I've been very busy recently planning my move but I've managed to get some time off last Thursday to make my way over to the Bullring in Birmingham for Smiggle’s new flagship opening. I was kindly invited by the stationery brand to celebrate the opening along other bloggers and to find out about their Christmas range.
Australian brand Smiggle has made people ‘smile’ and ‘giggle’ since 2003. It is owned by Just Group, a fashion and apparel retailer, and sells colourful, fashionable and fun stationery. Alisa, regional manager who looks after the UK roll out, told me that there are 170 stores across Australia, New Zealand and Singapore. The brand decided to approach the European market before America, as there is more potential to be established.
2014 has been Smiggle's year to conquer Europe with the opening of 16 stores in the UK. Bristol and Solihull were opened in the last six weeks and there are two more to come to Derby and London before Christmas, plus the expansion plan expects 200 stores within the next two years.
|The Christmas Range|
The Christmas range consists of novelty stuff in addition to the usual range, which includes e.g. pencils, cases, diaries and bags. Plain pencil cases for example, have been jazzed up to hard bubble top cases (£10) or usual pencils smell like cookies and chocolate (£4) to become the bestsellers for Christmas.
Signature piece is however the impressive advent calendar, priced £20. Shaped as a triangular, which looks like an abstract silhouette of a Christmas tree, there are 25 Smiggle goodies waiting behind each door. It’s a brilliant idea as children won’t be given chocolate and sweets, but they can actually take their calendar goodies into school and grown ups can brighten up their desks at college or work with the happy stationery.
|The Smiggle Experience|
I’ve seen the Smiggle store in Bristol, so I kind of knew what to expect, but when I arrived at the store at 6pm I was totally overwhelmed by the colours and happy, smiling faces all around. So was food and lifestyle blogger Emma from Birmingham. She really liked the vibrant colours when she came into the store and didn't know where to look first. Fellow beauty blogger Vanessa, from theothervw.com, adds ‘this is fantastic. It’s a bit of a throwback at childhood. In school, I was always the kid with a new pencil case and I also really like the scented gel pens which bring back memories.’
My favourite items from the collection are these 'delicious' macaroon erasers (and I hope my macaroons will turn out as nicely as these ones next time) and the milk shake/carton pencil cases in the second picture below.
|The Fun Is In The Detail|
I briefly spoke to Georgie, the lovely PR lady who invited me and Haley, the store manager. Both were overwhelmed by the phenomenal response and positive feedback of customers. Haley told me she appreciates the interaction and creativity that the stationery triggers. Kids can have a play with the colourful items in store and I even caught the staff having a good time joking around.
The event was on for 2h which went far too quickly. Afterwards, my lovely blogger friend Becky and I went for a Costa's and spent another 2h chatting about films, blogging and our next event which will be tonight's Bloggers Love hub in London.
I had a fantastic time at the event and would like to thank Smiggle for having me and the generous goodies I received. You'll find the Smiggle flagship store at the Bullring on the ground floor next to Thomas Sabo and Costas (Selfridges side). Let me know if you've been to the store (leave me your blog post links!) and what's your favourite piece from their collection!
Thanks for reading today's post and let me know what you think of Smiggle. Have you heard about the stationery brand before? What do you think of the concept?
xx CAZ xx