J. Hilburn Drives Sales By Creating Luxury Brand Experiences

When asked to define “luxury,” consumers refer to several terms, including “highest quality,” “splurge,” and “excellent reputation,” according to research from Ipsos MediaCT.

J. Hilburn strives to deliver these luxury brand experiences in a more personable and approachable fashion by combining online shopping with personal fittings from independent sales consultants.

The menswear retailer taps into a network of 2,700 trained personal stylists across the U.S. to meet with customers, take their measurements and build up their shopping profiles. J. Hilburn then tailors all products — including jackets, shirts and trousers — to match each consumer’s unique measurements and proportions.


With this highly customized brand experience, J. Hilburn has seen revenue climb more than 100% this year over Q1 and Q2 2012. Total sales for 2013 are projected to surpass $55 million. 

“Our company touts the slogan ‘bringing style and class back to men’ — that’s a lot bigger than just a brand,” said Hil Davis, CEO of J. Hilburn. “It’s a movement that people can get behind.”

Overall, men have grown accustomed to clothing not fitting their bodies correctly and “want to go shopping twice a year to just get what the need,” Hilburn explained. “We’ve done consumer research, though, that confirms men actually do care what they look like; they just don’t know how to find the products that fit them well.”

One of the top-selling products for J. Hilburn, custom shirts, confirms men’s secret desire for stylish yet affordable apparel. In 2013, the retailer has sold approximately 15,000 each month — a number that is expected to swell to 20,000 per month by the end of this year.

“It seems like every brand makes, essentially, the same products for men,” Hilburn said. “Customers want something that fits them perfectly. That’s why our personalization and apparel fitting model is so valuable.”

Embracing Digital Marketing Strategies

To better connect with shoppers and stylists nationwide, J. Hilburn now is focusing on extending luxury brand experience to the web. Consumers can visit the company web site to connect with personal stylists, while both consumers and stylists can browse inventory and outfit look books.

When it comes to customer engagement and retention, email marketing has been especially effective in driving e-Commerce traffic and impulse purchases. In fact, all email campaigns have an average open rate of 45%.

By tapping customer profiles that include past purchases, browsing behaviors, as well as body measurements, J. Hilburn can execute more relevant email campaigns, Hil explained. “Right now, we have about 22 buckets of consumers based on the products they buy. We want to dissect our customer base and apply that data via email campaigns to show we understand them.”

Detailed data analysis not only helps the retailer develop more compelling messaging, but also more intriguing offers and incentives. For example, J. Hilburn can categorize shoppers by their preferred shirt patterns, and then send them an email promoting a flash sale for a specific design.

“Over the past few years, we’ve offered thousands of products in limited quantities,” Hil said, “and have sent out emails promoting these flash sales to customers who are most likely to buy.”

Mobile App Will Add To Personalization Strategy

In the near future, mobile will be considered a prominent marketing and engagement channel, according to Hil. The retailer currently is developing a mobile app that is designed to act as consumers’ “closet concierge” when they need help determining what to pack for a trip. 

As the J. Hilburn business continues to grow, “we will be investing in technology that will help add layers of service and personalization to the customer experience,” Hil said. “In the beginning, we felt technology was a nice to have, but not a great distribution engine for apparel. Now, J. Hilburn has grown to the point where we can use technology to improve the overall brand.”

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