Christopher Edgar and Steve Kahn founded the direct marketing company Delia's in 1993 with $200,000 in a Brooklyn apartment. When Edgar and Kahn launched their new company, they were targeting college-age women in the northeastern United States. However, the product assortment featured in their catalog proved to be of more interest to teenage sisters of these coeds. In response, Edgar and Kahn broadened their customer profile to include the newly emerging teen market, and within six years grew their business to $113 million in sales.
Delia's is a direct marketer of branded and private label casual wear and accessories targeted to Generation Y girls and young women between the ages of ten and twenty-four. The catalog features apparel, swimwear, intimate apparel, shoes, accessories, candy, posters, books, CDs, tattoos, and novelty home accessories from brands such as Free People by Urban Outfitters, Roxy by Quicksilver, 26 Redsugar, Greed Girl, and Dollhouse, as well as private label products made exclusively for Delia's. The styles are fun and funky. They have attitude, drawing inspiration from teen lifestyle trends such as skateboarding, biking, and snowboarding as well as music and movies.
Delia's was one of the first companies to cater to Generation Y and collect demographic data on their purchasing habits. Generation Y comprises approximately 55 million girls in the United States. Of that group, over 4.8 million of them have requested catalogs, and 1.5 million have purchased products. This massive "house list" has allowed Delia's to collect demographic information on an age group with no previous purchasing history. The information they collect allows them to fine-tune their product offerings and marketing concepts to capture and hold the attention of the teen market.
In addition to the original Delia's catalog, Edgar and Kahn have expanded their holdings to include other catalogs and retail store ventures which appeal to the teen market. Catalog additions include Storybook Heirloom and dot dot dash, for the preteen market; Contents, for Generation Y home furnishings; and Droog, for Generation Y boys' and young men's apparel and accessories. They have added three retail operations: TSI Soccer Corp., the largest retailer of soccer apparel and equipment for boys and girls; Jeans County; and Screeem. In addition to the Delia's factory outlets, the first full-priced Delia's retail store was opened in 1999.
Edgar and Kahn also expanded their operations into the very heart of teen existence: the World Wide Web. Over 22.3 million teen and college-age students regularly access the Internet. To reach this audience, Edgar and Kahn purchased gURL.com and launched iTurf, both community websites which provide gateways to websites of interest to teens, allow teens to interact in chat rooms, and enable them to shop online. The Delia's, Droog, and TSI Soccer websites were all expanded to allow the online sale of their products.
Since Edgar and Kahn took Delia's public in 1996, Delia's has continued to expand both its operations and market share. The demographic data collected by Delia's has provided the company with unique insight into the previously untapped teen market. The combination of hip catalog presentations and Internet resources has allowed Delia's to dominate the teen market.
Carr, Debra. "E-Male." Footwear News (December 6, 1999): 48. Krol, Carol. "Delia's: Christopher Edgar." Advertising Age (June 28, 1999): S26. Parr, Karen. "New Catalogs Target Gen Y." Women's Wear Daily 174 (July 24, 1997): 12.
Redecker, Cynthia. "Delia's Opens First Retail Unit." Women's Wear Daily (February 25, 1999): 11.
Ryan, Thomas. "Delia's Internet IPO Seeks to Raise $45 Million." Women's Wear Daily (January 27, 1999): 10.
--. "Delia's Reaches Accord to Buy Screeem, Jean Country Chains." Women's
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