Bebe's 9 to 5 Means 5 to 9
Bebe is revamping and boosting it's sex appeal but insists they know where to draw the line, according to Steve Birkhold, Bebe Store Inc.'s CEO. Birkhold said of his company's $10 million campaign, that kicks off this Wednesday, "For the Bebe girl, nine-to-five means 9 p.m. to 5 a.m."
Birkhold joined Bebe last January and has already overhauled their top management, recruiting Katrina Glusac as chief merchandising officer; Brigitte Bogart, executive vice president of design and product development, and chief digital officer Ben Baum, among others. He's now focusing his attention on their design, merchandising and marketing to hone in on women, ages 25 to 35, who take their evenings out very seriously.
Their fashion emphasis is on body-conscious silhouettes, cropped tops, tight sweater dresses, and short black dresses with cutouts and sequins. "It's about anything that is sexy, not trashy," Birkhold said. There's a fine line between the two, which Bebe has been known to cross at times.
Now they are looking to win back the customers they lost a bit after taking a tamer approach last year and adding more office conscience fashoin. Trying to win back their reputation for fashion foward, trendsetting looks, Birkhold's team has turned their attention to the going-out category. "It's about being sophisticated and sexy" and giving customers "different options on what she wants to show and what she doesn't want to show," Birkhold explained. "If you were to look at the core parts of our business and where it's weighted, we are definitely seeing differences in each category."
Their new campaign also underscores the shift. Birkhold said, "We started with unbranded teasers that created some curiosity. Already, there's been speculation that it was Bebe." The teasers utilize campaign imagery and script, and incorporate a social media component with the #be9to5 hashtag.
"I have been here over six months now. It's starting to come together," said Birkhold. "We are reengaging with our girl in a way that makes sense to her. We continue to sell denim, weekend and the day dress category is gaining momentum. But clearly, when the Bebe girl walks through our doors, she is looking for something to go out in."