Even Retirees Are Doing It
While on a cruise ship the last two weeks, I was lucky to have 9 days totally at sea to rest, relax, read, meander, daydream, snuggle with my new husband and, of course, SHOP. Yes, there were tons of tropical treasures to buy, and as you probably guessed, souvenir T-shirts to bring those destination memories home. Because I work at an apparel company, gift shops are magnets to me, to see which styles they're carrying, brands they choose, the imprints on the garments, and how they are marketing and pricing their shirts.
Sure enough, right before we arrived at the first port, a bustling T-shirt display was assembled for these captive shoppers with vacation money to burn. Why not take a look myself? The tees were sorted by size: first table for smalls and mediums, then larges, XLs, and finally 2 and 3XLs. I glanced at the labels first: YES! A brand we carried! Then the colors: ordinary shades, a few tropical, but mostly basics. Next, the styles: basic generic "adult" tees, no ladies' styles, all cotton, same neckline. And the imprints? Front chest billboards. Dull, drab and what you might expect from every beach resort shop in the country. Nothing innovative, standout, eye-catching or dramatic.
Perhaps it was just ME—jaded from all the T-shirts I see every day. But NO! I watched the other shoppers for their reactions. Although this cruise wasn't for what I call "hip fashionistas under 40"—mostly retirees who could take off more than two weeks—these ladies were looking for STYLE. Even when their purchases were for OTHERS—usually those YOUNGER than them—they wanted something different, unique, fashionable. When for a woman, they desired something that would fit and flatter the wearer, not their husband's longer, boxier tee.
They scanned the imprints for something WOW. Pretty. Vibrant. Creative. Most passed by the T-shirts. After all, there were many other shops in the upcoming ports that would have what they were looking for.