“We Don’t Talk To Bloggers”: Why Cadolle, Aubade, and Huit Lingerie Fail at the Internet

I’ve been sitting on this post for a little over two weeks now, debating how I should write this or even if I should write it. Brands don’t really like it when you say unfavorable things about them, and my last negative review (written about Intimacy Boutique in Atlanta) got a lot of private pushback from lingerie professionals who felt I should have given Intimacy advance notice and/or announced that I was a member of the press before going in for a bra fitting (which somewhat defeats the purpose of getting an everyday customer’s perspective, but anyway…).

As many of you know, I attended the Salon International de la Lingerie in Paris for the first time last month. Paris is the center of the fashion world, and lingerie is no exception. Many of my favorite European brands never make it ‘across the pond’ to attend American tradeshows, and so I was really excited excited to report on a different aspect of the lingerie industry for my readers.

So imagine my surprise when three of the first booths I went to – Cadolle, Aubade, and Huit – flatly told me to leave because I was a blogger.

While that’s a ridiculous thing to say to any blogger, the ignorance behind that statement really comes to light when you consider how much The Lingerie Addict has grown over the last year. We reached our 1 millionth visitor last month, had over 90,000 unique visitors in January, and were recently featured on Today.com, The Daily Mail, and The Washington Post.

But here’s the thing…even if we were smaller (and TLA was very small for a very long time), that’s still an incredibly foolish thing to say.  And here’s why–

When you say you don’t talk to bloggers, you’re also saying you don’t talk to our readers. You’re saying that our readers don’t matter to you, that they’re unimportant to you, and that they’re beneath your notice. Even more importantly, you’re saying you don’t want our readers to buy your products. And maybe I’m weird, but I don’t usually buy from companies who go out of their way to tell me how much I don’t matter.

Because bloggers matter. We have reach…and I’m not just talking about myself. The influence of the average lingerie blogger far surpasses the influence of average lingerie trade journal on every major indicator of success– visitors, page views, comments, Alexa ranking, Pagerank, Twitter followers, Facebook fans…the list goes on.

I don’t want to come across like I’m disparaging trade journals, because I’m not. They absolutely have their purpose. However, I’m bringing them up because all the lingerie journals at the Salon were welcomed with open arms in all the booths I was rejected at (which, of course, isn’t their fault). And then I have to ask, when was the last time you learned about a new lingerie brand through a trade journal? Unless you’re in the industry, probably never. Print media, of any kind, is no longer the only, best, or most effective way to reach people.

Because bloggers have influence. Now, I didn’t go to business school, and I don’t have an MBA. But it seems to me like brands should want to talk to the people who talk to the people who want to buy your products. Marketing types call it “word of mouth marketing.” I call it “buying stuff because my friend told me it was awesome,” and I trust my friends over press releases any day of the week. Attention is a rare commodity. The best brands take advantage of it when they have it, not when it’s convenient to them.

“But the internet!” some brands say, “We want to control our brand messaging and bloggers are too unpredictable and they have opinions we don’t get to pre-approve and what if they say something different from what we told them to say?”

My response? Get over it. Your brand isn’t what your PR team says it is. It never was. Your brand is what other people think it is. So focus more on the good impression making with every point of contact…not just the people who’ve been specifically hired to talk to the public. And if you’re worried that bloggers are going to publish photos from your newest collection too soon (which is the excuse several people gave me on Twitter for Cadolle, Aubade and Huit’s behavior), just ask us not to. I promise we’ll understand.

Because bloggers are here to stay. More lingerie blogs have been started in the last 18 months than in the last 4 years (that’s how long I’ve been blogging). More and more people are going to the internet to research brands, read product reviews, and get lingerie advice. And guess who they’re going to? The lingerie bloggers.

But if all this doesn’t convince you, just take a look at the success of brands who’ve taken bloggers seriously. Curvy Kate literally came out of nowhere to become THE full bust brand for thousands of women. Another lingerie designer, Ewa Michalak, is suddenly on everyone’s radar precisely because bloggers talked about her first. Boutiques like Hips and Curves and Faire Frou Frou have built up amazingly loyal fanbases (many of whom are also customers) through blogging and connecting with others bloggers. And Kiss Me Deadly will tell anyone who asks that lingerie bloggers are her top referrers month after month.

Several people told me I should just say I’m a lingerie website or a lingerie magazine or even a lingerie trade journal myself. But I’m not ashamed of being a lingerie blogger. And if your brand doesn’t know what a blogger is, your brand fails at the internet.

The rules of business haven’t changed. You either keep up or you get left behind. And a few years from now, we’ll know exactly who did what.

56 Comments

  1. Mya
    09/02/12 at 3:00

    Hearing that you were asked to leave certain stalls was such a disappointment. Your response is really well worded, concise and to the point while explaining all that needs explaining and you’re right, brands that interact with bloggers, and their customers, directly are a step ahead.
    Part of my reason for loving Kiss Me Deadly is that I can talk one-on-one with Catherine in tweets or on Facebook, and she’s funny and SO human. Which could be perceived wrong but, I feel like I’m talking to a friend who will tell me it the way it is, “That doesn’t stretch much, while this stretches a TON. Seriously, I usually wear a large, I’m wearing a small.” or anything along the lines of, “Hey, what do you think of this thing we’re planning?”. So cool.
    Hopefully they treat you differently the next time you meet them.

    • 09/02/12 at 3:22

      Hi Mya, glad you stopped by!

      No idea if brands will treat me differently or not (I won’t be surprised if there’s some negative fallout from this article), but these three definitely aren’t the only brands who’ve been completely baffled by lingerie bloggers. However, they are the three who’ve been the rudest about it, and they were the turning point in me realizing the issue isn’t the size of my blog…the issue was with the brand and their perception of bloggers.

      And I love KMD for the same reasons. Real, honest, authentic exchange is so much better than the other kind.

    • 09/02/12 at 3:24

      I’m incredibly surprised that Huit kicked you out! They’re an Eveden brand now, and Eveden is usually really great about working with bloggers. I guess that smart marketing got lost in translation somehow.

      I love that you mentioned Ewa Michalak as a success story fueled by bloggers, as I love her. Her bras are just about all I wear nowadays. Now if only a US based retailer would pick her stuff up so I didn’t have to wait a month to get bras!

      • 09/02/12 at 3:28

        I wonder if, as Karolina mentioned below, it’s a cultural thing.

        But even if it is (and Paris isn’t the first or probably even the last time it’ll happen) that’s still a problem.

  2. 09/02/12 at 3:18

    How funny, I was discussing this exact same topic withh Catherine from KMD just yesterday! It is a little baffling how so many brands consider themselves ‘above’ even sparing five minutes to chat. At the end of the day it’s their loss. Saying that, I did wonder if it was a cultural thing – some brands were very happy to talk me through new collections and send me loads of press material when I was in London but in Paris, it was a complete other story!

    • 09/02/12 at 3:24

      I wondered if it was a cultural thing too, but even if it is that’s not really an excuse. Brands are global and it’s completely inappropriate for any member of your team to recite a party line as archaic and out of date as “We don’t talk to bloggers.”

  3. 09/02/12 at 3:55

    Thank you so much for sharing this, not because it makes me want to avoid those brands per se but because this is a perfect example of the ‘power’ of a blogger’s message: your post is well-written and well-researched and that shows why our opinions are no less valid than anyone else’s!

  4. 09/02/12 at 4:13

    Perhaps they have a touch of arrogance and and feeling that the “internet” is beneath them – oh boy they have a lot to learn!

    • 09/02/12 at 11:23

      I talked with a few people at the show, and they said these are the same brands that resisted setting up websites and resisted e-commerce and resisted social media, so there’s a definitely a trend. Like I said, as social media and e-commerce, it’ll be really interesting to see who sticks around.

  5. 09/02/12 at 5:34

    While I completely agree with your post, and feel that yes there is a snobbery amongst larger brands about bloggers (I do the marketing for an independent brand, and a lot of the time certain bloggers bring us more hits than big, big magazines), have you thought about whether it wasn’t because they feel bloggers are beneath them but that, at a trade show, they really need to just focus on buyers?

    Apparently Cadolle had bouncers on their stand (which is.. crazy), and wouldn’t even let other exhibitors in – why? Because they need to make their money back by talking to buyers only.

    They probably should have had a PR team member there just in case any bloggers or other press (other than trade journals) wanted to chat, but I can also see the reason why you were turned away. Wholesale trade is one of the biggest money makers for lingerie brands, so obviously buyers and trade press would be the priority.

    • 09/02/12 at 11:39

      I think there’s a difference between saying “Hey, thanks for stopping by. Unfortunately, we’re really busy right now, and don’t have a PR team on hand to talk to you,” and “You need to leave. We don’t talk to bloggers.”

      Paris isn’t my first tradeshow. I understand that the primary point is to make sales. And I try to be as inobtrusive a member of the press as I can be. I never interrupt buyer appointments. I often come back later when it’s obvious a booth is busy. When I know a booth is going to be busy the entire weekend, I’ll just ask for their printed materials. And so on.

      The issue here isn’t that these brands were really busy and told me so. The issue is that they all said to me, verbatim, “We don’t talk to bloggers.” And if that’s your brand’s statement, that’s an issue.

      • Anna S.
        09/02/12 at 18:12

        Fair enough, if they said that, that definitely isn’t on.

  6. 09/02/12 at 6:02

    They really will regret this, they either really underestimate the power and outreach of bloggers or they are just maybe scared of “the internet” [insert horror movie sound here].

    My petite blog is only a couple of months old, but nevertheless I’m trying to talk to a lot of companies, asking permission to publish pics etc etc.
    While most of the UK and German brands answered, I’m still waiting for an answer of a couple of really big french companies.

    Not to speak of Intimissimi, who I and some friends tried to contact via mail, twitter, facebook, e-shop… and never even got an answer.

    I think it’s great that you published this article. Maybe some other companies who don’t really know what bloggers do think for a minute before rejecting you.

    • 09/02/12 at 11:41

      The internet is so scary…OMG!!! :-D

      It’s really interesting how the lingerie industry seems to be consistently behind the mainstream fashion industry when it comes to these things. It’s an incredibly insular world and unless you have an “in,” some people just won’t pay attention to you.

    • Robin
      10/02/12 at 3:38

      Re: Intimissimi
      Not sure if they still are, but for a long time the company was USA exclusive to Victoria’s Secret’s retail. About 2 yrs ago I saw press for the most amazing red chemise by Intimissimi, but could never find it in any country online. (It was too classy & “fine” for a low brow V’s S.) At least now, years later, there is a UK ecommerce site!
      Being petite I adore UK and Polish brands… and most are very nice to international customers, even us individuals (non store owners).
      Best customer service by far has been with Myla- such as emailing me later on when they found in store an item I had wanted to buy online (but was out of my size).
      Romania on the other hand- have had very, very bad experience with ID Sarrieri. I received the items, but they were in colors that were never shown on the site, and was told that it was my computer that could not read colors correctly. This was despite weeks of emails, discussing sizes and colors even before the order. I was promised a refund, and sent the box back to Romania twice! Each time it was not accepted at their company and was returned to sender on me.
      Re: France… I find that many companies will not even ship to USA, despite having well developed ecommerce sites that ship to dozens of other countries.

      BTW- whole heartedly agree that rudeness was not called for at the trade show. The world is global, and they have no idea who will be big (or not) some day. Cadolle does not seem to be very big in the US (only avail though the Nancy Meyer site it seems).

      Thanks, Treacle, and all those that contribute here on this site. It’s awesome to have a community who can discuss all angles of a shared passion.

      • 10/02/12 at 13:16

        @intimissimi:
        The Online Shop for UK, Italy and Germany is online for just a couple of months now.
        So if you ever fancy sth you just have to find a nice lingerie loving girl from uk/at/it who would ship it to you :)
        they do have really big sales twice a year, 50% off on the last collection.
        Their bras don’t fit (producing B cup only and sometimes C cup…) but the nightwear and loungewear and bottoms are adoreable!

  7. 09/02/12 at 7:07

    I live in Paris and find that the stereotype of Parisians being incredibly rude is, unfortunately, completely accurate, on the whole. Perhaps French customers respond to this attitude, but if companies think they can behave like this and compete on a global scale, I find that sorely misguided.

    Mind you, I feel like France is way behind in the lingerie market anyway. If you walk into any lingerie store and ask for something smaller than a 32 or bigger than a D or, heaven forbid, a combination of the two, you will be met with blank stares that suggest the staff don’t even know that size exists, let alone where you can get it. It is entirely down to bloggers that I learned about proper bra fitting and what a bra should look like, and as a consequence came to love lingerie and hence purchase more of it. I can only assume that lingerie blogging has far less influence and reach in France, and if this is the case, I feel sorry for consumers and disappointed that French companies are too short-sighted to see the influence these blogs have elsewhere.

    • 09/02/12 at 11:46

      I firmly believe you can learn a lot about someone based on how they treat you if they think you “don’t matter” and companies are no different. There’s a definite change in how consumer information is getting distributed now, and the brands that have skyrocketed to success lately (not just in lingerie) are the ones who understand and take advantage of it.

    • 09/02/12 at 13:25

      Being French, I couldn’t help notice that all four brands are French too, so maybe there is a cultural element to it. We’re certainly not the most social media aware nation… But I was also at the Salon international de la lingerie for the first time this year and I definitely think that it is a very trade orientated event. People would come to me and ask if I owned a shop and I could tell they were disappointed when they realised I didn’t.
      As far as bra-fitting goes, there is no doubt that we’re miles away from the UK, but that is the case of pretty much all countries except Poland.

  8. Amaryllis
    09/02/12 at 7:19

    I think you hit the nail on the head with the fear of bloggers saying unpredictable things. Even if someone ‘in the industry’ doesn’t like you or isn’t bowled over by what you do, they’re more likely to not mention you or to damn by faint praise. It’s a very insular little world (most of these things are).

    What they’ve failed to realise is that when people go looking for something, it’s not an approved and moderated list of reviews on their websites that people will look at, or the blurb churned out by a PR person. It’s reviews from other people who own and love an item of theirs enough to talk about it online. Or, conversely, who have had a bad experience with the brand, and consequently have that to talk about online. Blogging, online reviews, customer focused reviews – they’re all here to stay. A company that doesn’t listen to or engage with it’s customers is really missing a huge chance to build loyalty and identity, something that people remember as positive in a world full of competitors. A good product often isn’t enough, because there are so many good products.

    The biggest thing that I though was wrong, from reading your post, was actually that you’d had ‘private’ negative feedback after your previous review. People read your blog because it’s honest, funny, the opinions are informed but not clouded with marketing speak, and it’s like talking to a really great friend who’s passionate about lingerie.

    You shouldn’t get flack from people because you dared to point out what a disservice they were doing their customers. Or the link between the lingerie brands offered and the owners of the store. Those things are valid information for your readers to have, in order to make their own minds up. There was discussion, with people pointing out their own favorite stores in the chain who had done a good job, and clear information for the stores (if they wanted to take it) about what they were doing right and wrong.

    I sincerely hope that you don’t let the negative response stop you from similar reviews in future, for something as personal and tied to confidence as lingerie is, it’s important to get reviews from honest and impartial sources.

    • 09/02/12 at 11:52

      You are so awesome, Amaryllis. Thank you for this comment.

      One of the reasons I started this blog was because I *couldn’t* find lingerie reviews from non-industry people (like me). Lingerie is a really big and confusing world, especially if you’re new to it. I’m glad my intentions behind the blog still shine through.

  9. 09/02/12 at 8:40

    Thank you for such an interesting article… It’s so silly these brands do not let you in their stands -promoting their brand raises awareness of their products which in turn helps support the smaller independent retailers like us who stock their brand – which ultimately will lead to more orders with them!

    • 09/02/12 at 11:54

      Exactly. And I think that’s why I had no issues of access with smaller brands, and all the issues with larger brands, who may feel that they don’t that kind of brand awareness anymore.

  10. 09/02/12 at 8:42

    As a blogger myself, with many years of experience in the Lingerie Industry and a big fan of what Treacle has accomplished with The Lingerie Addict, I find this article to be a terrific expose of the marketing position for many brands. I agree with all of you 100%: No one should turn away a potential conduit of information about their product, and for sure, Treacle is a critical link. I think one of the problems stems from the fact that most of these bigger brands are at the show with one major goal, to write orders. They are incredibly focused on working with buyers and often will prefer to turn press contacts over to the marketing department. Many of the reps in the booths are sale’s people whose jobs/ businesses depend making sale’s contacts at these shows. Nonetheless, no one should ever be rude.

    • 09/02/12 at 12:30

      Thanks so much for bringing your expertise to the conversation, Ellen. I completely agree with what you’re saying…even if you are busy (and, as I said in a previous, this isn’t my first tradeshow; I understand why brands are there), there’s never any cause to be rude.

  11. 09/02/12 at 10:32

    Well done, Treacle! I think you know my perspective on the importance of Bloggers in promoting ANY brand/product/service. Today’s consumer is too savvy… We can no longer depend on mega ad campaigns. She can see right through it.

    Here is a quote from an Article I wrote for The Lingerie Journal a few months back which sums up my thoughts on this topic (100% agreement with Treacle & all of you):

    “Consumers are now relying on the opinions of bloggers as they are becoming advocates or ambassadors of brands, or thought leaders on topics relevant to their area of expertise. Today’s consumer is much savvier than she was in the past. She no longer relies on the multi-million dollar advertising campaigns generated by brands with money in the bank (traditional advertising). In fact, I would go so far as to say that she probably views this type of advertising with a bit of skepticism now that she is empowered with a little bit of knowledge.

    Today’s consumer wants to know what her peers think. Bloggers make that possible. She is more likely to read and believe in the opinions of a blogger that she can identify with. Bloggers have “humanized” marketing. It’s as if the blogger is saying, “Hey, I’m a mom like you. I get you. I understand your struggles. I have to drop kids off for soccer practice, pop into the Target for paper towels, and prepare a healthy home-cooked meal all at the same time too. This is how I do it. And these are the brands and products that help me to do it more efficiently.”

    Treacle, you responded to my Article by saying:

    “Definitely agree. Social media is no longer optional, and brands that treat is as such run the risk of becoming obsolete.”

    I’m behind you 100%, girl!

    XO
    Moira

    • 09/02/12 at 12:31

      Thanks for mentioning the piece on The Lingerie Journal! I think they’re the only trade pub that “gets it.” :-D

      • 10/02/12 at 22:14

        I’m a huge fan of The Lingerie Journal…. They definitely “get it.” The big ol’ mass wholesale manufacturing lingerie world that I work in is definitely still “old school.” There are a lot of companies that are embracing the changes…. But some will take longer to come around. It’s definitely a challenge…. So much to learn. Be patient with us! We’re doing the best we can. :)

        There are a handful of us that are trying to bridge the gap between the indie lingerie world and the new innovative methods of merchandising, marketing, retailing etc. & the traditional businesses and organizations…. But change won’t happen over night!

        It has been exciting to watch some of the old “garmentos” embrace new ideas over the past few years…. At 37 years old, I often feel like an old-timer myself. We didn’t even have Computers when I started my first job!

        Thank goodness there are so many people (like yourself) that are doing your part to bring about change! Hopefully it won’t be long before we all “get it.”

        Cheers,
        Moira

  12. Julia
    09/02/12 at 11:49

    Thank you for your post!
    Well I don’t like to be be mischievous but well thats their loss.
    I cant understand how a company can underestimate bloggers. I just remember fashion week ( I think ) two years ago where suddenly bloggers were invited to the shows and not the journalists. Anna Wintour was not amused because she had to leave the first row ;) . Internet is the most used media nowadays and espacially bloggers are the people readers trust the most. I actually have to say I would have never heard of these companys if I wouldn’t read your blog! So its actually their loss because they could have had a free ad. But now they actually have the opposite of it: a NEGATIVE publicity.

    And now to Intimacy. What you did is called “mystery shopping” in Germany. I work in an shoe shop and we have every month a mystery shopper. We dont know who it is or when he coming in so we have to give our best the whole time.That means greeting every new incoming customer and try to help them as best as we can. Measure their size and than try to help them with the style of the shoes. Not every shoe fits because of their width hight, etc. Just like a Bra! …
    And thats definetly something I would expect in a professional lingerie shop as well !
    So it is highly unprofessional from other Lingerie Professionals to give you a negative response.

    So like the other brands intimacy should be aware of the internet. Not because we want to damage their business but to tell the truth and if they cant handle it they need to learn it because i doupt that the internet will disappear!

    xo Julia

    • 09/02/12 at 12:36

      Thanks for leaving such an in-depth comment, Julia!

      I truly don’t understand the animosity between print media and bloggers. Aside from the fact I read magazines *and* blogs, getting upset at bloggers for being successful and using strategies you should use (especially since print media often has access to more money) just seems silly.

      But that’s another conversation. :)

      Like you said, the internet isn’t going anywhere. And if you’re a larger brand, you should already have the resources set aside to use it.

      • 09/02/12 at 14:13

        I suspect the animosity comes down to simple self-defence. The print media industry is tough going at the moment. Magazines are healthier than newspapers but getting the ad revenues and maintaining the circulation is hard going. Free information on the internet is a threat to profits, to careers and, at the sharp end, an awful lot of jobs. That inevitably breeds resentment. (and I say this as someone who reads blogs, blogs a bit herself, but who also worked in and was made redundant from the print media industry).

        Certainly the traditional media should be finding a way to work with that instead of against, and I think they are trying to do what they can in a making it up as they go along kind of way. But even if it was possible to create a similarly profitable model, it would never employ the same numbers of people. But yes, huge topic and digressing.

        To get back on topic; terribly short-sighted by the brands. If that is how they want to market (or not), then at the end of the day it’s their choice even if it’s foolish, dated, alienating. But there is no excuse for rudeness, not ever. It is partly fear though I think, and most worryingly perhaps a lack of confidence in their product. With print media they have the clout of their advertising spend to prevent anything too negative appearing. They don’t have that power with bloggers. The answer to that is a product and service that won’t offer room for any negativity of course. But as you say, how or if they survive with such approaches will be the test.

  13. 09/02/12 at 12:38

    You have no idea how interesting I found this post!

    I completely agree with everything you have said and no matter what your job is nobody should be treated like you were, especially when it comes to something as personal as lingerie where you want to feel comfortable and welcome. After reading posts like this, it stops me even wanting to see these brand’s lingerie never mind shop there!

    If they were fully confident in their products then they would of had no problem with being there!

    And either way… does this also show they don’t listen to their customers? I mean, if you were to say what you didn’t like about the products hen would they not take that on board and improve them?

    Blogs, facebook, twitter etc. are all such good advertisement resources and it’s a shame these brands aren’t bright enough to realize that this is the 21st century and their best way of advertising! shame on them.

    X

  14. 09/02/12 at 12:41

    It’s not just bloggers. As a internet-only retailer, we’ve had several manufacturers/reps who have refused to talk or work with us at trade shows or elsewhere because we’re not a brick and mortar. In the end, it’s their loss.

    • 09/02/12 at 13:15

      Well that’s just absurd, especially since I’ve purchased from you in the past. E-commerce is already big, and it’s only going to get bigger. And since many brick and mortar stores don’t have a web presence (much less a web shop), online only boutiques absolutely fill an important niche.

  15. Christine
    09/02/12 at 12:54

    Thanks for the info Treacle! My bf and I have this thing called the Exxon list, We use this to distinguish companies that have given us bad customer service and my thinking at this moment is those three brands have hit the Exxon list.

    If a company won’t give you the time to talk to them, and will only talk to buyers, fine. Their loss. They just lost several thousand customers by treating ONE blogger with disrespect. How are buyers supposed to sell something if customers don’t know about it through social media (bloggers, Facebook, Twitter)? Sure they can buy it, but is it going to sell or sit there on the rack/in a drawer for the next season. Will the buyers go back to that company if it doesn’t sell?? I’m pretty sure the answer would be no.

    I guess I’ve always had this belief in keeping things small. I buy my computers from a local guy with a small shop, who gives me excellent customer service. I’ve talked with Laura from Toad Lillie about this years present to myself and she’s wonderful!! I’d rather support the little guy than add to a big corporations black line.

    Keep up the good work!! Other than the 3 bad eggs – what was the rest of the show like?

    • 09/02/12 at 13:13

      I’m working on my full trend report now! I fell a little bit behind due to jetlag and now it’s taking me what feels like forever to catch up.

      And you’ll love Toad Lillie. Not only does she make gorgeous lingerie, she’s one of the nicest people I know. Seriously.

  16. 09/02/12 at 13:16

    Wonderfully written. As a blogger and lingerie designer I happily confess that the “success” of my brand is so much the result of the generosity in review and exposure by my fellow bloggers!

  17. 09/02/12 at 14:33

    I think the shock of you being treated so rudely has taken me back a bit. Magnifique has been opened three years now and I think besides an extreme amount of hard work, bloggers and social media has been a BIG part of getting our name out there and letting people know how they feel about us. As a company, if you give your best customer service and you show them that you put your best into dealing with your customers, that is what is important. Not about the worries of what you might or might not post. Regardless of being a blogger, you are a potential customer and they should have realized that.

    So many comments here are so well said. Moira, made a great point and I loved hearing what she had to say. She has been in the lingerie business for a long time, not just on the blogger/journalist end too.

    I think you wrote this article very well, making very good points of the importance of bloggers.

  18. 09/02/12 at 14:46

    How picky people have become nowadays!!! they should know internet (even if we dont like it or not) is one of the main gates to make your company work and moreover if you’re a clothing company who sells on the internet.
    I”ve known a lot of lingerie designers thanks to your blog and I’m sure one day they’ll regret it!

    hats off to you missy!

    xoxo

  19. 09/02/12 at 15:23

    Hi Treacle,

    I am really happy that you wrote this piece! As a small lingerie company I have often looked up to the larger French companies and wondered how I could ever reach their level of achievement. Well, I am more confident then ever that it is possible! I have seen the designers and boutiques you mentioned, as well as the others in the comments, really gain momentum via Blogger coverage and use of social media.

    Social engagement on every level not only communicates information about your company’s products and services, it actually leads to improved products through a direct link with the customer base and their responses. I see Bloggers as a key part of that process.

    The old school way of thinking these three companies are engaged in will not take them very far into the future and there are many smaller lingerie companies gaining on them, ready to take over their market position. I for one look forward to seeing that happen!

    Regards,
    Norma

    P.S. I can’t wait to read your full trend report from the show!

  20. subbie_333
    09/02/12 at 15:34

    Computers are just a fad and you won’t even remember what they were used for by the time 2013 rolls around. And, smart phones will only be useful as paperweights by 2014 at the latest. Some of you might be old enough to remember when people tried to sell everybody TVs and refrigerators – those never caught on! Come on you silly little ladies – just leave things the way they are and you will be happy forever!

    - this message brought to you by the Our Head In The Sand Consortium – forever promoting the values, rights, and, quality of life that was good enough for your great grandmother – Long Live the 19th Century!

  21. Kayla
    09/02/12 at 17:19

    Good for you! This is my GO TO lingerie blog and if you say something is good then I know it’s really good. I’ve recommended this blog to all of my friends, my facebook acquaintances and even my Mom! The companies that asked you to leave clearly don’t know the first thing about marketing via the internet.

  22. 09/02/12 at 19:19

    Hi, This is a very interesting subject however I wonder if you could furnish me with some more info.

    When you approached the booth’s they would not have known anything at all about you. Can you, in detail, document the the exchange that took place, between yourself and the representatives at the stand / boothn before it reached the point where they said “you’re a blogger? get outta here”

    Mike

    • 09/02/12 at 19:37

      Sure!

      I introduced myself in French, giving my name and the name of my site. I then asked if anyone in the booth spoke English.

      When the individual said yes, I re-introduced myself in English, gave them one of my business cards, and showed them my site on my iPad.

      That was the point the three brands mentioned told me that they don’t talk to bloggers.

      As you can see, there wasn’t very much back and forth. Nor were there inquiries as to my readership, my audience, how long I’d be blogging, or anything else that might have been relevant to the decision. They simply said, “We don’t talk to bloggers.”

  23. Annmarie
    10/02/12 at 1:12

    Here’s just another proof why it would be such wise move to always have an an experienced videographer by your side during those events…. :)

  24. 11/02/12 at 3:54

    As to Annamarie’s idea above – it would be quite entertaining, but not as enlightening as I think TLA strives to be. : )

    Treacle – Very glad you wrote this article. Though I got angry reading it, I liked it, and reading through all the comments. Many great points already made. A couple thoughts:

    Just because ‘any idiot’ can have a blog doesn’t mean anyone with a blog is an idiot.
    These people seemed to have missed that point. Sure, I get it; they may think there are so many people with little hobby blogs who think they’re serious journalists that they don’t have time to separate the wheat from the chaff. Sorry, but that’s their job. If they can’t tell one blog from another, it’s time they hire people who can – on allow those already in their employ to help them. They’re the ones missing the real opportunities.

    This has nothing to do with someone being French, this is universal:
    Some people are just unpleasant.
    I imagined one conversation you could have had:
    Treacle (respectfully) I have X readers, and here’s a look at my blog, etc
    (btw- fantastic that you thought ahead to show it to them on the spot)
    Company Wonk: Our policy is not to deal with *sniff* bloggers
    Treacle (magically and accurately seeing the future): But within 3 years, our reach will be YYYYYY
    Wonk: *Sniffs* Then way mayyyy consider talking to you in 3 years. For now, Be gone.
    These people make life harder for themselves than it has to be. I don’t feel sorry for them, but I do for the talented people who work for them.

    Some people are scared Control Freaks. They may see Bloggers – and all on-line media and networking – as the Wild West they can’t tame. They’ll get smart and get healthy respect for that or ignore it at their peril. Others will and already will thrive in their place. A healthy Darwinism.

    I think we’ve all seen Treacle goes to great lengths to be FAIR in criticism. Too bad others may not, but treating one category of an only-starting-to-mature Media as second or third class stereotypes benefits no one.

    Some may think they maintain an air of mystery or exclusivity by remaining aloof.
    Their choice, but my advice? Get over yourselves. Other will.

    As for Treacle: Don’t change and Rock On!

  25. 12/02/12 at 5:56

    This is great. Don’t ever stop writing critical posts! I think it’s very important for bloggers to share negative opinions, experiences and reviews. It’s a huge part of why our readers trust us.

  26. Tricia
    12/02/12 at 10:29

    I suspect the companies weren’t underestimating the power of blogs. In fact, they could understand its power fully and that is why they didn’t want to talk to you. Social media can have huge unintentional reaches. For example, say someone bought and reviewed what turned out to be a knockoff that was badly made and gave it a review. Even later, when the reviewer realized their mistake, readers may still not pay attention. The fact that your blog is popular could actually make it worse.

    I just read the response to this article and this actually helps make my point. One employee does respond the way he/she was probably trained to, and the entire company looks bad, when otherwise this would have been an isolated incident. Similar things have happened to franchised companies.

    Companies are still working on ways to refine their social media methods. Damage control is never enough. The response article does not have as many comments as this one, and I’d be willing to bet it didn’t get as many views either.

    Finally, as you mentioned before, some companies want to preserve a certain image. Sometimes, that image does not include people who find out about your product through the Internet. These are likely higher end companies with expensive products who do not want a large, worldwide customer base. If that is your image, reaching out to the “every man” can actually hurt your sales. It sounds like snobbery, but for some companies, it works.

    • Tricia
      12/02/12 at 14:47

      One employee *doesn’t respond the way he/she was probably trained to

    • Reg
      23/09/12 at 2:43

      Here from Australia…

      I found this blog today, just browsing, sorry Treacle, but I think you should see your experience from a different perspective. In fact, what Tricia says is spot on! I don’t think those brands want and/or need help to be popular. In fact, its popularity is due to its exclusivity, because their aim is that, to please an elite (and yeah, that makes sense). I myself, love their products, precisely because of that. I know not every single person has them and I also know that their style fits mine better. It sounds pretentious, but we all have our preferences and aiming for exclusivity doesn’t make us shallow, does it? Moreover, even if you Treacle are a very popular blogger, that is mainly in the US. Those brands Aubade, Huit, and Cadolle are huge, and are based in Europe, and the relation style/cost appeals mostly to European or British markets; thus, they do not need to know how popular you are and they may not be interested anyway!. Furthermore…f they were about to talk to every blogger in an event of that magnitude, wow… take that into account!

      You should also understand that some European brands (I am talking here about lingerie) do not care much about the US market or the Australian market (in our case, mainly because we are a small country, because we have sooo many Europeans here!), and they don’t mind if there is more money or not. If they really wanted to become popular in the US, they would have been there already. They know there is money! but they have the market they want and they know where it is. Considering how adored they are in Europe and the UK the likehood of them being affected because they are not talking to bloggers is almost zero…specially if those bloggers are in the US, Australia, Latin America, Russia, Kenya, Mongolia,etc .

      Finally, see how you as a blogger have posted something negative based in your experience and your sole biased perspective? That is precisely what they were trying to prevent! Quite honestly, you have to be realistic and a bit more modest: I don’t think is their loss, as most likely, their market is different than yours (I know that sounds harsh, but I am honest), hence, they do not need your support to remain successful and loved! Those who as myself love their styleuse the internet to buy products, they send them from Europe. Although here in Oz we have some stores who sell European brands too, they are overpriced, so often is cheaper to buy them from the French houses. If I have doubts I call them to France or the UK as they are very helpful.

      That said, I am glad you have this blog! Certainly, one thing we should all be aware of is our own limitations and we should never overstimate our role in society (as we should never understimate it either). In lingerie,as in everything, there are different markets for different people. As a social scientist I know this well.

      Please don’t take this as an insult to your work here but rather as an advice.Also, sorry for the typing mistakes, I am about to go out somewhere, and I have no time to edit this post.

      Regards!

      PS: Well said Tricia! I applaud your post and your courage, and I was waiting for someone to write something like you did!

      • 23/09/12 at 15:49

        Hi Reg,

        Thank you for thoughtful reply. I’d like to take this opportunity to respond in kind.

        Your comment doesn’t surprise me, because, for as long as I’ve been writing The Lingerie Addict, people have been giving me reasons for why it doesn’t “really” matter.

        It doesn’t really matter because I live in Seattle (instead of New York or Paris or London, or in your case, some city in Australia). It doesn’t really matter because I come from outside the lingerie industry (instead of beginning my lingerie career from within a brand or shop or marketing firm). It doesn’t really matter because I talk about a range of brands at a range of price points (instead of focusing on the same dozen or so major multi-national namess at the same high-end prices).

        And if my blog doesn’t matter to you, that’s fine. As you said in your comment, there are different markets for different people.

        However, the undeniable truth is that there are over 125,000 people all over the world for whom my blog does matter. And, contrary to your assumptions, over 60,000 of those people live outside of the United States. All of those people find the information contained on The Lingerie Addict relevant and timely and useful to their lives.

        I have no use for elitism or snobbery, neither within my own personal life or on this blog. I don’t care how long a brand has been around or how high its prices are. I don’t care which magazines they’ve been cited in or how it’s not “the norm” to critique them because of their connections within the industry. And I certainly don’t care if others think I should mind my place and “be more modest” because I said something negative about their pet favorite.

        What I do care about (and what many of my readers care about, for that matter) is how these brands treat regular, everyday people who are just like them. And while their prejudice towards me may make you more interested in their offerings, there are thousands of other people around the world who feel just the opposite. And this post was written for them.

  27. Sexy Underwear
    16/02/12 at 12:12

    I can’t believe they told you to leave their stalls because you’re a blogger! Not only is it bad from a PR perspective, it’s also downright rude. Unless their is something fundamentally bad about their brand, what were they so scared they might say to you if you spoke with them that it could damage their reputation???

  28. 13/05/14 at 22:56

    Puis-je recopier plusieurs paragraphes sur un blog perso ?

    • 13/05/14 at 23:23

      I’d rather you didn’t, no.

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