I recently posted about Kohl’s getting Vera Wang (of bridal gown design fame) to design a line of clothing and bedding to be offered at their stores this fall. I wrote about how the trend of famous designers lending their name and brand to cheaply made low cost and low quality goods from China was a mixed bag. Sometimes, these designers come up with stuff that although it is cheap, is also much more hip than the usual Kohls, Target or WalMart fare. Other times it’s just the same cheap stuff with a fancier name on it and a lot of press buzz which fizzles after a while.
I got some frank comments from someone who works at Kohl’s and I apprecaite that. It is always good to see people who really believe in the company that they work for and are willing to comment about it publicly like that. I think his comments were very genuine and that the products they sell are liked by many people that shop there.
So, I thought hey, I should give Kohl’s another chance and go look this weekend. I heard from my mom that pillows were on sale and I needed some. We went on Sunday. (since my mom always wants to go shopping again, she tagged along) What I found was the same Kohl’s I remember. A lot of stuff, very tightly packed to keep the sales per square foot averages for the stores high. It was much cleaner and more organized than the last time I was in a Kohl’s. That is a huge step in the right direction. I could actually see what was for sale and get to it.
But the quality still seemed off. More cheap jersey fabric than I ever needed to see. More obnoxious fabric patterns than I could look at for long. More cheap vinyl handbags than I cared to smell. Most of the clothing was styles I wasn’t interested in, although there was a Daisy Fuentes solid color sweater top that was cute. The pillows didn’t work out, since I don’t like stuffing and prefer feathers, and they didn’t carry any feather pillows. (although I know that’s not a humane thing to buy, it’s a downfall of mine)
I found that there were some seemingly nice towels for buy one get one free for $13.00, so I go 2. (we will see if they keep their softness after they are washed a few times) Then I also needed an area rug for my kitchen. There weren’t any that were the right color and size and they all were $40-$50-$60 which is high for a rug. But they were buy one get one free. Which I don’t like when it’s something that is intentionally marked up to get you to a higher total sale by the get one free offer. I especially don’t like it when I only need and want to pay for one. So, we ended up with 2 pillow covers and 2 towels and it cost around $22.00.
Then we went to Target and spent $85.00. They had a rug that worked with the right size and color and it was $26.00. They had some cool new lunch bento box things that I had been looking for at the container store but were always sold out. They also had cat litter which I needed, and a gift (cute candle set) for a friend that just moved into a new appartment. I also almost bought some clothes, but there was too much already in my cart, so I didn’t. I just like target better. I spent almost an hour going around looking at everything. They just have nice cool stuff.
So all in all, Vera Wang isn’t going to really change my view of Kohl’s nor get me to shop there more. I think they serve a particular segment well, which is the volume shopper that has a lot of kids and is going to be buying 2, 3 or 4 of things anyway. They also are less style consious and less quality consious if the kids are going to grow out of it in 6 months anyway. They like clutter, stuff and knicknacks. They also tend to be older, more ethnic and well, it sounds bad but more than 1/2 of the shoppers that evening were obese people. Kohl’s may have more size options available, and kudos to them for that. The thing is, I didn’t think that the stuff there was a better deal, or a better looking or quality product. So, I am probably not going to go back for a few years. But I am probably not in their target demographic. I am a single yuppie that drives a Saab. When Target or Old Navy gets my dollars, they are stealing them from Banana Republic, Pottery Barn and Ann Taylor. I haven’t been in the Kohl’s demo since High School. Maybe things will change when I get older. Hey, my mom loves Kohl’s.