Company that turned in to Lifestyle Brands

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Since its inception in 1970, Urban Outfitters has gone after a specific type of shopper: young and interested in alternative culture. In addition to selling clothes that are stylish but slightly edgy, the store also started selling records, home décor, and funny books. Once the lifestyle brand began to take off, Urban Outfitters was one of the first to embrace the idea: The store started a blog that covered new music, in-store events, and a behind the scenes look at the making of lookbooks.

But where Urban Outfitters really excels in the “lifestyle” concept is on Instagram. The store has separate accounts for almost every major city—New York, Chicago, DC, Miami, Philly, to name but a few—and each account is tailored for each city. Chicago’s account boasts photos of the Magnificent Mile and Miami’s has many photos of the beachfront. In fact, the Instagram accounts don’t even seem to be showcasing clothes at all, just a lifestyle of Urban Outfitters target customer.

But the alternative, edgy lifestyle has also gotten the store in several PR scrapes. The store has come under fire for selling shirts that said “Eat Less” and “Punk as F**k,” as well as a Kent State sweatshirt that appeared bloodied.

Whole Foods raises the age old question of the chicken and the egg—did Whole Foods help start the farm-to-table phenomenon, or did the farm-to-table phenomenon propel Whole Foods to the lifestyle juggernaut it is today? Either way, Whole Foods is synonymous today not just with grocery stores, but with healthy living in general.

Whole Foods, like Urban Outfitters, started out with a niche following. Founded in Austin, Texas in 1980, the store has always been a place to get natural or organic food. So transitioning into a lifestyle brand was likely a seamless transition. Yes, there is a blog, but where Whole Foods really shines is on social media, and particular on Pinterest. With 60 boards showcasing recipes, fitness motivation, and home décor, the page is curated to express a holistic lifestyle. Similar to Urban Outfitters, Whole Foods keeps the promotion on social media to a minimum—instead sticking to recipes and tips on how to eat and live organically.


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