My girls are big shoppers - there's no surprise there. They love fashion and as they swiftly approach their tweenage years their style is becoming, well distinctly personal.
At 11 and 9 they are both very brand aware, though this is in some part at least a result of Yan being a designer and Biba having ten + years modelling experience under her belt at the ripe old age of 11!
It's fascinating to sit back and watch their individual style grow. Betty at 9, would be at your sporty end of the Spice Girl range, whereas Biba at 11, can easily range through Baby, Scary, Posh and back again without taking a single breath or settling one complete look.
It's eclectic but always comes together once a pair of her trusty Dr Martens boots are in place.
Our shopping trips are increasingly interesting, we are kind of in that in-between no-mans-land of kids clothes departments with their cutesy ranges and the neon lure of the high-street stores smart enough to stock small sizes in a 4 or a 6. We roam uneasily between the two, always in the search of a bargain or something we simply cannot leave behind.
One of the kids departments that we still frequent is NEXT (I still buy all of their school uniform via the NEXT Directory), so when Collective Bias™ asked if we would like to check out the new SS13 collection, and share our in store experience, we had to say yes.
Biba has a history with NEXT, she's modelled for them many, many times over the years and as a local client, was one of their in-house sizing fit models.
The best thing about being a fit model is that you know that all the items in the range are made to fit you! We never had problems with sizing in NEXT, Joules, Adams, Asda etc as she was their standard size!
We shopped at NEXT, Fosse Park, Leicester. It's a two-storey 'out of town' store with childrenswear nestled away to the rear of the spacious womenswear department.
First impressions.... too many styles, crammed into a poorly lit, cramped space. The isles are too narrow to allow a pushchair to pass through without knocking numerous garments to the floor and little or no thought has gone into merchandising or hanger appeal.
In usual circumstances (i.e., if I wasn't being asked to share my in store shopping experience), I would have walked straight back out due to the blocked isles and screaming kids.
And actually, we did leave the store and decided to get some food in the hope that a full tummy might make the experience more enjoyable.
Turns out that was a good plan, because when we returned it was to a calm, shopper free department that was much easier to browse.
The NEXT childrenswear collection goes up to age 16 online but in store the biggest size on the floor was an age 12. Rails were fully stocked with all sizes but the number of styles crammed in was just too much to take in. A total fashion overload.
|Geek T-shirt - obviously a big hit with Biba!|
Both Biba and I pulled out some fab key pieces but we had to work at it.
If more thought had gone into shop floor display, our customer journey would have been less overwhelming and we would have left the store with more than two items in our basket.
The cashier point is just outside the children's department towards the back of womenswear and despite it being 1.30pm on a Saturday lunchtime there was only one member of staff behind the counter and she wasn't in a hurry to serve us, even with a queue steadily growing behind us.
The till points were a mess. Piles of hangers and paperwork strewn across the counter as well as the shelf behind. If the store was crazy busy and you could see that all staff were engaged, that wouldn't have made such an impression. But the store wasn't busy and that mess should have been under control.
So what did we buy?
|Betty wears NEXT denim playsuit £19 - in sizes from 3 to 16 years|
|Biba wears NEXT floral print dress £21 in sizes from 3 to 16 years|
Do take a look at our full store experience in pictures over on G+.
I am a member of the Collective Bias™ Social Fabric® Community. This content has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias® #CBias #SocialFabric. All opinions are entirely my own.