I live in North America but being recommended to shop online at Hobbs by a friend. I had high expectations in merchandises made or sold in UK for I had used them a lot until I moved here. All items look fabulous and classy on the Hobbs.com. Extremely expensive even for sales items but found one which looked good on photo. Jumped through a lot of hoops before getting the parcel but was extremely disappointed when I opened to find out that the padded jacket ( £ 90 equivalent to US $160) was not even lined!!! Materials was very flimsy and size is one size smaller than usual. I am really really surprised to see such cheap workmanship and finish. Wrote to Hobbs customer services to express my dissatisfaction but never heard back from them. Thought this would happen in a third world. This made me consider seriously to shop across the Atlantic again!
With the wife having spent over £1500 in the Edinburgh Hobbs shop in the last month, I can safely say the purchasing experience is excellent.
The returning experience is, however absolutly, without doubt, shocking.
I returned 2 items today for the wife, and was made to stand and watch for 15 minutes whilst the assistant, and manager both tried a d-fuzz-it comb, to try and show there was no problem.
A £40 top, after a couple of weeks should not go bobbly, and ofering me seat when I complained about you doing this ... you really don't get the customer service thing do you? Unless theres a sale in it though eh?
Following this they then said the pulling on the other top was "a grey area" as it might not be the fault of the fabric.
This was the manager and an assistant remember.
I really don't care if you can get the bobbles off and by saying it's a grey area you've as good as admitted liability.
But I still had to get stroppy and start raising my voice before they finally relented and offered a credit note, obviously as there were other potential customers in the shop they did not want to lose business.
So my advice, enjoy the shoppng experience, but I really hope you don't need to return anything.
I have bought some lovely, classic suits from Hobbs. But I am shocked and disgusted by how pushy the staff are. Staff repeatedly tried to push me into buying things which clearly were a very poor fit. Staff also try to push "gorgeous" items of clothing on to you, even though they are plainly not gorgeous. So I've got several tops in my wardrobe which cost £70 a piece and are not worn or very nice. This might seem like a great sales strategy for Hobbs, but it's a short term success only. I don't associate the brand with positive feelings and I certainly wouldn't rely on the staff to provide me with guidance for an outfit.
I don't like how the staff look you up and down to appraise your appearance when you walk into the shop. I have a very well paid job and I like to think I dress smartly, but I find it unpleasant when a shop assistant looks me up and down before speaking to me.
Although there are some beautiful quality, classic clothes, there are also many styles which are better suited to a woman in her fifties.
When I'm spending over £300 on a suit, I expect an honest and professional opinion. I don't want staff to mess me about. And I won't want to come back if I'm not provided with some honest guidance. I would be happy to spend and spend if I didn't have staff looking me up and down and pushing any old poorly fitted garment onto me.
Hobbs is an excellent store, its not cheap. But their clothes are good quality and a great fit. I'm a slightly rotund, petite woman in her early thirties. I run through trousers, jackets from most high street stores in a few months. I'm not rough, but still stitches come out, jackets look shabby and the fit is never the same even for the same store.With Hobbs, am always happy with what i've bought. Delicate dresses to sturdy woollen coats. In the end one saves more because everything lasts for years! I think its false economy to really buy anywhere else now.
Hobbs is my favourite shop for clothes, I just love the whole experience of going shopping there. I first started shopping in Hobbs around 4 years ago when I was looking for a dress for a friends wedding. One of the things I like the best apart from the clothes themselves is the excellent service you receive which is so often missing these days from many other shops.
The first Hobbs store was opened in 1981 in Hampstead. Its aim is to provide excellent customer service and prides itself in the fact that around 80% of its customers return. They now have around 70 shops in the UK and Ireland.
They claim there focus is "on style, quality and choice" and offer a complete wardrobe with clothes, shoes and accessories complementing each other perfectly.
The store itself offers inviting pleasant surroundings with fresh flower displays and well laid out clothes and accessories.
Hobbs is as you may have realised a ladies clothes shop. I think that it is aimed at women in their mid 20s upwards, with probably the majority of customers in their 30s and 40s. Its aimed at the woman who wants to go to work dressed smartly, to parties looking elegant and at weekends looking smart but casual. Is this me? Well I am in my late 20s, have no need for suits at work as I wear jog trousers and a polo shirt but yes I do like to dress up to go out and I like a smart but casual look at weekends. The price of clothes also sorts out who the shop is aiming for as Hobbs is not cheap. The average casual skirt or trousers will probably cost you around £50 to £80. Dresses are often nearer the £100 as many are silk or finely detailed. So its not a cheap shop but there are ways of getting a good offer which I'll come to later.
I live in Edinburgh and the nearest Hobbs shop in George Street. There are now small selections of Hobbs clothing in both John Lewis and Jenners in Edinburgh but in this review I am only going to refer to the George Street store. For those of you who don't know Edinburgh, George Street is in the New Town, Georgian buildings with high ceilings and big fireplaces. George Street itself is classier than the main Princes Street shops. Here in George Street there are smaller boutiques and the more upmarket "High Street" names including Jo Malone, Whistles, Karen Millen, Coast and Hugo Boss. So Hobbs settles in quite nicely here.
The shop front is dark green with two large windows with mannequins (headless variety!) dressed in some of their current clothes with footwear. As you enter you are usually greeted by the security man, I think he only works at weekends when the shop is busy, he's usually quite young and not at all threatening (not like the ones you see in Harvey Nichols that look like bouncers!). There is an umbrella stand where you can leave your wet umbrella as you look around (a common occurrence in rainy Scotland!).
The shop is long and stretches back quite far. The ceilings are high giving a feeling of space and there are many original features like the large carved wooden mantelpiece, the cornicing and the mirror over the fireplace. In the middle of the shop are two large cream coloured comfy sofas with a table in between with the days newspapers, Classic car magazine and a few other magazines. This is my husbands favourite part of the shop and he makes a beeline for here ands settles himself down with the car magazines whilst I wander around. I think this is a really nice touch, I'm not sure if Hobbs does this in all their shops, I imagine some of the smaller shops may not be able to afford the space. But both my husband and I do appreciate it.
Near the sofas are stairs down to some changing rooms which tend to only be used when the shop is busy. Towards the back of the shop are a few steps which take you to the next level which has the shoe selection and the main changing rooms. The shoe area is large and airy with the shoes and boots displayed spaciously on shelving. In the middle of the room is plenty of seating and room for you to walk around in the shoes.
Just past the shoe area is another clothing area with mainly dressy clothes and a large mirror which takes up most of the wall. Then at the back of the shop is the dressing rooms.
The clothes are well displayed in a variety of ways. There are rails with similar clothes hanging, some side on and others facing you. Things that would go together are hung close by. Some jumpers and tops are folded on tables or on shelves above the rails. There are also several mannequins located around the shop to show how the separate pieces can be worn together with various shoes or boots.
As mentioned above there is a wide selection of clothes. A large part of the clothes are dressy suits (mainly navy and black), both skirt and trouser suits suitable for the smartly dressed office worker. They have some gorgeous dresses, I bought a lovely cerise pink silk dress (not very practical as its dry clean but it is lovely). They have casual short denim and cord skirts which look great with boots, lovely warm knitted jumpers and cardigans. Fitted jackets and gilets and warm winter coats. They have a good selection of dressy evening shoes and stylish knee length boots. They also have your basic little white t-shirts which go with everything. Just before Christmas I bought 2 three-quarter length t-shirts, one in white and one in brown which were £25 but it was a 15% off evening so it worked out better.
The assistants are all female, smartly dressed in Hobbs black trousers and tops and tend to be I would guess in their 20s-30s. If you pass one when you are looking around the shop they always say hello. If you have picked a few items up they often come and ask if you would like them to take them up to the changing room whilst you finish looking around. They are happy to help or happy to leave you to browse, its up to you. When you go to try on the clothes they often will bring you some shoes or boots to try on with the outfit and ask you what style you would prefer. I guess that this is in the hopes that you will also buy the shoes but it is also so you get a better idea of what the outfit looks like, showing it at its best will also make you more likely to buy.
I have always found the assistants offer good advice on the fit of the outfit, they will advise on accessories which would go with it or other ways to wear the clothes with your existing wardrobe. They will happily go and get other sizes or advise on different colours which might suit you better. I have never found them pushy or felt pressurised into buying anything. Sometimes I go in and buy several things and sometimes I leave with nothing.
The Changing Rooms
This is where I feel the shop falls down a little. The main changing rooms are at the back of the shop and there are 5 I think. Some are larger than others but on the whole are fairly small. They have a curtain which gives you plenty of privacy (I hate these changing rooms where the curtain doesn't cover the doorway properly.) There is a soft stool to put your clothes on and a small rail to hang the clothes you are trying on. My main complaint is that there is no mirror inside your private changing room. If you come out there is a communal large mirror and if you come right out into the main shop there is a mirror about 12ft long. But I want to see what I look like before I step out into the general public, I want to see what I look like from behind, without having an audience!
I don't know if this is part of the Hobbs philosophy (I'd be interested to know if it happens in other Hobbs shops), maybe if you get the person out of the changing room the assistant can then advise a different size, style or colour before the customer just dismisses the outfit entirely.
Last time I was in the shop I was taken to the downstairs changing rooms which were much nicer (but still no mirrors!). They are down a small wooden staircase and then there are two chairs for the menfolk to sit and wait. A long narrow corridor has around 6-8 changing rooms off it. These rooms are much bigger than the ones upstairs and there are nice framed pictures on the walls. Again there is a large mirror outside the changing rooms.
You can return garments within 28 days, I think during sale time the period is less. Before Christmas I returned a top (I got it home and discovered it was dry clean only which wasn't very practical for a top I wanted to wear regularly with jeans at a weekend and decided I didn't like it as much as I first thought!) and found the process straightforward. I went in and said I wanted to return the top as I decided I didn't like it, they said "Do you want to look for anything else?", I said no and they processed the refund. I just had to fill in my name, address and the money was refunded on to my credit card.
If the shop does not have the right size then they do not seem to offer to order it for you. They do however refer you to the online website where if you know the product you want you can order it. The online ordering seems slightly limited at the moment and I haven't tried it so cant really offer much advice. Postage and packaging costs are not mentioned.
As I was writing this and trying to think of all the relevant categories to cover I realised that this shop really is not wheelchair friendly. To begin with you have to go up two steps to get into the shop, they arent very steep and the man on the door could quite easily get the wheelchair up. However there are no changing rooms on the level and none big enough to fit a wheelchair in. It is an area that the shop really needs to address.
This is the way you can get the clothes a little cheaper. If you fill in a card at the desk then you can join the mailing list. You will get invites to see the new ranges of clothes in Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter and enjoy a glass of champagne. You usually get a 10% or sometimes 15% offer off the new season clothes or on sale goods. Just before Christmas I got a 10% of the sale clothes which I used to buy a top and jumper.
As mentioned previously Hobbs usually have sales at the very least twice a year usually July and December. Not all the clothes are included in the sale. The ones that are can have discounts of up to 50% however not all are so heavily discounted. After Christmas I bought a "ballet" style wrap around top which was £35 reduced to £25.
The bags are traditional thick paper/card bags in a dark green with cream rope handles. The bags have the writing Hobbs on the side. They come in various sizes depending on what you have bought. The clothes are carefully folded, sometimes with tissue paper between them or surrounding them. The bags are then sealed with a Hobbs sticker. In sale times they user cheaper white paper bags which are much thinner and of poorer quality but I guess you are getting a bargain!
Many will be put off Hobbs by the cost or because they aren't at the "cutting edge" of fashion. But I like the clothes, like the shopping experience and will continue to shop there and mix the clothes with some cheaper ones from the likes of Next. However there will be no more shopping for me for a while as I am saving for a new kitchen!!