CEO Wonder Woman Makes Remarkable Strides at Wet Seal

It’s like when you went to your reunion and you ran into that basket case acquaintance that never seemed to get her life together, hair always tangled, clothes disorderly, and make up disheveled, and then here you stand before her and you are unable to hold back the sound of surprise in your voice when you involuntarily shout out, “damn girl, you look good!”

While in Houston I ran across a Wet Seal in three of the five malls I was able to visit in my time.  I’m approaching the two year anniversary of my blog this upcoming January, and my first ever blog post was on the bankruptcy filed by Wet Seal which can be found on my Tumblr.  Deciding I wanted a more personal layout I turned to worpress, and posted my second blog, a follow up to the Wet Seal Tumblr Post that addressed handling lay offs.  My purpose was to show the world how much the brick and mortar is suffering, and the importance it holds to our community.  I wanted to bring comfort to those masses facing lay offs, though being a young blog my reach was not quite as wide as it is today.

Despite the hope I spoke, I never thought in a million years that I would run across a Wet Seal again, especially not two years later.   The Wet Seal sustainment and slow growth is thanks in most part to their newest CEO Melanie Cox, who had followed a line of three failed CEO’s before her.  With her money management, and vision she has surpassed any and all expectations any outsider held for this flailing retailer.

She wants an image that’s not the tacky 80’s that so many teen retailers are flocking to.  She wants sophisticated and sexy.

“We’re going to do the club line, we’re going to do sexy, edgy,’ and it was being interpreted in this really bad ‘80s, slutty, cheesy way. I’m not kidding.” -Melanie Cox

From the inside out Cox is reinvigorating the Wet Seal team so to cure the obvious post Chapter 11 burn out blues.  She started with corporate office, then focused on the brand. The employees needed to be reinvigorated and the customers needed to know something new was coming.  Then she honed in on the product, the vision of the line.   She sent a few test items to the store with no real push or heads up, and the selections flew from the shelf, and she knew she was heading the right direction.

She wants clothes that are less party, more day to day.   Clothes that are comfortable and not club wear disposable.   She wants to fit the petite and the girls with curves.  She wants to branch out much on e-commerce right now, and her biggest struggle will be that of “out of sight out of mind”.  There will need to be a huge marketing push to remind shoppers that they are still open and encourage them to use their upcoming new app.

So though you don’t see the stores popping up all over the place, there is an explosion of life back in the company.  And this holiday season you will see 13 pop up locations strictly at GGP malls.

This is not a come back about college girl fashion, this is a come back about hope with so many stores facing similar fates over the past few years.

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18 thoughts on “CEO Wonder Woman Makes Remarkable Strides at Wet Seal

  1. doublesmom77 says:

    Wow! Wet Seal! I’m going to show my age here, but as I teen I shopped at the store that was was the Wet Seal’s predecessor known as Contempo Casuals (Wet Seal took over most CC store from 1995-2001 before becoming all WS, I just read.) That store though, Contempo Casuals, was my early 90s grunge rave-chick retail utopia. Of course, they didn’t have the online competition of today, either.
    I agree though that after becoming the Wet Seal, the clothes evolved into tackiness (I thought I was just an old fashion curmudgeon, which still may be true). I’m obviously too old to shop at the Wet Seal now, but yes, having petite options would have been helpful back in the day. Affordable pants become less so when you have to hem them all!
    My 10 year old still loves malls, and though she is too tiny yet for even a size 00, I’m sure if the Wet Seal makes the changes you describe, in a few years she will be a fan. Generation Z is a new kind of kid, so hopefully they can market to this new group successfully. Thanks for the blast from the past, though!
    Damn, I’m old. Ha!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. lindahobden says:

    I’ve never heard of WetSeal – but then I am in the UK. I wish Melanie Cox every success as CEO though – customers can be fickle – but going for day to day wear seems to me to be a sensible option.

    visited via #anbloggerslinkup

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Lauren says:

    I actually have a couple of Wet Seal shirts, but because they’re just hand-me-downs/thrift store buys, I’ve never actually been in a Wet Seal store.Thank you for enlightening me as to the company! It was interesting to read about a company whose products I like and yet whose missions and goals I know nothing about!

    Liked by 1 person

    • shopgirlanonymous says:

      I was at dinner with a friend of mine, coincidentally named Lauren, last night who told me she too had never been into (nor ever heard of) Wet Seal. I couldn’t believe it. I never shopped there as a teen, but everyone I went to junior high and high school with did. I’m so glad you enjoyed the article, I really enjoy digging into companies to see what makes them tick, and I have to tell you Melanie Cox is the most exciting figure in retail news there is right now. (to me atleast) 😉

      Like

      • Lauren says:

        That’s so awesome that you can research companies like that! I am totally a thrift store girl, so I know basically nothing about name-brand companies–now I know where I can come to get a little background information on a store and see if they’re a company I’d like to support!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. lisakunk says:

    Growing up as the child of a retail family, I know far too well about the troubles of brick and mortar. Our family businesses are gone the way of small time retailers who can’t compete with malls and discounters. It was a sad time saying goodbye. I’ll enjoy following you and your retail adventures.

    Liked by 2 people

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