Newest Review: ... : autumn/winter, Christmas, spring/summer and summer. The best time to go to Jack Wills is in the sales as their items are a lot cheap... more
Outfitters To The Gentry
Member Name: colleen_uk
Date: 09/11/11, updated on 09/11/11 (555 review reads)
Advantages: Great quality, good customer service, prompt delivery, can find great deals
Disadvantages: Unrecorded delivery, relatively expensive, no student discount
*About Jack Wills
Jack Wills was founded in 1999 by Robert Shaw and Peter Williams. They named the brand after Williams' late grandfather named Jack Williams and their first store was based in Salcombe in Devon (the original address is still printed on clothing labels). Jack Wills pride themselves on being a premium British clothing brand which view themselves as "university outfitters". Their tagline is "fabulously British" and they provide goods inspired by sporting events such as polo and rugby. They also own another brand Aubin and Wills which is aimed at mature 25-35 year olds in full time employment. There is currently 10 Aubin and Wills stores in the UK. They have a great website which is located at www.jackwills.com where you can view and purchase their products and information about upcoming events.
*What attracted me?
The opening of the first Edinburgh Jack Wills store was something of a big deal and meant that we received much propaganda with exclusive tickets for those who wanteed them to attend their launch night. As I was at a private school in Edinburgh (one of their original target audiences) this meant that they held a private fashion show for us before the shop launched and we were able to view the collection. It was since then that I have been a repeated customer due to their great customer service and high quality goods.
Jack Wills currently operate 49 stores in the UK. They have 9 stores in London, 4 in Scotland and 3 in Ireland. Their flagship store is currently located in Chelsea. They also have 3 outlet stores which offer sale garments to customers all year round but I have yet to visit one of these. The outlet stores online have an exclusive membership which you have to be invited to join after registering meaning that this service is not universally available. A detailed list of their UK stores in available on their website. In summer 2010 they opened three American stores in Nantucket, Martha's Vineyard and Boston In the summer of 2011 they opened a further eight stores throughout the US.
At is full retail price, Jack Wills' products are rather expensive for a high street brand though not dissimilar to that of their American competitors: Hollister and Abercrombie and Fitch. A t-shirt currently retails for around £35 and their sweatpants range between £39-£49. In terms of winter warmers, a gilet costs £98 and a hoodie is around £69 (£98 should you wish for a fur lined hoodie). Though this doesn't sound too much they always have products which are more expensive in each range - for example some of their t-shirts are upwards of £100. The great thing about their sale is that they will usually have upto 75% off!
Though Jack Wills previously had a range with little variety which was mainly made up of casual wear - largely sweatpants/hoodies/shirts - they now offer customers a huge variety of different products (all proudly supporting the Jack Wills logo). I have since bought long socks from Jack Wills which I love - they look great with boots or under Wellington boots. They now have a home ware section and offer acessories such as bags, makeup and jewellery. I have to say that I personally tend to stick to their original clothing products as I have something of an "if it ain't broke don't fix it" attitude towards the brand. My latest addition was a lovely gilet for winter which is great on top of a hoodie to combat the cold weather.
I have never had any problems in relation to the quality of my goods, nor has anyone in my family. I still have shirts that I bought over 5 years ago and they are in perfectly good condition. Though their prices are slightly higher; you are receiving a good quality product - meaning that parting with a little more money ensures that you will have a lasting product. They pay attention to packaging and your goods will be held in a lovely little cardboard bag with a string handle - supporting the distinctive navy/pink candy stripes which are reflected on their tags.
Most of the Jack Wills products come with a logo or indication of their brand that is easily visible. It is through this that it is clearly evident that you are wearing a Jack Wills hoodie or top. Their most easily recognisable logo is the pheasant with a top hat, though they also have goods with JACK WILLS written proudly across them or a simple JW. That is something which I like about the brand; they are happy with the quality of the goods that they product and therefore ensure that it is easily noticeable when someone is wearing one of their garments.
I have primarily shopped in their Edinburgh, Glasgow and St Andrews stores. One thing that I have found always to be a great in all of their branches is their customer service. Their staff often support a "university look" in keeping with the brand and will be friendly and approachable at all times. I have never had a bad experience with rude/inattentive staff - and with customer service lacking somewhat in the past few years I think that this stands alone among many other high street stores. Staff are obviously briefed to ensure that they acknowledge all customers, whether it be with a smile or some polite conversation.
I have never had to return a product due to any fault however I have returned them in terms of being unsuitable or not fitting. Each time the transaction has been swift (with money returning to my bank in around 3 days) and staff have always been especially helpful - not rude which I have sometimes found when you decide to return something. As long as you return an item within 28 days of purchase you can benefit from a full refund. Jack Wills state "We exchange or refund any* unworn and unwashed items that are in their original condition." (excludes bikinis, underwear etc). Which I think is pretty reasonable for a store. I have often returned goods that I have bought online in store so that I can avoid another delivery charge.
Unfortunately they do not offer a student discount (which seems strange as they advertise themselves as university outfitters). I am guessing that this is because primarily their customers are students and therefore it would not benefit them to offer any discounts. They also do not offer any free delivery on their website - regardless of how much you spend - which seems a shame as most websites seem to offer this privilege now. Their sales however are great and I have often found some real bargains. You can find items reduced up to 75% off and this is a considerable reduction on expensive goods. I have bought sweatpants for £18 which were otherwise £49 and a hoodie which was £69 down to £29. You may have to be prepared to que, especially during their Christmas sales, as I have seen queues outside the door with bouncers letting customers in at intervals (all very exclusive). I also recently benefited from an online discount code which allowed me to receive a 30% discount - meaning that my £100 gilet was considerably reduced. The voucher code was simply something I stumbled across therefore they are worth keeping an eye out for!
One concern that I had was that when I ordered from their website they simply sent the packages without recorded delivery - this meant that had the post office lost the goods or delivered them to the wrong place then my goods could have been unrecoverable and wouldn't have been insured. With my order being worth £150 I have to say that I wouldn't have been too pleased had this been the case. However the delivery was prompt and I received my goods on Tuesday - having ordered them on Thursday night with a £4 standard delivery charge. An £8 charge is placed on premium delivery (1-3 days) which is quite steep. The website also provides international shipping to Europe, America, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan and Hong Kong for a £12 fee.
The thing that I like about the Jack Wills brand is that they do not limit themselves simply to selling clothes. They also sponsor events and festivals for unsigned bands which they call "seasonaires". I recently received an invite to their Oxford/Cambridge polo match and after party for which tickets are priced at £15 each. I have only been to a couple of their events in Edinburgh which have been held in a few clubs throughout the city though I have never found them to be overly different to a normal night out - except the scantily clad staff supporting Jack Wills underwear and t-shirts.
Jack Wills is a great brand which I think is underrated amongst most high-street retailers. Their attention to quality products is something rather different from other retailers and though their prices are slightly higher they are worth paying (and worth keeping an eye out for sales). They are always making additions to their collections in order to compete and follow trends and it is for this reason that I am happy to shop there.
Summary: A great brand which doesn't deserve so much of the stick that it gets.
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