Call it whatever you will. Upmarket lingerie boutique. Overpriced copycat pieces made cheap in China but sold at exorbitant Western prices to maximise profit. Exploitative workplace. Demeaning and objectifying women. Whitewashing. The Honey Birdette brand and it’s boutique has sure attracted its share of controversy unlike any other lingerie brands. And given It has attracted an unusual amount of controversy compared to other lingerie brands meant the controversy and allegations are probably all true.
For me, I have never been interested in the lingerie (or toys for that matter) at Honey Birdette. Until, of course, I came across the Kukoro lingerie set while window shopping online looking for something to spice up the bedroom for my husband when he comes home (he is one of the many fly-in fly-out Western Australian workers). For some reason, it looked really sensual and sexy. And also very overpriced for a normal wage earner like myself who is not married to an Oligarch or an investment banker.
So like everyone else these days, I consulted friends and also on social media. Everyone seems to agree 2 things about Honey Birdette: one that the lingerie is overpriced, and two that the sales assistants are snooty and condescending and store environment is hostile to women – and that is just customers to start with, not staff.
So I hesitated.
Over the weekend, however, I came across Honey Birdette’s flash sale event.
Ok, I have to admit I didn’t came across it. Honey Birdette’s Facebook advertising actually worked. And the Kukoro lingerie set I have been eyeing is now 30% off it’s usual full price from $369 for the set to $260. It still isn’t cheap but at least I am saving over $109, which I can put into my loan repayment for the investment property. Or a new CUE skirt. Or a new blouse for the office. Or a couple of Thai and Chinese take-away dinners.
With the sale on instore and online, I decided to pay a visit to the Honey Birdette boutique despite the poor feedback. I hate online shopping, and I want to see the lingerie set myself.
So today was my first time visiting the Honey Birdette boutique – and it was surprisingly pleasant. Well the lingerie is still overpriced, but the sales assistants are not snooty nor condescending, in fact they were really helpful and nice. Perhaps the only let down was the parent company i.e. head office of Honey Birdette – they have NO Kukoru sets in store at all. While their website says both the green and pink sets are available to buy, the boutiques do not hold any stock. None whatsoever. Not in the green, not in the pink. So while I was already prepared to go in store to spend my $245 and walk out with the lingerie, I can’t. Because they don’t have it in store for me to buy!
The sales assistants advised it was online only. Ok, great. Except I have dragged me ass out of the house to a store expecting to buy it only to have to drag my ass back home to do it online. Which I may or may not when I get around to finding the time. So I guess a learning experience for any brand/ store: when the advert says sale instore and online, the customer expects the sale to be instore AND online, not instore OR online. And if it’s not available either online or instore, say so because the store could have taken my $245 this afternoon and made its profit, except that it hadn’t because it couldn’t sell the customer the product that was advertised as available which wasn’t actually available. In the end it was a lost sale for the store, and a waste of the customer’s time.
So I walked across to Myer instead, and tried on Dita Von Tease lingerie which was actually available to buy in store…