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Target’s Bullseye goes upscale

Marketplace Staff Sep 14, 2006

Target’s Bullseye goes upscale

Marketplace Staff Sep 14, 2006

BRIAN WATT: Anyone can walk into Target and buy a pair of jeans, but only those willing to shell out $140 dollars at an exclusive boutique can wear jeans with Target’s logo on their keister. Target has entered the world of high fashion. Its line is called Tar-zhay Couture. . . and yes, it’s pronounced tar-ZHAY. Now, instead of bang for your buck, this Bullseye will deliver a little bling. Sarah Lemancyzk reports on the grand popularity.

JAYE HERSH: Carmen Electra, Kristin Bell, Sophia Bush

SARAH LEMANCYZK: Jaye Hersh owns the very hip, celebrity-frequented shop Intuition in Los Angeles.

HERSH: Jessica Simpson, Nicky Hilton, Paris Hilton, like all the “it” girls are totally all over wearing the Bullseye.

She means the Target Bullseye, on the back of jeans, bedazzled across t-shirts and belts, woven in cashmere and glittering as $3,000 pendant necklaces. Hersh says it might sound like a mismatch, but she’s not surprised the collection is selling out.

HERSH: Everybody refers to Target as Tar-zhay, kind of the underground “I’m going to Tar-zhay this weekend. And I thought what a great idea to take the hottest designers in t-shirt, denim, jewelry, accessories and celebrate the Bullseye.

Jaye’s Tar-zhay Couture line marks the first time Target has ever allowed the use of the Bullseye in a non-target setting. It’s probably also the first time a discount retailer’s logo has been swathed in diamonds and 14k gold.

Rohini Alawahlia is an Associate Professor of Marketing at the University of Minnesota. For a successful brand like Target, she says there’s some risk in going so upscale.

ROHINI ALAWAHLIA: The Target brand is really built on these two legs. You’ve got the value and you’ve got the style and the design. Now you make one of those legs a little stronger maybe, so the issue is are you going to start limping?

Rohini says that Tar-zhay Couture could make Target’s “design for all” mantra hold a little less water.

ALAWAHLIA: So you’re a Target shopper that goes into get, let’s say, a $25 or $30 handbag, but now sees the Target Couture with a $250 or a $300 handbag. The consumer then might start reasoning – is it the quality that is lower? And so people start having sort of a devaluing effect for the core brand.

But Hersh says that Target’s core customers aren’t so different from hers.

We had some walk-by traffic that thought ‘Oh, is Target opening up a store here?’ But then when they got in and saw the merchandise. They were like ‘Oh my God, Target is my favorite store, I have to have one of these.’

Target shoppers agree, it is their favorite store, but they have mixed feelings about Bullseye bling

SHOPPER 1: I would never wear something with a Target Bullseye on it

SHOPPER 2: People like me who read the magazines kind of see it and kinda want to get their hands on it.

SHOPPER 3: I don’t know. I just think that Target should probably just stay in the price range that it’s been staying in, and to make things more expensive turns me off because that’s why I come to Target you know, good prices.

It’s soon to be more than just LA. Jaye is busy at work on a spring line, and soon, it Tar-zhay Couture could be coming to a Neiman Marcus near you.

I’m Sarah Lemanczyk for Marketplace.

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