Lane Bryant Blogger Conference – Part 1
It’s been a few days since I’ve been back from the Lane Bryant Blogger Conference in Columbus Ohio and yet I’m still feeling the buzz over what we were able to experience.
First, I must say that I’m honored to have been asked to attend this historic event alongside such amazing women. With me, the bloggers in attendance were:
My all-expenses-paid trip began with me having to rebook my flight at the airport because of the amount of time it took me to get to the airport. Yes, I missed my flight. Once I was re-booked, I was told the flight was delayed. My two hour flight turned into a six hour ordeal! But all of this took a back seat once I arrived at my spacious, beautiful hotel room and right on top of the desk was a bag from Lane Bryant with our itinerary, bio’s of all the bloggers and people we would be meeting throughout the day and goodies like pads, pens and measuring tape.
It was clear we had a very full day ahead so I settled in and went to bed and enjoyed my four hours of sleep.
On Thursday, June 3rd I awoke ready to experience whatever the day had to offer. My first bit of joy was when Marie, The Curvyfashionista, came to my room and greeted me with a big hug. It’s sisterhood that I believe I enjoy most of all about this community.
We went into the main dining area of the hotel and began to introduce ourselves to the beautiful women we recognized from their bios. It was also a pleasure to finally meet Heather McGarry, Marketing Coordinator for Lane Bryant and Andrea Slesinski, Media Relations Specialist at MediaSource.
Our first stop was the Easton Lane Bryant store where we were treated to breakfast and a wonderful shopping experience.
My personal relationship with Lane Bryant spans nearly 20 years. I can remember going with my mother to Lane Bryant, before it became THIS Lane Bryant. The options for plus size bodies were VERY limited back then and she would take me there to get us both outfits for church. Gasp!
Fast forward to the last six years, it has been touch and go. When they decided to no longer carry Venezia jeans I was really disappointed, but the styles began to change and eventually got better. When the Right Fit Jeans came, again I felt lost but they would then improve with something else like the expansion of the Cacique bras. I did not leave the relationship, I thought it was a work in progress like most relationships women have had in their lifetimes.
For these reasons and more, I made it a personal challenge to find an outfit that I would really enjoy and would take me out of my personal comfort zone. After having my first child 19 month’s ago I have not lost the “baby weight” and I have been wearing comfort clothing that I can put on, get dirty and toss into the hamper at the end of the day.
I chose two outfits with denim since finding good fitting jeans is always a problem for me. I think I chose the best look for me; Seven7 embellished denim jeans, colorful sleeveless tunic, fuchsia shrug, steel grey high heeled shoes, new Cacique bra and topped it off with a few fresh bracelets.
During our shopping experience I met the staff of the Lane Bryant store, as well as Robert Rutkauskas, Senior Designer (and Lane Bryant’s own Tim Gunn), Linda Lewis, Senior Buyer/ Bras and begin to form a dialogue with some of the other bloggers that were present.
Once our clothing was packed up, our next stop was the Lane Bryant corporate headquarters. As we waited for the entire group to gather, those of us there Tweeted about our experiences so far and added each other to our lists of Facebook friends. Jay Dunn, the Vice President of Marketing, greeted us inside a beautifully decorated lobby of mannequins wearing the most current styles, and brought us to the conference room where most of us made a beeline for the coffee! Shortly after, we noticed a handsome white-haired gentleman who came over to us and introduced himself as the President of Lane Bryant. (Not part of the itinerary people!!! WOW!)
We were brought to the conference room where most of us made a beeline for the coffee. Shortly after, we noticed a handsome white-haired gentleman who came over to us and introduced himself as Brian Woolf, the President of Lane Bryant. (Not part of the itinerary people!!! WOW!)
We all sat and spoke about the controversy concerning the Cacique commercial. Was it a hoax? No. Was it a publicity stunt like some people thought? No. It was a genuine attempt to market the Cacique line and when they were censored, Lane Bryant fought back. I know many women who do not stand up for themselves yet we had a major retailer stand up for us. Impressive!
Once we were alone with Jay Dunn, we learned about his passion to really get to know and reach out to this woman via his social platform, Inside Curve.
Who is “this woman?” She is ageless, she is stylish, she is a college student, a mom, an aunt, a working woman, a stay at home mom… In short, she is all of us! We discussed Inside Curve and the ways that it will be changed and the perks it will have for its members. But we will get back to that later on.
The things that impress me often times, do not impress other people, but I will share my key points just the same.
– Inside Curve’s original concept was to build a conduit between us (the customers) and the brand (Lane Bryant).
– The new American woman is over a size 14… “YOU are the majority, not the minority!” (Quote from Jay Dunn)
– Another great quote from Jay, “…it’s about influence over reach!”… this is not a popularity contest.
I warned you… it would not be what you thought would be most impressive. I guess having my own company and being on the lips of so many people has made me appreciate the original conceptual ideas for reaching out to a community of women who are made to feel invisible while we are the majority in this society.
Jay Dunn get’s our two thumbs up!
Robert Rutkauskas, Senior Designer and David Albow, Senior Design Director or Sportswear brought to the floor where the magic happens. I can’t go into too much detail about it now but we were able to see how the collections begin: ideas, concepts, inspiration, storyboards, textures, color palettes and clothing samples. It was like being inside of Trumps vault. All I can say is hold on to your seats ladies because the fall and holiday collections will be bringing a lot more variety for your curves.
Stay tuned … tomorrow I take you to the next phase of our day . I will be answering your questions on Facebook and Twitter along with much more…