Image: Myself (short, brunette, white, wearing a leopard print coat and red dress, holding a champagne glass) and Laura (taller, blonde, white, wearing a pink flowing tunic, also holding a drink) stand in a classy mirrored room with other women in the background. There is a Simply Be logo in the bottom right hand corner.
Arrrgh, I can finally update! The blog had been hit with a bunch of 406 errors for weeks, meaning I couldn’t post a thing. It made me so unhappy, although a break was needed I guess. A lot of tensions running about. But hurrah, lovely Michelle has fixed it, so I’m back!
That said, I’ve pretty much been living in my pyjama’s lately, so no cool outfits to show you. But I want to talk about something that has pretty much made my year. You all know I’m a massive fan of Simply Be, and have been for years. Recently, they did the complete opposite of what everyone else seems to be doing (minimising/pulling out/down sizing plus ranges left, right and centre) by going from mail order/internet only to having actual stores on the high street. OH MA GAAAAHH. Prepare yourself for some serious gushing, okay?
Image: Front of the Simply Be store. Two giant lit up logos in the bottom left and upper right windows, with mannequins dressed in party outfits from the store and fancy masks. In the top left, a giant TV screen shows footage from Simply Be's TV adverts.
I got to go to the launch of their store in Bury, just outside of Manchester – the lovely Sheena at Chase PR put me up in a hotel for the night which was really, amazingly kind of them. I do hope you know me well enough to know I wouldn’t be nice purely because of that, or lie. I was intending to go up, if not for the launch then just by myself, and I’m positive I’d have the exact same reaction. Honestly, what they’ve done is just brilliant. This was not a half-arsed effort, at ALL. Not that I expected it to be, but even though I had high hopes I was just bowled over by how good it was. In fact, Alison from Simply Be asked me what I thought and while talking I actually choked up a bit. (Yes I realise this makes me very sad, haha.) It’s just, not only does the shop look incredible, fitting right in with all the other shops around them – they’re opposite Topshop, which made us laugh – but everything has been geared towards making their customer feel as good as they possibly can about themselves. Which might sound like it makes sense, but as most of you reading this know all too well, the high street for anyone over a 16/18 is a dark, depressing, unwelcome place.
Image: A shot of the Simply Be dressing room, which I describe below.
It was their dressing room area that really did it for me. I was a bit unprepared. It’s huge, lush and glamorous, with thick, lockable mirrored doors, posh carpets, chandeliers and a chaise longue in the middle for if you need a sit down. I was trying to recall where I’d seen a similar style, and it turned out what I was thinking of was the Gucci pop up shop in Harrods. Seriously. To have something that is all about making you feel as glamorous, luxurious and beautiful is great. But for us fatties? It’s on another level, quite honestly. Of course, I went to town trying loads of things…
Image: various shots of me (Short, fat, brunette, white) trying on different things. Left to right: a black wool cape; A Frock&Frill cream embroidered dress; A Voloptuous cobalt blue dress; A pink with black cornelli trim tunic (I tried it because Laura looked so amazing in it)
The best thing, as always with these events, was catching up with other bloggers like Laura, Clare, Dee and Kelsey and getting to meet other lovely ladies. Lisa Riley and Julie from Corrie were there, although I was too shy to go up to them. I wish I’d at least spoken to Lisa Riley – as a teen I wanted to act, and seeing someone who looked like me in a prime-time soap was really inspiring. And I was always so excited to see her in that lime green shirt from the Evans Seven range (oh, the 90’s!). The staff were so adorable and friendly, they were all really excited about the store which marks a change! I have to admit Emma was my fave, and I spent half the night gnawing her poor ear off! If you’re reading this, sorry Emma.
A partial shot of the shoe area. Shelves and shelves of shoes: trainers, boots, flats, heels. It has a mirrored background where you can see customers and guests.
The wall of shoes! They also had a wall of jeans, although as you know I’m not a denim girl. I wanted to buy a lot of things, but I plumped for these cute wellies – I’m waiting for the snow so I can wear them out. Come on, snow!
I really and truly can’t express enough how impressed I was and how happy it made me. I hope it does amazingly – they’ve definitely set such a benchmark for how plus size customers should be treated! I’m already planning a trip to the Liverpool shop with my mum at some point next year and I am practically counting down the days until I go again. They’ve done something really, really awesome here.