A TV makeover programme by Gok Wan about the problems faced by blind people has inspired a new personal shopping service at Debenhams.
Personal shoppers at every Debenhams store have been trained to understand the needs of blind and partially sighted people and the difficulties they face when choosing clothes.
The scheme was inspired by an episode of Gok Wan’s programme How to Look Good Naked which featured a makeover for a woman who was blind
Staff from Debenhams personal shopping service worked with the RNIB to learn how to explain the touch and feel of sequins and embellishment, how to describe heel height and style, the difference in look, touch and function of different fastening methods and how to communicate sensitively with customers who are blind or partially sighted.
Soleta Oliver, Debenhams’ commercial manager for store services, said: “We are passionate about diversity at Debenhams, and wanted to create something inclusive yet fabulous. The service acts to make shopping an accessible and enjoyable experience for every single person that comes into our stores.
“Working with RNIB together with blind and partially sighted consumers has been invaluable. They have been instrumental in this service, and have contributed to the shape and style of how the appointments will run.”
Lesley-Anne Alexander, chief executive of RNIB, said: “Our own research shows that 76 per cent of blind and partially sighted people find shopping to be difficult or impossible, so clearly there is a desperate need for this service.
“We’re delighted Debenhams is the first retailer to offer a service for blind and partially sighted shoppers, and hope that this urges other retailers to follow suit.”
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