(Written by Laura Tanzer) There really are more than three things I’ve learned at Phoenix Fashion Week, but the rest are for another post. I’ve learned quite a lot at the summer long Emerging Designer Bootcamp. The big takeaways for me are things that I didn’t consider important until that ‘Aha!’ moment.
First, social media is an important tool. It’s not about the quantity of likes so much as it is about the quality of your interactions with your followers (and those who you follow). Everything is BRAND focused. I knew that, but didn’t really make the connection to social media until I experimented with interacting, instead of just lurking (I know you have lurked.. Everyone has!). And, surprise! Interacting can be a lot of fun! Just keep it within context, brand focused. In that context, you will also find that you have a more varied target audience than originally posited. Try an experiment – check out my Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram feeds and tell me which you are most drawn to. Tell me in the comments section!
Second, outreach is critical. And it can’t be just someone you hire to make cold calls or put their boots to the ground. It is I, the founder, the owner who has to be the one to meet and shake hands, and to personally tell my story. This is the hardest part for me. I am basically a very shy person. Very private. Scared silly about introducing myself to new people. But I get it – intellectually, anyway. Still working up the nerve to walk into all those boutiques on my ever-growing list. Once the conversation has begun, and I tell a little about myself, and I learn more about the owner or manager of the boutique, we fall into an easy conversation. We find synergies, compatibility, and then we have a groundwork on which to build a relationship.
Third, be prepared. For anything and everything. That means always have a sales kit or three with you. That kit holds your look book, line sheets, order forms, business cards, and press releases. You can include postcards with professional pictures of your collection as well. Why have these with you at all times? Be prepared. You never know who you will meet or when. Jane Hamill does a great podcast about this.
Buy tickets to see Laura Tanzer’s Spring 2017 collection, Friday October 14 at Talking Stick Resort, Scottsdale AZ.