What Do We Know That She Doesn't?

About seven months ago Eileen Fisher’s people told me their “branding” agency was focused on a new direction for the company when I proposed that the chain hold a nationwide search for the country’s most stylish, accomplished women over fifty.  “Good idea,” one of Fisher’s gatekeepers told me, “but not for us.”

Not for them? I thought. Have you hired a branding agency located on Mars? Women over fifty made Eileen Fisher what she is today. Women over fifty earn more, spend more, are more active, dynamic and vibrant they ever before.  I should know. I’m one of them. We’re embracing our age and turning it into a positive, like we do most everything else.

Women over 50 spend over $25 billion a year on clothes and over $30 million a day on personal care products. Almost one-third of all women in the United States today are 50 or over and this number is rising every year. Women over fifty  have more discretionary income than any other demographic group. Over 65 percent of the women 45 to 64 work full time.

That’s when I had an epiphany:

Eileen Fisher's new muse?

I will create a website myself celebrating women of style and substance over fifty. Then I set out to work, calling the country’s top fashion shops and salons to see if they liked my idea and to ask for their help finding the women. They embraced the idea, and in January we’re launching faboverfifty.com. More on that later.

I was flabbergasted when I read in this weekend’s New York Times SundayStyles that Eileen Fisher is now determined to attract a “younger, cooler customer who has no fear of leggings, a defined waistline or wedge heels.” Seems 58-year-old Eileen was “sad” last year because nobody knew her clothes had become “hipper,” the article reported.  So now the company is using younger women in its ads to attract a younger, hipper audience. “Gone, for the moment, are the silver-haired models smiling serenely into the distance,” the article noted.

Despite the size and affluence of this “silver-haired” group, many fashion and cosmetic companies continue to chase the younger market.  They don’t think it’s cool to pursue women over fifty. They’d all be wise to put their thinking caps back on and figure out how to capture our attention–not to mention our discretionary income.

Eileen Fisher, that includes you.  Send your branding agency back into outer space. Older women can and do wear hip clothes.  They’ve been buying them for years in fabulous shops all over the United States, shops from Mario’s in Seattle to Tootsie’s in Houston, from Joan Shepp in Philadelphia to Joseph in Memphis, from Maria Pinto in Chicago to Jamie in Nashville.

When you see faboverfifty.com, you’ll know just what I mean.

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11 Responses to “What Do We Know That She Doesn't?”

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  2. Keith says:

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  3. Beginners Guide to coffee says:

    Howdy would you mind sharing which blog platform you’re working with? I’m planning to start
    my own blog soon but I’m having a hard time selecting between BlogEngine/Wordpress/B2evolution and Drupal. The reason I ask is because your layout seems different then most blogs and I’m looking for something unique.

    P.S Apologies for getting off-topic but I had to ask!

  4. photo booth company says:

    Hey would you mind stating which blog platform you’re working with? I’m looking to start my own blog soon but I’m having a tough time selecting between BlogEngine/Wordpress/B2evolution and Drupal. The reason I ask is because your layout seems different then most blogs and I’m looking for something unique.
    P.S Sorry for being off-topic but I had to ask!

  5. Susan Kincaid says:

    Hi Geri, this is concerning an article a few years back concerning Eileen Fisher. I have never owned an article from this company. I have been pretty much a j.jill person. Always wanted to have a few pieces from Eileen Fisher. I guess what I would like to say to you is that Not all women over 50 have tons of discretionary income. I work retail, my husband works at a well-known law firm. We help out my brother who is slightly handicapped, and have saved lots of cats and a couple of dogs from starvation over the years. We could have gone to Europe a few times with the money we spent on animals. (Our choice.) Still aim on being in London for my sixtiest bday. Sorry this is so long. Thanks, Susan K.

  6. Sheila Weinstein says:

    I loved your article. It’s really shocking that EF has the attitude they do. Several years ago after I purchased a lot of clothing from one of their stores here in NYC, I started looking at the labels. None was made in the USA. I wrote a letter of protest. They called me and gave me the line that it was too expensive to set up factories here…that China had the cotton and it was easier for them to make the goods there. I said I was going to rethink my purchases from then on. The woman asked if I would be willing to be part of a kind of task force they were going to set up to discuss issues important to consumers such as the one I raised. Never happened. I haven’t bought anything from them since…but…I still love their clothing. How can we go about changing such an attitude. They could at least show that the clothing looks good on both younger and women of a certain age…I could think of lots of ways to do that. But apparently, they can’t. Extremely frustrating.
    Thanks for listening.

  7. Leslie Lord says:

    Oh my Eileen, wake up and smell the coffee!
    I love Eileen Fishers line of clothing, it suits me. I do not need a lot of frills and geegaws all over a garment I have enough curves myself! Someone needs to have a heart to heart with Eileen, we the over 50 crowd ( and just under) are the women wearing her clothes.
    I do think they are timeless, that women of all ages can wear them BUT one needs a sense of confidence to carry them off. It is a less is more approach to fashion. Wake up Eileen, the over 50 is your target market!!
    I live in BC so my nearest shop is in Seattle and I have not been there since the summer. I have discovered Donna Karan’s NY line which I have purchased a few items from and I am very happy with the simple minimalist approach that she has shown in this collection….Donna is another of my faves…I wonder if she too is concerned about her target market?
    Bring us more fashion news please!

  8. Marilyn says:

    Loved, loved, loved your blog and can’t wait for your website. I’m e-mailing this to all of my friends. Very well done and diversified. Thanks.


    • Geri says:

      Hi Marilyn,

      Your comment made me happy. Thank you so much for spreading the word. Who would have thought that, at 62, I’d be glued to a computer.

      Where do you live?



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