The plan was to get a new logo and maybe splash on a fresh coat of paint.
Instead, Jo-Ann Fisher and her daughters spent two weeks this summer scrubbing walls, shelves and mannequins. They altered their colour scheme, replaced the floors, cabinets and countertops. They changed the name of their 30-year-old business. And, oh yes, they did get that new logo.
As you can read about in this month’s Business London magazine cover story, Fisher & Company, the venerable Richmond Row upscale women’s clothier, is now Hangar9. As Fisher prepares for semi-retirement, when she will leave the business to three of her daughters, she has gambled on an new image, all the while offering the same level of service that made the store something special from the moment she opened three decades ago.
The Fisher women knew all too well how their store was perceived by shoppers. “Old,” Jo-Ann says plainly. “But we weren’t old, never have been,” she says. Still, the new look is designed to quash that perception and attract younger women (and men for the first time) to the store.
Let’s be honest. By any name, the shop is not inexpensive. It’s popular among professional women who have more money than time and appreciate the service provided by the Fishers and their staff. Customers can book an appointment to go in and put together an entire wardrobe. The ‘9’ in Hangar9 refers to the idea that 9 core items can form the foundation for enough fashion combinations to get someone through a month.
Shoppers who buy in receive a glossy book of photos, featuring them wearing their own clothes. It’s the last 10 minutes of What Not to Wear. You look through the book and find a combination for the day, relying on your 9 basic pieces and as many accessories as you can fit in your closet.
While maintaining the personal service angle, Hangar9 also has introduced some fancy lines, including Marie Saint Pierre, the premium line in the store. The MSP rep working with the Fishers is the fourth daughter in the fashion-savvy family. Natch.
It takes guts to gut a store that’s been a success for 30 years and launch something all new, targeted in part at a new clientele. But it’s a gamble the Fishers have taken on enthusiastically. Their Toronto by-appointment-only shop is being transformed as well. They’re all in on Hangar9 – substantially more than a new logo and a fresh coat of paint.