Banana Republic: 15 Things You Didn’t Know (Part 2)

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We already brought you part one of our list of 15 things you probably did not know about Banana Republic, and now we’re back with part two! Check out eight more fascinating facts about the upscale apparel brand that you definitely (probably) did not know below. You might be surprised by what you find out!

Number Eight: Its Gift Cards Can Be Used at the Gap

If you have a gift card for Banana Republic but somehow end up shopping in a Gap, which owns it, then you can use your gift card there!

Number Seven: The Clothes Were Originally Designed to Be Metaphors

We mentioned in part one of this list that the company began as a way to update military surplus clothing with a safari theme. The Zieglers have revealed in interviews that this helped them get positive press because people were impressed with the stories behind the clothes.

Number Six: There Was a Catalog Before There Was a Store

Because the Zieglers have artistic backgrounds, making a catalog was a natural step in the company’s progression. They created a catalog and mailed it to several hundred of their friends to get the word out before they made a store.

Number Five: It Was Sold to the Gap Because Its Founders Were So Overwhelmed by Success

Within the company’s first five years, it became extremely successful. The Zieglers were simply happy that they didn’t have to work for anybody else and had actually become overwhelmed by the success of the company. Because of that, they were perfectly fine with selling to the Gap.

Number Four: Banana Republic Founders Were Never in it for the Money

After the stock market crashed on Black Monday (in 1987), the Zieglers lost the total creative autonomy that they had previously had with Banana Republic. As a result, they decided to walk away from the company. They weren’t interested in making money – they wanted to creatively express themselves the way they wanted.

Number Three: The Store Made One Sale In Its First Day

It’s true! Though the company makes thousands of dollars every day now, on the store’s opening day, it made just one sale.

Number Two: Surplus Store Owners Weren’t Always Thrilled by Their Business

The company bought much of its merchandise from surplus stores; however, these store owners would sometimes become upset with the Zieglers for what they did to the clothing, such as adding elbow patches to an original shirt used in the Korean War.

Number One: Its Founders Wanted to Change the Name

The Zieglers have said that they regret letting the Gap keep the name Banana Republic, especially because the current brand doesn’t represent what it originally was. In fact, Mel has said that he never fully comprehended why the Gap changed the brand so drastically. We hope you enjoyed our list of 15 things you didn’t know about Banana Republic!

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