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Maryland pupils take place on John Lewis’ ‘Little Panel’

John Lewis' John Lewis' "Little Panel" (from left) Jasmine Rannie, 6, Lorenzo Hindley-Quattrini, 7, Teodora Buljcik, 7, Omar Kamran, 6, Julia Aleksandrowick, 7, and Kai Prasal, 7, visit the John Lewis store at Westfield Stratford City. Picture: Matt Alexander/PA

Friday, July 18, 2014
1:34 PM

In a first for the consumer giant, John Lewis has appointed a new set of product experts aged just six and seven to help describe its product to children.

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The Little Panel get designing (from left) Teodora Buljcik, 7, Lorenzo Hindley-Quattrini, 7, Kai Prasal, 7, Omar Kamran, 6, Jasmine Rannie, 6, Julia Aleksandrowick, 7, from Maryland Primary School, with Luke Arnold, department manager for Nurseries at John Lewis. Picture: Matt Alexander/PAThe Little Panel get designing (from left) Teodora Buljcik, 7, Lorenzo Hindley-Quattrini, 7, Kai Prasal, 7, Omar Kamran, 6, Jasmine Rannie, 6, Julia Aleksandrowick, 7, from Maryland Primary School, with Luke Arnold, department manager for Nurseries at John Lewis. Picture: Matt Alexander/PA

The “Little Panel” has been chosen exclusively from Maryland Primary School, near Stratford, with the team set to take on some pretty big roles including naming new product items and helping to shape the children’s homeware range.

It is hoped the six “experts” will help the store to appeal to an even wider range of customers, not least through product descriptions for children that they will be asked to write.

They have already had a had a hand in designing a new “rainbow” duvet, currently in production and set to go on sale in September this year.

Speaking at the scheme’s launch on Monday, panel member Kai Prasal, 7, said: “It’s good giving toys names, because that’s how they come alive.”

The "Little Panel"( from left) Jasmine Rannie, 6, Lorenzo Hindley-Quattrini, 7, Teodora Buljcik, 7, Omar Kamran, 6, Julia Aleksandrowick, 7, and Kai Prasal, 7, from Maryland Primary School. Picture: Matt Alexander/PAThe "Little Panel"( from left) Jasmine Rannie, 6, Lorenzo Hindley-Quattrini, 7, Teodora Buljcik, 7, Omar Kamran, 6, Julia Aleksandrowick, 7, and Kai Prasal, 7, from Maryland Primary School. Picture: Matt Alexander/PA

Lorna Jackson, headteacher at Maryland Primary School, said the opportunity had been “fantastic” for the children who had “really enjoyed” being involved.

The children have also named four products, including “Mr Sharky” the shark bean bag and “Tommy” the toy monkey.

Panellist Omar Kamran, 6, said: “I always go shopping with my mum and dad and now I am part of it as my opinions count.”

Mum Aleksandra Zivkovic-Buljcik praised the retailer for involving children in its product decisions, adding her daughter Teodora had developed her own taste and interests to bring to the table.

Jo Unsworth, buyer at John Lewis, said: “Children very much like to be involved in the design process of their rooms, and are naturally very creative.

“With the help from our Little Panel, we will aim to make buying children’s homeware easier for parents and more fun for the kids themselves.”

The scheme is being piloted at the John Lewis store in Westfield Stratford City.

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