Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Where's the Orla love??

Correspondent Jen G is on the Orla scene in Detroit!

I am an Orla Kiely addict--3 purses, 1 wallet, coffee mugs, bowls, the whole cheapie Target line of melamine bowls and trays from a few years back. So when I first learned about Orla (as I call her, since we are so close) coming to Bed, Bath, & Beyond in March and nearly peed myself. I began picking out paint colors for my bedroom to coordinate with her classic stem pattern.

When the day finally came along that BB&B was carrying Orla's stuff, I nearly peed myself again. I log onto to the BB&B website, surprised to see that Orla's magnificence wasn't plastered over the banner or even on the front page. Okay, so designer sheets aren't for everyone, I get it. I type Orla's name into the little search box, and what do I find?

2 comforters and 3 types of sheets, and 1 pathetic throw pillow.

Commence the freak out.


BB&B is calling the line “Orla Kiely House.” House to me, means more than sheets and comforters. My house does not consist of bedroom. On Orla’s website, if you pull down the little tabby thingy labeled “HOUSE,” there are three choices: Bath, Kitchen, Living. So, BB&B, where’s the bathroom stuff? Kitchen? Living? Maybe it should be renamed “Orla Kiely Rented Studio with Shared Kitchen and Bath” or “Orla Kiely Room.”

May I also remind you that BB&B stands for Bed, Bath & BEYOND! Not only have your forgotten the Bath of this so-called-line, but you haven’t even REMEMBERED the BEYOND! Come on, BB&B! Why have you given Orla such a half-hearted commitment?

On Orla’s website, there are FOUR bedding collections, which are available in the UK only:

Notice the canisters on the bedside table? Yes, you could purchase those too if you wanted: if you live in the UK.

Here is a teeny, tiny sampling of her kitchen lines (note the plural):

Here is what BB&B offers:

Granted, I do appreciate that this is the only bedding that Orla offers us in the U.S. However, this is not a line. This isn't even a mini-line. It's a stretch to call it a sampling. It's 2 comforters and a few sheets. It sucks. And the prints aren’t even that interesting! The comforters are too loud and the sheets are too muted!

And have you see the pricing? $200 for a king-sized comforter? One can buy a designer named comforter at a large department store for that or less! Okay, so it’s Orla and she’s a designer. I just added all the bedding and shams for a Queen/Full, mind you, that are shown in that first picture. Total? $469.93! And you KNOW those 20% coupons will not be honored because it’s a designer brand!

Okay, so I don’t know for certain that the quality is less but this is usually how the designer at the big box discount store often works (and the online reviews state so). So I shall head to one of the BB&B stores to find out for myself, right? I am a fairly low maintenance girl (really I am); I don’t need the 2 milllion thread count sheets. So I typed in my zip code, a zillion stores in the Metro Detroit area popped up. However, upon closer inspection, I found this right above the store listings:

We were unable to locate a store with availability within 50 miles. You may enter different search criteria or please order online or call 1-800-GO BEYOND to place an order.

WHAT???? I CANNOT EVEN WALK INTO MY LOCAL BB&B STORE TO OGLE AND FONDLE MY DEAR ORLA? I CAN”T EVEN DRIVE WITHIN 50 MILES TO FONDLE? Do you mean to tell me that BB&B could not clear out a few of their Nautica / Laura Ashley outdated 80’s bedding in order to a few NEW items on a shelf? These stores are stocked to the RAFTERS! I concede that I live in the Midwest, but we have a Neiman Marcus, Saks, Nordstrom, Tiffany’s, Ferragamo, Louis Vitton, 2 (!) Georgio Armani, Lacoste, Burberry, and Lily Pulitzer just a mere 10 minutes away from the nearest BB&B! We are not total slouches here!

Is this how an American company treats our dear Orla? It's just like back in the 1800 and 1900's: "Irish Need NOT Apply."

And to add insult to injury, look closely at this photo:

Is that an Orla lampshade I see? A LAMPSHADE? Why BB&B, WHY would you place that in the photo if you have no intention of selling it?!? Is it just to torture me? Yes, just march me up to the top of the mountain to see the views, then march me back down and tell me, sorry, loser, NOT FOR YOU!

I would also like to add that if you wanted to replicate this exact bedding for your room, it would cost a FORTUNE!

I thought the point of offering Orla in BB&B to make it widely available AND affordable to us common, lowly, poor fashionistas who shop at places like BB&B and Target? If you are going to bring it to the masses, then BRING IT! If that Brita Wottle Bottle were available at BB&B, I would have stockpiled 5+ (so I could take a few with me in the rapture, you know) and written a Lynne-styled positive “freak out” post at how cute and fashionable my water bottle is! I would be the envy of my house (since all my neighbors and friends would have one too)!

I know I could turn this as a paranoid conspiracy of Orla’s anti-American leanings, but that is something that I am making up, and I much prefer to blame the big corporate American machine instead. SO SCREW YOU BB&B, you big box store who doesn't know taste and refined style when you see it! Go back to selling your ShamWOWs and Tervis Tumblers! I will be shopping Orla's summer sale on her US website and dream of the day when I, a lowly housewife from the Midwest, can ensconce myself in Orla for 7 hours of blissful sleep.

UPDATE: I just bought myself another purse to drag around all my kids' shit. And at 50% off!

Apologies for my SHOUTY CAPS, but when a girls needs to freak out, she needs to freak out.


  1. I AM OUTRAGED!as well on your behalf!!!!! good grief it huuuurts!

    jennifer z orla freak
    columbus ohio chapter

  2. hey, on a happier note, Jen G, i have 2 possible orla places where i get my "fix." as i also have a profound orla problem:) there's a website, or there used to be, for this shop in maine called the daytripper society that had AWESOME stuff, totally freakout worthy! i'll find it and put it on the fb site, and the other one i can't remember the name of, but it's on macinac island and it has a british theme and i just bought lynne a bday card there. there's are knocks tho (i got a great grocery bag there for $14) FREAK OUT!!!

    1. Nice! I will DEFINITELY check out the website! Knockoffs worry me a bit--I cannot tell you how DISGUSTED I was when I saw those Fossil purses that are a sorry attempt to copy Orla. BLASPHEMY!

  3. I KNOW! I was SO EXCITED to check out the Orla line at BB&B - I LOVE ORLA! I TRIED TO CONVINCE A FRIEND TO NAME HER UNNAMED BABY ORLA! SOOOOOO CUUUUUUUUTE!!! - and then, blaaaaaaah. I mean, there is no way I'm paying that much for any of it, and it's not that much! And I can't even make the room & the rest of my house all matchy-matchy with Orla goodness?!? WTF? I'm starting to regret the American Revolution, since if it hadn't happened we'd be a colony of The British Empire & then we'd get the entire Orla site the way they have it. DAMMIT.

  4. Also? NEVER APOLOGIZE FOR SHOUTY CAPS. That shit is as right as rain.

  5. There's also a handful of Orla goodies at Tigertree here in Columbus (and similar goodies as your amazing link Jen Z but maybe smaller?):


  6. Here's a comment one customer wrote on the BB&B website regarding the quality of the comforter set, in case you're still curious about that:

    "I love Orla Kiely. As in I have multiple handbags (including this exact stem print), almost her entire Target line throughout my house, and even fabric from the UK that I made into pillows. So I was super excited when I heard about her line for BB&B and bought the full/queen comforter set for our master bedroom. I put the comforter on the bed and within 30 seconds I noticed a snag in the fabric. The quality is AWFUL. Here's my rundown:
    1. The comforter is filled with polyester - not so nice. The weight is odd, and it feels very cheap. As my husband put it, "It feels like a sleeping bag".
    2. The stem-printed cotton outer layer is ridiculously cheap and thin. If you have pets, or like to lounge on your bed and read, or have little kids - forget it. It snagged within 30 seconds of being on my bed.
    3. The print is poorly done - if you take a close look at the print you can see that the "leaves" on the stems don't even match up - some overlap the stem, some are crooked, etc.
    Overall it's a shame - I love Orla Kiely and her prints and the quality of her Target line was great (and her regular signature line is gorgeous) - this is really a step down for her. I'm extremely disappointed that I have to return this set - I love the print, but for the amount I paid for it (I used one of the ubiquitous coupons), I'd expect it to be much nicer quality."

  7. Update:
    I ventured into our local BB&B the other day and found that they did have the 2 comforter prints and a few throw pillows. No sheets, though. The throw pillows cost $39.99! One pillow!!

    Needless to say, I am going to wait until after labor day when all the college kids head off to school and start watching for those throw pillows to make it to a clearance bin. I want those pillows, but not for $40 each. One will be mine, oh yes, it will be mine.