Does Free People Reign Supreme?

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Does Free People Reign Supreme?

Free People is truly a lifestyle brand. They have home decor, workout clothing, formal dresses, cosmetics, and more. Operating under URBN, they sell their products in over 1,400 stores, and have over 100 stand alone boutiques. You can find Free People in department stores like Macy’s and Nordstrom, as well as local boutiques in your neighborhood. Free People is special because it is made to empower women; they have partnered with multiple companies to promote strong, confident girls. They price their products higher than Urban Outfitters, so they attract a different customer segment. Although Free People does not practice “fast fashion,” they are said to be more popular amongst college age girls than brands like Zara and Forever 21. Free People offers high quality products that do not go out of style as quickly, creating a better investment for their consumers.

Initially when looking at Free People’s Instagram feed, I am not blown away by their branding. Their pictures don’t flow as naturally compared to Urban Outfitter’s feed, and they don’t have a prevalent theme. However, when individually looking at each post, their brand is more prominent. Their captions are witty and relatable: the lingo is similar to that of a trendy college girl. Although I probably wouldn’t look to their Instagram for fashion inspiration, their posts would fit into my personal experience when scrolling through my Instagram throughout the day, because it isn’t just their product on models. I am slightly surprised by their Instagram account, because I receive their marketing emails, and they are much more inspirational and sales driven. They post a lot about self care and being active, which speaks to their values of empowering women.

They have the smallest reach out of any other account I have looked at so far, with 3.4M followers. But I also have the most followers in common, which means they are doing something right considering I am a female college student. They post the occasional meme, engaging followers to tag their friends in the comments. They also post a lot of consumer created content, and they tag the Instagram user who originally posted the photo. This shows that they use Instagram as a very interactive platform, and show their product on real people, so consumers can see how things actually fit. They don’t seem to have many specific running campaigns with hashtags, but they always put in the caption “#taptoshop” or “#linkinbio” encouraging their followers to further interact with their website or app. They also use Instagram stories as a way to keep their followers up to date and inspired. When you swipe up on one of their Instagram stories with product, it brings you directly to a page on their site where you can buy that specific product, providing instant information on price, colors, etc.

I think Free People does a very good job at specifically catering to their target market. They aren’t looking for 20M followers, but instead loyal customers who will always come back. I think they have a great balance between inspiration and relatability. I think I will continue to follow Free People because I do not feel like I am looking through a series of ads, but instead a feed of great content.


Susy Viera-DiMarco

Susy Viera-DiMarco

September 25, 2018at 1:10 pm

I completely agree with everything in this post! Free People does such a good job of trying to empower young women. Every time I go to a Free People store, I feel like the workers go out of their way to make sure they tell me how good I look in clothes I try on and when you ask for help, they give you their full attention. I am very surprised that their Instagram isn’t up to the standards I thought it would be, but I do like that they try to keep their captions relatable, like you said. Great post!

Lillian Mirakhor

Lillian Mirakhor

September 25, 2018at 2:57 pm

As a female college student myself, I am 100% in agreement with you. I would always rather invest in a few quality items at Free People rather than a bunch of items with lower quality from Forever 21. I always know my clothes from Free People are somewhat of an investment, because they are priced relatively higher than other brands. However, if I like the product I am buying I am usually willing to make the investment, because their clothes in the past have never disappointed me in quality, and proven to be reliable and long-lasting. I also think Free People’s shopping experience and atmosphere contributes to their higher success rate than stores like Forever 21. They put a lot of thought into store decorations and aesthetics which further attract customers, and focus on organization. Often times consumers avoid walking into stores like Forever 21, because they feel overwhelmed by the amount of merchandise which is often times presented in large piles of clothes and not organized. So the overall experience at Free People is just more pleasant and attractive to consumers.

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