Disclaimer: This is to the company, not the person.
Dear Lilly Pulitzer,
I just want to start off by saying that I am a die-hard Lilly fan. Some people cheer for sports teams, I cheer for you. My room is filled with artwork inspired by your delightful prints, I spend more money than I should on your products, and I try my hardest to be a girl that Lilly herself would be proud of, living in a sunny state of mind.
But lately, I’ve been less than pleased with your company. I first heard of the Lilly Pulitzer for Target a few months ago, whenever it was first announced, and I had mixed feelings about it. I mean, Lilly was a wealthy New York and Palm Beach socialite. Her biggest customer was her former classmate Jackie Kennedy. I’m pretty sure she never would have stepped foot inside a Target store. To me, it ruins the perfectly pink and preppy image that she worked so hard to create.
But then I realized- that doesn’t matter to me. It’s not my reputation that’s getting put on the line. If going to Target was a risk y’all were willing to take, then by all means, I was ready to support it. As the launch of the collection grew closer and closer, I got more and more excited. I went online and picked out all my favorites. I tweeted about it, texted all my friends, and defended it to my mom. And on the morning of Sunday, April 19, I woke up relaxed, refreshed, and ready to spend some money (after church, of course). Before I left, however, I searched #LillyForTarget on Twitter to gauge others’ reactions, and what i found absolutely appalled me. Less than an hour after the collection was released, it was completely sold out. Everywhere. Online. In stores. With no restocks. A collection that was supposed to last weeks, gone in a matter of minutes. Females of all ages were lined up outside Target hours before it opened, ready to shop until they dropped, and what did they find? They had been tricked. Only the first ten people in line got to truly enjoy it. Those perfectly printed shift dresses they had been planning on wearing all summer long? Only two in each size. One of the main selling points of the collection, the plus-size clothing, only available online. In the wise words of Taylor Swift, this was a nightmare dressed as a daydream.
If there’s one thing that I know about Lilly Pulitzer (the person), it is that she was the hostess with the mostest. I mean, the girl always left her front gate open, just so guests could come and start the party anytime they pleased. And the number one rule of parties? Make sure no one gets left out, and everyone is having a good time. The Lilly for Target collection was made with exclusivity in mind, and for that reason, it is with confidence that I say that this is not what Lilly would have wanted for her company. Don’t get me wrong, from a marketing standpoint, it was a huge success. The advertising was genius. Everyone knew about it, and y’all made enormous profits. But do finances really matter if no one is happy with you? A wise man once said, “Some people are so poor, all they have is money.”
I encourage y’all to take a cue from the lifestyle of your namesake and fearless leader. Lilly would never tell anyone they were too late to the party, she’d just keep the party going on longer. Since when is that too much to ask?
Yours in sunshine and shift dresses,
Grace Laurel Rogers