We’re excited to post our first guest blog. Angela shares her take on one of the new retailers to hit the UK…

It’s a dark, dreary January morning. Having a few child free hours, allows me to browse the sales in peace and being early the shopping precinct is quiet. Doing the usual Boots, Paperchase, and naturally Waterstones, there is one shop that I’m interested to check out. It’s new and only opened here in November. Having heard about the chain Smiggle and most especially the rumours of how pricey it is, I was keen to go and find out for myself. Smiggle – where a smile meets a giggle. This is their philosophy and it seems to be working for them. This Australian based retail store has hit the UK shores with a bang and John Cheston is the man overseeing the UK expansion.

Smiggle can be spotted a mile off. It’s clean, bright shop face and catchy branding is hard to miss therefore pulling the customer in. Fully knowing that my 5 year old daughter may go bananas in a shop like this, leaving her at home is wise if I don’t want to part with too much hard earned cash straight after Christmas. This shop certainly can see the parent coming by appealing to tweenagers the world over.

In all honesty, one doesn’t need a five year old to spend money, but it can be easier to limit when alone. Naturally, I am drawn to the sale section and have a good browse through – smelly erasers, hand warmers, notebooks, a box of pranks and those glitter lava lamp that were really popular during the nineties are all there on display tempting me to get my present drawer stocked up. Plus in the sale you’re getting a bargain right? Maybe.

This shop is undoubtedly fun. A cross between Paperchase and Claire’s Accessories it caters for both genders wanting spanking new stationary for the new school term. There’s no doubt that the Back to School campaign that hits every summer will bring in much revenue for the company, but my advice would be to start saving your pennies now. Cheap, this shop is not, I don’t relish the thought of spending £18 on a pencil case. That could be because I’m a Yorkshire girl at heart who prefers to get more for her money.

Having said all that, there are some items that I would be prepared to part with my cash for. For example, an activity kit where your little one can design her own pencil case. It has everything you need and all for the price of £11.50. That would make a nice present. Equally, the ‘Glow Glider’, costing a reasonable £5, is a frisbee type contraption that lights up when thrown. Money well spent, a nice little holiday treat perhaps? The shop does cater for boys too – the glider comes in pink and blue and there are many more green and blues with boyish branding. Clearly Smiggle want to cater for boys and girls, there’s no attempt to break the gender divide here.
I’ll be honest, money was spent. Only sale items mind and I do have a niece’s birthday just around the corner, so it served it’s purpose. I wanted to buy more, indulge the stationary fetish I have, but managed to resist. Clearly I’ve been pulled in and the Smiggle brand has worked it’s magic. Congratulations Smiggle on your success and there’s no doubt that it will continue to be a hit.