UPDATE – September 13, 2010
I got a tweet from @BCBGMaxAzria about the FNO situation.
See the “PR Nightmare” section below for details.
Virgina, there is a Santa Claus because Fashion’s Night Out exists and it was an adventure, Charlie!
- ‘Alice’ by Temperley
I must live under a rock because I had no idea Temperley launched a line called, ‘Alice.’
The brand had promo girls peddling through SoHo for FNO giving away free t-shirts from the line (above.)
It’s a good idea, the girls were extremely friendly and definitely were knowledgeable about the line. — win, win, win!
Healthy cocktails made of rose water, fruit juices and other goodness, plus, three free eyeliners with purchase and a makeup bag, not to mention a mascara just for showing up – win, win, win!
- Tarina Tarantino
The cutest cupcakes, juices/water and Tarina, the princess of pinkness, herself,Â in the store to greet people.
I’m a huge fan of the stuff she made for Barbie, so meeting her was definitely a plus. She’s just as cute in person as you imagine she would be from her designs.
She was extra friendly and a pleasure to talk to, even for a short whileÂ – win, win, win!
- Kenneth Cole
Excellent customer relations, still trying to get “the sale” after 10 p.m. at night, having enough of their “gifts with purchase” still on hand and just being all-around awesomeness – win, win, win.
- Betsey Johnson
Free makeovers, good cocktails, a pink carpet and lots of balloons, making the evening feel like a real evening out – win, win, win!
Although, we didn’t make it into the store (see below), this was on my list of places to go because I was contacted by their public relations department inviting me to attend.
Prada wasn’t on my original list of places to go to, therefore, I, not only appreciated the outreach, but after bring invited, did make the effort to attend because of that fact.
That in itself is a win!
- MAC Cosmetics
The staff was attentive (even after Sarah Silverman left the store was still in mayhem), there was an ample amount of product testers to try and tools to use when playing with the products.
And yes, I did make a purchase…or three – win, win, win!
- Marc Jacobs
Dear Marc Jacobs, how do I love thee, let me count the ways…
Susan and I arrived at the store about an hour and a half before Marc was scheduled to arrive. Upon his arrival, a little after 9 p.m., they put him behind the sales counter as a means of crowd control.
In essence long-story-made-short, if you made a purchase of BANG, Marc would sign t-shirts. Susan and I aren’t men, so we asked to purchase Lola instead (we were the only women — at that point — they allowed to do it), we got a free full-size BANG, photographs and Marc’s autographed on the t-shirt as well.
Best $68 + 8% NYC tax ever spent.
So, while not all violets, daises and some Lola (see below), because Marc is a humble and all-around sweet man, with a absolutely fantastic PR staff, it made our night – WIN, WIN, WIN!
It was actually rather boring.
By 10 p.m., no one in their staff cared about anything or anyone.
I went in there to look for flat, black boots for fall/winter and I ended up walking right back out again.
It was just an icy store to be in, so I figured I was better going to a shopping mall or another one of their stores on another day…even ordering online…
- Agent Provocateur
While, I understand that crowd control is a big deal and most importantly for fire codes and safety, when your store is virtually empty on the inside and you have a line of 25 people outside your door trying to get in, this does not make you cool.
Rather, this makes you obnoxious and not worth the time of people who were genuinely interested in attending your event… especially, if they are already fans of your brand.
The main entrance was turning people away telling them that the “RSVPs” were on the other side of block, in the store’s secondary entrance.
The secondary entrance was only allowing people to exit and said there were no such thing as the “RSVP” list.
People were waiting in lines, people were circling the block in confusion…
Lack of communication and mass lack of understanding, anyone?
- MAC Cosmetics
Sarah Silverman and no gifts with purchase?
Please, don’t make me laugh…
If the store gave people an incentive to spend money (that they were going to spend anyway, but now will probably just do it in another store or online), then maybe sales would have been decent.
Just throwing it out there, as I have it on good authority the sales for that evening weren’t so hot.
Better yet, you could have just had Lady Gaga signing autographs of herself…
- Marc Jacobs
This one actually saddens me because Marc Jacobs is such a nice man (see above.)
But in a nutshell:-
- The in-store staff is obnoxious, rude and think they are better than anyone else who walks in.
- They only serve champagne to the people they feel like serving it too and ignore everyone else with their noses up in the air.
- Apparently, you’re only good enough for them if they know you, or you ‘look’ like you’re ready to drop $5,000 at the store.
Continuing with the story about how Susan and I met him…
Like the rest of his staff, the people that walked in with him, with the exception of one woman wearing a black and white jacket, who we thought was his head of public relations, were nasty.
Perhaps it was for crowd control (as he was getting swarmed), perhaps not.
But it’s terrible customer relations.
That being said, it was thanks to that woman, that they allowed us to purchase Lola, as opposed to Bang. It was thanks to her, that Susan and I got custom autographed t-shirts from him. And it was thanks to her, that we both got our individual photographs with him.
We don’t think she bent any rules. Rather,we just think she was being a decent human being and making an effort to be courteous to his admirers and fans.
In fact, she was doing her job.
Also, quite a few of his staff were preventing people from taking photographs with him. When Susan was taking her photo, she told me to get in because we weren’t sure both of us would be able to get our photographs with him (the store was a circus).
Marc turned around and said, “No, she’ll get one too.”
(Can I have a girl moment and say, *I dieee*)
He didn’t have too, but he did. And in fashion world with all the superficiality, also considering his rude staff — that meant a lot.
He’s a great guy who deserves to have better people working for him. Period. The man redeems the brand.
The PR Nightmare
- BCBG Max Azria
UPDATE – September 13, 2010
I got a tweet today from BCBG that I thoroughly appreciate.
They recognized that the situation was not good and said they would look into it. I sincerely hope they do because their staff was horrendous.
It would be a shame for such a great brand to be mildly tarnished because the people they employ misrepresent them.
Original rant below:-
…on Wooster Street sucked.
I have no other way of saying it or being less crass. It was an awful experience from the moment I walked through the door.
The sales associates could care less about greeting potential patrons as they were unnecessarily snooty and were far more concerned about trying on BCBG clothing than anything else.
One sales associate walked up to the one I was talking too and did ballerina twirls, rudely interrupting the small conversation, saying, “Oh. My. God. We’re so cute and we’re the same jacket!”
Seriously? Seriously. Seriously!
Plus, when asked about their ‘event’ for Fashion’s Night Out (ie — first 50 people who walk in at 8 p.m. get a free Runway Survival Kit/Bag,), the sales associate gave me a mediocre response as if it was a travesty for her to answer a simple question.
And I quote, “We started our event at 6 p.m. There were conflicting advertisements, we already gave out all the bags.”
I mean, really?
Did I mention we were there at 7 p.m. That would be, in fact, one hour after the staff started the event, and one before before they were supposed to start it.
FACT: The Fashion’s Night Out website said BCBG was starting their event at 8 p.m.
FACT: Upon calling the BCBG store in Midtown Manhattan the same day, they assured Susan that both stores were starting at 8 p.m.
So the mere point that the SoHo store opened an entire two hours early and was nasty about it after the fact, is a disaster and makes the brand look like a big joke.
Did I mention that because of this, BCBG lost four potential sales? I texted my girlfriends meeting me there and told them not to bother… oh, and I tweeted too…
I’d probably speculate that the staff gave the bags away to their friends, or probably hid one or two.Â I wouldn’t doubt it considering they were more obsessed with trying on the clothing they were supposed to be selling in front of the customers they were supposed to be selling it too.
Oh and, one more thing, Susan and I ran into a girl randomly, while we were en route to Kenneth Cole who had one of these illustrious gifts — and guess what time she got it?… *dun, dun, dun*… at 6:-something.
Therefore, while I love BCBG’s clothing and, especially, their shoes — Max Azria, you can forget about me supporting your stuff in-store, particularly at that branch.
General Lessons & Takeaways
- Know where you want to go and plan it. It’s how Susan and I met Marc Jacobs and Tarina Tarantino as well as how I got exactly what I wanted from MAC and Susan got exactly what she wanted from Korres. It’s impossible to go everywhere in one night, so figure out what’s important to you and go there.
- Drink water. Don’t be one ofÂ those girls walking around SoHo, the Meatpacking District or Fifth Ave in 4-inch stilettos acting like a lush because she’s so wasted. Staying sober helps for smarter purchasing too, FYI.
- If you aren’t feeling the vibe of a place, leave. Every store, their mum and their great-auntie too is open for FNO. There are choices. Don’t forget that.
- Ask questions...before, or at the event. That’s how I confirmed Marc Jacobs was going to appear at his store based on Robert Duffy’s tweets, and that’s how we found out that BCBG was a total FAIL. Fashion’s Night Out is for YOU as a consumer to interact with the brands and help Anna Wintour/Vogue raise money for AIDS.
- Bring your credit card for store purchases, bring cash for food/rest/drink breaks at the local establishments that are still open.
- Small purses. After six hours of pushing through hoards of people, you’ll thank me.
- Most of all, bring your camera, smart phone, follow tweets and tweet for up-to-the-minute information!
Sasha Muradali runs the Little Pink Book. She holds a B.S. in Public Relations from the University of Florida with a minor in Dance (â€™07) and an M.A. in International Administration from the University of Miami (â€™08). She loves Twitter and all things social media, so you should find her @SashaHalima or get a copy of the Little Pink Book delivered to your Kindle.