URBAN OUTFITTERS is a lifestyle retailer dedicated to inspiring
customers through a unique combination of product, creativity and
cultural understanding. Founded in 1970 in a small space across the
street from the University of Pennsylvania, Urban Outfitters now
operates over 200 stores in the United States, Canada and Europe,
offering experiential retail environments and a well-curated mix of
women’s, men’s, accessories and home product assortments.
URBN is a
portfolio of global consumer brands comprised of
Terrain and the
They are a passionate, creative, entrepreneurial bunch who think outside
the box and are all about providing a unique shopping experience while
inspiring and connecting with their customers.
The year was 1970. Dick Hayne was just 23 years old
when he and college roommate Scott Belair came up with
the idea to open a retail store. Belair was in search of a topic for an
entrepreneurial class he was taking at the time. The first store,
originally called Free People, was located in a small
space across the street from the University of Pennsylvania. Its mission
was to provide second-hand clothing, furniture, jewelry and home décor
for college-aged customers in a casual fun environment.
Since the first store opened in West Philadelphia they continually
strive to connect with their customers through unique products and
engaging store design. Instead of transforming buildings into something
new, they preserve their original features, a trait that has become our
signature look. They strip back paint to its first layer, expose brick
walls, and use original pieces as displays and fixtures. Their approach
goes beyond historical preservation – it’s about maintaining a layered
history, but infusing a new, fresh atmosphere.
Meg Hayne created Urban Outfitters private label division, which
supported product exclusive to Urban Outfitters. Demand
was almost immediate and to meet this overwhelming need, she and Dick
decided to create a wholesale line. It was well-received, so much so
that Dick separated the businesses. For a while, the line took on many
personalities: bulldog, Ecote, Cooperative, Anthropologie and then in
1984 a new life was breathed into the name Free People.
By the 1990’s, their original customer was entering a new life stage.
She longed for a store to indulge her creative side. Dick, realizing
this wasn't an isolated phenomenon, went on to build a lifestyle brand
that catered to creative, educated and affluent 30-45 year-old women.
Anthropologie was born and in 1992, the first
standalone store opened in a refurbished automobile shop in Wayne,
Pennsylvania. Anthropologie is a portal of discovery for our customer -
offering her a shopping destination with a well-curated mix of clothing,
accessories, gifts, and home décor that reflect her personal style and
The millennium brought with it a new shopping experience, one that
wasn't a physical location. In 1998, Anthropologie released its first
catalog with circulation more than doubling before the end of the year.
In August of that same year, Anthropologie.com was established. Site
visits and online orders were well above initial expectations, which
fueled investments in future E-commerce efforts. It wasn't long before
their other brands opened a web store - Urban Outfitters in 1999 and
Free People in 2004.
Learn more about URBN.