So we were invited, along with a number of other bloggers early Sunday morning to the #smigglexmasparty launch in the Smiggle store in the Trinity Shopping Centre in Leeds City Centre. Having never been to Smiggle before, I deliberately didn’t do any research (other than making sure it was a legitimate shop!) so that first impressions counted.
And wow, what a first impression it leaves. If I was to explain it in simple terms, it is like a well known stationers mixed in with a well know beauty shop. However, a work colleague probably described it better when saying that it looked like a rainbow from the outside! The colours when you enter are so vibrant and striking – and that is exactly the type of persona the products inside have and exactly the type of products children want to have and be seen to have.
We were left to our own for about an hour to basically play with all the products in store, see what we liked, what we didn’t like and generally be nosy (and pick up Christmas present ideas!!) At the moment, Heidi is being taught how to use a pencil properly, although she is not too interested in it and so a shop like this is a perfect opportunity to get her interested and enthusiastic about writing – because they make it “cool”!!
A simple stocking filler that we found was the Scented Pencil Pack (4 pencils for £4.50) where the pencils smell and also, if you rub them, they change colour. So simple, but it would be something that Heidi would use and be excited about using, and would help her development.
A favourite of most of the children was the Pop Out Scented Party Pencil Case (£15) as it looked like the Swiss Army knife of pencil cases! It had drawers and buttons for everything from scissors to rubbers and sellotape – it even had space for pens and pencils!! Not quite sure how the teachers would react to the pencil case if your child was playing with it in class, but not a bad problem to have.
However, we liked the smelly soft pencil cases, which come in all sorts of shapes, but we loved the ones which looked like drinks containers. Perhaps it fitted in well with the humour of a 3 year old, but out of everything of the store, that is the one thing she wanted, so we bought it for £11. She was hysterical upon the idea of drinking out of a pencil case!!
While it all sounds a bit “girly”, there are products for boys as well, including Yo-Yo’s with an LED light (£7) as well as a “pumping” toy, which extremely popular with a number of children, but was probably not popular with the parents, so that might be one to give to a niece or nephew!! There was also a slinky with animals painted on the side, which we couldn’t really see in store because there were no stairs (£8.50) but looked really cool.
Although the products are aimed towards children and teenagers, a good little present would be the “Puzzle Python” (£10) which is made up of 60 small magnetic tiles and you can arrange them however you like, to make whatever you like. Due to the small nature of the pieces, younger children would probably not have the dexterity to play with it, but it would look good on an office desk!
As this was a preview event, the staff were obviously really keen to help, but they did seem genuinely enthusiastic about their products and were really good with the children. Now, I am one of these people who do all their shopping online for Christmas, but I think that if you’re going to buy from Smiggle, you really need to go in the store to see the actual product. By all means, do the research online, but because the products are so unique, you really need to see them, and smell them. In fact, you might look a bit weird, but smell the products, because virtually everything in store has a scent, usually after rubbing it!!
Also, if you have seen a product online, or you are looking for something specific, ask the staff to point it out to you. As it is a small store and so colourful, it can be difficult to pick a specific item out, so make sure you ask for help, especially if you have no idea what you’re looking for (like me!!)
For complete and open transparency, for attending the event, we were given a small number of stocking fillers, oh and a mini muffin, which seemed to go down very well!!
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