Thursday, June 15, 2006

Johnny Cupcakes



Although I enthusiastically explained in class on Monday my interaction with Johnny, I also had the burning desire to blog about it. As I mentioned earlier, this past weekend I walked into what I thought was a bakery, to be surprised by tee shirts, sweatshirts and underwear. Ok, so maybe this wasn't at all what I was expecting, but I decided to see what all this "buzz" was about. When I say buzz, I actually mean what I had saw 2 weeks prior as I was passing the brand new store on Newbury. The line was so long outside of Johnny Cupcakes that I became intrigued by what was going on. 2 weeks went by and I finally got up the motivation to see what all this hype was about.

Johnny Cupcakes is in fact a clothing company, with a twist. Rather than displaying his items as a 'normal' store would, he centers his store around one large theme, a bakery. Everything is designed to resemble that of a bakery (his clothes come in bakery boxes, the tee shirts lay in authentic refrigerators etc.) The tee shirts were hardly under priced, ranging from 30$-50$, yet that didn't seem to stop any customers from purchasing a shirt. Johnny said the Japanese people adored his clothing, and that became more apparent to me as we stood there talking. Johnny's openness about his company was admirable. He talked about the location which he was in, how his business began, what's in it for the future, as well as the costs of everything... and I mean everything!!

The truth is, according to Johnny, that his company began when he started selling tees out of the trunk of his car when he used to work for Newbury Comics. He said that no further promotions had been run, yet he had received publicity from movies, VH1, MTV and other major networks/magazines/newspapers. He even brought out a recent newspaper report on his store which had come out about 1 week prior in the Boston Globe. Johnny has also created his own buzz by adding himself to Myspace where he has over 10,000 friends. Along with that, located on his website is a blog.

Seriously, if you are ever meandering down Newbury Street with some extra time on your hands, stroll into Johnny Cupcakes. Strike up a conversation with the 23 himself, and see why goals can actually be attained. His feelings, "if it doesn't work out, I'll at least have a good story to share with my kids one day".



WOM, Buzz, & Viral Marketing Communication

12 comments:

tanyak said...

I went to Johnny Cupcakes. Thursday night. Johnny was not there, but I still had a look around. And I love the t-shirts and the store. It is all sooo cute. The set-up like a bakery, I think it is an excellent scheme. Anyway, I bought two t-shirts. The wom from our class and this blog generated a sale (from me). Good business. But I also encourage everyone to check it out. The t-shirts are a little pricey (not too bad) but are really cute and worth it.

Hillary said...

haha this is the funniest subject because although i have not had a chance to enjoy some shopping lately, this johnny guy serves to entertain me! he is everywhere. it's strange because when he was mentioned in our class the other day it was the first time I had heard of him and his store, but coincedentally ever since I have been hearing buzz about it. I picked up the Metro yesterday and he had a large article in it. He was featured in the picture and he had a huge smile on his face. I bet he is just loving life right now haha! good for him!

towey said...

I was walking on Newbury Street a few weeks ago when they had just put up the signs for Johnny Cupcakes and had no idea what the store was! I couldn't figure out if it was actually a cupcake store (but how could a store only be made of cupcakes??) or if it was a new clothing line that Newbury decided to pick up.

I have a very weak spot when it comes to shopping and after reading your post, I have gone to the website and found a few shirts that I am planning on purchasing! Although, I would like to head to the store before I do anything online since so much buzz has been created around the store!

I am also moving to NY in July and will most likely find the store there to see if there are any differences in the store, t-shirts, etc...

Sapphiregurl said...

A few months ago my friend told me this store was coming to Boston. At the time I had no interest in it cause I had no idea what Johnny Cupcakes was. However, since you were so excited to share with us your experience I can't wait to go in there and see if Johnny is there! I was wondering though if he mentioned how he came up with naming the store Johnny Cupcakes as appose to something else? I think the idea behind it is so cool and I can't wait to have a shirt made even if it is a little overpriced...I think the experience of actually "Baking" it or making it is going to be so neat! Thanks for sharing your excitement!

tanyak said...

I went to the Johnny Cupcakes website and was looking around. Mentioned on it, is that his shirts are original and unique. Some of his shirts are limited editions and are individually numbered so you can see which number out of how many you own. Also, he mentions that if a store is interested in carrying his clothes that they have to contact him and provide information- what other brands they carry, pictures of their store, where they are located, etc. He explains on the site that he is very selective of where his clothes are sold, because he wants them only at certain types of stores, and not at too many in a given area. The reason for this is the principle of exclusivity. He doesn't want his shirts everywhere, or anyone able to get them everywhere. He wants them to be special and cool. Which is levering the exclusivity. It makes his clothes more desirable. Good marketing!

Jesols said...

I was just out enjoying the lovely Boston weather this weekend with a few friends and came across Johnny's Cupcakes. I had heard you talk about it in class and a few weeks back had seen a flyer annoucing its opening. My friends and I got to talking about it and one of my friends insisted it was actually a bakery. Thanks to this class, I was able to point out that it was in fact a clothing store. So thanks to the wom, not only was I able to inform my friends, but when we went in to check it out, I was really impressed. Good for Johnny for being able to accomplish all this!

NUlax17 said...

I thought it was interesting when you brought this up in class because I had been walking down Newbury the day before with my girlfriend and we also both thought we were going into a bakery. I thought the idea was great and the marketing tactic and brand name were interesting to get people talking (even though it is a little misleading to anyone whose never heard of it before - which is almost everyone not in Japan). Either way we had a pretty intense debate about it. My girlfriend goes to (FIT) Fashion Institute in Manhattan so I would consider her thoughts opinionative, but credible - and she assured me that it was not only a terrible idea, but a rip off of an unoriginal trend going on now and a whole mess of other things. An exact quote was something along the lines of "you would think a screenprinted shirt with a cupcake on it is worth 35 bucks, wouldnt you?" Aside from all that, I thought the marketing tactics he used were successful and interesting and I agree it fits some of the WOM principles and things we talk about in this class.

somerso said...

Personally I think the Johnny Cupcake designs are pretty cool (though a little overpriced for my broke college student budget)..I've been hearing the buzz too, but I initially started hearing about the store during its construction. Apparently from what I was told, it started off also as a tupperware-type thing and you could get Johnny cupcakes to your house so your friends could buy stuff...pretty nifty (now if they can just do that with Express and Gap, we'd all be set)...

KERandall said...

I find it amazing that this 23 year old stumbled across such success just doing something he loved. At the start of this endeavor, it was definitely word of mouth that launched his success. I would also argue that the intrigue around the designs, the experience, as well as the exclusivity of these designs has kept customers coming in the doors. Once stars really start grabbing on to these shirts, they are sure to sell even more than they are already. Ironically, after you had mentioned this in class, I had seen two girls walking down Huntington with some Johnny Cupcakes boxes. Had you not shared your story, I would have thought they were baked goods! This idea of clothing sold like baked goods seems to bizarre to me... then again, the fashion industry is very unpredictable at times!

JStephens said...

So in my leisurely walk down Newbury Street last Saturday I came accross Johnny Cupcakes. I had no intentions of actually going there, but as soon as I saw the store I remembered it from the class discussion we had. This store is absolutely off the wall. The second I walk in, I see a picture of Johnny up on the wall with the most ridiculous look on his face. When I look down, I see Mr. Cupcakes himself standing there, same crazy look! The store was full of young rich girls eager to spend daddy's money on the latest new trend. With that said,I actually liked the place. The design of the store itself
is worth at least checking out, with bakery glass containers and
refridgerators which house T-shirts. I could never imagine myself purchasing anything from the store, considering the shirts are wacky and Johnny is charging 45 bucks a pop. But either way, props to him for coming up with a unique idea and making loads of money off it.

ericrocksmyworld said...

So I had to go to Johnny Cupcakes after the plug in class. Way to show WOM in our WOM class; very meta. I was actually kind of disappointed. The store seemed really poorly laid out, and it was difficult to see how much a lot of the products cost.
I went again this weekend with my roommate. He had read about the store in the Metro. I thought it was interesting to see a principle of WOM in action. I had heard about the store through WOM, and then he heard about it days later through a more traditional medium. I think it just shows how well campaigns combining WOM and traditional publicity can work together.

FrankBenway said...

This rags to riches story really illustrates the power of WOM, and how it can be soley used to develop a successful business. With no use of traditional advertising forms (i.e., television ads, magazine ads, etc.) Johnny Cupcakes has turned his 'out of the trunk' business into a thriving multi-store operation -- solely by spreading the word and generating interest in his product. This WOM thing really does work...