Good news, we got a response, from Mickey’s Social Media Manager in the US, the charming sounding Lucy Laucht, who told us
“We do actually allow (and encourage!) customers to take phone pictures and instagram in our stores. Our UK store team is still new and learning the ropes so I do apologize for the mix up!”
So there we go, we can spread the J Crew love via Instagram all we like….And we have an invite to tour the store so expect a detailed post on its content before Christmas! What do you really want to know about the product, readers? Let us know below in comments and we’ll ask away.
Dear Mr Drexler,* Mickey! as I believe it’s ok to call you,
We love J Crew here at The Women’s Room, but for a forward thinking company, it’s amazingly shortsighted when it comes to social media.
I’m sorry to be so blunt, but here’s why I’m annoyed, when The Women’s Room visited your beautiful new store on Regent Street last week, we were banned from sharing the love over Instagram. Our in store conversation went something like this…..
Store staff “Excuse me madam, no photos allowed!’ This stern, verbal slap on the wrists came from the store manager as we went to instagram every lovely display.
TWR ‘But it’s Instagram’ we say, enthusiastically, ‘we want to show everyone how beautiful the store is!’
Store staff ‘We like to control that from our head office’ came the reply, ‘and we don’t want everyone copying us’.
Like I said, Mickey, shortsighted. here’s why…
Firstly, there is NO CHANCE of policing a ‘no photos’ policy. As a professional store photo taker, I can tell you now that anyone who wants to take a covert image on their tiny and discrete mobile phones of anything in the J Crew store, for their design mood board, already has done. Although since all stock is now available on line, you don’t even need to bother comp-shopping in a store, you just go on line.
Secondly, why would you go to the trouble of making your stores look so beautiful -all three of London’s J Crew store are very lovely -and not want to boast about it? Every display is Instagram-worthy and lets remember that as we instagram to our followers we are giving J Crew free marketing…(perhaps it’s us who are shortsighted!) because we spread the love far and wide….Your visual merchandisers and store staff have worked so hard to look good, why would it not want to shout loudly, via Instagram, about it?
Banning Instagram is old-schoool thinking Mickey! You’re stuck in 2010, before social media opened up the world. Surely it would be better to have your staff concentrate on proudly promoting the store interior (or convincing customers the prices aren’t too high) rather than trying to shield it from the world? I mean, I can shoot the windows, so what’s the problem with inside the store?
Over the road in Regent Street, your fellow US brand Anthropologie, allows us to Instagram the entire store with the staff’s blessing. And since Anthropologie stores are extraordinarily beautiful it’s a joy to do. So every time TWR go’s into Anthropologie, we take a couple of Instagrams saying how fab everything is. This is a win-win for Anthro, as our readers see that we visit (ahem, some might say ‘a lot’) and we often snap current stock, adding tag lines such as ‘love this!’ or ‘want that!’
It’s the same in many UK stores now, they are happy for you to spread the love via social, long gone are the days of nearly getting arrested for taking an illegal snap in store, now the security guard politely moves out of the way so I can get a better shot of the mannequins. Unless I’m in J Crew.
Let me give you another example of a store that get’s it right Mickey. Over at Paul Smith’s new flagship store on Albermarle Street, I was actively encouraged to take images of everything, including the beautiful work by artist Anne Carrington (above and below). Her gorgeous floral cutlery sculptures are detailed and captivating and the informed shop staff showed us around the works and even suggested a hashtag for our Instagrams!
So, at the end of the day, what did our Instagram and Twitter time lines- all of which also feature on the blog – show? Yep, Anthropologie and Paul Smith. No J Crew anywhere. This can’t go on! We want to talk about all your lovely J Crew stores, but how can we when you ban us from Instagramming?
So please Mickey, have a rethink on the Instagram strategy and let us share the J Crew love!
Very best regards
Amanda and Jane.
*Mickey Drexler is CEO of J Crew and famously claims to answer emails/telephone calls to customers who have issues…let’s see if he answers this one.