Walmart is counting on celebrity collaborations for a happy holiday this year, as the retail giant aims to keep pace with its rivals over the busy fourth-quarter shopping season with exclusive new launches for its website and stores.
Among the big pushes: Ellen DeGeneres’ “EV1” collection, which launched at Walmart this fall, and features nearly 60 items curated by the entertainer, ranging from denim and tees, to accessories and footwear. Inspired by the talk show host’s confident, carefree style, the collection includes slogan T-shirts, bomber jackets, jeans, athletic wear, bags, and sneakers, all priced under $30. The line offers a range of sizes, from XS to XXXL. As the name suggests, the clothing is meant to be fun and accessible, designed to work for everyone (“EV1”).
DeGeneres, who is dubbed herself the “chief design enthusiast” and “comfy content reviewer,” says it was a no-brainer to collaborate with Walmart, who already partner with her talk show on a number of give-back and viewer outreach initiatives. (The company provided scholarships to the entire graduating class of a Brooklyn high school during an episode last February).
“This whole collection is rooted in love and spreading love, and I think that’s such an important message,” DeGeneres says. “So whether it actually says ‘love’ or there’s a heart, it’s just a way to remind people that love is love, and love is powerful. There’s something for everyone here and I’m excited to see people excited about it.”
“This year, we have been hard at work transforming the fashion experience on Walmart.com,” says Denise Incandela, head of fashion for Walmart eCommerce U.S. “The launch of EV1 is one of many steps we’re taking to establish Walmart.com as a fashion destination, and I can’t wait for everyone to check it out.”
DeGeneres will launch a new EV1 holiday collection in December, and she is curating a monthly list of favourite finds on Walmart.com called “Ellen’s List.” November’s list includes everything from personalized marble and wood coasters (USD 35) to the popular Nest Hello video doorbell (USD 189).
DeGeneres is not the only celebrity tapped by Walmart this holiday season. The retailer is also teaming up with Kendall and Kylie Jenner to launch an exclusive handbag and accessories collection under the “Kendall + Kylie” brand. From faux leather backpacks to metallic clutches and fanny packs, every piece in the collection (which you can view here) is priced under USD 36. The sisters, who also have a higher-end line of apparel and footwear that sells in stores like Shopbop and Nordstrom, are hoping to reach a larger audience with the affordable collection, while Walmart is no doubt looking to tap into the duo’s fan following to boost its fortunes among teen shoppers.
Walmart is also counting on its celebrity partnerships in the food and entertaining space to help move the needle this winter. Food blogger and television personality Ree Drummond (aka “The Pioneer Woman“) has collaborated with the retailer on a custom-designed Instant Pot (which was one of the best-selling holiday gifts last year). Drummond has also released a new bedding collection for Walmart online.
And, just in time for Thanksgiving, Patti LaBelle’s line of baked goods (think pumpkin pie and caramel cake) is now available for online grocery pickup. LaBelle, who launched with Walmart in 2015, developed her line of pies, cakes, and desserts based on recipes passed down through her family. The collaboration with Walmart has proven successful for both parties. At one point after launching, Walmart says it was selling one pie per second for 72 hours straight, after a video went viral of a LaBelle fan effusively praising the singer’s namesake sweet potato pie.