*Suffrage at Selfridge’s

*(Online Etymology Dictionary)

“suffrage (n.)

late 14c., “intercessory prayers or pleas on behalf of another,” from Old French sofrage “plea, intercession” (13c.) and directly from Medieval Latin suffragium, from Latin suffragium “support, ballot, vote; right of voting; a voting tablet,” from suffragari“lend support, vote for someone,” conjectured to be a compound of sub “under” (see sub-) + fragor “crash, din, shouts (as of approval),” related to frangere “to break” (from PIE root *bhreg- “to break”). On another theory (Watkins, etc.) the second element is frangere itself and the notion is “use a broken piece of tile as a ballot” (compare ostracism). Meaning “a vote for or against anything” is from 1530s. The meaning “political right to vote” in English is first found in the U.S. Constitution, 1787.”

It was reported on the BBC News website four days ago:

“A giant piece of public art has been wrapped around the Selfridges store in Birmingham.
Local artist Osman Yousefzada designed the temporary cover for the building in the city’s Bullring shopping centre.
He said he hoped it gave people a “message of hope”, adding he saw the work as an “uplifting installation”.
It comes as the store is being refurbished ahead of the Commonwealth Games, which come to Birmingham in 2022.
All 15,000 silver discs normally viewable on the outside of the distinctive building (see image) are being removed and stored while insulation is installed along with a new facade…”

Freja Solberg wrote at medium.com on Nov 15, 2020:

“Harry Gordon Seldridge was an American man born in Wisconsin, raised in Michigan, and worked in Chicago for many years. His career started with delivering newspapers, continued in the stock market, and had its glory in fashion.
On a trip to London from Chicago, Mr. Selfridge decided to invest in a department store on Oxford Street. He called it Selfridges, and it was 1909 when the first store opened. The shopping scene was quite different, the street itself was not fashionable either.
In a very short amount of time though, this self-made man from Wisconsin entirely transformed London’s shopping rules, making the act of shopping an enjoyable activity rather than an obligatory burden. While doing so, he empowered women, too.

The truth is that Harry Gordon Selfridge was quite visionary and innovative. His mind was set on doing things that were never tried before. He was not afraid of risks. Sometimes, things for him did not really work out. His business was about to hit bankruptcy. He never gave up though and consistently recovered. Today, there are many Selfridges across the world and it is a respected brand of heritage. It proves that Harry Selfridge was right.
As his vision included progression, he observed customers and identified what the retail industry lacked. “Give the lady what she wants,” he said. And, this was the key. Clients needed to have what they wanted.

Selfridge’s reformation started with a new design. As opposed to dark and dull stores, he made the first Selfridges store as pretty and entertaining as possible. To do that, he collaborated with people from the UK and France.
The flagship store was nothing like people had ever seen before. It was vivid and light. The windows looked like some artwork. In fact, people started waiting for the next time that the windows would be rearranged. They were looking forward to it. This was a brand new thing for sure.
Besides, the store was lit all the time. The common practice was to turn off the lights after the opening hours. Harry Selfridge decided to change that, too. Selfridges had the lights on all day and all night. Pedestrians at night could stop by to take a look and experience window shopping thanks to that idea.

Harry Selfridge continued with his focus on the customers. He wanted people to enjoy and have an experience worth their time at the Selfridges store. So, he decided to bring in some interaction.
Selfridges was not anymore just a department store, it was then an arena for theater, seminars, dialogues, and all sorts of other engaging activities. Of course, clients loved it. Without even buying anything, they had a reason to be at the Selfridges. And, that was exactly what Harry Selfridge visioned.

Harry Selfridge was a man who valued equality and championed women’s rights. He actually provided help and protection to the Suffragettes, too.

Quite disappointingly, until Selfridges, public toilet rooms for women were not available in stores. Such a basic need was completely disregarded, but Harry Selfridge decided to fix that, too.
He created the first public toilet rooms in a department store. Thanks to that, women did no longer have to go home when they felt a need to visit the toilet. They could stay in the store as much as they wanted.

Nowadays, it is quite common for cosmetics and beauty products to be in the front when you enter a department store. Well, that was also a first coming from Harry Selfridge.
Considering the needs of women, he put the beauty products at the entrance. It was inviting, perfumes smelled nice, and women noticed other women trying on products so they wanted to enter the store, too. It was a brilliant move and totally worked. In fact, it remains to be still in use to this day.

Today, some people enjoy shopping when they are bored. Some go shopping and buy products they didn’t even think of purchasing. Some visit stores to check the trends. The stores basically supply the different demands of clients.
While different changes and contributions also took place, Harry Selfridge is definitely one of the most important names in retail history. He looked at people and saw what they needed. He transformed shopping from a boring activity to a fulfilling experience.”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s