The Budget Babe | Affordable Fashion & Style Blog

What KmartDesign Wants Budget Babes to Know

Kathy Huynh, KmartDesign's Vice President of Women's Fashion Apparel (Photo via

KmartDesign has been reaching out to bloggers to get the word out on their latest fashion endeavors, and last week, I had the pleasure of speaking with Kathy Huynh, KmartDesign's Vice President of Women's Fashion Apparel, about what Kmart wants budget fashion shoppers to know about their brand. Here are some of the highlights of our conversation:

So what is KmartDesign? Based in New York City, KmartDesign is a team of approximately 250 talented designers from diverse backgrounds in the fashion industry who research and create the products you see in Kmart stores. Kathy says KmartDesign was created about 5 years ago as Kmart was emerging from bankruptcy and looking for new ways to turn the brand around and bring "thoughtful designs" to a new generation of savvy Kmart shoppers.

Who is the Kmart shopper? She is typically female and doesn't fit neatly into any one demographic. At the core, the Kmart shopper is someone who is interested in good design, someone who recognizes value and quality, and someone who is loyal to this nearly 50-year-old American company. "They're happy to see this turnaround," Kathy says.

Facing the competition: Kmart is the third largest discount store chain in the world, behind Wal-Mart and Target. Consumers today have lots to choose from, which means Kmart faces some stiff competition. So how can they stand out from the crowd? According to Kathy, Kmart likes to focus on their relationship with customers and seeks to be more than just some faceless corporate entity. "We really look at the customer, not just a price point," she explains.

Vibrant flowers decorate this pretty sundress by Jaclyn Smith. ($34.99 at

Summer wardrobe must-haves: In case you haven't noticed, this is the summer of the dress! If you head to your nearest Kmart store, Kathy says you can expect to find fabulous floor-length maxi dresses for day as well as knee-length daydresses in bright colors and bold prints. Exuberant tops in florals, geometric designs and globally-inspired prints are also great ways to boost your wardrobe this season, says Kathy. Across the board, color reigns supreme, a reflection of the current depressed economic times. "People are really looking to color to bright their mood. … People want to be happy," she says.

Best ways to shop Kmart? Kathy recommends signing up for email updates from Kmart Design and to get the scoop on the latest trends and deals. Check local newspapers for deals at your store as individual stores are empowered to do regional sales that might not be nationwide, Kathy says.

Everyday values: Know that you can stop by your Kmart at any time and pick up a great deal on something you'll wear every day. You don't need to clip coupons or wait for a sale to save. "It makes shopping so much easier," Kathy says.

Attention Kmart shoppers! Despite their big size, Kmart wants to maintain a personal connection with their customers, Kathy says. With the rise of new social media technologies and the increasing speed of information, Kmart wants to reach out, stay connected and get your feedback. What does that mean for us? Let's speak up (in the comments, on Facebook, Twitter or your personal blog) because Kmart is listening!

great interview...i'm all about knee length dresses in fun colors that pop.
#1 Cupcakes and Cashmere (Homepage) on 2009-06-22 13:38 (Reply)
Great stuff BB!! I too have been more drawn to KMart lately because of their more trendy fashions at reasonable prices! so kudos to them!!
#2 Real Style Real people (Homepage) on 2009-06-22 14:00 (Reply)
Fabulous interview! Knee-length dresses in flirty colors? The only thing I want to wear during the warmer months! :-)
#3 Cafe Fashionista (Homepage) on 2009-06-22 14:51 (Reply)
I'm actually really surprised Kmart has 250 designers working for them! I had no idea they put so much into their fashions. I haven't been into a Kmart in years, but I may stop by this afternoon to take a look. Thanks for the interview, it's been eye-opening. :-)
#4 Mockoff - Emily (Homepage) on 2009-06-23 11:15 (Reply)
Great post--I was in KMart for the first time in forever about a week ago to grab a pair of inexpensive white jeans. I was (happily) stunned at their fashion lineup, and also came away with an adorable chiffon top and a black square-neck peasant top, both for under $10. They're clearly working hard to be competitive with Target, and that's a VERY good thing for those of us on a budget.
#5 Budget Girl (Homepage) on 2009-06-23 11:22 (Reply)
Nice write-up BB. Yep, they are really coming strong this year and I like what I see. I've been in their several times and I found a whole lot of nice things. Sears also has some nice trendy pieces as well, but if you've been brushing them off for won't know how they have really upgraded their apparel section and they have great sales too.
#6 budget chic on 2009-06-23 16:13 (Reply)
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