Ashley Stewart Company History
In 1991, Joseph Sitt founded the retail chain Ashley Stewart in response to a lack of retail outlets in the inner city areas. Several thriving cities had become commercial black holes. During the first half of the twentieth century, these downtown areas were full of small businesses. These unique stores and boutiques attracted huge crowds of shoppers. This began to change as soldiers returned home from World War II and began settling down in newly constructed suburban homes. Shopping malls proved more compatible with suburban sprawl than traditional downtown districts.
Ashley Stewart, named for the celebrities Laura Ashley and Martha Stewart represented a departure from Sitt’s typical low-risk investments. Everything about Ashley Stewart defied conventional retail business. Even the customer base was highly unusual: plus-size, low-income African American women living in the inner city. The few clothing stores located in or near poor neighborhoods only offered mass produced apparel or used clothing, both of which were of extremely low quality and hopelessly out of place in the professional world. Sitt understood the importance of appearance in the job market. The most highly accomplished woman could find it impossible to snag a job if her appearance was not professional. As such, inner city women invariably ended up working in low-pay jobs and continuing a cycle of poverty. Sitt hoped to make a positive difference for these women by creating a store that catered to their needs.
Ashley Stewart embraces women possessing an unenviable load of negative stigmas: the unemployed or minimum wage earners, single mothers, African American women, and plus-sized bodies. It is a place where these women can purchase professional apparel that is made from quality materials and cut to flatter a fuller figured woman for a reasonable price. The ability to dress in a professional manner can have a huge impact on one’s employability. Ashley Stewart outlets also helped to bring money back to the inner cities by employing community members. The wages and training provided for Ashley Stewart employees enabled many women to provide for their families and escape the poverty trap. The company enjoyed great success, and by the late nineties Ashley Stewart outlets were operating in 100 cities across the United States.
Today, Ashley Stewart continues to design trendy apparel for plus-size African American women. The company’s goal for the next few years is to continue opening new stores in urban areas and remodel existing stores, all while continuing to supply affordable and fashionable plus-size clothing. There are over 200 existing outlets, which are mostly located in large cities on the East Coast and in California. The original store on 125th Street in Harlem, New York, is still considered the flagship store. It is the company’s customer service headquarters, and the place where the newest styles are designed.
Ashley Steward Promotional Discounts, Deals & Coupon Codes
In order to keep apparel and accessories affordable, Ashley Stewart holds a number of large sales and special promotions. Although all items are considered fairly inexpensive for their level of quality, customers who take advantage of sales and promotions can purchase professional clothing at surprisingly low costs. The store holds a number of seasonal blow-out sales that take place on major holidays and during season changes. Online shoppers can save money by browsing apparel in the sale and clearance sections of the website.
Ashley Stewart customers can learn about special promotions and discounts by signing up for the store’s email list. Email updates inform shoppers of new styles and provide them with printable coupons to use in the store and coupon codes for online shopping. Examples of past coupons and promotions given to those on the email list include a tax day coupon for 20 percent off all merchandise and an online coupon code for free shipping for orders over $75. All online orders are charged a flat rate of $7 for shipping.
In addition to providing email newsletters, Ashley Stewart encourages customers to follow the company on Twitter, Facebook and Youtube to stay on top of new trends and store promotions. The Ashley Stewart Facebook fan page also provides valuable information about starting a career with Ashley Stewart. The job board on Facebook is updated regularly with new job opportunities in several cities.
Customers can obtain extra savings by opening an Ashley Stewart credit card. Benefits of the Ashley Stewart credit card include a twenty percent off coupon upon opening the credit card account, six additional 20 percent off coupons each year, fifteen percent off birthday coupons, advance notice of special promotions, and early previews of Ashley Stewart’s newest fashion collections.