This is a funky little idea that has been jumbling around in my head for a bit. Mostly, it is because I feel bad for only buying one or two items of a brand and then abandoning them. I have this old fashioned idea that If I ‘love’ something a designer creates I should, hypothetically, love the designer (and everything they create). It follows that if I love the designer I would show them appreciation by being loyal to their brand as that provides continual monetary reinforcement. It is one of the two (meaningful) ways that buyers show designers they care:
- we support them financially
- we advertise for them either by word of mouth or by wearing their designs.
Where ‘brand loyalty’ falls apart is in the very first premise: just because you love something, or even a couple somethings that the designer creates, it does not mean you are going to love the designer. It may be that only a couple items have just the right aesthetic. It could also be that the designer had a certain theme that year that appealed to you and in the following seasons the themes deviate from your personal fantasies. I experience this with companies quite often. One of the more salient examples is my relationship with Fred and Ginger. I am absolutely in love with both their My Fair Lady and their Show Girl collections. However, since those collections were released I have not really found anything else that sparks my interest. I still appreciate the brand, but the huge change in aesthetic from collection to collection prevents a ‘brand loyalty’ relationship between them and I.
Sometimes, you may actually love the designer, or the designs that ‘the designer’ represents, and yet brand loyalty still is not an option. A common problem is fit. Often the brand you may wish to be loyal to does not make the right size or the right shape for your body. If all their bra straps are wide set and you have sloping shoulders then there is a problem with that relationship. If you have shallow breasts and they make deep cups, if you wear an XL panty and they only make a L, if you have an unusual shape and their material does not accommodate for that shape, then brand loyalty will be difficult. I love Ell & Cee but their size large does not fit me and though I would love to be loyal their size range excludes me. I have also owned several Victoria’s Secret bras; however, I will never enter into a brand loyalty scenario with them as their cups are a poor fit for my breasts (and they make all their cups pretty much the same). Brand loyalty would require you to be loyal to a product that is not a great fit for your body.
Customer service also can affect your desire to be loyal to a brand. You may love the designer and worship their designs but if the brand representatives were rude or unaccommodating or never responded to your messages this may very well turn you off a brand. I am having this experience with the brand Miss Mandalay right now. I left a message on their Facebook (which is active), while they were having a fantastic swimwear sale, asking about sizing recommendations. That message was left on September 1st and I have not heard back from the company despite them being active on their Facebook. I also attempted to buy stockings from Amoralle but their checkout refused all payment methods from me. I emailed them, received a response the first time saying there shouldn’t be a problem. I emailed them again showing screenshots of the problem and they have not bothered to respond. It is hard to establish a relationship with a brand, let alone brand loyalty, with a company that ignores you.
Another common issue with brand loyalty is the desire for variety and the fulfillment of multiple fantasies/desires. I am sure we can all figure this one out without any help! 😉
Price is another obstacle in brand loyalty. I know several brands that I would buy nearly everything they make; however, the cost for their items is formidable. This type of brand becomes a ‘treat’ that you might get on a special birthday or for a special occasion like a wedding. Sometimes the cost is so formidable that they remain in the realm of ‘the dream.’ I always think of Sparklewren when I think about lingerie I will never be able to afford. I love the spikes she puts on her corsets!
Last but not least is the onerous occasion of a ‘bad experience.’ The phrase ‘once bitten – twice shy’ is so true, especially when it comes to lingerie. If a customer has received a piece of lingerie that has any flaws (in material, construction, fit, sizing) or does not make them look the way they thought they would in it: this can be very damaging to potential brand loyalty (as well as self-esteem). The customer becomes ‘gun-shy’ at buying from a designer they might otherwise love, for fear of the bad experience repeating. I have so many examples of this: in fact I have a drawer full of them. All of the pictures in this post are of lingerie that falls into this category. They will all end up on eBay soon! I have already listed some lovely lingerie if you are in the market.