Saturday, 12 July 2014

Matalan Bloggers Event

I was given a goodie bag and vouchers to purchase school uniform items for attending this event. All words and views are my own.

This week I was invited to Matalan head office in Skelmersdale to take part in a bloggers event there - they wanted to show us the new range of clothing and give us some information about what they do, as well as asking our opinion on their products. I jumped at the chance to go - we often go to Matalan, I find that their products are well made and value for money.

The event was led by Leanne, who works at Matalan Head Office, but who is also a blogger. She was really interested in our opinions, as it was made clear to us that Matalan really do value customer's opinions and as a lot of the bloggers at the event were mothers, it was great research for Matalan to hear what we had to say.

First we were asked to look at the new range, which looks fab to me.

We were asked about what we liked about the range, and what we didn't like. We were told that negative comments were fine, as those were the kind of comments that helped them to improve. Me and Jenny were quick to dash to the hotpants aimed at aged 8-16. We both said that although a 16 year old could get away with wearing that, an 8 year old wearing the same thing would probably just be a bit inappropriate - maybe that is something that should be considered.

The baby range from Matalan is great. I remember buying quite a lot of baby items from there for all my girls. I find that they are quite cheap but great quality as well.

We were also told a little bit abut the design process - how the design team assemble huge Pinterest-style boards with key words, fabrics, patterns and colours to inspire them during the design process.

We were also shown how the shoes were made and told all about the rigorous scuff-testing that goes into the shoes. I was surprised to learn that each shoe is hand-made.

I was quick to ask about ethical production - all of the design process is done in-house in Skelmersdale but the majority of the production in outsourced to the Far East. I was told that there are policies in place to ensure that the factories that are used follow guidelines for ethical production. I was glad that this was on the agenda for Matalan. As consumers I think it is important that we are aware of where these products are coming from, and it is important to me that I know what the cost of cheap clothes can actually be if this is not regulated.

We were shown the Matalan school clothes range, and were told about how the products are tested - it is surprising how much work goes into just one item of clothing! There were also samples of other brand's clothing - Matalan clearly care about what their competitors are doing and want to keep pace with new innovations. Their latest shirt is a velcro-fastening behind the top button of the smaller sized school shirts. I think this is so simple and genius at the same time. I wish all buttons had velcro behind them!

All in all I had a fantastic time. I loved the idea that the people who work there are so passionate about the brand. A lot of them were wearing Matalan-branded clothing themselves, so that speaks volumes really. I was also very proud that they actually wanted to listen to us, the customer.

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