Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Glee: The phenomenon cometh.

Paid for or otherwise, today's Guardian ran a full page spread on upcoming new show to E4, Glee. The teaser, pilot episode, which aired a few weeks ago, was a heady cocktail of High School Musical 1,2, and 3 combined with Mean Girls, American Idol and 30 Rock. Feeling sick yet? Think what you will, but this show has already been a massive hit in the US due, in no small part, to its escapist appeal across all the generations. There's singing and dancing for the kids, hot teenagers for the teenagers, and biting wit for the grown-ups. It really is one for all the family.

Furthermore, there are two trends into which it has brilliantly, if obviously, tapped. Firstly, everyone feels like hell - they've no money, no jobs and they've just had a pretty slim Christmas. The family appeal of Glee allows everyone an hour of Betty Draper-style family time in front of the flat screen. And by Betty Draper I mean perfect, charming and happy not Manhatten-slinging, gun-toting blonde bombshell. That comes later. Watching Glee, Americans can escape to the Disney fantasy they grew up with. But will Brits do the same?

Secondly, Glee follows in the footsteps of shows like X Factor and American Idol in sending old songs straight back into the charts. And the charts mean money. As more and more people watch TV on their computers, the distance between watching and purchasing is narrowing. Like that song? Buy it in seconds on iTunes. Love what they're wearing? It can be delivered the next day. Gossip Girl goes part of the way there, in terms of making the products the characters use integral, if not downright critical, to the plot. But Glee seems to be the first drama which actively ties entertainment to purchasing.

Glee airs over here from 11th January. Watch this space.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Holidays are coming.

So nearly there now, just another few days and we can collectively collapse onto our respective sofas and start drunkenly demanding Ferrero Rocher for breakfast and being thoroughly unreasonable about practically everything. And so, it may be that this little find has come too late for us to send on to our misguided loved ones, but perhaps bookmark it ready for next year, thus avoiding the inevitable Christmas morning tantrums.

Vital Stats Cheat Sheets from Cookie (who, I think, I may have just fallen into deep, graphic design related, love with).

Happy Holidays!

Monday, December 14, 2009

So freakin' Christmas

I've seen the Holidays are Coming coca cola ad, I've started a Spotify xmas playlist, I've punched a tourist on Oxford Street, and I've made mincemeat part of my 5 a day. One could say Christmas '09 has arrived. But it wasn't made properly official until my friend unveiled his Ralph Lauren Xmas Jumper in an unsuspecting pub in Highgate. You could have heard a bauble drop off the tree when he threw open his Aquascutum trench to reveal the wonder that is a £200 xmas sweater. The heavy knit, the square cut, the obligatory reindeer... it ticked all the boxes. Christmas has begun. Now, when does the pre-lunch mulled wine drinking begin?

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Loving verbally abusive cotton bags right now. Just because we're being eco-friendly doesn't mean we need to be cheerful about it.

Top: Modern Toss. Bottom: Goodone

*For those reading this today in the Shoreditch area, Goodone are having sample sale til 10pm tonight.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Trend addict, moi?

On a blissful day off work, I nipped down to the Royal Academy to see what all the fuss is about the Anish Kapoor exhibition. A Renaissancist at, I struggled to understand exactly what made it 'art', but the show is certainly entertaining and engaging. Best of all was a egg-timer shaped mirror which reduces your reflection to a single stripe of colour. When surrounded by people, the mirror acts as a perfect chart for "trending" colours. It seems black, dusky blue, dark grey and highlights of teal are all hot amongst art lovers right now. Who knew?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The dark future of social networking

Check out my latest blog post on the Eye Magazine blog

And for those of you who just cannot get enough of me, I suggest you also swing by the Moving Brands blog too.

Thursday, November 12, 2009


Who is this child? Where does he live? And might he sell me his t-shirt?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Mad about Mad Men

Season 3 of cult series Mad Men had its finale on US tv last night, causing my friend, The Austin Blonde, to exclaim "OMG OMG OMG... I cried and was shocked and I felt like my heart was being squeezed the WHOLE episode. I can't bear the thought of having to wait a year to see what happens next!!!! Torture". So, as you can imagine, us Brits are climbing the walls for the latest season to make an appearance in the schedules. Not least in the hope that it will be accompanied by the commercial tie ins our cousins across the pond enjoyed. Banana Republic (below) and Brooks Brothers both payed homage to the show in the States, allowing both Mad Men and Mad Women to get that 50's, Martini-for-breakfast, "Not on my watch", look.

So what can us Brits look forward to in terms of Mad-Menning our wardrobes? TopShop does Mad Men?? Maybe we need to ask ourselves... What would Don Draper do?

Friday, November 06, 2009

WAH Nails pops up at Selfridges

Dammit, now EVERYONE will have leopard print nail do's!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Sunday, October 25, 2009

The tricky science of Anthropologie

Anthropologie has opened! Three glorious floors finally filled with all the covetable, strokeable, must-have things we've been drooling over online for years. As we are coming to expect from Regent Street's new retail additions (check out the National Geographic store), the space at Anthropologie is beautifully executed, drawing the eye up and down via a vast living wall and ornate chandeliers. On-brand sales assistants say 'hi', while carrying wicker baskets of merchandise and a pretty floral scent infuses the store's "multi-sensorial" offering with a warm, welcoming feeling.

Here's the 'but' bit and it's the same issue Whole Foods, Banana Republic and Abercrombie forgot about... The English. You can have thousands of stunningly curated floor space, vast changing rooms and eye-popping merchandising but as soon as you let the English public roam all over it, the fantasy is broken. It's difficult to explain. Maybe, because they invented consumerism, Americans are just better at playing the part of awe-struck shoppers, striving to become the target audience the brand is looking to attract. Like a character in a play, Americans seem to meld into their retail environments as if they're been there the whole time. Not so much with us Brits. In our lilac macs and awkward M&S handbags, we stomp around the shops with a permanently aggrieved look on our wind-chapped faces, snatching clothes off rails like dishrags off a washing line. And so, like TopShop and Abercrombie before it, Anthro is assigned to the list of shops "Only worth visiting outside of normal shopping hours so as to avoid the riff raff". For other retail snobs out there, these times include 11.30am on a Sunday, 6-7pm on a Monday and 2.30 - 4pm on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Sad but true.

Photos by HG.

Friday, October 23, 2009

I had been intending to post on why Shoreditch is a dead area in terms of trends but then two things happened which totally put a smile on my face and made me love the crazy, modern world we all toddle around in today. Firstly, I received this spammy email from Argos.

"Thank you for your recent enquiry on

You recently enquired about a Go Go Pets Hamster Deluxe Funhouse Gift Set., Cat No. 384/1534, on the Argos web site, which was out of stock.

We have just received further stock of this item."

Strange, because I've only been to Argos once and that was when I was 16 and also enjoyed Hooch in a bus shelter. And, perhaps more importantly, I don't even own a hamster.

Secondly, my friend The Designer told me that he often gets text message alerts from a school in Inverness reminding him to attend various parents evenings, story times and nativity plays. The Designer is 24 and lives in London.

In a time when we can so easily curate the digital information we receive, the moments when a piece of rogue data slips into our hands can often be pure, human, and hilarious gold.

Shoreditch post to come!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

(As if we don't know) How to spend it.

When is luxury not luxury? Apparently when it's online. A recent Guardian article discussed the recent move online by the FT's How to Spend It Magazine. The article queried whether the launch of a luxury site was in-keeping with the current global mood, while the FT insisted that watches, yachts and "below the radar florists" were all part of the "flight to quality" by discerning consumers. Timely or not, the one thing no-one pointed out was the quality of the new site. Like so many other luxury sites, at first glance HTSI is another Flash-based disappointment. Discussing the topic with my friend, the Social Media Guru, we both agreed that Net-a-Porter was the only user-friendly place on the net to conjure true aspiration. Vogue's online presence,, is a muddled mess, whilest Burberry completely missed the whole idea of 'exclusivity' by allowing the general public (!) to live stream and comment on a recent Fashion Week show.

This only leads me to conclude that luxury brands have approached the Internet as an after-thought. At a time when people are embarrassed to be seen in-store splurging on high-end goods, these brands should be 100% focused on creating an online presence which replicate the in-store environment. Luxury brands are at the forefront in curating inspiring, memorable and decadent retail experiences and there is no reason why the brand's extension online should not feel just as personal and unique.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Back from The Future

Yesterday was pretty special. Spent most of the day at the Future Laboratory's trend briefing on the New Normal having my mind blown by trends, insights and their super-slick presentation style. Then I went for dinner with my good friend The Social Media Guru and talked shop and plans to attend SXSW Interactive over a bowl of hummus.

In the briefing, founder Chris Sanderson talked about 'triangulation' - the combination of intuition, observation and interrogation - in forecasting trends. It highlighted the very element which has always made trends so fascinating to me, and which makes it an integral part of branding. That nothing stands in isolation. Everything that happens comes from somewhere and has direct and indirect effects on the things around it.

They packed a huge amount into 4 short hours, looking at how "Generation Jones" - the second largest demographic at 34 - 45 years old - are reconciling their desire to consume with making the "right" ethical, financial, and behavioral choices. They asserted that it's no longer cool to be cool, that we're more interested in a "participatory" culture which is collaborative, warm and friendly. They showed us the house of the future where screens become architectural and ovens teach us lessons in reducing our carbon emissions. I left with my head spinning but looking forward to slowly digesting and applying their insights.

Image via If it's no longer cool to be cool, maybe Snow White no longer wants a bite of the apple.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Check out my first, and hopefully not only, post as guest contributor to the Eye blog. Thanks to John for giving me and my ranting a new portal!

Thursday, October 01, 2009

A first in Anthropologie

Bloody hell. Just as I hit the wrong half of my twenties and can finally give up the bank breaking addiction to Abercrombie & Fitch (you just can't pull off prep school anorexic past 24), another American, Anthropologie, gets set to open its doors on Regent Street.

Anthropologie is the sophisticated big sister of Urban Otufitters. I first discovered it when I was living in Austin, Texas and when the dollar was two to the pound. Anthropologie is just the best - the clothes are perfectly gorgeous, the accessories are to die for, the pajamas are heavenly and don't even get me started on the homeware! And now it's arrived in London and suddenly all my work-clothes woes will be a thing of the past. Just like my savings.

Monday, September 28, 2009

What's new in Old Town?

The second installment of brand news from Norfolk includes the discovery of Old Town. Located in Holt - a town popular with Guardian reading, posh b&b staying, organic muesli munching, suped-up 4x4 driving Londoners - Old Town fits in perfectly as a purveyor of "blingamalist" clothes for the guilt-ridden rich. With its wooden floor boards and letter-pressed business cards, the shop stocks only samples. Once the customer has selected their cut, fabric and size, a new one is made specially for them and delivered within 6 weeks. As we emerge from our binge on fast-fashion and mass consumption, shops like Old Town are the zeitgeist for a new era of "better and fewer".

But, in branding terms, Old Town does not stop there. It also produces a newspaper which serves as a brilliant guide to the area for the aforementioned tribe not wanting to risk mixing with the riff-raff on Holkham Bay. The newspaper groans with on-trend nods - from the heavy organic paper it's printed on to the achingly nonchalant name-checks to other "blingamalist" establishments like Fernandez & Wells - the Soho deli for tv execs who like their steak sandwich at twice the price and with a side of smug.

Reading these paragraphs makes me seem as though I'm perturbed. I'm not, it's genius. If the future is de-branded, austere and route one in its approach then other luxury labels would do well to learn from the unassuming simplicity of Old Town. If I'm perturbed it's because I know that Tribe Organic-Box-and-two-kids-at-Bedales will get such a kick out of it.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Visual Merchandising and Viral Marketing in North Norfolk

Following some crazy times at work, I decided to unplug and head to the North Norfolk coast. However, you can take the girl away from marketing, but you can't take marketing away from the girl.

Within an hour of arriving in Blakeney, I overheard this conversation in the local fisherman outfitters...
Norfolk lady 1: Oooh, look at this lovely jumper *brandishing hideous purple monstrosity*
Norfolk lady 2: Ooooooh, that is beautiful
Norfolk lady 1: And it's on the mannequin in the window
Norfolk lady 2: Oooh

Translated into London speak...
Norfolk lady 1: @norfolklady2 check out this jumper
Norfolk lady 2: Niiice RT @norfolklady1 check out this jumper
Norfolk lady 1: Posh Spice has one just like it
Norfolk lady 2: I'm gonna blog that later!
It's been quite a while Camilla Store lovers. I've been otherwise engaged in running the social media campaign for A Brand for London - an open pitch by Moving Brands in response to Boris' call for an agency to create a brand for London. We didn't get through but won the hearts and minds of London via our blog, Twitter, press (London Lite, London Paper and Evening Standard), and 50,000 visitors to our site. So, good times.

Monday, August 24, 2009

All a-Twitter

There's good news and there's bad news.

The bad news is that I've spent the past 4 days trying to find "social media interns" who can use Twitter to come and help me on a project at work. I had visions of hundreds of eager, credit-crunched, tech-savvy young things contacting me desperate to prove the business application of their online social skills. Strangely not. Of the few who did respond all of them faked their Twitter acumen, only to be rumbled when I asked if I could "Follow" them. So if it's not young people making the UK the Most Twittery Country, who is it? I'm confused.

The good news is that I do use Twitter and, slowly but surely, have gathered a following on my work Twitter of nearly 700. Last week I decided to conduct a little experiment in order to promote a film a made (see below). I uploaded the video onto Vimeo at 2pm on Thursday, put a Tweet out, asked a couple of friends to Tweet it, uploaded it onto the Creative Review feed and by Friday had totted up 1,000 hits. Unbelievable. The power!!

Moving Brands/ Moving World from Moving Brands on Vimeo.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Hits of the 90s

The signs are there - it looks like AW09 is going to be all about the 90s and it's not just because we've lately been enjoying the best of Michael Jackson before all the facelifts and kiddy fiddling.

For those of you who want to re-familiarise yourselves with the key looks of the era, I point you to Paris is Burning - the film that introduced us to Vogueing. God bless it.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Moving World, Moving Brands

Check out this film I made with my colleague/friend Rex McWhirter for Moving Brands. It is made entirely from found material and social networking sites to illustrate the fast moving world we all live in today.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


Check out my ghetto-fabulous nail job, done by the lovely Georgia of WAH Nails during their pop-up session at Cargo on Sunday afternoon. More photos can be found on their blog by clicking here.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Faking it

Ok, I'm going to propose something a little controversial. In this economic and environmental climate we're meant to be focusing on pared-down austerity and the ethos of make-do and mend. Apparently there are currently 8000 people waiting for allotment spaces in order to grown their own and I've talked before about the chic Waitrose Essentials range and Mary Portas' quest to revamp charity shopping. Everywhere you look it seems we're holding back and reining in.

Well, I'm suggesting that it's not exactly everywhere. Alarm bells were set off on my trend-o-meter (yes, I do have one of those) while watching the footage of this year's Glastonbury. In their bright neons, animal prints, glitter and plastic fantastic, the crowd appeared to be rejecting the notion that lean times must necessarily equal lean accessorizing. And it seems that people have not left their "f*** it all, let's have fun while we can" mentality in the fields of Glasto. Since then, Miss Selfridge has teamed up with HedKandi to produce a range of dresses that practically scream hedonistic good times. Equally, a trend towards 'fake', inspired perhaps by the war-time habit of drawing a pencil line up one's leg to imitate tights, seems to be growing. Shoulder pads are turning our shoulders into dangerous weapons, Shu Uemura has a whole window at the front of Selfridges for their fake eyelashes, and Lily Allen was on Twitter this week showing off her gold fake nails. It seems that times may be hard. but we're British and we'll never let it show.

For incredible nails, check out the new Wah Nails in Dalston. 
To shop and to buy from this day forward...

Maybe it's because my parents got the bus to their wedding, or maybe it's because my childhood game was more likely to involve eating mud than playing dress up, but for some reason the whole big White Wedding idea has never particularly grabbed me.

Until now.

Apparently Selfridges has got a wedding license! As the girl who just last Wednesday found herself being unceremoniously pushed from the store at closing time, the thought of combining the love of my life with... the guy I want to marry is pretty exciting. A cousin of a friend did just that some years ago and here's the picture to prove it.

Thanks to Selina and Matthew for use of their image.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

The ideology and imagery of the American housewife in the 1950s.

My university dissertation was on the American housewife in the 1950's. It was a fairly depressing account of bright women locked in suburbia, cleaning for 8 hours a day just to take their mind of potential nuclear attack.
Wish I'd discovered this Jello ad at the time!


Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Enjoying these wall vinyls from Hu2 - nice to see some that are slightly more 'sharp' than the more decorative ones floating about.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Super cool sacks.

Magazine holder made from thrown-away sport felt. From Jonas Forsman

Flouro carriers from Susan Bijl

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Wolf whistle

Every few months my Aunt, who resides in deepest, darkest Dorset, hits the London retail scene so hard the credit card company once phoned my Uncle to check the card hadn't been stolen. And so it was with much forethought that I took a long weekend to give me both a prep and recovery day either side of her weekend visit. In 48 hours we covered Camden Passage, Covent Garden, Bond Street, Selfridges and Marylebone High Street, stopping only to eat and sleep. As such, I am now 100% updated with both the highstreet and designer offering in this awkward time between Summer and Autumn, between Sale and New Season, between so-last-week and so-right-now.

And it is with some authority that I can say just one word: Whistles. When Jane Shepherdson left Topshop to refresh Whistles we knew good things would follow for the previously mumsy store and, my, hasn't she done well! They have seriously raised their game and, I think, lowered their prices - making them a winner all round.

I tried on this (looking for the first signs of the Balmain shoulder)

Bought this

And saw this on someone at a wedding last weekend

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Starbucks de-brands

So, The Future Laboratory says the best way to face the future is by "expecting the unexpected", but here's something I never thought I'd see. The brand that invented the 'third space'. The brand that introduced the notion of a traveling cappuccino. The brand that put hundreds of independent coffee houses out of business. The brand that you see on literally every street corner of the Western world. Starbucks - that massive global brand - is about to begin trials of unbranded stores in its hometown of Seattle. According to Marketing Week, the so-called '15th Avenue Coffee and Tea' will "revert to Starbucks' original positioning as a quirky, local coffeehouse [and] it will run poetry events and sell unbranded coffee as well as wine and beer". Can big global brands do this? Can they just take it all back and pretend all that world-domination stuff was just a 'phase'?

The most galling aspect of this de-brand is that I'm pretty sure everyone will love it because the timing is absolutely perfect. The very people who, just two or three years ago, were strutting around with a Chloe 'it' bag in one hand and a Starbucks double latte in the other, are precisely the Blingamalists now investing in a pared down Philip Lim carry-all, having their Net-a-Porter purchases delivered in black bags, considering the Waitrose 'Essentials' range and, from next week, getting their Starbucks-standard caffeine fix in unmarked cups. It's genius. Goddamit.

(Photo via

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Local Colour

When the sun comes out in Shoreditch, so do the colours.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Hard core fashion

Absolutely blown away by the Balmain A/W09 collection. Just look at those shoulders! Look at them! You're looking at the future, my friends.

But until I save enough money, or until I find a place that does an a-class copy, I'll have to make do with these little mittens from Gloved Up. So post-MJ death right now.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Love these two examples of time keeping outside of the box.

First up is a digital clock from Kibardindesign consisting of autonomous digits which each have a self-contained power supply. Able to be placed anywhere, light sensors will switch the clock to an invert mode: the figures are white in the dark time of day and black at daytime.

And then there's this beautiful calender from Oscar Diaz which uses the capillary action of ink spreading across paper to display the date.

Suddenly my Lumie doesn't look quite so cool.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Wow! Check out Godiva's new flagship store! Looking sweet - in every sense of the word!

More pictures at
In a spin.

The world has gone a little bit crazy this week - thank God it's Friday. First, a bank went into meltdown (yes, another one) over a report written by a 15 year old intern. It is not so much the age of the author that troubles me, rather the commotion and panic it caused. It further proves just how out of touch the people at Morgan Stanley are. According to the bank, the research document prompted calls from "dozens and dozens of fund managers, and several CEOs". Either I'm living in a little Shoreditch bubble, where news, views and trends are shared and discussed constantly, or these fund managers need to spin their swivel chairs around 180 degrees and look out their floor to ceiling windows at the world.

In other news, Twitter has apparently caused a slump in ticket sales for summer comedy, Bruno. According to The London Paper (fact), a fantastic opening weekend was marred by Twitterers slating it around the globe. Fascinating how, what started out as a fad for the verbally incontinent, is turning in to the go-to place for peer-to-peer recommendation.

Oh well, while all others are losing their heads, one of my colleagues restored order and rightness, by purchasing theses little numbers from Classic Wardrobe.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Despite having kvelled over the latest Ordning & Reda range of slick computer and desk accessories, this boho laptop case really floats my boat. Going against everything the minimalist tech look stands for, this case feels crafted, authentic and unique.

Laptop bag from new website discovery,

Friday, July 10, 2009

We're not in Kansas any more

Things are getting weird. These two comedy video virals make my head spin.

Has a brand name become a verb to the extent that we use it to describe our behaviour with a competitor brand?

And... in a world where software packages are turned into 24-style movies...

Going for a lie down.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Amazon phenomenon Three Wolf Moon t-shirt finds its mojo.

Hmm, the 3WM tee with shoulder pads... trend of tomorrow? You heard it here first!

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Tee-shirt dresses with built-in shoulder pads. Are we really going there? Really?

Dress by Ann-Sofie Back for Fred Perry

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Watching the MJ memorial

Seems only fitting to add my voice to the millions of views currently being expressed around the world, in many different languages and on many different platforms. The London Paper tonight asserted that this was America's Princess Diana funeral and, certainly, the Americans are giving it all the national outpouring of grief we saw back then. How it differs, however, is due to the exponential growth in social networking. Never before have platforms like Twitter, online newspapers and blogs allowed every view to not only be expressed in real time but also re-tweeted, commented upon and to 'go global' in a matter of seconds. In 1997, could a friend of mine have created and uploaded a tribute film to YouTube within hours of the news breaking? Could the New York Times have crowd sourced photos from the memorial event via Twitter? Could we have watched events unfold via live streaming on the Internet? As technology makes us further and further removed from reality, events which unite us all through communal emotion act as a release. And yet we turn to technology to reach out to others and share the outpouring of feeling we are experiencing. We are living in strange times - times of change, access and democracy of reporting.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Kids today

Arranging play dates on their mobiles, while the nanny cruises them around in Maclaren pushchairs, tots today are pretty tuned in. According to a recent survey, these little ankle biters are more likely to be swayed by brand advertising than their own friends.
Walking yesterday on that green bastion of upper-middle class Guardian readers - Hampstead Heath - I overheard one pre-schooler exclaim "Daddy, people like skinny". Referring to her preference for Starbucks lattes or commenting on our modern preoccupation with size 0? Who knows, but let's say I won't be surprised to walk past the play pit next time to find debate raging on Suri Cruise's wardrobe and the benefits of micro-biotic baby food.

Above: the GlowPhone from Firefly Mobile aimed specifically at kids.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Last year he wow-ed us with a look straight out of Brideshead and yesterday he treated us to a bit of waistcoat action on Centre Court. Hello Federer - our sporting fashion icon for the season.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

This will make your life will be significantly better.

Bag by Jessica Kagan Cushman, available from Bunnyhug.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

For the librarian in you.

Love, love, love, love this! Click THIS LINK to make your own.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

From the ridiculous to the sublime.

Most pretentious product description of the day goes to Cire Trudon's Odeur de Lune candle. Apparently invokes the scent of a satellite orbiting the earth. Oh, so that's what that smell is.

While Malin + Goetz win the prize for best recession chic packaging design. Tapping in to consumers' desire for full-disclosure and pared-down aesthetics, M+G have integrated product title and ingredients right into the design. See also Aesop and Kiehls.

Monday, June 15, 2009

I'm raging against retail.

Ok, I'm not raging in the way I did the other week which led me to being locked in the managers office at Natwest to "calm down", but a simmering rage against British retail and the way it's failing to give this recession everything it's got. Just twenty minutes in Covent Garden on Saturday made me chronically depressed at the pathetic excuse for customer engagement from two of our leading highstreet brands. First up, the new Nike shop, which replaces Shelly's on the corner of Neal Street, had two rather embarrassed looking live models in the window. Nice idea on paper, but shoving two reluctant sales assistants in the window to be gawped at by daft American tourists does not exactly create the 'wow' factor. This is a shame, because I was recently much impressed by the Nike id section in Niketown on Oxford Circus. Way to let the side down, Nike.

And number two to name and shame comes Marks and Spencer. I regularly let them get away with their shocking excuse for fashion, on the basis that their food halls are second to none and that they have an endless supply of matronly women whose only joy in life is to make sure British females wear the correct size bra. Or so I thought. I don't want to go into details, but I'm pretty sure the buxom lady from their ad campaigns was not fitted by a painfully shy, hijab-wearing girl who thought an accurate measurement is best taken over a Wonderbra.

In a recession, people want value for money. This does not only mean quality, it means proper service. It means getting to know your customers, catering to their every whim, enchanting them, exciting them and sending them home with more than they came in with. Even if they didn't buy anything, even if they leave only with a story about some crazy live models they saw frolicking in the Nike window or the knowledge that they're a 32C, rather than a 32B. Build a relationship, start a conversation and your customers will stay loyal. Simples.