“We want people to incorporate Jack Wills into their life-style,” says Claudia Radley, manager of the new British clothing store at 46 Nassau Street. “It’s clothing for the collegiate life-style, but a variety of people and different ages all enjoy wearing it.”
Opened in April, the Jack Wills University Outfitters Princeton store is one of 14 in the U.S. The company was established in England in 1999, and has locations in Hong Kong and the Middle East as well as the U.K. and U.S.
The owner is Pete Williams, and he named the company for his grandfather Jack Wills. He wanted to offer apparel that focuses on traditional university clothing and the British heritage, as its mission statement notes. “We continue to be influenced by the best of British, from our history and culture to sporting and country pursuits. We take pride in using the finest quality materials, techniques and design to deliver our distinctive connection between the old and new.
“From the iconic British university towns of Oxford and Cambridge, the Ivy League campuses of Harvard, Yale, and Princeton, to the bright lights of Hong Kong, Jack Wills is traveling the globe proudly planting the Union Jack at over 60 stores and counting. Come and find us!”
Not only has the concept been a British success, it has become a big hit with Americans, starting with the first store in Boston in 2009. “We have done well with the Ivy League campuses of Harvard, Yale, and now Princeton,” points out Ms. Radley. “We have already had a great influx of Princeton University students and many high school students too. In addition to the students, their parents love our products. We appeal to different ages.”
Customers will find an inviting shop, featuring a British motif, and offering a variety of clothing for men and women, with sizes from extra small to extra large for men, and zero to 10 for women. Sweaters, shirts, swim suits, shorts, pants, dresses, jackets, as well as colorful underwear, socks, shoes and sneakers are on display. Accessories, such as handbags, tote and duffle bags, cell phone, pad, and Kindle cases, and nail polish and cologne for men and women are all available. Many of the items are in the Jack Wills signature color theme of pink and navy stripes.
In addition, a variety of items for the home include bedding, blankets, cushions and pillows, with many featuring the Jack Wills logo: tiny pheasant with top hat and cane, traditional British images.
From the classic British striped blue and white boat blazer to seersucker shirts in fabulous colors to traditional university sweaters to denim jeans and classic chinos, guys will love the Jack Wills collection.
“Our seersucker shirts are very popular with men,” reports Ms. Radley, “and they like bright colors, including sky blue and our beautiful apple green sweaters.”
Short sun-dresses and long summer dresses are favorites with women, along with the shirts, shorts, and sweaters, she adds. “We have denim jeans in very bright colors, which are big favorites. Classic shirts and the longer ‘Boy Friend’ shirts are in demand, as are our light-weight rain coats with hoods. Women also like our cotton blend jackets which are cut a bit smaller and more fitted.
“Really, everything is popular. And often, the women like the men’s sweaters so much, they will buy a small size for themselves.”
The socks and sneakers are great fun — really irresistible — with all kinds of bright printed designs in colorful combinations. Everyone likes these!
Ms. Radley is delighted with the number of customers who have found their way to the shop in such a short time. Some have known of Jack Wills before, and others are new to this shopping experience, she explains. “We have some people who knew about us in England or elsewhere, and others who are finding us for the first time. There has been great word-of-mouth.”
Events and Promotions
“We liked the idea of being on the corner of Nassau Street and Palmer Square,” she adds. “It seemed the right place for us. We’re going to have events and promotions and run competitions. We want to be a real part of the community. We reach out to as many people as we can. We are building a great relationship with the community and with Princeton University. We also have a data base, and people can register. They will receive our catalogue five times during the year.”
Ms. Radley is very happy to have the opportunity to be in Princeton, and looks forward to sharing the line of Jack Wills products with her new “hometown.” “I love the Jack Wills brand,” she says. “I love it that it’s a life-style, and that people are having fun with it. Of course, it’s always exciting to open a new store.”
The shop offers a wide price range, with totebags from $14.95, socks at $16.50, and T- and polo shirts at $49.50. Some blazers and jackets can be in the $200-$300 range.
Customers will enjoy the pink and navy color motif throughout the shop, which also extends to the complimentary gift wrapping.
Sales are held from time to time, and Jack Wills is open Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Saturday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Thursday and Friday 10 to 7, Sunday 11 to 5. (609) 751-5120. Website: www.jackwills.com. Facebook.com\jwprinceton.