Sunday, 16 November 2014

Shop Review - My Experience with Stushh Manchester

Stushh in Manchester are featured on the cover of the latest Khush Wedding magazine, when I got my copy of the mag this week and saw some of the outfits from their latest collection it reminded me of a shopping experience I had with them which I've been meaning to write up!

An outfit fit for an engagement

So, a bit of background first, a few months ago I blogged about what I wore for the engagement of a close family member. For this event, I was asked to help choose an outfit for the bride-to-be, to wear for the engagement and to be gifted to her by the groom's family.

It's hard enough picking something for yourself, but choosing an outfit for someone else is even more stressful, especially someone you don't know very well!

Finding an outfit everybody liked in Stushh

Stushh came to mind as a place to look for an outfit after I saw their collection at Pakistan Fashion Week 6. I sent the bride-to-be a photo of this dress as an example of something she might like and by chance, she'd seen and tried that very same outfit on in the shop already.

So, an outfit everybody liked! The only thing stopping us from going to buy it straight away was the £650 price tag, which was a bit over budget considering this was going to be a very small intimate engagement.

The Stushh Sale

I got a message from a friend saying that the Stushh sale was going to start that Friday. In the hope that our chosen dress had been reduced, we popped in on Friday. However, there was no sign of a sale, and when we asked about them launching a sale, the assistant replied "no, there's no sales on..."

It wasn't a complete waste of a visit, because it was a chance to look at the outfit properly and make a decision. We needed a bit more time to decide, so the assistant offered to put the dress away to one side and hold it for us until the next day.

The next morning (Saturday), on the Stushh Facebook page, they posted a banner announcing their sale. Warning sign number one - the sales assistant lied to use about the fact they were having sale, presumably in the hope we'd buy something at full price before it got reduced!

After seeing the sale banner, I made sure we went into the shop earlier than planned. I was thinking if the outfit we liked hadn't been reduced, maybe we'd find another outfit? Warning sign number two - our dress, which the assistant had promised to put away for us was now on display in the shop window to promote the sale!

As we walked in, the assistant remembered us, and happily told us "the dress you were looking at has gone in the sale!". As happy as we were to see this £650 dress had been reduced to £400, we were annoyed that the assistant had lied to us the day before.

Fixing faults and alterations

We still weren't 100% sure about the purchase as the dress had some visible pulled/stretched seams at the front and we wanted sleeves adding. We were assured the pulled seams and any other imperfections in the chiffon fabric would be fixed as part of the sale price, however during the sale period they only offered alterations on full price outfits.

As the dress was in the window for all to see, on the first day of their sale, we felt put on the spot, what if it was sold by the time we'd made a decision? The fact that the bride-to-be liked the dress and both sides were happy with it was the main driver for us, and with the engagement only a few weeks away we knew there wasn't a lot of time to go looking elsewhere if we didn't get this dress.

So we paid for it and said we'd collect it later in the day to give them time to fix the faults.

Buyer's remorse

We got home not feeling good at all about the purchase, the faults with the dress weighed heavy on our minds and after the assistant lied to use the day before, we weren't confident she'd do as she promised. We rang up the shop a little later, to remind them again about the pulled seams and let them know what time we'd be coming in to collect.

When we went to collect, the dress had been steamed and was in a clear plastic garment bag. The assistant showed it to us very briefly then bundled it into a bag before we had a chance to properly inspect it. We ended up causing a bit of a fuss because the pulled seams had not been repaired and the same excuse was fed to us "we don't offer alterations on sale items" and "a tailor will charge you £10 to fix this".

Regardless of how much a tailor would charge to fix it, when you're paying £400 for something, you want it to be in the best condition. The dress was clearly faulty and we didn't want money off - we just wanted them to fix it like they'd promised.
After a fair bit of arguing with the assistant, a man I assume was the owner of the store, offered us a refund then and there. But again, under the pressure of potentially having no dress at all, and feeling very frustrated, we took the dress home to examine further and see how fixable the faults were.

Getting a refund

At home the faults on the dress stood out really badly, had it been an outfit for ourselves, we probably would have been fine to have it patched up and wear it...but because it was a gift we didn't want to give something in less than perfect condition.

The next day we took the dress back and to their credit they gave us a refund, despite their sale policy saying otherwise.

This whole experience has put me off shopping there, and I do wonder how different the experience would be if the dress had been a full price item.

Tips for Stushh on what they can do better for the customer experience

I've had this discussion with a number of other asian fashion bloggers - about how the majority of asian fashion stores in the UK offer really awful customer service. In this instance, with Stushh, the assistant who sold to us wasn't very good at her job - she lied to us, failed to deliver on promises she'd made and did all of this with a smile on her face!

1. Don't offer to put an outfit on hold for someone, and then put it in the shop window the next day.
2. If you're having a sale the next day and a customer point blank asks you "are you having a sale" - don't lie and deny any knowledge of it.
3. If you're reducing an item because it is faulty, then this information and the specific faults need to be disclosed to the buyer.

My final word on Stushh

I think they have some beautiful outfits and their catwalk collections always leave a good impression on me. I'm sure they treat their bridal customers and people who are buying full price outfits much better than what I experienced, but for me, the real measure of a good store is one that treats ALL customers amazingly, regardless of how much money they're spending.

We might just have been buying a sale item on this occasion, but had Stushh really impressed us, the chances are we would have returned to order a bridal from them too!


  1. oh BOY, how familiar does this sound :D

  2. We should tweet them this. They need to see how bad their customer service is!
    Full points for honesty!

  3. Their bad customer service extend to
    Full price outfits. I ordered a made to measure outfit for £675 for my brothers wedding. I made a few request regarding sleeves, choice of pattern, how I didn't want the neck to be so low etc. The sales assistant (I was told was the designer) had no problem with these request and write them down. 2 months later with a lot if pestering I was informed my dress was ready. Upon trying it on one side of the dress was shorter than than the other!!!! The neck was low and the sleeves weren't right a d the pattern was different to what I asked for. I was informed by the manager that I had not "signed" for these requests! Therefore tough luck! I was shocked with his attitude and told him where in your policy does it say I have to sign for request such as long sleeves. His designer was on maternity leave so no luck there. His attitude for messing up my dress was disgusting. J could not wear a low neck dress due to religious reasons and to top it off the strings at the back which had tassles on them kept ripping off. They didn't see bothered about it and stitched them back on twice. I got no apology for the major design flaws and for something that kept ripping off. The managers attitude was that it was my faults for not signing off on the request. I had no choice but to pay the remaining balance ( had already taken 50% deposit when I ordered) because I was flying out for the wedding the same week. I had to get my tailor to put another fabric to cover the low back! It spoilt the design on the neck but I had no choice. Once I had my dress on at the wedding the tassles again ripped off and u ended up having to cover this beautiful detail on the day with my dupatta. I paid so much money and received a poorly designed dress and bad customer service. The manager/owner needs to sort his attitude out and apologise when they have completely ignored requests. Beautiful dresses in the shop but the hassle once they've got your money (deposit/full) is not worth it. Avoid if you can.

  4. Great article! It's good to see such honest reporting, it will help me make an informed decision when shopping in Rusholme. Take your point about customer service in general with Asian stores, it's practically non-existent!


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