New Oprah store stocks trinkets not luxury

New Oprah store stocks trinkets not luxuryIf Oprah Winfrey has plans to grow a retail empire she may want to reassess her latest effort. A kiosk at Chicago's Water Tower Place on the prestigious Magnificent Mile is being blasted for selling tacky souvenirs and leaving fans looking for any of Oprah's favorite luxury items sorely disappointed.

This is Oprah's second retail location, the first is directly across the street from her Harpo Studios where the Oprah Winfrey Show is taped and carries a much wider selection including many of the luxury items featured on her show and in her magazine, like Ralph Lauren cashmere lounge wear and. But at the kiosk, called a microsalon by the company, the selection consists largely of trinkets and souvenirs, to the dismay of shoppers and retail analysts alike.

According to Crain's Chicago Business:
The tiny kiosk, filled with tchotchkes like $28 "O" rhinestone key chains and $30 canvas tote bags emblazoned with Oprah's signature inspirational quotes, doesn't quite match Ms. Winfrey's larger-than-life image-or her reputation as an avid, savvy luxury shopper," says the Crain's report.
"It's junky, petty stuff," says Kathleen McClain, a shopper visiting from Ohio. She expected to find some of Oprah's favorite things-the luxury items that Ms. Winfrey raves about on her show and in her magazine, like Ralph Lauren Black Label cashmere sweaters, Movado watches and Bobbi Brown beauty products-but found an array of souvenirs. "It's not stuff I would want, and it's not stuff Oprah would want, either."

Maybe Oprah is trying to branch out and build something new as she winds down production of her talk show this year. But is the store dirtying a powerful brand? I always admired they way she managed her name and the various vehicles that carried it, including "O" magazine where she presumably vets the objects anointed as favorite things or included in her "O List."

Oprah has proven herself a pretty savvy and successful businesswoman. What will fans of the daytime talk diva buy more of? Key chains or cashmere? My money is on the former. In pink.
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