Last Wednesday I was invited by Stylist Magazine to attend an exclusive readers evening, accompanied by champagne, canapés and 20% of all Folli Follie Jewellery and accessories in store. Having picked out my 80′s vintage dress and 6 inch angle boots, I anticipated a glamourous night at the Folli Follie store and a chance to meet a few people from one of the most popular style and lifestyle magazines in London.
For anyone who is not so familiar with Folli Follie, they are Greek designers and manufacturers of luxury jewellery, watches, sunglasses and handbags. I love their most recent advertising campaign featuring Shanghai model Gaile Lai across all of their branding; giving her different personas “Classic Gaile”, the “Trendy Gaile” and the “Rock Gaile”. I am always excited by their designs, as they are colourful, feminine and fun; plus great for anyone who likes a bit of bling.
The Regents Street store was noticeably small on arrival, comfortably accommodating around 20 people at any given time, however, as the night progressed, the store capacity reached over close to 100, and by that time the shop was literally bursting at the seams; and despite being surrounded by fantastic accessories, in one of London’s high end stores, having an over filled venue took a lot away from the experience of the shoppers within the store, as navigating and finding space to look or try something you wanted to buy was quite taxing.
It has always been my impression that Stylist regard their readers extremely highly, and to a great extent I still believe that, however, on this particular event, which was described as being “exclusive to Stylist readers” it did not feel very exclusive at all. Here are my reasons why:
- 1) The selling point was that, Stylist readers could ‘exclusively’ get 20% off Folli Follie products by attending this event, yet, currently several valid voucher codes and other online retailers are offering 20% of this seasons Folli Follie collection. Here are some to name a few.
- 2) We were notified that there would be a talk by Stylist, yet it was more of a 5 minute introduction, thanking us for attending and reminding us that it was an exclusive event with us 20% off, with champagne; and in the most politest way basically saying “drink up, and gets’to spending people!”. I don’t think anyone was expecting a sing and dance from Stylist, but I do know, having spoken to a few of other attendees, people wanted to meet the Stylist team, and get to talk to them, as well as shop at Folli Follie, yet there was no room or opportunity for that to happen.
I also recall attempting to make conversation with one of the Stylist team as I took a break from the overcrowded store floor, and I just don’t think she was all that bothered to make small talk, and turned away at the soonest opportunity. Last month I spent three days with 50,000 young people and their parents for one of our events, but despite however late or tired it was, I always smiled and was Mrs. Enthusiastic, because it’s my job, and moreover, I know how much it means to our visitors for that event.
- 3) On departure, we were all handed a Folli Follie goodie bag, which contained 2 Laduree macaroons, Benefit make-up and gift from Folli Follie. Without over elaborating, the Laduree macaroom was beautiful and delicious; the Benefit make up consisted of foundation which was only suitable for those of European complexion; the secret gift from Folli Follie was a pen, and there was a copy of Stylist Magazine, which most of us had already picked up for free the day before.
I am quite sure that if asked, most of those who entered the competition were more excited for the fact that it was a Stylist event, at Folli Follie, rather than a Folli Follie event hosted by Stylist.
I love Stylist Magazine, and I will continue to sing its praises as one of my favourite fashion and lifestyle magazines, and not just because it’s free, but because I find it informative, entertaining and engaging. However, I do think that on this occasion, Stylist underestimated the extent to which their readers value them and expected a more genuine and less commercial level of engagement. It was great to get some free champagne and the goodie bag, but I truly believe that if I had felt comfortable enough to approach the Stylist team for a group picture, or had someone ask me, “how are things, who are you, or how are you finding it?”; it would have accounted for much more than any item of jewellery or glasses of bubbly.
If you look back on over 90% of my blog posts, I am not a “complainer”, but one of the most valuable things about being an independent blogger, is that you are not restricted by the interests of “stakeholders”, and for that reason I feel obliged to tell my readers exactly how it is. Being that I currently work as a client side market researcher, in consumer insight and perceptions, I often keep Roy H Williams quote in the back of my head
“The first step in exceeding your customers expectations is to know those expectations”.
124 Regent Street