Beep beep! I recently rolled up (it rolled up to me?) to the Primark on Tour bus. There was a prize wheel to be spun. There was a candle mysteriously scented “cashmere”, which sounds like it would smell like smelly goats but actually smelled like a warm night in. Also there was me, because aforementioned bus came right to Harvard square. And as a college student who basically lives in a bubble and rarely leaves campus, that the bus came to the square was amazing (they parked about four minutes away from my bed).
Primark’s business model is almost completely opposite from most brands. We’re in the era of direct to consumer models, online first, cutting costs by cutting overhead by staying out of brick and mortar. And as much as that’s changing, with major DTC players choosing to open up more and more storefronts, a huge retailer like Primark that doesn’t actually have an online shop is an absolute rarity. You can’t tap through on instagram, you can’t do one click shopping. You have to go to a store (or a truck!), see it in person, interact with each and every piece in a tangible way. As branding today isn’t so much about a logo as it is about an experience, an alignment of views or interests on a deeper level than just visual, the truck stop with its games-and-freebie-fun mixed with fashion-fun really came together as a brand, not just some faceless store in a mall.
For the uninitiated, Primark is 50 (!!) years old, sells trendy things and basic things and lots and lots of fluffy things. My first Primark purchase was a pair of maroon sweatpants that basically started off my revelation that comfortable clothes are inherently superior to uncomfortable clothes. They also cost $12. I’ve worn them about once (okay, sometimes more than once) a week for over a year, and they still nail that tight at the ankle, thick but not too thick jogger style. I also recently got a pair of platform boots ($23!!) which prompted me to write about more being more, and are also great for stomping around and being approximately 1.5 inches taller. Primark is where I took my Freshman year roommates, who are all from the south, sweater shopping once temperatures started dipping under 50 last year. Affordable style is central to the brand, and as a college student, that’s pretty central to my brand too.
Snuggled up in some pillows by the back of the bus, surrounded by Gilmore Girl-esq fall clothes, I got to wondering more about the brand’s practices. Primark publishes a sourcing map, along with lots of information on employee training about sustainability and ethical practices (you can read it here). It’s the kind of transparency that acknowledges the difficulty for a major retailer like Primark to completely monitor all of its supply chain. They’re clearly trying; are a part of several ethical initiatives, and a part of the conversation about ethicality and sustainability in fashion. Which to me made the whole event much more meaningful and exciting.
So they’re going somewhere, physically, in the little blue truck, and less concretely, in a more environmental and ethical direction. Also, I got to spin a prize wheel, which made me feel like a little kid in a candy store. If you’re in Boston, check out where they’re headed to next, and definitely swing by!
This is a sponsored post in partnership with Primark and the InfluenceHer Collective. All words and opinions are my own