I visited one of your stores for the first time just before Christmas and what an experience it was. So much so that I felt I just had to put my thoughts “out there”.
I have looked at your website before but as the papers before Christmas were full of stories of deliveries not being made I thought I would go along to the nearest, recently opened, store as my son is a huge fan of your gear and wanted some stuff. Well he didnt know he wanted it, I was just running out of ideas of what to get the 16 year old who has everything.
My suspicions of what I would be letting myself in for were first aroused by this picture on the website:
a clothing site being advertised by a topless man. Not sure I can make the connection but he does seem a very good looking young man.
As a 42 year old tubby mother I am not your target audience. The only thing that might fit me in your stores is the sofa.
However, I have three children who fit EXACTLY into your target audience. And since your T-shirts are £30 each it is actually me you need to target as I am paying for it. And I knew I was really going to be paying for it with this Christmas pilgrimage.
So off we went to Guildford. A double entrance shop,designed to look like a beach hut (which did look slightly odd in a covered shopping centre in Surrey) “Betty’s” on one side, “Dudes” on the other. This said to me “run” but I was here now.
I walked into pitch black darkness. It was like walking into a cave. A cave with loud thumping music. And skinny kids in check shirts and shorts. And surf boards on the wall. Hollister you do know that Guildford is over an hour from the nearest beach, don’t you?
And as for the “clothing optional beyond this point” sign outside the changing room. Please. No. Just no.
I could barely see to find the T-shirts but then when I did, I couldn’t see the sizes, let alone any kind of styling. Mr B pointed out that there was a spotlight on the other side of the store so I had to walk across to it so I could a) see what size it was and b) what the price was. It was impossible.
It was at this point that Mr B actually walked out. He couldn’t take anymore. Six minutes into a day’s shopping.
Whilst walking back from the spot light I spotted a cardigan. I have no idea what colour it was but the style looked quite good, until, again walking back to the spotlight I realised it was £150. Suffice to say it went back on the rail. £150 for a cardigan?! For a 16 year old? When I don’t even know what colour it is?
It took me 20 minutes to find four T-shirts (blowing my £100 budget) and find a till. By which point I actually just wanted to get out. My head was about to explode.
Reaching the till meant squeezing various bits of furniture and apologising for bumping into people that turned out to be clothes stands.
£130 later…. yes £130 for four T-shirts and I grabbed my bag to get out as quickly as I could. Except first of all I walked into a “lounging area” that was all cordoned off so once I was in, I couldn’t get out again easily as I was then walking back into the queue at the tills. I was surrounded by fake fireplaces, fake bookshelves, and sofas. Why? It’s a clothes shop.
I don’t need the “California casino feel” that you are trying to create. I need a light on. Please. It is not too much to ask. When I am being fleeced, I want to see the white’s of the assistant’s eyes. Not their teeth, which are so white I actually used those as a navigation device.
Another pile of apologies as I made my way out and emerged blinking into the Friary Centre like a mole appearing out of his hole on my lawn.
A thoroughly horrible experience.
Hollister, you might be targeting 14 to 19 year olds but at £30+ for a T shirt you really need to think about the experience of the people handing over the debit card. And that is me.
And I hated it. I shall not be returning I am afraid.
Lots of Love
PS when you open a store in the Middle East you might want to change that door signage. Dude is the Arabic for worm.