Ashley Stewart Furniture Store Near Me

By | March 16, 2023

Ashley Stewart Furniture Store Near Me – She had stopped at an Ashley Stewart store in Harlem simply to return a book she had bought there – but walked out with a pair of capri pants, a dress, a jumpsuit and a blue purse emblazoned with the word “Fearless”.

This is often the case, says the 44-year-old school teacher, who visits the plus-size store chain at least once a month. She also approaches Lane Bryant, Ashley Stewart’s retail rival, who sits right next door. But she says a visit to Ashley Stewart just feels different.

Ashley Stewart Furniture Store Near Me

Ashley Stewart Furniture Store Near Me

In the era of Amazon, retailers looking to connect with fickle customers may want to take a page from Ashley Stewart’s playbook.

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The 27-year-old company, which caters to African-American women of sizes 12 and up, has attracted a passionate following among its shoppers.

Ashley TV, which highlights trends and events, has garnered over 8 million views on YouTube and other social media platforms. For the second year in a row, the company launched a tour of urban and historically black colleges awarding tens of thousands of dollars in scholarships.

And it’s the contest “Finding Ashley Stewart” is searching the country for an unknown to become the brand ambassador of the retailer. It will culminate this month with a star-studded red carpet event that will feature such celebrities as LoniLove, ’90s hip-hop favorites Naughty By Nature, and media personality Soledad O’Brien.

There’s “this sense of community … and really engaging with the customer on a more granular level,” says Kimberly Jenkins, a lecturer at Parsons School of Design who developed a course on fashion and race. “They’re not just trying to sell. to her. … They’ve also done their homework to find out who she is, what she does on the weekends, what she does for her career. Having that sense of intimacy with the customer is something I think (other) retailers should take note of.”

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Plus-size fashion was once relegated to a handful of specialty chains, while the rest of the industry focused on a customer base that was size 8 and under.

But with 70.7 percent of Americans age 20 and older considered overweight or obese, retailers and designer labels ranging from Walmart to Karl Lagerfeld Paris are now looking to a fuller clientele, chasing their share of what has become a $21 billion business became.

As of June, 17 percent of the dollars spent on women’s clothing in the previous 12 months were for larger fashion, according to retail market research group NPD. And US sales were up 2 percent compared to the previous year.

Ashley Stewart Furniture Store Near Me

Old Navy announced last month that it will bring its Online Plus collection to 75 stores. J. C. Penney debuted Boutique Plus, its first private brand designed exclusively for plus-size women, in 2016, and all of its private brands are available in stores up to size 18. Plus-size collection at Stitch Fix, the online personal styling service that offers sizes up to 24W and 3X.

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“‘Plus-sized’ used to be … a dirty word,” says Marshal Cohen, NPD’s chief retail analyst. “It’s not anymore.”

Nevertheless, from the social media lounges where shoppers can pose and snap selfies like pop stars, to the trimmed mannequins on the sales floor, Ashley Stewart offers shoppers a unique proposition – and celebrates a long-ignored group.

“I would say it’s a niche market within a niche market,” Cohen said of Ashley Stewart’s largely African-American clientele. “They have a very strong following and … as long as Ashley Stewart continues to deliver on the promise of giving the customer what the customer wants, they will continue to maintain their share and even grow.”

Ashley Stewart’s customer base stuck with it even though the company filed for bankruptcy twice within four years. But it took more than loyalty to keep Ashley Stewart afloat after it came close to liquidation in 2014.

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The company’s CEO James Rhee took the top job in August 2013 after spending two years on its board, and he has become its fiercest champion. He steered the privately held retail chain to four consecutive years of double-digit profitability after it failed to make money the first 22 years it was in business. Annual sales now approach $200 million.

Saving the company was a big task. Five years ago, Ashley Stewart’s corporate headquarters had no WiFi, and its stores relied on old-fashioned cash registers. At one point it had to hire security as vendors waited outside to pay cash for their wares. And the company sold scrap metal and furniture from closed spaces to make payroll.

“There’s an endurance to our brand and our customer base. That’s the only way the brand could have survived,” says Rhee. “How can you not have computers in your stores? . . . And then fast-forward to today. When we paired best practices with a 20-year heritage and loyalty, it just exploded.”

Ashley Stewart Furniture Store Near Me

Rhee made an ambitious business plan that was executed over six months. In April 2014, Ashley Stewart emerged from bankruptcy, and three months later, the company’s staff packed up their own U-Hauls to move into a space where most employees sit together instead of in offices that promote collaboration and squash hierarchy. . Rheecloses approximately 100 stores and brings in vitally needed technology.

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Now the turnaround of the company is compelling enough to attract the attention of the Invus Group, a long-term investor in Weight Watchers, which in June 2016 bought a majority of Ashley Stewart. Purchases made by white women.

Rhee says the essence of Ashley Stewart is not fashion, but community. “The No. “We’ve built a whole new business model around that.”

That ethos drives Ashley Stewart’s laser focus on social media, where the store urges shoppers to ”join the movement.” It has led Rhee, a Harvard-educated lawyer and former high school teacher, to hold financial workshops on urban and historically black campuses such as Florida A&M and Temple as part of Ashley Stewart’s annual College Empowerment Tour.

And the contest “Finding Ashley Stewart” has become perhaps the most popular event of the company. For the second year in a row, the contest invited “Ashleys” in seven cities, including Richmond, Virginia, Philadelphia, Atlanta, as well as online, to show why they should be declared the company’s brand ambassador at a star-studded finale in Brooklyn on September 15.

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Rhee’s passion is palpable. While his family stays in Boston, he spends weekdays near Ashley Stewart’s Secaucus headquarters. Rhee can often be found talking to customers in one of the store’s 89 stores. And he refers to the company as “her”, as if it is one and the same with the women who support it.

The son of Korean immigrants, Rhee says he understands the importance of Ashley Stewart’s neighborhood businesses because he remembers how his mother struggled to feel comfortable in certain spaces.

“There was a language barrier, and she was also a minority,” he says. “It was not easy. I always say that there is Ashley Stewart in everyone. Everyone tries to do their best and fit in as well as possible, and I think that this brand was a good place for some people who need to feel good . . . that’s why it’s worth fighting for.”

Ashley Stewart Furniture Store Near Me

The women who staff the sales floor are commonly called “Miss Ashley.” go on a night. from.A shop in Newark has a karaoke machine while Harlem location a month fashion show.

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“We don’t treat our customer as a customer,” says Chary Wright, who has worked for the company for 19 years. “She’s family. We know who gets married, who has a baby, who gets divorced.

“I’m a tall woman, and we all feel this insecurity,” Wright says. “That’s my job, to build up my sisters. All of them. White, black, Hispanic. It’s woman power. … Everybody wasn’t born to be a size two.”

Marie Denee, founder and editor of plus-size fashion and style blog “The Curvy Fashionista,” says Ashley Stewart makes her shoppers feel like more than just a transaction.

“It was set up as a relationship from the beginning,” she says. “That kind of conversation really allows for a different kind of interaction.”

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Jenkins acknowledges that not every chain store can replicate the Ashley Stewart feel. But she says everyone can find their own unique way to connect with customers.

“It might not make sense for brand Xis to try to talk like brand Y,” says Jenkins. “You have to have your own voice, and it has to be authentic to you.”

When she buys outfits in other stores that complement her petite, curvier shape, “often … they may not be dismissive,” she says of the sales staff, “but they don’t rush to help me.”

Ashley Stewart Furniture Store Near Me

“It’s a place that cares for me,” she says, “where I’ll be comfortable and I’ll get the service I need and deserve.” Furniture & ApplianceMart- Rhinelander Ashley Outlet of Oshkosh Furniture & ApplianceMart-

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