An Inconvenient Lilly


Guys, it pains me to write this post, but my beloved Target messed up this time. Yes, I usually wax on how great Target it is, but since they don’t pay me to write this blog (but they really should, and I’ll take your offer, Target, m’kay?), I get to throw some shade their way every now and then. So here it goes.

Lilly Pulitzer is so popular in the south, right? So maybe I’ll have to steal a few Southern expressions to really capture my feelings.

Bless your heart, Target, you really screwed the pooch.

Not only did they have an unexpected demand for the Lilly for Target line and a crashed website, but there seems to have been some other issues. I received my Lilly for Target online purchases this past Thursday. I tried on the two flounce dresses and just didn’t really love them (which I was expecting, so no problem). I put them aside to check out those shiny gold espadrille wedge sandals. My friend C had already warned me that she thought the pineapple flip flops were sized weird, so I didn’t find it odd that my foot didn’t fit in the 9.5-sized shoe, until I looked at the bottom of the shoe.


Ugh. I called customer service, even though I knew it wasn’t their fault and even though I knew there was nothing they could do to get me the right sized shoes, since the collection has now been sold out for a week. I was right. There really was nothing they could do to help me get the right shoes, so I received a refund and a gift card for my efforts and was told “this was truly an inconvenience,” but I’m still just a bit disappointed and hope that some quality control adjustments can be made, so no one else feels this way in the future.

So anyone out there need some gold espadrille wedges in a size 6.5? Email me!

And to paraphrase LCD Soundsystem…Target, I love you, but you’re bringing me down.

ps. Does anyone know anyone else with a screwed up order? Weirdly enough, my bestie B had ordered a green pineapple tote and received a pink one instead. Another major bummer. We ordered around the same time and received our items on the same day, too.

pps. Check out these dueling articles: why selling out of the Lilly for Target collection was good (here) and why it wasn’t (here). My take as a Kelley School of Business graduate? Target wishes they had made A LOT more product.


  • That’s a terrible story! I’m sorry!


    A Peck on the Chic

  • Nancy

    I think that Target views the entire thing as an overall success. Sure, there were a few hiccups (such as the Twitter leaks and your experience in wrong items sent) but the rest is exactly what they want to happen. They want there to be a huge build up of excitement. They want items to sell out immediately. They want to have no left over inventory at the end of the two weeks. I don’t even think that they care that the website crashed as it’s done it before so you’d think that they would know how to fix that. It’s probably not worth it though to them. It was a hot mess and they loved it because it makes the overall public see Target differently than other big box stores in the fashion department. They are aligning themselves with a high end brand and the majority of the purchasers are willing to overlook that the lower price is due to lower quality just to have this limited time item. All the negative goes away pretty quickly as people who shop at Target will still shop at Target for their paper towels and their toothpaste and their milk. But now they may give Target a second look when they pass by the clothing aisles because they remember that Target was so cool they sold Lilly Pulitizer, or Missoni, or some other high end brand at one time and people clamored for it. They are employing the marketing strategy of Apple. Make something seem so great that people must find out what all the hoopla is about. And it’s working.

    • Hey Nancy! Thanks for your very intelligent comment. You make a lot of great points, and I think the Lilly brand definitely views this as a smashing success. People who previously didn’t look at them as a “fashion” brand are now thinking again, and people who didn’t snag anything from the Target collaboration are differently wanting to get their “Lilly fix.” But I think that Target (and any business really) would have liked to find the “perfect demand amount” and have made/sold that amount and have a fully functioning website. There were countless individuals who left Target stores empty handed on the Lilly for Target launch day, and many who will not return for the next brand collaboration (because who wants to get up early, fight the crowds, and end up with nothing). So there was definitely money “left on the table” in a sense that would have been spent on dresses, etc. had there been stock available. Sure, 99% of those people will return to Targets (eventually) and still spend their toothpaste dollars with Target, but I don’t think they’re going to be lining up for midnight releases at Target like Apple has going on. Just my thoughts, but I love the open conversation we’re having! :)

  • I went home for the weekend and went to the local Target (Longview, Washington) and there was a display of Lilly! I thought it ALL sold out, not just women’s clothing. There was little girl’s clothing (multiple of each item), a pouf, some cosmetics, the pineapple serving bowl (so tempting!) and even scarves (plus a few more home things I think)! My mom bought one of the scarves.

    Did it not all sell out everywhere? Just women’s clothes? I was confused!

    • Score for your mom, Mattie! I think initially it was sold out (for the most part) country wide. The website for sure sold out completely (they even removed the collection from their front page). Then, a few days passed and people started to realize that they either went crazy and bought too much or they didn’t fit, etc., and the stores are seeing returns coming in (especially since the collection has such a short return timeframe – only 14 days). Hope that makes sense!

  • Kaci

    That’s really disappointing! Given that this was always going to sell out quickly and there wouldn’t be exchanges, some more care should have been taken in packing orders.

    • Agreed, Kaci. I mean, I guess 6s and 9s are confused a lot, which is why UNO cards have lines underneath the 6s? Maybe Target should try that?

  • Amanda Berg

    I just received a Target order today. No Lily stuff. I ordered family star wars tee shirts. The adult ones came but no toddler shirt and in place were two flannels and a ladies blouse. I didn’t order them, not my sizes and not on my receipt. Guess I’ll be calling too.

    • Oh my gosh, Amanda! Sorry to hear that! Weirdness for sure. I’ve had that happened to me before where I get one thing that’s not mine, but belongs to a different bin number. That’s disappointing for sure…here’s hoping you can get your toddler shirt! :)

      • Alison @ Peacoat Diaries

        Something is going on with Target’s online order fulfillment — a few weeks ago I randomly got half of a bikini (just the top) that I didn’t order. I’ve placed a lot of online orders and never had any issues (I even managed to get 3 items from the Target x Missoni collection fulfilled properly!)…weirdness.

        It’s sad to see that this collaboration was executed so poorly. While they certainly made a nice profit (sold out almost everything in minutes), they left a LOT of money on the table. I live in Florida and employees warned us that most stores were receiving ONE of most items in each size. At my store they could have easily sold 50 in each size just on launch day alone. So while it is nice to have a sellout, they left an awful taste in the mouths of SO many customers who walked away with nothing. Their shareholders should be furious.

        Their biggest issue is misjudging their audience and abandoning the idea of “design for all” — they don’t seem to understand why some collabs are big hits and others are duds, and they clearly get off on the idea of exclusivity and whipping people into a frenzy. For me, I feel like I’m just going to plan to stay away from now on. It just isn’t worth the drama.

  • I’m not sure what irks me more – getting the wrong order or getting confirmation that you’ve paid for an item only to get notified days later that the item is out of stock. While it hasn’t happened with Target yet, I can’t count how many times it has happened with Gap brands. Sorry to hear about your ordeal. Have you looked on eBay? You should be able to snag them for 10 times their original price. (::throwing daggers at scalpers::)

  • Ugh that sucks!! And now you can’t get the right size because it’s sold out! At least your outfit here is super cute, right?