Newest Review: ... lunch, money for purchasing photos and any accessories I wanted to wear. The experience would include complimentary drinks (which tu... more
A bad experience!
New ID Studios - Makeover & Photoshoot Experts
Member Name: pinkprincess24
New ID Studios - Makeover & Photoshoot Experts
Disadvantages: where do I start...
I've been to new ID twice now, so I will begin with my first experience.
My dad bought me one of the "makeover" experiences for my birthday back in 2007 for the Birmingham centre (which is located right in the middle of Birmingham city centre). He paid approx £30 I believe. The voucher had a lifespan of 12 months. My second experience was the same location, only this was a joint one with my sister for her birthday and I was about 7 months pregnant at the time. The new ID studios have offices in London, Birmingham, Manchester, Newcastle, Cardiff, Bristol and Glasgow.
I am a very girly girl, but I am also really shy so the idea didn't really appeal to me - particularly as when I rang them to book, they told me unless it was booked for two people to have the makeover (which it wasn't) then I had to come alone and my hubby couldn't even wait with me. The idea of sitting around for hours making small talk is my idea of hell. However, I was keen to get my hair done so I booked the appointment and paid the deposit of £25 (which is either refunded or deducted from your photo prices once you attend the appointment). The voucher was for either a cut or a colour, but the colour was a select number of highlights. When I called to book I asked for a colour and was sent a patch test in the post with instructions not to wash it off as it would need to be inspected before colouring. I decided I wanted a full head colour and was told I would need to pay £90 in total for this, which shocked me as the experience already included the cut, and highlights, so a full colour should have been in the region of about £45. I wanted it done so I grudgingly agreed to the price. The salon was Burlingtons which is a reputable salon but the price didn't even match their price list bizarrely, but I didn't realise this until later.
The information pack that came once I had booked the appointment was scarce, it detailed that I would need to bring 3 outfits, lunch, money for purchasing photos and any accessories I wanted to wear. The experience would include complimentary drinks (which turned out to be tea, instant coffee or bucks fizz or orange juice), a professional hair cut, a professional colour (full head colour for me, highlights is the norm), professional make up application, hand massage and manicure with polish, a private viewing of the photos and obviously a professional photoshoot and a complimentary print (12x8).
Finding the Birmingham salon was difficult - it is located right in the city centre with no close parking, and the sign is hard to spot let alone read. You enter the building, go up a few floors in the lift and then enter the salon. Upon arrival on both occasions I was given a questionnaire to fill in (basic details, how did I want my hair and makeup doing, favourite colour etc). On the first occasion I was given Bucks Fizz, but by 2009 when I had my second experience it was only orange juice on offer. The salon is small, and on both occasions there were husbands/partners waiting with their wife/partner which really p*ssed me off as I had been told this was not allowed and ended up sat on my own for hours.
On both experiences my wait was approximately 30 minutes before having my hair done. On my first experience, the full head colour took ages and the hairdresser ended up needing to re-do it as she got the colour wrong. I was there all day! On the second experience I simply had a cut which didn't take long at all, and had my hair straightened. My sister's hair was done at the same time and she had the same thing done. My sister has thick, unruly hair and they did a good job straightening it but it did look overloaded with product at the end. After our hair was done we waited about 20 minutes before being taken into the next, average sized room.
In that room, my sister had her manicure (a 1 minute massage, quick filing of nails and her choice of polish) whilst I had my make up done. It was a bit cramped as other ladies were in there either waiting or having their makeup done too, which made it a bit less special and a bit more production-like! Any way, the makeup artist did a really good job - I am very fair skinned and she managed to get a good base and cover on me. The make up was very heavy but this is for the cameras. It wasn't my usual style as it was so heavy, but it did look good. My sister's looked just as heavy but just as good and they used the colours we asked for. The nail technician seemed knowledgable as I asked her about my weak nails and she gave me advice. However both the nail lady and the makeup lady kept trying to push their new id products onto us - even filling in a form saying what they had used and offering discounts, very much pressure selling. Both my sister and I declined.
Onto the photoshoot, and we are taken into a relatively big room. There was a cubicle with a curtain and we were asked to change behind this. I felt a bit uncomfortable as I was aware that the male photographer was still present in the room and there really wasn't much space behind the curtain. But on both occasions that is where I had to change. The room was full of backgrounds and props. The photographer was not very chatty but I suppose he doesn't need to be. I had modelled before, so on both occasions my photos did not take very long. My sister on the other hand was very shy in front of the camera and a bit nervous, so her photos took a while longer but the photographer did a great job of reassuring her and directing her. We had lots of photos taken in each outfit, both seperately and together.
After a 90 minute wait (similar waiting time on both occasions) I was called into a small room to view the photos. On the first occasion I bought 3 small photos. On the second occasion we chose about the same, 3 small photos. On both occasions the person showing us the photos went hammer and nails trying to persuade us to buy extra, or to buy "packs" of photos claiming they were good value. They used all kinds of techniques like "oh, you're pregnant so I'll do it for £70" etc. despite her not noticing I was pregnant (she probably assumed I was fat) until I said it. On both occasions it took about 20-30 minutes of firm "no"s before they accepted I only wanted to purchase a few of the very cheapest photos. The photos were of good quality but as can be expected not all of them I was happy with, hence only choosing a few. Editing was offered but at £15 per photo, they must be mad!
The photos took about 6 weeks to come in the post (after paying approx £5 for delivery that is) on the first occasion, and about 10 weeks (and lots of chasing) on the second occasion.
After my first visit I noticed they had accidentally got hair dye on my white jacket. After washing it still didn't come out, so I wrote to complain. They told me to send them the receipt for the jacket and they would send me the money for it - which was absolutely ridiculous given that the jacket might well have been years old and who keeps the receipt for every item of clothing for months or years on end?! Luckily the jacket was only a couple of weeks old so I sent them the receipt. They then wrote to me advising me to post the jacket to their head office so that they could "see if it could be cleaned". I asked if they would pay for the postage and they said no. In the end they agreed to disagree and the jacket went in the bin and I vowed never to go again, which I wouldn't have if my sister hadn't begged me to go with her!
All in all, I did not feel special at all, the staff were friendly and chatty most of the time but the studio was small and cramped, full of waiting ladies (and partners grr) and certainly not the "special" makeover you would expect. However for the price of the package it is a good deal to get your hair done etc. and a few photos if you don't mind the pressure selling! They also do packages for kids, pregnant women and bumps, babies, couples, weddings etc.
But would I go again? No.
Summary: A bad experience.
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