I was recently in South Africa for Banana Republic’s launch in Cape Town — BR's first franchise store there, and our second in the Southern Hemisphere (Chile opened last year.)
It was also the 19th franchise country for Banana Republic.
And while South Africa seems like a world away from my office in New York City (nearly 8,000 miles away, to be precise), Cape Town is a very beautiful, warm and inviting city.
I have had the opportunity to visit a variety of countries and I’m always surprised by some of the things I see in different parts of the world. In Cape Town, the spectacular Table Mountain is just a few moments’ drive from our new store and whether it’s day or night, it is a magnificent sight to behold. Late one night, I was delighted to see a group of zebras grazing in a field on the side of the road as I rode back to the hotel… such a lovely change from the bright lights of the big city.
The new store opened at the Cavendish Square Mall, and the launch was marked by a special celebration with a live musician, celebrity fashion show, flowing champagne, and included a guest list with celebrities, press and bloggers. It’s the kind of thing we do to help build excitement and awareness for our new stores.
The following day, Banana Republic did a special partnership with Grazia magazine, where there were four trunk shows held throughout the day, narrated by Grazia’s editor-in-chief.
Expanding into new markets is a critical part of our company’s overall global expansion strategy. Since beginning this franchise business model, we’ve been busy opening more than 300 Gap and Banana Republic stores across 40 countries … and there is still a lot more of the world to cover!