Brands on YouTube: J.Crew and the Story of the Pixie Pants

J.Crew can make all the couture documentaries about making shoes in Italy it wants, show how colors get made and chosen, or explore its partnerships with set designers, but, while such content works well on their official channel, what really garnered views and positive engagement on YouTube, especially in the earned media space, was the Pixie Pant.

The Pixie Pant made its earned media debut on YouTube in Fall 2011. The pant itself is a thick legging with a zip up the back that seems to be the gold standard for “leggings as pants” and fall/winter weight leggings. Since their first appearance, the YouTube videos highlighting the Pixie Pant exist in an array of styles, including haul videos, outfit-of-the-day/week videos, look books, and favorites.

Most of the Pixie Pants’ views come from a circle of high profile Beauty Gurus on YouTube, including Ingrid Nilsen, aka missglamorazzi, the guru that first put these pants in the spotlight. In October 2011, Ingrid posted  an “outfit of the day” video from a job interview in which she wears and talks about the J.Crew Pixie Pant (comes in around the 1:40 mark):

On Ingrid’s channel alone, there are seven videos featuring these pants, totaling over 3.2 million combined views as of today. These videos all hammer home the point about her love of Pixie Pants.

And, like any great example of word-of-mouth marketing, Ingrid’s love influenced some of her closest YouTuber friends. Fleur of Fleur DeForce picked up a pair on a shopping trip with Ingrid and Allison of amarixe in January 2012 (check out the 6:50 mark):

Then, a fan chimed in on a potentially untapped market at the time:


In April 2012, Ingrid and Tanya Burr of pixi2woo made a haul video, getting right to the pants early at the 0:55 mark:

Ingrid’s influence is verified in a comment by Shannon M:

In the above video, Ingrid mentions Nikki of NikkiPhillippi also having the Pixie Pants, and Nikki’s haul video from February 2012 features the pants around the 10:55 mark:

When a fan wanted to know where the pants were from, since Nikki failed to mention it, other commenters were more than willing to respond:

Comment 3 - mandiee04Comment 4 - Pixie PantsComment 6 - Pixie PantsComment 8 - Pixie Pants

Comment 11 - Pixie Pants

Another fan responded with more than just the answer to where Pixie Pants can be found, but also an affirmation that they are in fact, great pants.

Comment 9 - Pixie Pants

Just like Ingrid above, Nikki has taken to Pixie Pants in a big way, posting more videos featuring the pants after the initial buy. Nikki has five additional videos where she mentions Pixie Pants, and although she has just over half-a million-subscribers compared to Ingrid’s 2+million,  Nikki’s videos about the pants, including the original haul, have racked up a combined 1.1 million+ views.

Finally, since not all YouTubers shop in the same price points, the price of Pixie Pants is something that does come up, leading to alternative suggestions. Brianna of iluvjesse444 features the Pixie Pant as well as comparable products, like the ZARA leggings with zip details, in a video from November 2012:


The J.Crew Pixie Pant story reveals the power of YouTube’s role in word of mouth marketing. The visible proliferation of the pant within a single social circle in a vast sea of Beauty Gurus and Lifestyle Vloggers on YouTube shows that a good product only needs one person with authentic reach in their corner to find an audience and fan base that is simultaneously larger are more targeted than a brand might otherwise expect to find.


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