Happy New Year, Happy New Snow Boots

6 01 2010

Hello hello, it has been a while since I’ve blogged… apologies but the festive season has got in the way. The bad news now though, is that my brain has a backlog of things I’ve been meaning to blog about so sorry if you get sick of seeing random things from me over the next week.

So, how was everyone’s Christmas and New Year? We all set and ready for 2010? I am; completely. I don’t know why but I’m really excited about this year; there are so many things going on and being the start of a new decade makes me think there are even more possibilities.

On the personal side, there is lots going on, including an exciting house move this Friday. Stay tuned for pictures of the housewarming…

Work-wise there are some amazing things on the horizon, including some exciting plans for Style Birmingham; International Dance Festival Birmingham 2010; some great projects with Punch Records; and the fantastic Pop: Jann Haworth exhibition at Wolverhampton Art Gallery. There is also the looming final of The F Word, which features Birmingham’s very own Lasan. Fingers crossed they do it… tune in to Channel 4 tomorrow night at 9pm to find out. There’s loads more happening at Rewired, so I’ll be sure to share it with you.

But for now, I just want to say how bored I am of the snow. It was exciting when it was Christmas but Mr Jack Frost, IT ISN’T CHRISTMAS ANYMORE. I’m not using the white stuff to have any time off work either; what’s the point, you’ll only end up doing more when you’re back anyway. The drive home tonight was a tad horrendous as the snow is turning to ice, but most of the problems are caused by bad drivers!

Anyway, rant over… I’m off to finish packing for the big move. Catch you later.





Birmingham has style… a whole mile of it actually!

1 12 2009

People often say that Birmingham doesn’t have style, but the latest campaign from Style Birmingham is about to prove them wrong.

Launched today, the ‘One Mile of Style’ campaign aims to help shoppers have a stress-free Christmas whilst remaining festively fashionable by exploring the concise offering the city has to offer.

With over 1000 shops, bar and restaurants in the city centre alone, Birmingham has everything you need; from the ultimate gifts and perfect party dresses, to a suitably festive day out.

The launch of ‘One Mile of Style’ comes perfectly in time with my post yesterday about ‘Manic Monday’ where I said that the high street needed to embrace the internet, rather than give in to it. This campaign is a great example of how through the website, Style Birmingham is encouraging people to shop on the high street rather than the internet. The map allows you to explore the city’s key shopping area and the festive activities happening throughout December, without actually leaving your house. As well as downloading the map straight from your computer, you can also link in to the Style Birmingham iPhone App and navigate your way round the city centre.

This works similarly to OSOYOU, where shoppers can explore their favourite high street stores, compare prices and create a shopping list to then go and explore the shops in person.

This is how I think the retail world should work together, to ensure we don’t see the death of the high street just yet.

Oh, and don’t forget to look out for the brand new Style Birmingham TV Advert, which premieres on ITV (after Emmerdale) tonight. Exciting times!

 





Just another Manic Monday…

30 11 2009

So, how have you spent today? Been Internet shopping by any chance? Well, if not you’ll be in the minority as today is supposedly one of the biggest days for e-commerce, with virtual tills ringing to the tune of over 700 sales per minute. ‘Manic Monday’ (or Cyber Monday in some circles) is set to see the busiest day for online Christmas shopping, but how realistic is it to assume that everyone has deserted the high street and opted for online browsing?

Well, a poll by Zavvi (comments about their high street closure can be inserted here) showed that more than 81% of Brits are planning to do their Christmas shopping online, and this has already started with last week’s sales figures showing a surge in online gift purchases.

There has undoubtedly been a rise in popular high street stores developing e-commerce sites; from Topshop and Harvey Nichols to Currys and Argos, you no longer need to leave the house. Apparently. There has also been a trend in online shopping ‘malls’, as I like to describe them, with Net-A-Porter and ASOS leading the way.

But what I have always remained adamant about it is that the ease and convenience of the online world can never be a substitute for a girly shopping trip or the way a gorgeous Marc Jacobs bag feels in the flesh. And whilst I still remain a fan of the ‘tangible’, online retailers are making moves to change my mind.

This kind of shopping is no longer just about the convenience or finding the best price – although that is particularly important in the current climate – but instead it has become a reason for using and developing social media.

There are several sites that are helping shoppers create an exciting online experience; like ASOS Life, an online community that share fashion advice and shop virtual stores; Style Hive, a place for likeminded fashionistas to share style tips; and My It Things, where users create their own online magazine. There are also true virtual stores (touching on the Second Life ideals), like I Like Totally Love It and Gemsta.

One site that I really like is OSOYOU, where you can shop a range of popular stores but more importantly, compare prices and make shopping lists to help drive you around the real high street. This is where I think the opportunity is; rather than retailers hanging up their till receipts and giving in to online shopping, I think they should be using the internet as an opportunity to drive more people into their stores.

No doubt retailers are starting to fight back, with discount vouchers landing in my Twitter stream and inbox on an hourly basis from various friends passing them around, but I think there’s still more they can do. An example (an easy one for me to quote because I’m working on it) is Style Birmingham’s latest campaign, which aims to do just this. This Christmas is all about ‘One Mile of Style’, which revolves around an interactive map that shoppers can use to explore the city’s retail offering on their computer. They can find out more about the festive activities taking place at key retailers, print the map off and use it to deviate from their usual shops and get to know the city’s hidden gems. The new iPhone app – the first of its kind – also aims to bridge these two worlds and ensure the longevity of the high street.

So, basically I don’t have a massive, life-changing point, I just wanted to stick up for the high street and say that there’s still life in the old boy yet!





A year in the life of Rewired

27 11 2009


The Rewired team with Rob Markwell (Pitch Consultants) and Michael Collie (BBC)

I can’t believe it has already been a week since we were getting dolled up in the office ready for the CIPR PRide Midlands Awards. Held at the ICC, the awards celebrate PR professionals and agencies across the Midlands region. Rewired was up for Outstanding Small Consultancy and I’d tried not to think about it too much for fear of being disappointed, but as soon as we sat at the table, my heart starting going. Luckily, my first trip on the stage was to collect a bottle of Veuve (I was one of the raffle winners!) so we popped the cork to settle the nerves.

The night was amazing and 21 awards into the show, Rewired was announced as the CIPR PRide Midlands ‘Oustanding Small Consultancy’. I won’t go into details but let’s just say the night didn’t end when the awards did and my bottle of Veuve was one of many.

It was such an amazing achievement for us as a company and a team, especially seeing as though Rewired was only been born 18 months ago.

Winning got me thinking about what an amazing year and a half it has been at Rewired. Everyone knows how much I love my job and the people I work with, but more than that I was proud of Rewired for having such a fantastic year in such a difficult economic climate.

This time last year, we had already begun working on some amazing clients; Taste of Birmingham, Hello Digital, Wolverhampton Art Gallery and The Big Picture, but since then the client list has gone from strength to strength. We’re working with some amazing organisations on some really exciting projects and clients.

We’ve maintained our niche of creative, digital and leisure companies but developed each of these client bases to include some amazing companies. As well as regional organisations like Screen West Midlands, Audiences Central and Ormiston Trust, we’re also working with innovative companies and projects like Mudlark.We’re still heavily involved in the region’s arts scene and continue working with Wolverhampton Art Gallery; currently on the amazing ‘Pop: Jann Haworth’ exhibition, which you MUST go and see.  We are also working with Punch Records on some amazing music and arts projects, and so far have brought some brilliant music to the city!

We also have also strengthened our events arm; both PR and event management. We’ve done PR for BASS Festival, Style in the City and Birmingham Book Festival. As well as the event management of Producers’ Forum ‘Celebrate the Future of Film’, Royal Television Society Awards and a number of high profile film premieres and industry events for Screen WM.

As well as Style in the City, we have also moved in to the fashion world (much to my delight), working with Retail Birmingham. Style Birmingham, the consumer brand for Retail Birmingham, had a fantastic rebrand earlier in the year (courtesy of 383 Project, who I love working with). Since then, Style Birmingham has gone from strength to strength and is fast-becoming the city’s voice for style and shopping. This project is a major part of our leisure/consumer work, which also includes work with Lasan, Birmingham’s premier Indian Restaurant, who have recently won Best Indian Restaurant on The F Word.

There are so many other clients to mention but you’ll get bored if I keep going, but it’s just amazing for me to see how much we’ve grown since last year. We’ve just been taken on by a couple of new clients, which I’m sure I will be blogging and twittering about very soon.

2010 looks to be a very exciting year so hopefully, this time next year, I’ll be writing a post about event more exciting times at Rewired HQ!





Any excuse for shopping – discounts ahoy!

23 11 2009


Brilliant picture by Tim Ellis – on Flickr

Not that I need an excuse to go shopping but Selfridges is making sure that Christmas comes early with a fantastic 20% off. From 26-29 November (yes, this week people!) you can get 20% off your Christmas shopping and 10% off beauty and fragrance brands by printing this voucher.

There’s even better news for anyone in Birmingham, the city’s most stylish independent (as crowned at last month’s Style Awards), Disorder, also has 15% off until New Year’s Eve.

I do believe this weekend will be spent shopping… woo hoo!

Oh, and for those of you who love a good discount, keep an eye on Style Birmingham’s Offers page!





Style Birmingham Launch iPhone App

19 11 2009

Now, very fittingly, as I just published my last post I got word that I could talk offcially about the new Style Birmingham iPhone App… something that I have been waiting to talk about for ages!

Those of you that know me know I am an avid member of the Blackberry camp, and often scorn people that jump on the iPhone bandwagon. But there is no denying that the app’s available on said touchscreen are pretty impressive; my favourite being the spirit level app, I don’t need to explain myself.

And now, Style Birmingham has announced the launch of its brand new iPhone app.

The first of its kind, the Style Birmingham App is free and has a directory of the city’s 1000 shops, bars and restaurants. From major shopping centres and department stores, to unique arcades and independent boutiques, the app has everything you need for a day of retail therapy. If you’re a visitor it also has a list of the best places to stay in the city.

Perfect for the festive shopping season, the app has Google Maps and contact details for each of the stores, making your shopping trip easy and enjoyable…. leaving less time for stress and more time for shopping.

The app also gives you the latest news updates from stylebirmingham.com; including store openings, shopping events, and discounts and promotions. As well as the latest fashion news, hottest trends and expert shopping advice.

Now my only issue is that I don’t want an iPhone. Perhaps an iPod touch will do… Dear Santa…..!





Christmastime, mistletoe and wine… oh and shopping!

18 11 2009


Image Credit

Before you all start, yes I know I have just got back from New York but I’m not talking those holidays; I’m talking about Christmas.

This week, I have been feeling particularly festive having just got back from The Big Apple, where the ice rinks and Christmas trees are set and ready for the festive season and Macy’s infamous windows are lining 34th Street. Even better, when I arrived home from the airport, I turned on the TV and saw the Coca Cola advert, which to me always means the official start to Christmas.

Further fuelling my Christmas Spirit, the German Market is back in Birmingham and bigger than ever. Tonight I had my first trip to said market, and one of my lovely Twitter friends (@danofftheradio) told me about the Hot Chocolate with Jagermeister. Now, two of my favourite things in the world are chocolate and Jager so to put them together was always going to be a winner with me, but it really was a taste sensation!  Luckily, the German Market always encourages Birmingham’s social crowd to meet, at every available opportunity, for some Bratwurst and Gluhwein so I’ll be partaking in plenty of alcoholic chocolate!

Apart from the amazing market, one of the other brilliant things about Christmas is of course, shopping. Not that I need much encouraging – I like to use working on Style Birmingham as an excuse to shop as much as possible (research!) – but nothing beats shopping for presents! We are all too aware that this will be a difficult year with the dreaded recession, but I think that retailers are really pulling out the stops to make sure we all keep spending; after all, that’s the only way to keep the economy going.

Birmingham’s retailers are no exception and have some exciting things happening over the festive season… make sure you check them out!

Shopping Events

Debenhams is offering 25% off across all departments in their Christmas Spectacular Sale! From Wednesday 18th November – Saturday 21st November, you can stock up on presents and bag yourself some goodies too. There is also 10% off beauty and cosmetics.

On Thursday 19th November, House of Fraser is holding a ‘Prepare to Party Fragrance event’ on the ground floor. Join them in-store for top tips on looking great this Christmas; during the day Mugler will be holding fragrance workshops and from 5pm, DIOR’s visiting make-up artist will be showing everyone the hottest party looks. To RSVP, email Birmingham@hof.co.uk.

I’ve also heard on the grapevine, there’s a special two-day discount event the following Thursday and Friday.

Brilliantly Birmingham Pop-Up Shop

Opening on 5 December until Christmas Eve, Pavilions will host a special jewellery pop-up shop. The temporary boutique will give you the chance to buy original hand-crafted jewellery, meet local designers and commission bespoke pieces. There will be pieces for men and women, and for all budgets.

Festive Families

Christmas is all about the family and Pallasades is certainly spreading the Christmas Spirit. As well as hosting Birmingham’s biggest grotto, the shopping centre has also teamed up with a number of top local attractions including Sea Life Centre, Cadbury World, Thinktank, Black Country Museum and Dudley Zoo. By spending just £10 at any or a combination of stores at the centre and showing the receipt/s, shoppers can get a special discount book.

Taste Sensations

As well as the aforementioned German treats, retailers are also looking to tantalise your tastebuds. Bullring have a Ferrero Rocher Christmas Tree (yes, heaven) and Harvey Nichols has opened their pop-up gift shop in The Mailbox, which includes a range of seasonal treats. Harvey Nics will be holding a Festive Fete on 30 November in the store, where you can enjoy the finest food and wine, create bespoke hampers and get your gift-buying sorted. Tickets are complimentary and limited spaces for the Fancy Nancy session will be offered on a first come first served basis. For more information and to book your tickets contact the Harvey Nichols Foodmarket on 0121 616 6000.

He’s Behind You…

And don’t forget about Selfridges, who will be bringing Panto to the high street. During December there will be some very special panto-related treats, so make sure you’re around to enjoy them.

I have plenty more to tell you about Style Birmingham’s plans for Christmas, but I’ll leave them for another time. For now, go and enjoy some Bratwurst and get shopping!