Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Why I love River Island

I heart River Island.  I frigging love them.  To be precise, I love their PR team.  They are my new best friends (okay, that last one might be a slight over-exaggeration but you get my drift).  Yes, I think River Island is the nads.  I have come to this conclusion because of the way they treat, respect and value bloggers.
Naming no names, there are some clothing retailers out there who have set up their own 'bloggers network' who seem to want people to write review after review of their clothes based solely on photographs.  I mean, who wouldn't want to write about some clothes they've never seen or tried on for the chance to possibly win an outfit or interview Davina McCall (err, me for starters!).  If you want to do that sort of thing then great, go for it.  It's just not for me.

In complete contrast to this, River Island actually recognises the value of engaging properly with bloggers.  I have a couple of examples of this so bear with me.

Just before Easter and quite out of the blue, the River Island PR team contacted me to invited my children and I to a chocolate-making workshop.  It was billed as a fun-filled afternoon making chocolate and seeing the new spring/summer clothing collection.  Now, regular readers here will know that I'm not a fashion blogger, I've never written anything about clothes so this invite came as a surprise.  But, I'm not one to turn down a fun activity with my kids if I can help it.

With Dexter at the time only just turning one-year-old, I thought him too young to participate in such a session so I arranged for him to stay at home with my mother-in-law and took my 3-year-old daughter along.  We had a fantastic day (not least because I met the very lovely Chrissie from Mediocre Mum) and you can see all the photos below, which I published on this blog's Flickr account and Facebook page

Sophia also got the chance to choose an item from their new seasonal range to take home.  She choose a fabulous looking and feeling yellow dress that she loves to 'swish' whenever she wears it.

But, best of all, there was absolutely no pressure placed on me to blog or tweet about the day, or post photos or advertise the new clothes range.  While I didn't write a blog post about it (I had fully intended to because we'd had such a good day, but I had a couple of guest posts to publish first as well as some others and then the rain began.  After that, it seemed like too much time had passed to be able to write about it), I did tweet about the day, mention it on Facebook, post photos to my social networks and also pinned a picture of the River Island yellow dress onto one of my Pinterest boards.  But they didn't ask me to do any of that and the feeling was that they didn't expect it either.

I hadn't heard from River Island since then but, last Friday, a surprise package arrived at my door.  Who from?  You guessed it, those lovely River Island PR peeps.  They thought Sophia would enjoy a few goodies - face masks, bubbles, colouring in book, stickers - to enjoy during the summer holidays and included another fantastic looking, quality item from their summer collection; a fabulous T-shirt (again, you can see it on my relevant Pinterest board).  They were also kind enough to include a little treat for me (which you can see in this Silent Sunday post).  Once again, no expectation of a blog post or social media activity.

I can understand how and why some companies would choose not to do things this way.  It's a risky strategy in that bloggers may take, take, take and not give anything back.  But to assume that is to do us bloggers down.  We have integrity and appreciate even the smallest gestures that make us feel valued.  And it's those gestures that can make us loyal ambassadors for a brand.

River Island has not, at any point, asked me to write about them but through their actions, look at this - an entire blog post dedicated to how wonderful they are.  And, you know what?  The next time I'm in town, I'll be popping into my local River Island store to have a look at their clothing range.  Their clothes are all made to a high quality and feel lovely and soft.

River Island - I think you're blogging brilliant.


  1. Wow, they sound very nice indeed. BTW- your daughter is super cute in that yellow dress! 

  2. They sound fab! Makes all the difference having a great PR team who value bloggers. Love that yellow dress

  3. This looks great. Sophia looks so sweet in it that dress bless her. Didn't realise you had a Dexter too!!!

  4. Yes, he's 16-months-old now and growing up far too quickly :-P

  5. What a lovely positive post. And I think you're absolutely right. The best publicity will probably come from those who don't feel pressurised to do so  but write about a product/service because they really want to. Like that you got spoilt too - nothing beats G&T and chocolate ;)

  6. Thanks for your comment. It's great that a company is willing to work with bloggers this way, it's a great way to develop positive, long-term relationships

  7. Love that dress! I just realised I have a similar one in navy blue.  Not twirl worthy though.

  8. I wish I could find that dress in my size, it looks so lovely and feels soft and really well made, not to mention swishy too. Swishy dresses are fabulous ;-)

  9. I love River Island its great to know that all aspects of the company are great! By the way I fount you over at BYOB. Great blog, I have followed you on Google and Twitter. Jade - Unique Mummy Blog (uniquemummy.blogspot.co.uk) x


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