As part of the official blogger team, you would think I would be privy to information and know what was going on, I wasn’t, the communication was a bit of a shambles and I had no idea what was going on for most of the time, this continued into the event itself. The blogger team was asked to meet up before the event to discuss what we were going to do, the arranged meeting time changed like lady gaga changes her hair. When we were finally allowed in to the building we were told we couldn’t go upstairs so awkwardly we all sat downstairs making small talk, when we were finally allowed up, we had to queue on the stairs for ages and I was met by quite a rude lady who said we weren’t on the list and told me they had nowhere to store my suitcase. As you will already know from the many other posts of this event, the room was tiny, there was no way I would have managed to walk around with my case, eventually Rianne came and whisked my case off so I could enjoy me afternoon, I must say, I found Rianne to be a delight, she was friendly and helpful.
I’ve been wondering how to write this post for the past week, I was always taught by my mother, if you have nothing nice to say, then say nothing at all, but I think it will benefit the organizers to know what I thought of the event and they can take this forward for improving it next year.
I was contacted by Remi back in October, asking if I wanted to be an official blogger for the event, I jumped at the chance as she described it as an event that sounded amazing, I was even asked if I would be an ambassador for the event and would help with some of the activities, however I never heard more about this and soon it become apparent they went for bigger ‘famous’ names. I am very sad to say, the event I was first invited to, was not the event I attended. I struggled for a while with my involvement with the event when I saw the way they were treating people I would consider friends and fellow bloggers, but my wanting to meet many of the fabulous bloggers attended encouraged me to stay on.
The tiny room, was nowhere near big enough for all the people attending and the poor companies were crammed into tiny spaces, it was hot enough that I could have stripped down and started a rave, not a very good start. The event did pick up, I really enjoyed meeting the brands and had some great chats with them and exchanged details, I even got to talk to the New Look Inspire team, who were just attending, not showcasing. The fashion was amazing, really pushing the boundaries of plus size and I wanted lots of it. The day ended with a fashion show, but I was too small to see anything and I left with Betty and my ‘goody bag’ to go have Milkshakes and a gossip with Sarah. I was meant to be staying at Betties, but after the case situation decided to travel back to my boyfriend’s so I would be case free the following day.
The following day I trekked back to Shoreditch (not the most easy place to reach as it isn’t on a main underground line and there was severe disruptions causing me to be over 30mins late) and got a bus to the venue with Betty, I have to say the building wasn’t as impressive I was hoping, it blended in to its surroundings and I would have had no idea the event was being held there, there was no signage outside, on getting inside, I was (barely) welcomed and given a wristband that gave me access all areas (I don’t know how this differed from the anyone else as we could all just go where we wanted) and ushered in, looked a bit lost we made our way through to the marketplace, which was basically a replica of the day before, as far as I know, 95% of the brands there weren’t selling, so why it was a marketplace, I do not know. Again the room wasn’t really big enough. As I was late I didn’t attend the styling session but heard it wasn’t that great, as confident plus size women, we already know how to dress. I also didn’t sign up for the Model Management talk, as I have no interest in modelling. So this meant I had a lot of time to just hang around, there was nowhere to sit and be social and there was nowhere to buy a drink or something to eat (unless you wanted an overpriced cupcake). I ended up spending most of my day standing outside chatting to the fabulous blogger ladies, and getting my lunch from the corner shop across the road (very classy). The event just felt like a let-down, organisation was poor, there was no sign posts to tell you where things where, there was no announcement that things were starting, there wasn’t even a welcome talk, we were just left to ourselves to get on with things, it lacked cohesion.
I did pop into the fat swap, I had such high hopes for this part of the day, hearing about fat swaps from up north that have been a huge success, but this was a room with one rail and a table, it was like vultures, all the girls who did bring things to swap, circled the rail while others were getting there stuff out giving no one else a chance to look or see what was there, I think it needed more people really to make the swap a success.
After another long wait we headed up to the discussion panel, this was one of the successful parts of the day, the panel consisted of Rianne Ward (Evolve Magazine), Velvet D'Amore (Model/Volup2), Anna Shillinglaw (Milk Management), Jessica Kane (Skorch Magazine) and Anna Scholz (Anna Scholz). It lacked direction, instead of questions some people were just making statements, the acoustics were bad meaning we couldn’t hear and the panel had no idea what was being said, but some good points were made my Velvet and Anna Scholz, I wish the discussion has gone on longer as I think it had the scope to be really interesting and we could have got to hear some really valuable points, but I think the panel could have been more diverse, pretty much all the questions were directed at Anna Scholz. We were asked to leave the discussion panel after only 40 minutes (disappointing) and told to head downstairs to wait for the fashion show.
The marketplace was now packing up as the brands got ready for the fashion show, so there was now nothing to do, we were all just crammed into the hallway waiting to go up and more people had arrived who just held tickets to the fashion show, it was hot and uncomfortable and should have been done better. When we eventually got up, it was chaos, as official bloggers we thought we had front seats, but we didn’t, meaning we had to fight our way through to even get a decent seat, I was lucky enough to get a seat in the second row. After waiting for nearly half an hour, someone (not Gemma Collins as we has been told) came out to introduce the fashion show, to say she was far from appropriate for the job is an understatement, she made skinny bashing jokes and was just generally cringe worthy, adding to the cringe was the mayor of Shoreditch who made a speech, god knows why but there we go. The fashion show itself (although had some hiccups) was amazing, the models were stunning and had most of us fan girling in our seats, the clothes were stunning and as I have already said, really highlighted proper fashion within Plus Size, so the Brands the event got on board were amazing and they did well to get such good brands. I left exhausted and looking forward to my bed.
The overall highlight of my weekend was meeting such amazing bloggers, there are too many to name, but I would like to thank, Becky, Toni and Betty for keeping me company throughout the weekend, without you it would have been very lonely.
Now onto the really negative stuff, if I had paid £45 for this event, I would have wanted my money back, there is no diplomatic way to say that I have been to better organized kid’s parties. The price was just too high for what was on offer, and considering it was billed as a weekend event and was really only a 7 hours event if you weren’t lucky enough to be invited to the VIP event, is false advertising. I do fully understand how hard events are to organise, having worked in events and organised my own, and the fact they even try to put this event on and put Plus Size fashion on the map is great, but I think they overreached for their first event, as a marketer I know the importance of customers and delivering on what you told them they would get, you should even go further and try to delight them, sadly this was not the case, they forgot about the most thing of any event, it is about the customer. It ended up being a bit like an event solely for the purpose of the press and furthering careers, and the customer came last in organisations thinking. Hopefully they can rectify this for next year, but I for one can say, I think I will be sticking with the more down to earth events such as Plus London and Plus North.