Open Rate Success with Sid and Ann Mashburn

How the retail power couple segmented their audience to build better customer relationships.

Hero image for Issue #108: Featuring Ann and Sid Mashburn

Ann and Sid Mashburn are design royalty without the pomp and circumstance. In 2007, they opened their first shop, Sid Mashburn, on Atlanta’s Westside. That followed with their Ann Mashburn shop next door. In the time since they’ve launched stores in Dallas, Los Angeles, Washington D.C., and Houston. The pair opened their new lifestyle brick-and-mortar — Mashburn — in Atlanta, and invited the What’s in Store team out to learn how they’re using the email designer and segmentation to keep customers informed and build their e-commerce audience.

Their love story began in 1980s New York City. While Ann was working at Condé Nast as an assistant and editor at both Vogue and Glamour, Sid had various design stints at J.Crew, Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger, and Lands’ End. Connected through their passion for style, design and retail, the Mashburns wanted to recreate the shop vibes they saw in Europe and Asia: stores where the customer experience was just as important (if not more) than the products being sold.

Along with the 7 men’s and women’s retail locations, and e-commerce sites at sidmashburn.com and annmashburn.com, the team opened a new concept space next to their 2 Atlanta flagship stores. The aptly named Mashburn has a little bit of everything: coffee bar, vinyl collection, home goods and their new kids line, Kid Mashburn. Whereas the Sid and Ann Mashburn stores are geared toward rare, classic finds for men and women respectively, the Mashburn space lends itself to the experience behind the name.

“We have always had a unified brand identity,” Ann says. “Both the men’s and women’s brands have the same core values and brand propositions, and the name Mashburn is symbolic because it’s both of us, and our children.”

The Mashburns say that even with their expansion over the last decade, their marketing goals to build relationships with customers and drive traffic to their retail channels haven’t changed. However, Sid says, though the idea is that eventually the Mashburn brand and moniker will stand as one unified name, they’re very aware that they have predominantly different customer bases.

“So, we have been creating campaigns that address more specific customer segments rather than the whole customer base,” Ann says. “Mailchimp’s ability to segment lists have been a key part of that.”

One campaign speaking to a specific audience is called “Wish You Were Here.” This campaign series is sent out to online customers that live in cities that have physical stores. The emails encourage online shoppers to visit and interact with the Mashburn brand in person. “As much as we connect with people online, we feel like the stores bring that experience to life,” Ann says.

Scottie Walden, who leads Mashburn’s public relations and digital presence says the team has been able to segment their list based on geographic location as well as specific brand interests  (Sid Mashburn, Ann Mashburn, Kid Mashburn), in order to deliver highly targeted messaging around events they’re hosting in various cities.

While keeping all of their contacts in one main mailing list, the Mashburn team is able to use Mailchimp’s segmentation tools to send personalized messages based on a contact’s specific location, interests or preferences — or even target based on shoe size. The Mashburn team continues to use newsletters to communicate brand announcements, various offline events, and weekly updates on their website and stores.

“In the past 2 years, we have been much more active in using features to deliver more targeted messages to our customers and provide more of a personal touch than we have in the past,” Scottie says.

Being intentional with the design and copy for their respective newsletters is something Ann and Sid take serious. Using the email designer, that message is delivered to their creative teams behind those different campaigns that are using the feature to easily drag and drop images and art that work best with the specific branch of the Mashburn brand.

“Design is instrumental in everything we do — whether that means the actual clothes and products we produce, how a store is merchandised, how we approach customers, how we style our photos or the voice we use in copy,” Sid says. “Our Mailchimp template is the red thread that allows us to speak enthusiastically about diverse products and interests with a consistent backdrop.”

Part of that maintaining that tone across all of their lines is a less straightforward approach than those of a lot of other retailers. For example, they’ll use puns — in all caps — such as, “ARE YOU SATIN DOWN FOR THIS” for the launch of a limited-edition satin shoe, or “STEP INTO MY OFFICE” to announce new driving mocs. Why open rates for Mashburn’s main mailing list consistently over the industry average?

“In all of our customer touchpoints, we try  share things we are excited about and to let the customer know that we are there to help in a way that doesn’t overwhelm them,” Ann says. “This shapes the tone and content of our campaigns as well as the frequency. I think the combination of these things drives our open rate success.”

Speak to customers using segmentation and groups.