Bullseye, Target! Smith and Hawken edition.

One of the things Target does exceptionally well is their collaborations with best-in-class product manufacturers. I'm not talking about their seasonal designer collections where they slap Liberty or Calypso and soon Missoni prints on every lampshade and serving tray within arm's reach. Rather, it's with their ongoing partnerships with companies like Calphalon, J.A. Henckels and Fieldcrest, that Target really hits its stride.

The manufacturers' deep industry knowledge and product area expertise and Target volumes result in tightly focused, high-quality, well-designed, product lines at moderate prices. Target gets to offer their customers exclusive lines from top manufacturers and the manufacturers grow their audience through entry-level products without diluting their brands. The customer gets so much more than just a discount--they get real value.

It's a brilliant strategy, really. Add a Diet Coke and a bag of popcorn for a $1.50 and it's no wonder I'm there three times a week

The Smith and Hawken for Target collection is a shining example of this type of collaboration. With only six different furniture collections and a few key accessories, if Smith and Hawken had been this disciplined about merchanding for their own stores, perhaps they would still be in business.

A personal favorite is the Solenti collection. It feels traditionally inspired but very modern in its streamlined simplicity. The furniture is appropriately scaled and well-proportioned--so many outdoor collections on the market now are ridiculously large--and the seats are deep enough that you can actually sink back into them, yet not so low that once you do, you can't get back up.

I was a little surprised by the price tag--a single club chair will set you back about $1,000, not including the cushions. While these are clearly investment pieces, and the great Smith and Hawken quality and elegant design may be worth every penny, it seems like a price point that would be out of reach for the average Target customer. And for those who are looking make a long term investment in patio furniture, and by that I mean dropping a grand on a single club chair, I don't think Target is the first place they're going to look.

1 comment:

  1. I completely agree with everything you just said. I have Target's Calphalon pieces and Henckels knives and LOVE them.

    And damn if I don't miss Smith & Hawken. It was like a smut shop for gardening goodies.