If you live in or near Essex, you’ll be familiar with Intu Lakeside, one of the biggest and best shopping destinations in our locality. With the main body of the shopping centre under one roof, plus various industrial-style areas close-by, it really is a bit of a ‘one stop shop’ for all your needs, whether that be holiday prep, kitting out your new home, or just a bit of retail therapy.
However, despite having been there more times than I could ever begin to remember, I was surprised when their PR team contacted me and asked if I’d like to meet the Intu Lakeside Personal Stylist. I had absolutely no idea there was such a thing! All these years I’ve been shopping there and I didn’t know this service was available – and for free too!
So, one grey and drizzly Saturday I ventured over to meet Carlene Noel whose beautiful office and dressing room is located in the snazzy Intu Lakeside Customer Lounge, a fantastic space right in the middle of the shopping centre which provides comfy places to sit, tablets to access the internet, and even lockers you can pop your phone in to charge up while you’re giving your bank balance a beating!
The first thing that struck me about Carlene when I met her was how beautiful and elegant she is. This lady is the absolute definition of ‘style’ and I was left feeling very jealous of how effortlessly glam she looked when I caught sight of my own reflection in the mirror. (Note to self: Must try harder!)
The room in which Carlene works is just as stunning as the lady herself, a perfect mix of whites and luxurious plum-purple, with glass, mirrors and chrome/silver accents. It all felt very plush and like I’d be swept into another world – add to that the glass of Prosecco I was handed upon arrival and I could start to imagine what my life would be like if I was a little more financially flush. (I swear I’m destined to be a millionaire one day…)
All in all I spent around 90-minutes with Carlene and I was seriously impressed. Her personality is open and warm which instantly puts you at ease, something that is incredibly important for a role such as hers. For the most part, when people are going to meet with a Personal Stylist it is because they need assistance with their wardrobe and are unsure what they should – or could – be wearing. She explained that she often has people in tears due to their poor self image or feelings of unhappiness regarding their appearance (something I’m sure most of us can identify with to some level) and told me how rewarding it was when she was able to advise people on the best colours, shapes and style of clothing to suit their body shape and saw the twinkle in their eye when they looked in the mirror and liked what they saw for (sometimes) the first time ever. Although her passion is clearly for fashion and style, you could tell how much she cares about the people she works with and that each and every individual that walks through her door is valued and provided with a personal service tailored to their exact needs.
The other great thing about this service is that Carlene doesn’t receive any commission or bonus structure from any of the stores, working instead for Intu Lakeside themselves. This means you can be assured that any advice she gives will be 100% genuine and based on what is best for you, removing any fears people may have that favour is being swayed in the direction of a particular store, brand or product. We’re all cynics these days and whenever anything is free, as this Personal Stylist service is, niggling doubts coming creeping in as it’s seen to be “too good to be true”. The fact there is no pressure on Carlene to recommend anything other than what is truly best for the client means these fears can be laid to rest and the process can be seen for what is really is – a fantastic, free way to update your wardrobe or bring some new confidence into your life.
I am so impressed with both Carlene herself and Intu Lakeside for having this service available on-site and with zero-cost, making it accessible for everyone. Next time I have a big event to plan for I’ll definitely be popping back to find the perfect outfit.