From the moment I heard about the collaboration I knew it would be crazy and I accepted the fact that sleep is for suckers when it comes to getting what you want at these things. The Missoni collaboration shut down the Target website in 2011 and collaborations since then have been very popular. Plus, this would be the first collaboration to offer plus sizes! So, lots of hype.
In March the official look book was released. Since this collection had ready been covered extensively on social media I already had a pretty good idea of the items and price points to expect but this allowed me to officially get my wish list going. With this collaboration I used the same strategy I use for the Lilly online sales - a three tiered wish list. My A list items are my must haves - the items I will dedicate my efforts towards getting. B list items are the ones I really want once I fulfill my A list. C list are items I would like but will only get if there are items on the A and B list I am unable to get.
So I had my wish list, I had my sorority sister shopping buddy now all I had to do was wait. Of course, during this time I couldn't help but read the MANY articles and posts on the topic, this I'd how I learned that twitter would be my friend in my shopping endeavor. As you might imagine, items doesn't just magically appear on a website at one time, that's how Missoni crashed the site. Since then, items are released slowly during the wee morning hours - hence sleep being for suckers. For this collaboration a 12am - 3am CST release was anticipated. In the meantime I created my online account and saved the payment information (Target redcard - free shipping and 5% off!) for faster checkout.
Around 11:30pm CST word started to hit social media that items were starting to show up on the mobile site. Through links that were shared or google searches I was able to checkout 3 items from my A list. Then Target caught on, probably due to traffic but more likely because links were being tagged #lillyfortarget when posted and took down access and said items would go live around 3am. Again, go live at 3am means they are actually going to show up a little earlier and I was able to make 4 more purchases during this time. Because I had my payment saved and didn't have to worry about shipping costs I clicked express checkout each time I had an item in my cart - or group of similar items. I was actually able to clear through my A list online. Truth be told I could have purchased my entire B list too but I kinda wanted the in store experience / wanted stuff right away. By 3:30am I was done shopping and was waiting around for my 5am outside the store meetup. I watched Friends to kill time, did my nails, and got on my Crazy Target Lady uniform.
Running pullover, check. Giant pearls, check. Side ponytail, check. Adeline rush, check.
A little after 5am I pulled up outside of Target. C and I were the first ones there. We set up our tailgate chairs right by the door facing in and shared a blanket. When we got there there was a pallet of boxes by Ready to Wear we just knew was the lilly! Soon, rolling racks appeared and we got to see what they had as the employees put it out. At one point one guy noticed us and waved, we enthusiastically waved back!
Our view as we waited.
Around 6am my sister (as in biological) met up with us and we started discussing who wanted what and how we would team together. C wanted clothes for her Minnie so I would get hers in ladies, I wanted the turbans which were unavailable online so Mary would hit beauty and get mine. My online strategy had been to get my online exclusive and non clothing items so I could focus on clothing when the store opened. Since we knew what they had I knew what I would be looking for. At some point before 6:30 a 4th person arrived, we chatted with her a bit talking about items we wanted and how excited we were.
C and I staying warm as we waited for store opening.
Around 7am the crowd grew to about 15 and the store manager excitedly came to talk to us and thank us for coming. She took pictures of the line and seemed glad to have us. By 7:50 the crowd was around 100 and she again came to address the crowd, this time with security to remind us no running, no grabbing. At 8am exactly the doors opened and we were allowed in! I walked quickly but many people broke the rules and ran anyway. A crowd had already gathered at clothing by the time I walked there but being tall made it easy to reach over those rule breaking runners and grab the sizes we needed - somehow I got everything our threesome wanted in the right size in store, I was even able to get some flip flops for a friend before the clothing crowd noticed them. The manager, security guard and several employees stood by clothing and had to repeatedly remind the crowd no pushing. At one point a pre- teenish girl was sadly telling the security guard another lady had taken items out of her hands (don't worry, I saw her getting to try on items so I know she didn't leave empty handed ). And there was a little bit of bickering. I quickly walked away and met up with Mary and C in housewares. Most items were still available except for pillows, napkins and the woven basket. The employees there were very nice and asking people who walked up what they wanted. One employee even brought me a cart once I claimed a hammock.
The cute store displays, which were kinda unnecessary for such a short lived sale.
We then headed back to the fitting rooms to try on. C went first while Mary and I guarded our loot and sorted through what we had to see if there was anything we were not going to get. The fitting room attendants went above and beyond by holding stuff while ladies tried on to protect them from the crowd waiting for rejects. At first people were pouncing on people coming out asking what they were going to keep but soon a system developed where the security guard would hold up and item and shout the size to see who wanted it. There was a little bickering of who had been standing there longer or who already had one of an item but for the most part people were calm. Although really, it's sad we had to be babysat by security. All of Cs items worked and she was thrilled. Mary had her items work too and gave back a size that didn't work to the crowd. I liked my items as well. I had purchased my #1 item online but considered buying in person as a backup, but I traded with lady #4 for a scarf from her cart. I was considering a tote C decided not to get but when a lady who was empty handed asked where it came from that voice inside my head reminded me I already have lots of lilly totes and I handed it over with the matching wristlet, she was so happy she offered to buy one of my items which was totally unnecessary (I declined of course) and makes me sad that it was that unusual to share.
We made one more lap around the store, tried out the beach chairs - exceptionally nice quality and super comfortable but I was already getting the hammock and needed to be reigned in. Around 9:30 we checked out and left super happy. All in all a good day!
There were a few disappointments but shoving someone out of the way isn't a memory I want to associate with items into home.
I somehow missed that the two clothing items would be online only so that's just my fault, I could have bought them. The necklace sold out online too fast. The totes were grabbed up too quickly in store and the basket was gone from housewares. Oh well, I still got lots of awesome stuff. I have a little not buying remorse over the beach chairs and pillows but its occurred to me that the hammock case is the same material and I could make some pillows if I really want them. Right now 3 of my 7 online orders have shipped so I'm nervously awaiting more shipping notifications.
I'm going to take an unpopular stance here with this: anyone who is sad they missed out needs to look in the mirror if they are mad. The online purchasing links we widely available online to anyone paying attention and I haven't heard of an locations where a serious crowd had formed before 6am, 6 is not that early if you really wanted to shop. This wasn't the first target collaboration rodeo, we knew what to expect. The giraffe necklace, which was an online exclusive item is the only item I wanted that I didn't have a chance to get. Stuff was available! there are some items I checked on repeatedly over half and hour debating whether I should purchase or not. Sure, it would have been nice if there had been more to go around but guess what , Target sells stuff everyday and it doesn't make the news - items selling out in 10minutes does, at the end of the day these collaborations are a PR move for Target and the designers. Plus, if Lilly for Target items were readily available for the next few weeks it would hurt Lilly Pulitzer retail stores.
This collaboration ran exactly like it should and was successful for both companies. Anyone who did their homework and had a strategy left happy and both companies got a ton of exposure. I'm looking forward to the next collaboration already!