How Lane Bryant contributes to a national conversation

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Brian Beitler has five daughters and celebrates his 25th wedding anniversary this year, but the chief marketing officer for Lane Bryant doesn’t “think being a father particularly can make you a good marketer for women.” For Beitler, not being part of the consumer base he interacts with daily is a powerful motivator. “I don’t have an experience base to come from,” he says. “That requires me to turn on my empathetic ears.”

On this week’s episode of Retail Gets Real, Beitler joins the co-hosts in Chicago, where he shared the retailer’s perspective with an academic audience to help educate college students about the potential of careers in retail.

Established in 1904, Lane Bryant is now one of the most recognized names in plus-size clothing. Beitler joined the company at a time when younger women were familiar with the brand but “literally heard customers say ‘You’re for my mom,’” he says. Beitler helped refresh the brand to appeal to a modern audience, realizing the discrepancy in the market.

“With some research around the reality that the average-size woman in the country was about a size 14,” he says, “it seemed interesting that you have these large department stores that have very little focus on … the majority of the market.”

Brian Beitler (right) joins co-hosts Bill Thorne (left) and Jessica Hibbard (center).

Brian Beitler (right) joins co-hosts Bill Thorne (left) and Jessica Hibbard (center).

To both revamp the brand and change the conversation on body equality, the company launched into research and actual conversations with real customers. “There was an opportunity to reshape the way we talk about women,” Beitler says. Lane Bryant’s modern take on the “plus segment” recognizes that every woman wants to be seen and celebrated.

Listen to this episode to learn about the company’s progress and what skills can make a successful marketer. Subscribe to never miss a future episode and catch up on all of our past episodes.

Tony Fontana is one of NRF’s co-hosts on Retail Gets Real. Meet all the co-hosts and learn more about the show.