush was lucky enough to interview Lyons on how she has doubled the sales of J.Crew in the last seven years and helped it become a company valued annually at approximately $1.7 billion. The company is also planning a major global expansion over the next few years starting with China.
When asked about feeling the responsibility of designing for the average woman Lyons said “I feel the sense of responsibility to make clothes that anyone can have and I don’t think women are average, I think they’re awesome.”
And one of those not-so-average women is First Lady Michelle Obama who has worn J.Crew from head to toe on numerous occasions. She said when Obama announced she was wearing the label on The Tonight Show a few months ago she nearly took out her husband’s eye in excitement.
Lyons, who describes her style as a mix between California surfer with a little bit of granny, said she has made an effort to help J.Crew evolve from being only known as a preppy retailer. “I wouldn’t want to be just labeled as just preppy because there is more to what we can do and not everybody fits that mold.”
As for that media-driven, controversial scandal over Lyon’s choice to use a photo of her four-year-old son wearing pink nail polish in the catalog last month she said she was quite shocked how much attention it received.
Lyon, who started with the company as an assistant designer in 1990, said her advice for women in their careers in any industry is to “Shoot for your dreams. Don’t be afraid. Go for it.” She added it is even better if your dreams are “covered in sequins”.