Earlier this week, it was reported that Ivy Park, the co-branded clothing line from Beyoncé and Adidas, was underperforming. A lot.
Projected to make $200 million last year, internal documents seen by The Wall Street Journal confirmed that the collection had only pulled in $40 million, despite customers reporting sellouts and difficulty purchasing products online.
Obviously, when Adidas hooked up with Beyoncé in 2019 (after Ivy Park’s partnership with TopShop was ended over accusations of improper conduct by cofounder Philip Green), the expectation was for Beyoncé’s incomparable celebrity to do most of the heavy lifting in terms of sales.
Unfortunately, that’s not how things panned out; while Adidas’ similar partnership with Kanye West yielded nearly $2 billion in sales until Ye himself torpedoed that profitable alliance with his deplorable views, Adidas is reportedly figuring out how to revamp the Ivy Park deal.
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Now, I’m no fashion expert, but I’ve made some observations using fan feedback on social media that might explain why the collection fell short of expectations. It’s no fun to look at the “why” without also offering some solutions, so that’s what we’re going to do here. The thing is, I want Beyoncé to win, both because I like success stories more than failure ones, and because I know that when Black folks fail, it makes the people in charge hesitant to extend future opportunities.
Here are five things that Adidas and Beyoncé can do to save Ivy Park.
Pick A Side
If I knew Beyoncé, this would be my new item idea for Ivy Park: Ripped Denim Short Shorts. That’s a staple piece she wears often, on stage & off. pic.twitter.com/sq9aQERt6I
— YouTube Guy (@SneakerPhetish) February 9, 2023
Not surprising at all considering the designs on offer and lack of consistent branding. Adidas being Adidas and fumbling againhttps://t.co/JF7YVGyun2
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— Alexander 🇳🇬x🇨🇲 (@Alex2Akande) February 9, 2023
While the most recent drop focused on outdoorsy aesthetics like parkas and camouflage, prior collections have been a rather confusing jumble of athleisure and couture. Designs that wouldn’t be out of place on a runway fight for space with workout gear that looks more flashy than functional. The time has come to decide just what kind of brand Ivy Park really is.
As a prime example; my girlfriend has two Ivy Park trenchcoats in her closet at the moment. Both are beautiful in their way, but they are also big, ungainly things that don’t really do much to keep her warm and take up a lot of space when we try to go out (they’re both made of mesh, so rain goes right through them). By contrast, the TopShop collection included staples like yoga pants and sports bras — stuff people actually wear.
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Given the line is a partnership with Adidas, moving in a more sportswear-inspired direction could provide some much-needed focus. Bey’s attempts at high fashion could be spun off to another label, or even a separate division, like Adidas’ own luxury Y-3 line. I’m sure there are tons of Beyoncé fans who’d love to run their errands in their Ivy Park sweatpants or hit spin class in some bike shorts with a touch of Beyoncé style. Give them that!
Get Back To Basics
Ivy Park roll outs are so annoying. They show you a bunch of stuff but also nothing at all so you can never plan for whether you want to buy something or not. It never fails that you see things in on the drop date that were never even previewed.
— Blocka Khan (@Starr_Rocque) February 9, 2023
While Adidas reported that nearly half of the produced items weren’t selling, fans said the coveted items they wanted were gone before they could grab them. What gives?
Well, considering fans also spent a fair amount of time each drop making fun of items like denim chaps, the problem seems pretty clear to me. Longtime Beyoncé fans probably aren’t surprised by some of the funkier designs. She had similar issues with her first clothing line, House of Dereon, in the early ’00s. But, honestly, how many music fans ride horses on the regular? Dropping the gimmicky items could save a lot of time and effort and allow Adidas to stick to what it’s great at: comfy sportswear.
The foundations of most clothing brands are basics that customers can mix and match, dress up or down, and that won’t break the bank. Pointing to some of Adidas’ competitors, Champion and Nike do steady business with sweatsuits, T-shirts, and even underwear and socks. I think Ivy Park can offer those things and if they need a little more pizzazz, just remember: it’s all in the details. Keep it simple!
Stop Doing Drops
One of the main complaints about the most recent Ivy Park drop is its timing. With the Renaissance World Tour just months away, the BeyHive is already smashing its collective piggy banks for tickets. Why make them make a choice?
Relatedly, this drop is very woodsy, with parkas and cargo pants, but spring is right around the corner! Who wants to buy fall/winter stuff in February, knowing they might even receive their orders until March?
It’s understandable why Adidas (or Bey) went with the streetwear model; it’s worked for brands like Telfar, and of course, Yeezy products did gangbusters.
But it’s also important to understand the differences in their respective strategies and fan bases. Telfar does do drops, but it also does plentiful restocks and has a few reliable base models it always comes back to, allowing fans who missed out multiple chances.
And Beyoncé fans aren’t hypebeasts, although they display similar behavior sometimes. They want to support their fave, but they aren’t the type to line up outside a sneaker store overnight for a release. Moving away from streetwear drops to just having a consistently available clothing line might make all the difference.
Make It Easier To Buy The Clothes
Things that could make IVY PARK more successful
.better plus size designs and more options. Why are always being left out of the crop hoodie/ dope jacket game.
.smoother check out experience. I’ll try to buy 4 items and then get a confirmation that 1 is coming https://t.co/LHRre2Mxdi
— Joelle Monique ✍🏾 (@JoelleMonique) February 9, 2023
It would help if we could find Ivy Park. It’s never in the stores. 🤷🏾♂️
— Tiq Milan (@TheMrMilan) February 8, 2023
Speaking of sneaker stores, one of the more common complaints I’ve seen about Ivy Park on social media is how hard it is to get. It’s only available in select brick-and-mortar retailers, so once the bots clean out the website, fans are left hunting down the nearest Adidas outlet and hoping they get there before the bones are picked over.
If they can find the style and size they want, the price is often a lot higher than many are excited about paying. Regular folks’ disposable income has become more precious than ever as rent, gas, food, childcare, and other expenses pile up. And if it comes down to the decision between a new Ivy Park hoodie and the Renaissance vinyl box set… fans will stick with what Beyoncé herself is best at.
So, lower the price and put it in more stores. This kills the “exclusivity” aspect, sure, but since when was liking Beyoncé supposed to be exclusive?
Even in casual situations like a basketball game, THIS is how Beyoncé is dressed….until it’s time to sell sneakers & sweats, then she throws them on for the campaign & takes them back off after the photo shoot. And that’s only part of the Ivy Park problem. pic.twitter.com/3TFr6mK7mj
— YouTube Guy (@SneakerPhetish) February 9, 2023
The final point spins off that “what Beyoncé is best at” line above. Although many of her performance lewks are iconic, Beyoncé herself is kind of a recluse. One of the major selling points of Yeezy is that you always saw Kanye outside, wearing his own clothes, making the desirability for those clothes — however goofy they might have been — go up.
The Journal reported that this was kind of a sticking point in the partnership, as well. Beyoncé is a notoriously private person. She doesn’t leave the house unless it’s to go to the studio, rehearsal, or on tour. But she may need to get over that reticence and start to open up. With social media, she still doesn’t need to actually go outside, but her curated professional-shot timeline just isn’t gonna cut it.
We’re in the era where stars like Cardi B, Doja Cat, Lizzo, and Megan Thee Stallion do livestreams just hanging out at home listening to music and talking to fans. They do silly TikToks lip-syncing and dancing and trying out food trends. Beyoncé comes from a different era, but that doesn’t mean she can’t adapt. One of the main reasons she has a Hive is because people want to hang out with her. Let them. And if you’re rocking an Ivy Park T-shirt while you do it, don’t be surprised when they become an even hotter commodity than ever.