Design at Anthropologie

An [absolutely amazing article about Anthropologie’s design process]( and how they run their company. I could quote the entire article, but below are a few of my favorites. Also don’t miss [their incredible office design](, evolved from Philadelphia’s abandoned Navy shipyard.

Perspective is everything:

> Our customers are our friends, and what we do is never, ever, ever about selling to them. – Anthropologie president Glen Senk

Fascinating profile of who Anthropologie designs for:

> Ask anyone at Anthropologie who that customer is, and they can rattle off a demographic profile…But those dry matters of fact don’t suffice to flesh out the living, breathing woman most Anthropologists call “our friend.” Senk, 46, says, “I like to describe her in psychographic terms. She’s well-read and well-traveled. She is very aware — she gets our references, whether it’s to a town in Europe or to a book or a movie. She’s urban minded. She’s into cooking, gardening, and wine. She has a natural curiosity about the world. She’s relatively fit.”

Choosing (and excluding) who you design for:

> Most stores cater to a broad base of customers or specialize in a product category. We specialize in one customer. And we offer her everything from clothing to bed linens to furniture to soap. – Senk

Spend on experience, not advertising (reminds me of [the advertising “tax”](

> One of our core philosophies is that we spend the money that other companies spend on marketing to create a store experience that exceeds people’s expectations. We don’t spend money on messages — we invest in execution. – Senk

Three personas/people/characteristics that are always part of the goal:

> All Anthropologie buyers — in both the home and apparel divisions — organize their collections around three high-level concepts: a multicultural or ethnic look; a pretty, feminine look; and a clean, modern look. Each season they flesh out those categories into three unique collections. For fall 2003, Dickens’s team envisioned three distinct women as inspiration for the collections.

“Good Idea Sheets” are one-sheet forms that any person can send to the home office. Reminds me of Toyota’s Kaizen process.

“Happy” clothes:

> Anthropologie’s philosophy is, ‘Our customer wants happy clothes.’…happy clothes are first and foremost colorful, pretty, and feminine. Sad clothes, by contrast, tend to come in darker colors and have sharp, edgy shapes…’Our experience is that sad clothes end up on the markdown rack.'” – Wendy Wurtzburger, head merchant