The largest apparel retail stores and chains–including American Eagle, The Gap, Victoria’s Secret and Zumiez–all have company mission, vision and values statements intended to guide their operations. These statements define their brands, their culture, and customer experience. Each is as unique as the merchandise and shopping experience found in their stores.
American Apparel Mission Statement
American Apparel says it's committed to high-quality products, employee care, limitations within the industry, and art, design, and technology. The company got its start in 1989 when founder Dov Charney began selling T-shirts and sweatshirts as a student at Tufts University. Charney originally called his company "American Heavy Apparel."
American Eagle Outfitters Mission Statement
American Eagle Outfitters started in 1977 with just one store in Michigan. Now the company boasts more than 1,000 stores. Its mission statement focuses on corporate responsibility: "American Eagle Outfitters is committed to the principle that the people who make our clothes should be treated with dignity and respect. To this end, we seek to work with apparel suppliers throughout the world who share our commitment to safe and healthy workplaces."
Ann Taylor Mission Statement
Ann Taylor says the company champions "the modern working woman and her love of fashion." The typical Ann Taylor customer is a working mom in her mid-thirties. She's busy and enjoys a healthy income. The company tailors its fashions to this image. It says, "We get women." The company says its mission is simple yet profound: "To inspire and connect with our clients to put their best selves forward every day." Richard Liebeskind opened the first Ann Taylor shop in Connecticut in 1954.
The Gap Mission Statement
The Gap's mission statement says the company aims to "create emotional connections with customers around the world through inspiring product design, unique store experiences, and competitive marketing." In addition to its Gap stores, Gap, Inc. also owns Banana Republic, Old Navy, and INTERMIX. The Gap concept is the brainchild of Doris and Dan Fisher who opened the first Gap store in 1969. They've said that their goal was simply to make it easier for folks to find a good pair of jeans.
Gymboree Mission Statement
Gymboree calls its mission statement a vision statement: "Children are at the heart of everything we do. Childhood is filled with special moments every day and we design comfortable, quality clothes and accessories for memories in the making. Across all of our brands, we aim to make shopping and getting dressed easy and fun. Our clothes help children start each day with something special–because we know a child’s favorite outfit can make every day a great one." The corporation began by offering mom-and-baby classes in the San Francisco area in 1976 and now operates almost 800 stores, including Gymboree Outlets, in the U.S. and Canada.
Macy's Mission Statement
The name brings to mind the Thanksgiving Day Parade and a handful of movies in which the parade was featured, like 1947's Miracle on 34th Street. Macy's also made an appearance on an episode of the NBC hit comedy Friends almost 50 years later in 1994. The company's longevity and popularity might be the result of its mission statement, which has been tweaked a time or two since Macy's inception in New York in 1858: "Our goal is to be a retailer with the ability to see opportunity on the horizon and have a clear path for capitalizing on it. To do so, we are moving faster than ever before, employing more technology and concentrating our resources on those elements most important to our core customers."
Nike Mission Statement
"To bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete* in the world." That's Nike's mission statement and it is indeed a lofty goal, particularly when you consider that little asterisk. Co-founder Bill Bowerman was responsible for putting it there. He wanted to clarify that, in his estimation at least, "If you have a body, you are an athlete." Nike has been manufacturing and providing all manner of athletes with footwear, accessories, and apparel since 1964, although the company's initial offerings were running shoes.
Victoria's Secret Mission Statement
L Brands might have bought up Victoria's Secret in the 1980s, but the brand maintains its own mission statement, separate and apart from that of its parent company. It says that it is "committed to building a family of the world's best fashion brands offering captivating customer experiences that drive long-term loyalty and deliver sustained growth for our shareholders." Wexner purchased the struggling Victoria's Secret for $1 million in 1982. It was mostly a catalog business at that time with only three brick-and-mortar stores. These days, it's a multi-billion dollar business.
Zumiez Mission Statement
The Zumiez corporate mission statement says it takes pride in providing consumers with "cutting edge clothing, footwear, accessories, DVD's, hard goods for skate and snow for active lifestyles." It's all about activewear with a focus on jackets and sweatshirts, but it does big business in blankets, too. The retail chain is a relative newcomer to the scene, launched in 1978 by co-founders Tom Campion and Gary Haakenson. It went public in 2005.