New York Fashion Week is a coveted event fashionistas, bloggers, and even industry folks want to attend. It’s like being able to sit at the table with the cool kids, even if you’re in listen-only mode.
One of my clients, a talented emerging fashion designer, hosted a presentation at NYFW SS’16. It was lots of work, but it was so rewarding for the client and for me as a consultant. I LOVE helping people realize their dreams! If you didn’t know, I’m on the communication side, and helped gain publicity for the presentation. Here are my takeaways from a sales, marketing & PR point of view:
Have several volunteers available.
You’ll want volunteers helping your PR/Events person manage crowd expectations, keep attendees happy and prevent the press from grumbling. (Trust me, you do NOT want members of the media complaining.)
Point B: Make sure you and your staff of helpers all know and can easily recognize the major players by face and name.
Point C: Don’t overlook digital influencers. They may not be someone you know, but they have devoted followings. Instagram is powerful, as we all know!
Give something away.
One client gave away shades from the beauty collection associated with the SS’16 fashion line presented at NYFW. I’ve had another client give free manicures at a pop up nail bar. At one show I slid into, the designers gave away a goodie bag for those perched on the front row. Inside was mini lookbook and generously-sized product samples from the sponsors.
Snag everyone’s business card at your fashion show, even if you have them on a spreadsheet as showing up.
There will be people attending your show who will slide under the radar, or prance in as a +1. Make sure your PR person is greeting the right people and gets you a ‘hello’ and short face time with those that snuck in unannounced. (Many times, these are the important people you should talk to!) This gives you as the designer a chance to talk to media and establish relationships.
Follow up with attendees ASAP.
Send an email or postcard thanking everyone who showed up to your fashion show. Follow up with media and buyers with a friendly pitch.
Be ready to sell…something.
If you’ve got the goods, people will want it. Be ready to sell the pieces you show to the influencers because they WILL want it.
This is the time to think positively and assume your collection will be well-received. Following fashion shows, buyers and media will want to see look books, media kits and/or line sheets. Better yet, have mini lookbooks as take-aways from the show. (Of course, this depends on how you structure your marketing materials.)
Check yo’self before you wreck yo’self.
Keep your resistance in check, sis! As a creative person, we struggle with resistance–especially if you’re a designer and not only a curator. If you’re resisting sales and publicity, take a moment to acknowledge it. Understand this: Presenting a fashion show for your brand is a sales pitch to buyers and a publicity pitch to the media. Condition yourself that selling your art to someone who wants to stock it in their boutique or wear it isn’t selling out.
Whew! Okay, so that was a LOT.
Putting on a fashion show or presentation is a huge planning process for you and your label. However, it’s so rewarding for your business. All these tips may not apply, but definitely keep these in mind as you move to gain publicity and loyal fans of your brand.