|This article does not cite any references or sources. (April 2015)|
|Founder||Ian and Shep Murray|
|Headquarters||Stamford, Connecticut, USA|
Number of locations
|40 Stores, 8 Outlets, 97 Retailers|
|Products||Clothing and accessories|
|Owner||Ian and Shep Murray|
Vineyard Vines is an American clothing and accessory retailer founded in 1998 near Martha's Vineyard in Massachusetts, by brothers Shep and Ian Murray . The brand started with ties, but has since incorporated hats, belts, shirts, shorts, bags for men, women, and children, and even turbans and has grown to a collection of retail stores and outlets across the United States. Their clothing is considered preppy, a description also used by the company itself on its website.
Originally, Ian and Shep held jobs in New York City, however, the brothers grew tired of the corporate lifestyle. Ian claims the duo “started making neckties so [they] didn’t have to wear them.” During the fourth weekend in July, the two brothers sold their 800 ties throughout Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts on their boat or Jeep. Initially, the duo offered four different styles of ties. The Murray brothers claim that the business was founded through a philosophy of "living the good life." Ian states, "The original idea was to take 'The Good Life' to work with us, then not to have to go into the city every day. We soon realized that if we sold enough in a day we could pay rent, then it was enough we could buy a boat." The company started on the capital from the Murray brothers' accrued credit card debt and is still owned outright by the two of them.
Since the summer of 1998, the Vineyard Vines company has expanded nationally, particularly among the East Coast. Vineyard Vines was placed on Inc. magazine's list of the 500 fastest-growing businesses in the U.S. in 2007. Between 2004 and 2007, the relatively new company's revenue tripled.
Much of Vineyard Vines' success has stemmed from brand marketing. The company's pink whale logo is emblazoned on a majority of its products. Vineyard Vines' popularity among college students in the U.S. has increased in recent years, a trend the company encourages with their "Whale Reps" program. Similar to other apparel companies' student ambassador programs, "Whale Reps" are students who are recruited to promote Vineyard Vines on their college campuses. These campus representatives are eligible to buy Vineyard Vines clothing at special discounted prices, among other incentives. Free accessories and clothing are distributed with the intention of organically establishing the company's brand. This business model is aimed to gather a young following that will remain loyal to the brand for decades. Vineyard Vines also works in conjunction with the National Football League, the National Hockey League, with Major League Baseball, and numerous colleges and universities. The company creates ties and shirts that incorporate the individual team logos in a similar fashion to their college logo clothing. In 2008, Vineyard Vines struck deals with these two organizations. Vineyard Vines also gained notoriety in recent presidential elections. In 2004, Senator John Kerry sported a Vineyard Vines donkey tie that was distributed throughout his campaign staff. President George W. Bush also had a line of campaign ties from Vineyard Vines. In 2008, President Barack Obama was presented with a version of the tie which had an 'O' on the tail. Since then, the company has produced a line of donkey, elephant, and American flag ties.
Vineyard Vines is a line of clothing and accessories that is often compared to the those of Polo Ralph Lauren, Brooks Brothers and J. Crew. The company specializes in hats, shirts, shorts, pants, sweaters, dresses, ties, jackets, and bags. Vineyard vines was the 2008 All-Star Awards winner by "Apparel Magazine" for outstanding achievements in the apparel industry.
The first stores were opened in Northeastern locations associated with to the sea such as Cape Cod. However, the company has expanded to 48 stores as well as 8 outlet locations. Every store is stylized with a nautical theme. There are currently locations in Alabama, Connecticut, California, Delaware, Georgia, Florida, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, Ohio, South Carolina, and Washington, D.C.