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French Bull post

What’s cookin’ good lookin’?

The *holiday* season is in FULL throttle which means a few things for a Target buyer :: obsessive compulsive sales tracking {I may or may not have our Inventory Tracking Application open at all times on certain *hot* to-remain-nameless items} | super busy Mondays full of scrubbing, analyzing, recapping, and contingency planning {since the beauty of retail is that you can truly never predict what will happen}|and LOTS {and lots!} of store visits {for both personal shopping and eyeball shopping}.

On my recent visit to Tarzhay I found myself not making my normal beeline straight to the Toy department {buyers can be so self-involved…}, but instead taking a mosey around the racetrack.  Aaaand, because merchant self-involvement always kicks in, I totally found myself in middle of the Small Appliance floorpad drooling in front of the KitchenAid stand mixer endcap {what?  I love that hot pink stand mixer…}

It’s amazing how fast time goes by.  It’s been just over 7 months since moving to Toys and my time in Small Appliances can feel like a distant memory.  While some decisions from my appliance days are still in stores, a lot of the assortment is new {a testament to how quickly retail moves}.  By the time 2014 rolls around, almost all evidence of the JB {Jessica Buyership} will be gone.  That said, there is one piece of the JB legacy still in stores that puts a big fat smile on my face every time I walk by.  Do yourself {or me?} a favor and check it out yourself.  Here’s the online version :: http://www.target.com/s?searchTerm=french+bull&category=0%7CAll%7Cmatchallpartial%7Call+categories

The French Bull appliance line is the result of a mastermind collab between Target + Jackie Shapiro, French Bull’s founder + designer.  The coffee maker buyer + I were pretty frustrated that kitchen appliances seemed like a sea of sameness at every retailer.  Everyone had the same assortment of brands {because let’s face it… no one wants to buy a stranger danger nameless appliance} and everything was white, black, or stainless.  BoOooOoring.  The only excitement in kitchen aisles was a pop of red every now and then… which, let’s face it, is about as exciting as eating ice cream straight from the carton.

We had great success with our hot pink KitchenAid appliances so we thought, why not?  Let’s push the envelope a bit and add some “Tarzhay” to our appliances.  We shared our ahhha thought bubble with our vendor partner who got us in touch with Jackie.  She was just the person we were looking for.  Smart, innovative, talented, and *fun*.  Her modern designs had the energy, vividness, and stopping power we wanted in the small appliance run.  She worked with us to figure out exactly which designs would work the best on the angles + curves of a canvas that was typically focused on function versus aesthetic.  Many conference calls, lots of file sharing, a few attempts at prototyping, and one very fruitful Soho studio visit later… we knew exactly how we wanted to launch this line. Great designs on the brands you trust?  Now that’s Expect More Pay Less at its finest.

French Bull was really the last hurrah I had in Small Appliances so there are some definite warm fuzzies when I see it in the flesh.  And the warm fuzzies turn into yesssss-bicep-curling-fist-pumping-hi-fives when I hear how well they’re selling.  See?  Not everyone wants a boring ol’ black toaster.  Now hurry and go check it out… French Bull was meant to be a limited time offering and this holiday will be your last chance to snag a zig zag.  Your kitchen will thank you :)

Interested in a career in buying, planning and brand management? Search and apply for jobs here.

by: Jessica

  1. Laura said:

    I love this assortment!! It is such a fun surprise in the small appliances row!!

  2. Jackie Shapiro said:

    Jessica –

    I loved working with your team and Jarden consumer products on this collection.
    The project was a fantastic example of how we can make beautiful useful product at a NICE PRICE and put a smile on our guests faces to enjoy their purchase throughout the day.

    Thanks for posting!


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Jessica is a So Cal girl who found her way to the Midwest by her love for red + khaki. Her current obsessions include :: Viogniers + truffle salt + harem pants. She’s perpetually occupying herself with foodie expeditions and contemplating how to get her hands on a copy of Modernist Cuisine. Jessica started her love affair with Tar-zhay in 2010 as an MBA intern from Northwestern University and joined full-time in 2011 as the small kitchen appliance buyer. She’s still San Diego weak sauce when it comes to weather but thinks heated garages and skyways are genius.