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Posts in: wwd-magic

Fashion Trade Shows Independent Designers

WWDMagic: Interview with a.d.o Clothing at the Emerging Designer Showcase

We were so excited to visit the Emerging Designer Showcase while at WWDMagic! We managed to catch up with a few of the designers displaying their work to learn about their lines and their expereinces at the show.

First up, we chat with Anjelika Krishna of a.d.o. Clothing!

Fashion Trade Shows

Interview with Balluun CEO at WWDMagic

Designers, have you heard about Balluun?  They’re a business marketplace for fashion designers and retailers to connect, collaborate, build lasting relationships. Intereting, right?  We caught up with CEO Peter Koch to get all the details on what they have to offer for emerging and independent fashion designers.

Fashion Trade Shows Public Relations

How To Get Press Coverage for Independent Fashion Designers

Recipe for Press

So I’m pretty sure that I sucked you in with that headline, didn’t I?  Getting press coverage is a big deal for any designer but especially for an independent one that doesn’t have a staff of twenty marketing and publicizing their brand.  Keeping that in mind, we made sure that we hit up the seminar at WWDMagic called Recipe for Press with freelance writer and editor Amy Flurry, author of the book…Recipe for Press.

Why do you want press?

  • It generates sales.
  • It  creates a lot of positive momentum around your brand.
  • It opens you up to opportunities that exist that you might not know about.
  • Oh yes, and it’s FREE!

With no further ado, here are Amy’s tips for getting your product on the pages of glossies and blogs. 

Some things to keep in mind:

  • You do not need a publicist to get press.  Do not be intimidated to approach press yourself.
  • The truth is, editors are always looking for new brands and products to feature.  They want to hear from you. Just make sure you do it the right way.
  • Editors are looking to create a relationship with you.  They will write about you once and if you’re easy to work with, editors will take your story with them from magazine to magazine, blog to blog.
  • Your goal should be to eventually have someone in house, doing the pitching for you. This should be a full time job. But in the beginning, the editor wants to be directly in touch with the source.  That’s you.
  • When you’re ready to pitch, make sure you’ve followed the tips below because, according to Amy, you get about 3 seconds with an editor.  You better grab ’em from the start, or you could be dead in the water.
  • You don’t need to be in NYC or a major city to get great press.  in fact, you almost have a better chance to shine when you’re not.

Standing out:

  • Your story is the only thing that differentiates your brand from someone else’s in your field.
  • Because of the above point, you need to sit down with someone who knows you and come up with 4 or 5 versions of your story. Think about how you belong in different kinds of press; a gardening magazine, a parenting magazine, a fashion magazine, a DIY blog, etc. then develop your story around those areas.
  • Even if it’s a spin on just one product that will place you in one of these area, that’s ok.
Your job:
  • Get to know the publications you’re pitching.  This is key. So I’ll say it again. Get to know the publications you are pitching! They will know if you’re wingin’ it. I promise. And once you burn that bridge, it’s extremely difficult to build it up again.
  • You don’t need to read every last issue but you do need to read 3 or 4 and look at it as a formula and see that the formula is the same month after month.  You need to fit into that formula in order to catch their attention, because they surely aren’t going to change it for you.
  • What you’re trying to do in a pitch is buy a little more time, a little more time. As mentioned above, you start with 3 seconds.  If you can get their attention in those 3 seconds, then little by little throughout the pitch, you’re buying more of their time and attention.
  • When thinking about your 4 or 5 versions of your story and trying to fit yourself into various publications’ formulas, don’t just think about yourself, what about the people who work behind you? How do their stories fit into the larger story?
  • Pitch national magazines 6 to 7 months in advance.  So don’t pitch a holiday story in November. You’re follow up would be 2 weeks after.
  • Pitch a regional magazine 4 months in advance and follow up 2 weeks after.
  • Pitch blogs with the expectation that your story could run 20 minutes after the pitch or 2 weeks after the pitch. It’s the beauty of digital, folks.
  • When you pitch blogs, make sure that you have the product available and the viewer capacity on your website.  Meaning, when you pitch and a blog runs your story in the next day, are you ready for all the attention you could possibly get?  Because how much would it suck to have your website crash?  Or to only have like 3 products actually available?
  • If you pitch a blog, you sure as heck better read that blog everyday for the next several weeks in see if they run your story or not.  If you follow up a few days after a pitch, inquiring about your story, and they say “Yep, we got and ran it 2 days ago”…there goes that potential relationship.
  • To build on that, don’t follow up with bloggers.  Their moving too quickly.  Simply pitch and read the blog regularly to see if you’re featured. You can then thank the blogger.  But never follow up.
  • Be organized.  Start a google doc spreadsheet with who you’re pitching, when you pitched, when to follow up, what was their response.
  • Be persistent. You want an answer. By that we mean remember to follow up (just once via email) with print pitches. That does not mean be a pest.
Finding a editor’s contact information:
  • Why is it so difficult to find the info sometimes?  If they want to be found, why is the info so hidden?
  • Bloggers often have their contact info right there on the blog.
  • Print magazines do have a masthead.  Keep in mind that in the 7 months between mock up and print, editors could have left or gotten a promotion.
  • Make sure you are getting your pitch to the person who produces the page that you want to be on.  If it goes tot h wrong person, that person won’t walk it over to the right one.
  • Do not pitch to the editor in chief or the managing editor or the senior editor. Pitch to the assistant editors.  And remember that the editorial assistants will be assistant editors in like 6 months, so be nice to them too.
  • You want to call the publication’s office and ask for an intern.  Ask that intern, :I have an idea I want to pitch for this page, I just want to make sure it gets into the right hands. Do mind sharing the contact information?”  They will share. this is what they’re there for, You are not bothering them. you on’y have to do it once, that is the beginning of a relationship with an editor.
  • A “no” from an editor is not a “no” forever, it’s a “no” for now.  Persistence. When you come back in three months and you’ve got another idea, it signals you mean business. You’re looking for press and that’s an editor’s job.
Things to put in the pitch:
  • The editor’s name. Personalize your pitch. Do not send a press release. Send a personalized (but short) email
  • According to Amy, you don’t need a press kit.  that’s what your website is for. (food for thought)  Invest in product photography, a great website, and an oversize postcard.
  • In the email include the editori’s name,  the word “New” (new line, new product, new color, whatever), one amazing low res (72dpi) white background image embedded in the email. No attachment. And a link to your product for more info.
  • One large gorgeous white background image.
  • Subject line should give the editor ideas: Cool red wet weather gear for under $50. Ideas: red, wet weather, under 50.
  • A few lines about your brand, including the word “new”.
  • In your signature, be sure to include your phone number.
  • Though you’re not sending one, have high res images available via a link on your site, for easy access for the editors.
  • Do not call an editor to “pick their brain” about anything.  That’s insulting, you’re not being respectful of their time.

There you have it. Questions?  What did we miss?  What do you still need to know?

Fashion Trade Shows

WWDMagic Coverage: Starting a Fashion Line Doesn’t Have To Break the Bank

Global Purchasing Group

The next seminar we attended at WWDMagic was Starting a Fashion Line Doesn’t Have to Break the Bank.  The speaker, Mercedes Gonzalez of Global Purchasing Group, spoke about what fashion designers can and must do in order to succeed. There was no sugar coating and she emphasized things that a lot designers don’t take into account when working out what takes to produce and launch a fashion line.

To start, Ms. Gonzalez shared  the following mantra and suggested that designers get comfortable with it and repeat at least daily:

How do I work as little as possible for the most amount of money?

Ask yourself: Do I want to be rich or do you want to me famous?  Because those are two very different things.  It’s not enough that people know your name.  Being a media darling will only get you so far. You have to think about the business side of things.

Costing

The basics:

  • Laptop
  • Quickbooks
  • Skype
  • Filing cabinet
  • Sample case (NOT a suit case!)
  • Rolling rack
  • Dress form

The cost of doing business:

  • Logo
  • Equipment
  • Samples
  • Shipping
  • Hang Tags
  • Labels
  • Social Media Marketing (contrary to popular opinion, this is not free)
  • Line Sheets
  • Travel

Fashion is a business of nickels and dimes and you must must always ask yourself “How cheap can I be?” Remember that your number one objective is to get the attention of the retail buyer.  Don’t spend your money on things like trade shows until you can sell to a retailer.

Before you do anything, always think about the return on investment.

When costing, work it backwards.  Start by asking yourself what your product is worth in the mid of the consumers because the consumer doesn’t care how much it cost you to make  because of the amazing fabrics or fantastic craftsmanship.  She only are about what it costs her to purchase it.  So if you start with that and remember to factor in the retail markup, you can start to understand what you’re able to spend.

Outsource everything. Don’t try to do things like logos yourself, your customer will know and it will have an impact on your business. Check out resources like elance.com to find professional freelance service providers.

Limit risk: limit the amount of fabrics you use and do not be afraid of minimums. Spend your money soliciting the retailer and always spin the negatives into positives.

Networking

It’s one of the most important things you can do to grow your business as long as you always stay focused on building your brand.

Figure out what makes you special and make it a purchasing decision.  For example, being eco is not a purchasing decision, it’s a value add.   You must do your homework and design for your customer, not for yourself.

Know your customer inside and out. To do this you must become a cyber stalker. “It’s not enough to tell know if your customer drinks coffee or tea, you need to know what kind of sweetener she uses.” ~ Anthropologie

You must have:

  • Discipline
  • Insane ability to be organized
  • Drive
  • The ability to step back and look at the big picture
  • Thick skin
  • Gift for gab
  • The ability to be a solution maker, not a problem maker

So designers, what do you think about these points?  What’s missing?  What do you disagree with?

 

Fashion Trade Shows

WWDMagic Coverage: Hot Technology Taking the Fashion World Forward

To continue our coverage of the WWD Magic seminar series, we hit up the one titled Hot Technology: Taking the Fashion World Forward.  Some interesting points were covered, giving us food for thought with minimal amounts of company promotion on the part of the speakers, which can sometimes happen when several companies are represented in a panel.

The speakers started off highlighting what they saw as the trends in technology; things we all, as business owners, should be aware of and understand, regardless of the size of our businesses. Here’s what they had to say are growing trends in fashion and technology:

  • Direct to consumer sales from brands, while still maintaining relationships with third party distributor and using technology (things like StitchLabs) to accomplish this.
  • Brands are embracing multi-channel distributor wholeheartedly: e-commerce store, pop-up shops, retailers, third party e-commerce.
  • Augmented Reality will cause a digital overlay on everything.  Think Google Glasses and imagine you can see the name of the label, the price, and where to buy the clothes on the woman walking down the street.
  • Fit Information technology is growing. Think Xbox Connect and the ways in which you can scan your body.
  • Personalization.  This is similar to fit information but goes beyond that.  The Minority Report is a great way to picture this.  You enter a store and they know enough about your preferences (probably through Facebook’s data collection but also through places like Etsy) to make you feel special and important.

The panel was asked,  What about these newer platforms effecting the industry like Instagram and Pinterest, do we jump in full force?

  • The key to embracing new platforms without getting overwhelmed or wasting your time is discipline.  You must have discipline when it comes to technology trends just like (most of us) do in fashion. Chill out a little, let the market mature a bit, and don’t invest time until you know you can do something well.

One last point of note: When it comes to multi-channel distribution, which is becoming ever more possible with the onset of new technologies, remember to take a holistic approach. What doe this mean?

  • Remember that you are serving different markets; a large retailer will make the sale differently than you will on your website, and a boutique retailer will make the sale yet an even different way. A pop-up shop will be special and, you guessed it, different; as will a third party retailer.
  • You need to acknowledge the eco-system of not only online sales and offline sales, but also the hybrid of the two. remember that you want your customer to buy in whatever way they want to buy. Give them options.

So what do you think of what the panel had to say?  Do you agree with the fashion technology trends they pointed out?  Do you have to add?