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Find Me A Dress!

It’s Friday afternoon, and you’ve just been told about an event on tonight that you really want to go to. But it’s 4pm, you’ve got to be there by 8, and you need a new dress.

Sound familiar? As much as I love dresses, I hate shopping for dresses. Normally I’ll have in my mind an idea of what I’m looking for but can’t find it in store and end up with something that looks alright – but just… alright. Nothing amazing, nothing special, just something I grabbed at the last minute going around House of Fraser.

So many of my favourite shops have their own online shops, but who has the time to look at each site, each dress, each colour? This is where sites like find-me-a-dress.com come in.

Find-Me-A-Dress.com allows you to choose the style of dress from prom, day, maternity, party, wedding, work and cocktail, and then narrow down the specifics of what you need – size, length, fabric, shape, colours and price.

I think this is a really great idea – although there are a few things I’d change about the selection process, I like that it shows you dresses that you probably wouldn’t have chosen yourself. Sometimes, the outfit you’d never usually choose yourself turns out to be your favourite one!

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A small sample of the dresses that popped up in one search

With the party dress “season” coming up, this is such an easy way to find something new and glamourous. Ooh, now I’m all excited about dresses again!

HoF Update

What a crazy week. After sending my personal shopper post to House of Fraser, and the subsequent comment from a member of their staff, I was emailed by the executive director of brand who had seen all your comments and blog posts about the item.

(Thank you SO much by the way – I was so amazed by the reaction I got, both on here and on Twitter.) He apologised for the comment, and reiterated the womenswear managers offer. I replied back, but politely declined the personal shopper appointment – its going to be a while before I have to dress up for anything (next event planned I think is the Chap Olympiad – which I think the Boy is going to need more help dressing up for than I will. I think I’ve already got a few dresses for that!)

So, he replied, copying in the general manager of the Bristol store and asked for my phone number as they has something they wanted to suggest to me in person rather than via email. I sent it over, and as I was walking home from work, the GM called, to offer me a “VIP Experience”, of spa treatments, manicures and a meal for me and a friend. This was so unexpected, but very very lovely.

I did not write the original post as a complaint, as I’ve said before. I didn’t email House of Fraser to tell them about the post in order to get something out of them. I did it because if I’m going to talk about you, then I want you to know, especially if its not something praising you! (Because if I didn’t tell the person or company I was saying stuff about them, its like talking about them behind their back. I don’t do that.)

I called the Wife (for the uninitiated, the Wife is the best friend.) and told her the update on it. I was informed (!) that of course I would be taking her with me (although that was partly why I was calling)

Everyone I have dealt with at House of Fraser since the comment made by “Marie” has been incredibly apologetic, and has made it clear that the comment was made by “Marie” off her own back. (I don’t blame them by the way. Can any company control what an employee posts online?)

Thank you again for the comments, I found it interesting that so many had felt the same way I did about the personal shopper service, and I hope that this will bring about some changes. It really has shown how powerful social media, word of mouth, etc can be!

Thank you House of Fraser as well – it is unfortunate that things had to go so high up in the chain (when I read that the CEO and Chairman of the company had been made aware of this, I nearly fell off my chair!) but I hope that they are able to take on some of this stuff when dealing with social media in the future.

HoF Fail!

So, yesterday, I published a blog post telling you all about my experience with the personal shopper at House of Fraser.

Why? Because that is what I do! This blog recently passed its 9th year of life, and its known (if you’e in desperate need to classify it) as a female lifestyle blog. Its me, and its the stuff that I get up to. (I’ve been known to describe it as “the bits of crap that litter my head”. Lifestyle sounds a bit better)

The majority of my readers are women of a similar age to me, and likely to be on a similar (well, for their sakes, I’d hope better!) salaries. Single women, no responsibilities, disposable income. Great target audience if you’re, I don’t know, a large retailer trying to sell clothing and other items.

I’m not usually the sort of person to say anything at the time, but I believe that if something happens to you – both good and bad – then you should tell someone. I’ve emailed companies before if I’ve had amazing service, because people should be rewarded! I thought it would be polite to say to House of Fraser what I had written – seems silly telling you lot and not the people concerned!

I received a polite email back, saying that unfortunately the website contact bit could only deal with website queries, but they’d pass it on to the Bristol store.

Fair enough.

About an hour later, I received this email from my WordPress, saying that there was a comment to be moderated on the personal shopper post.

Quite rude isn’t it? I was about to head into my WordPress app, and approve it when I saw where it had been posted from. mail2.hof.co.uk

Well thats embarrassing. hof.co.uk, redirects, as you’d expect to the House of Fraser website.

For a company who, lets face it, probably would like all those 20 somethings coming and spending their disposable income in store, this is quite a cockup! Social media, such as blogs and Twitter, is quite an important thing in terms of advertising these days. Within 5 minutes of posting the above picture on Twitter, I’d had lots of replies from people saying how disgusted they were.

Perhaps theres a really good reason for this. House of Fraser, I can’t wait for your reply!

Update: I’ve had a reply back from the womenswear manager at the Bristol store about the original reason for the blog post – you can see her response on the original post.

Update (2) A follow up to this post can be found here.

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