What a great week for the work experience kid to come and join us in the office. I mean what a week!
On Friday night (05/07/19) Adam Hills read my tweet out on The Last Leg about the Brexit Party Rally – I mean air raid sirens really? I was having a cup of tea idly checking my phone and my husband goes, "Deb look at the telly. Your tweet is on it!", so that was quite a moment. Suddenly, lots of friends messaging me to say they'd seen it and lots of people going on the website to see who we were. It was lovely, and I was made up that I'd got to make my point about their propaganda to a wider audience.
Then on Saturday (06/07/19) my friend Kate put a post on Facebook. She was looking for a dress for her daughter and asking if anyone had the same dress and if she could buy it off them. I'd talked to her about the dress and her daughter's fascination with it at length before. I totally get it. My heart went out to Kate because my own daughter has Williams Syndrome and very autistic behaviour too, and you can't un-disable someone. You can't change their DNA. You can't take away their fascination about the dress by forcing them to wear something else. You can't. It doesn't work. The entire day would be conversation about the dress, screaming about the other clothes, talking more about the dress and then the following day exactly the same and again. It just doesn't work. What you can do is turn it on its head and find the dress so that the little girl isn't anxious any more, and then she's not talking about the dress. Her narrative has changed and she's talking about something else completely and maybe sometime soon she'll forget about the dress, or not, but it doesn't matter, does it? It's just a dress on a kid.
So I tweeted about it. This time from my personal Twitter account. @deborahprice1
And by some power of human spirit and kindness the little Tweet caught on. Suddenly it was going viral and everyone was hunting for the dress. NEXT who made the dress originally were on it. Friends were on it. Strangers were on it. It seemed like they understood too, and if they didn't understand it they wanted to. They all wanted to help. I get goose pimples thinking about it now.
By Sunday (Do I sound like Craig David?) we had some amazing results and I was able to update everyone.
By Monday our story had been seen around the world, and we'd found the dress. It was incredible. We had about 6 dresses promised to us. Not only that, but the media were now interested in it too and the story was being picked up not only by national newspapers in the UK but in Australia and the USA too. Respectfully we asked that the picture of the little girl be removed on media websites, and yes I know we put it out on Twitter, but we had control over that – we felt we could take it down if we needed to. We said no thanks to The Mail, The Sun, the New York Times, the BBC and The Guardian. It's lovely and everyone's kindness had totally blown us away but we just wanted some frocks for a kid.
Blimey is it only Tuesday? Me and the work experience kid drove from the North to Kent, and had an amazing meeting where a pattern cutter talked to us with such passion about his product. Over his many decades in the industry he's made shirts for Madonna, Lagerfeld, Elton – basically you name the A-lister and this bloke has made their shirts. It was an absolute honour to meet him. On the way Radio 5 live phoned and wanted to talk about the tweet but I was on the M1 and had to say I couldn't pull over. "It'll be yesterday's news tomorrow" the researcher said. Meanwhile my friend Alison messaged me – "you're in The Times and The Mirror." Respectfully, they'd taken the photo out, and we're really grateful to them for their duty of care.
Wednesday - Fish and Chip paper. Thank god! I managed to do all the follow up work from my meeting, we packed loads of orders in the office and we started to plan the next photoshoot and campaign for Autumn.
Thursday - From the kindness of strangers, the dresses have started arriving – with cards and sometimes in giftwrap or tissue. One of them has even come with a gift for Kate, and I'll send them to her tomorrow. Not only that but Next have been in touch with me. Their supplier still has a little piece of the original cloth left and is going to run up a few more dresses in bigger sizes so Kate and her little girl have some space to breathe. If the fascination with the dress carries on for 3 or 4 years it doesn't matter because we are going to have them now and if the little girl moves on from the dress as she grows and her interest fades away then that's OK too. It's been a lovely end to a wonderful 7 days.