In a kingdom far far away, King of Prussia Pennsylvania to be exact, there is a palace that prides itself on being a place filled with happiness and fun. This magical palace is none other than the Lilly Pulitzer headquarters.
As a member of the Merchandising Society I snatched up one of only 20 spots available to go on this trip and I was pretty stoked about it. Not only was it a chance to see a real corporate headquarters but also it was a chance to get out of NYC for a few hours.
Upon arriving in the King’s Land of Prussia, we went to the mall!! What a surprise right? It was the largest, most beautiful mall I’ve ever seen. I contemplated living there a few times while I was there. It had every store imaginable and TWO food courts. I was essentially in shopaholics’ heaven.
The reason behind our mall stop was to see the Lilly Pulitzer flagship and look at their products. It was the cutest store filled with bright colors and fun sayings on the walls. Being surrounded by pink was the perfect way to start off my Friday.
Then we get to go to the headquarters! Only a short bus ride away and we step out in front of this light pink building, not your typical looking palace, but it it still had that magical feeling.
First up, the tour. We got to see every department and section of the Lilly Pulitzer headquarters from fabric design to merchandising to customer service. We were given an inside look into the upcoming collection, Summer ’15, and Summer ’16!! Sorry no pictures of those though *cries*.
The whole building was filled with pinks and greens and was very bright. And even though my feet were being crushed my kitten heel, peep toe sling backs, I still felt happy.
People in each department came and talked to us, describing their jobs and day-to-day tasks. A lot of times the terms “merchandising” and “product development” mean different things at different companies. In Lilly’s case, it is the Merchandise Planning & Inventory Optimization department that does the traditional merchandising jobs: buying, planning, allocating, things like that. And people in the Product Development department are more like quality controllers and make sure the designer’s visions get produces correctly. Their role is not as creative as a product developer’s role in another company might be.
Here are some fun facts that I learned at Lilly Pulitzer:
- It all started with a juice stand in Palm Beach Florida
- They are the first ever resortwear brand
- The company only has about 200 employees
- Extremely design driven, all of their prints are hand painted before they are turned into fabric
- Most of the employees get to go to Florida for a week 4 times a year! (Talk about a dream job)
- They are launching a new “Luxletics” line of luxury athletic wear
- Lilly Pulitzer’s design team does not focus on trends
- The brand only has 2 sales a year so most of their merchandise is sold full price
That’s all folks! I hope you found this trip as interesting as I did. It was definitely a meaningful experience and I cannot wait to go on more!
Tara (& the Merchandising Society)