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20 Things You Didn't Know About Urban Outfitters

Urban Outfitters is one of those retailers that stands out from the crowd. One of the reasons is their hip clothing and another is the fact that they make some amazing markdowns, but only occasionally so you gotta be on your toes to catch the sale. If you're a bargain hunter then a trip to Urban Outfitters is like a little piece of heaven if you're there at the right time. If not, you're gonna pay more than what some other retailers charge. In case you're not familiar with this retail giant, here are 20 things you didn't know but will probably be glad to find out about them.

1. They're full of surprises

You never know what you're going to find at Urban Outfitters because they're always doing something different. The bring some unusual items into the store and some are pleasant surprises while others are a bit on the macabre or shocking side. For example, the Kent State sweatshirt with blood stains on it. Their Etsy inspired jewelry line was a little more pleasant, but they keep it real and offer a big variety of items to satisfy almost everyone's unique taste in fashion and accessories.

2. Urban Outfitters is connected with Free People and Anthropologie

Here is a fun fact that most people are not aware of. The CEO of Urban Outfitters is Richard Hayne. He owns the retailer and he is also the owner fo Free People and Anthropologie. This links them all together in a family type situation of retail chains, even though each of them is very different in their offerings. Hayne has done an amazing job at keeping the stores each unique and amazing.

3. Urban Outfitters was founded in 1970

It's hard to believe that Urban Outfitters has been around for this long but it opened its doors in 1970. It was the leader of the pack for Haynes as the first retail clothing outlet which would be followed later by his other endeavors. It was 22 years later that he opened Anthropologie. Just imagine, the people who were in their twenties when the store first opened for business are now in their forties.

4. Urban Outfitters and Anthropologie are generationally complementary

It's really cool that Anthropologie came along 22 years after Urban Outfitters because while the first store is dedicated to hip and youthful fashion, Anthropologie caters to a more mature crowd with their styles and fashions. We're pretty sure that Hayne intended it to be this way and it was a stroke of sheer genius. By doing so, he was following loyal customers of Urban Outfitters throughout their life stages and providing them with an array of excellent shopping options for the aging Urban fans.

5. Urban Outfitters had their own type of Monopoly game

It's true! This novel and fun game were much like a parody of the original Monopoly game, only in game board form. They called their hilarious board game Ghettopoly. They replaced Taxation spots with funny titles called police shakedown, with railroad properties converting into liquor stores. The tokens took on a really ghetto them as well. Ghettopoly was a big seller with the younger crowd although you could hardly call it sophisticated, it took the meaning of the word ghetto and applied it to a strategy game. This was just one of the fun and off-colored items that the store offered customers who were looking for something that went to an extreme if not a bit on the ribald side. It was a big seller when it was first released in 2003.

6. They made a social blunder that sounded really racist

One of the biggest controversies that took place with Urban Outfitters came in 2010 when they listed a BDG Burnout Henley but the drop down menu which was supposed to say simply black or white color choices said something very different and offensive to many. Instead of the traditional color choices, it listed White as an option and Obama/Black as the other. It is still not known to this day whether or not this was an innocent mistake or if somebody did it on purpose to be racist.

7. True or false, Urban Outfitters tried to offer an explanation for the Obama/Black listing

When slews of customers let Urban Outfitters know about the listing, they did an investigation to find out what was going on and how it happened. They offered an apology and admitted that they had made an error. They had originally developed a color internally that is called "Obama Blue" with the other color being listed as black. They explained that their website database was to blame for the error because it truncated the combination. They further offered that they should have caught the error and apologized to all that they had offended.

8. The owner of Urban Outfitters is unique

There are some who describe the CEO Richard Hayne as "a crazy conservative." They also assert that he is a homophobic billionaire. Urban Outfitters had offers a t-shirt that was printed with the phrase "I Support Same-Sex Marriage" and they claim that he had it pulled from the site because it generated a lot of bad press. A little research showed that just one negative article had surfaced with regard to the shirt and it seemed that maybe it wasn't conservative enough.

9. Urban Outfitter supports eating less

The fashion retailer offered a T-shirt that is labeled as being a pro-eating disorder item. Now, this was a t-shirt that generated some negative press. It literally said, "Eat Less." Of course, there are obvious reasons why such a shirt would be condemned. There are people who struggle with eating disorders as well as those who have weight problems and are conscious of extra pounds. Either way, you look at it, there were a whole lot of people that were unhappy about it and they let Urban Outfitters know about it. The shirt was released for sale in 2014, but it didn't remain on the shelves for long before it was pulled. There were quite a few customers who let them know that the shirt was very insensitive.

10. Urban Outfitters has a lot of Broke customers

The target audience for Urban Outfitters marketing is the group that lies between the ages of 18 and 28 years. This is a group that is either still in college or getting their first jobs in general. Sure, they offer an occasional sale or marked down items on the discount rack, but Urban Outfitters isn't a cheap store per se. The people who buy things that are not either marked down or on sale from the retailers are the ones who have good jobs and a decent income already, but many go to find the latest styles there and see what is cool so they can go find it at a cheaper store, or wait until it hits the clearance rack. This is what the statistics tell us anyway and who can argue with research?

11. Urban Outfitters is enticing people with food

While this is the opposite message of what the famous "eat less" T-shirt recommends, Urban Outfitters has partnered with Pizza Vetri in Philadelphia Pennsylvania and in other popular locations. This is a first for the retailer that had previously collaborated with coffee shops for their visitors. It's believed that the new pizza offerings will bring some shoppers in just to eat and while they're there enjoying a good lunch, they're likely to be attracted to one of the lovely displays set up and purchase a few items from the clothing store while they're at it.

12. When they advertise sales, they're not really sales

You have to watch out when going to a sale at Urban Outfitters. They advertise all kinds of crazy sales, but what do they really mean when they say sale? We've been given the skinny on these campaigns and all you need to do is to check out the original retail price of the items that are listed for sale. We're not going to take this any further, but we do recommend that you do a price comparison before you decide if the sale item is really a sale or not.

13. The CEO of Urban Outfitters named one of his stores after his college studies

It's a fact that Hayne attended college and studied anthropology. He shared this in an interview and he was the first to admit that he was not a remarkable student. It did, however, give him the inspiration for the name of one of his big successful retail outlets. He just changed the spelling of the business to Anthropologie. He wanted to throw a little English and pizzaz at it and it worked very well. The spelling makes it sound like a fashionable and sophisticated retailer, which the store in fact is.

14. The founder admittedly has no sense of fashion

Hayne, the CEO of Urban Outfitters is very upfront about the fact that he really doesn't have much of a fashion sense. When it comes to figuring out what a girl in her twenties would want to wear, he doesn't have much of a clue. He doesn't meddle in the lineup that is presented to the public. This is something that he knows is totally out of his wheelhouse so he hires competent and qualified people who are professionals in the business to take care of this task and he stays out of it.

15. Urban Outfitters and the Navajo Nation are having a controversy

The Navajo Nation has filed a lawsuit against Urban Outfitters. In the suit, they described the problem as Urban Outfitters selling a line of apparel that features the name of the tribe and they didn't secure any kind of permission from them beforehand. The tribe was so unhappy about it that they sued them in a court of law and it's looking like they are going to win the suit that asks for millions in damage and compensation.

16. They can't keep one specific book on the shelves

Urban Outfitters sells a book that is titled, The Little Book Of Marijuana: Mind-Blowing Facts, History, Trivia, And Recipes By Spruce. The book is stocked but sells out quickly so you have to be fast sif you want to get a copy for yourselves. The is from "Weird Science" and it's a big hit with Urban Outfitters customers. It also tells you about famous weed smokers from all over the world, the five stages of a high via herb and much more.

17. URBN is the name of the parent company for Urban Outfitters

Previously we talked about the fact that Urban Outfitters, Anthropologie, and Free People are all connected. They're owned by the same person and they all fall under the umbrella of the parent company that goes by URBN. It's officially a portfolio of global consumer brands that also includes the Vitri Family (pizza), HBLDN, and Terrain. It's really a huge corporation of well-known and successful brands.

18. The URBN culture is a lot of fun

This company treats its employees very well. They want the work environment to be fun and they desire the good health of their employees with a good work-life balance as well. URBN is big on having a workplace that is filled with fun and creativity.

19. URBN is all about a healthy work environment and wellness

It's one thing to have fun on the job but wellness is a little deeper subject. URBN promotes good health and although they offer basic gym memberships they go way beyond this. They provide fitness classes that include TRX insanity, lunchtime boot camp, body physics, Zumba, boxing, yoga and a wide range of choices for their employees to choose the type of workout that is best suited for them.

20. They sponsor the Big Brothers, Big Sisters Program

Urban Outfitters is big on supporting charity efforts. A large number of URBN employees are involved in this charity effort by mentoring a student and spending time with them every other week. They play games, have lunch, do arts and crafts and all kinds of fun activities. Their goal is to make a significant impact on their surrounding communities by supporting students.

Dana Hanson

Written by Dana Hanson

Dana has extensive professional writing experience including technical and report writing, informational articles, persuasive articles, contrast and comparison, grant applications, and advertisement. She also enjoys creative writing, content writing on nearly any topic (particularly business and lifestyle), because as a lifelong learner, she loves to do research and possess a high skill level in this area. Her academic degrees include AA social Sci/BA English/MEd Adult Ed & Community & Human Resource Development and ABD in PhD studies in Indust & Org Psychology.

Read more posts by Dana Hanson

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