I love your bags, but I am rather surprised that your website pictures show very skinny, almost anorexic looking models. Whilst I noticed from your twitter comments, that you don't advocate size 0 models, I find it rather hypocritical. I'm sure you are trying to target more fashion-conscious/trendy 20-30+ market, but from what I have seen your ACTUAL audience seems to be middle-aged and overweight 40+. Please can you have bags modelled on us real women!!
Thanks so much for your honest pinboard comment. I do take your point about wishing to see more "real women" modelling products but the problem is that the "real woman" is a very subjective concept. I'm in my early 30s and I weighed 115 lbs before I got pregnant: I'm slim & fit but definitely not anorexic. The rest of the BE team are in their early 20s - early 30s and none are overweight. Our customers range from 20 year olds to 60 year olds. Some of the 60 year olds are more fashionable than the 20 year olds. We try not to conform to stereotypes and just choose the models we like.
Being young women ourselves, we are very concerned to choose healthy models and we suppose that our model would be quite upset to be described as anorexic when she isn't. I don't think we are hypocritical - I hate to see stick-thin, sickly looking models on the catwalk with their bones on display and we would never choose such a model for our website.
When selecting a model we choose someone who is beautiful and somewhat ageless so that she appeals to most people. We have received a lot of positive comments about the model currently showing on our website. She is very tall and have very gazelle-like legs, but she is not a size zero. Her health can be seen in her face.
Whilst women of many different ages purchase our bags, it may be true that those aged 30-50 are more likely to post pictures and reviews on our website and use internet bag boards than are our younger customers.
As regards modelling bags - or clothes, or shoes or anything else I guess - on "real women"...brand perception is of course important and that's why we chose this model. We feel that she is very real and does represent the BE woman, who is stylish and fashionable. She is of course, like most models, taller than the average lady. But we are not convinced that showing overweight women in their 40s would appeal to our customers. I will be honest - it would not appeal to me.
In summary, we feel that all companies must strike the right balance between "real" and "aspirational" when showcasing their products. "Normal" and "real" are very subjective concepts and however we look, we all like to dream.
On a final note, we have recently set up our image gallery so that customers can see our bags being worn by all different kinds of women. I do hope this helps you.
Thank you for taking the time and having the guts to raise this issue, we are always interested in honest feedback and will of course bear all comments in mind.