Last year’s Stylist Live was a tremendous success in my eyes.
I bought a Silver Friday ticket so I could watch a particular blogging talk and see a couple of YouTubers I looked up to at the time. I watched the catwalk – baring in mind I had just got back from writing Press for London and Paris Fashion Week so this was downsizing in my naive-at-the-time mind. I met even more inspiring women online, and connected with huge brands I would never have imagined being able to connect with like Swarovski. I came away with ideas aplenty and excitement in my eyes.
This year was, ok.
Back in March I was offered a discount on tickets and, having seen the luxury on offer to VIPs last year, I took a leap of faith and bought a Gold ticket. By the time it came around, I was feeling Christmas Eve-like anticipation. I picked out my favourite outfit like a six year old would too.
The pro’s were:
- The ‘goodies’: so with your ticket you got a goodie bag that included products from Eco Tools and Pukka Tea as well as a treatment, glitter make up and food and drinks. I was particularly thankful for the food, that worked out very well at 1pm and 4pm.
- Access to the front row of catwalks straightaway. It’s either the front or the back stood up for me. There is absolutely no point to a catwalk if you’re placed in the middle – if I wanted to watch the show from an iPhone I would have stayed at home.
- The VIP area: from midday-2pm it became absolute chaos, so being able to retreat to the VIP access was very helpful. They also had water and snacks on hand for a little energy boost.
The con’s were:
- It didn’t feel like a VIP experience: this year everyone was grabbing as much free stash as they could from stalls. The VIP area was equally vicious. As soon as anyone looked like they had something else to offer, it got savage.
Maybe I came on the wrong day, but it just didn’t have that exciting feel this year.
- The queues: I thought the whole point of VIP was that you didn’t have to wait. Intuitively I knew to ditch the cloak room and head straight to the VIP treatments when I first arrived. I went in straightaway, and came out and the queue had begun already and it showed no sign of stopping all day. There were twenty minute queues for each food stall, ‘VIP station’ and cloakroom. This only worsened when you got on the main exhibition floor and you had the same chance of getting into the free talks and stalls as everyone else.
Forgive me if this sounds snobby, but I had kind of hoped that with a Gold ticket you would be given priority access to the talks and the catwalks. Nope. I had to scramble for a front row seat in the talk I paid for. And anyone was allowed to sit in the front row of the catwalk, and access the free talks.
- I didn’t pay for the experience, I paid for a food package. I dropped the money six months ago so I didn’t feel like I was eating into my wages by eating at the event.
The VIP-ers came away with pretty much the same experience as any other Stylist Live attendee. There wasn’t even a phone charging station in the end – which was a huge contribution last year.
- I really didn’t notice a difference with the Bronze ticket. The only difference was I had my sister with me on Sunday so I treated it the same as I would have if we were walking round Westfield. We got our hair done, saw our childhood favourites Reggie Yates and Fearne Cotton speak and had a couple of laughs together. We made of it what we wanted to.
So I sound like a bit of a negative ninny throughout this post. But I did meet a couple of very inspiring women and made a couple of contacts I’m excited to follow up with. It was exciting to walk round and see people I know working on the stands as well – very much pleased for their successes. I also thoroughly enjoyed Laura Jane Williams’ talk on ‘Blogging to Bestseller’ and meeting her was a fabulous moment for me. You fan girl meeting celebrities, I fan girl over influencers, k?!
However, unless the general line-up picks up next year, I won’t be investing in a ticket. After half a year of waiting, the overall ‘experience’ was underwhelming. I am just happy I have learned the value of not caring when people stare at me, and I can make what I want from an event.
Did you go to Stylist Live this year? What did you think?