Wednesday, April 21, 2010
I just read an article on The Vine’s fashion page where they interviewed the lovely Garance Dore, an illustrator, photographer and blogger superstar. What stood out the most about the article was this:
A successful blog has a few key ingredients, says Garance. “You need to build up trust with your readers. Your integrity is very important and you must also choose carefully the people that you work with and follow your instinct.”
She is so right, trust, integrity and being associated with the right people are very important to blogs. Most of the time we don’t know too much about the person who creates them, what their credentials are and why we should hold their opinion above anyone else’s.
Readers and followers of the blog need to be able to trust the blogger not to deceive them. In this day and age where businesses are catching onto the blogger phenomenon and the influence bloggers have over consumers, bloggers are constantly being approached by companies to feature their brand on their site... it’s up to the blogger to decide if this brand fits with their blog.
Integrity is everything, followers want to know that they’re blogger is going to be true to themselves and not sell out and feature whatever brand approaches them to earn some extra cash. Some examples of blog collaborations that really capture their direction well are SRC783 and Rusty, Sea of Shoes and Teen Vogue, Fashion Toast and RVCA. When someone approaches you don’t be afraid to say ‘Sorry, but I don’t feel we have the greatest fit”.
Your blog is your brand, everything from your posts, to your advertisers, to your collaborations need to all link together to create a solid statement about what your blog is about.
Image: Garance Dore
Sunday, April 18, 2010
I still remember by first trip into a Natalie Denning store in my mid teens, Sass and Bide was still very new and only select boutiques were stocking the label at the time, Natalie Denning being one of them. The double denim combo was also big, only the coolest girls were wearing the sass and bide denim jacket and matching jeans or skirt. Obviously a lot as happened between now and then...
Say the name Natalie Denning to any Brisbane fashionista and they will know exactly who your talking about and perhaps even be able to retell a sentimental story or their own about their experience with one her stores.
Opening up the first Bessie Head store in 1998, Natalie has since opened six more. Bam and JuJu, Lotus76, Fallow, Bessie Head Black, Dirtbox and Angus and Black. I was lucky enough to chat to Natalie herself about her stores, online strategies, and things to remember when launching a brand or store.
All your boutiques have their own blog and facebook page, what makes these mediums such a great way to communicate to your customers?
Online interaction with customers is simple, cost effective and quick. The majority of our customers use facebook, so in a matter of seconds we can tell them that new season has arrived.
The same goes for our blogs, it not only gives us a chance to showcase the clothes, it allows customers who can't reach us for whatever reason, to see the clothes from their home, and order over the phone or by email instantly.
Do you have any future online/social media plans for your stores?
We really try to update the blogs/facebooks as much as we possibly can... but there are times when it's just not possible... so our plan is to make sure there is something posted on a more frequent basis in order to keep people coming back. In terms of social media, we won't be picking up on the twitter phenomenon.. because at the same time we don't want to suffocate our customer with information overload.
All your boutiques have a very focused target market, how would you best categorise them?
Bessie Head - A confident woman with an edge. She lives for fashion....
Bessie Head Black is for the girl that wants to look different at her formal...
Bamandjuju is the girl who reads Frankie and loves beautifully made clothing.
Lotus 76 is perfect for a woman who likes to dress for their body shape and feel vibrant at any age.
Fallow is a dark brooding character... an atypical neo-gothic hero who admires dark romanticism.
Dirtbox is dapper. A unique man who admires the quality of garments in the past, and appropriates that feeling to the way he dresses today...
Angus Black is a young man coming into his own... He doesn't follow the rules of dressing, but instead experiments with silhouette, colour and drape.
What work experience/study got you to where you are?
I studied Fashion Design at Moreton Institute before opening Brisbane's first Young Designers Showroom in 1996. The Bessie Head label was launched in 1997, and shortly after the Bessie Head store was opened in Broadway on the Mall. In early '98, the Natalie Denning store was opened, and a second Bessie Head in Elizabeth Arcade. Heaps and heaps of designers kept approaching me, so then I opened bamandjuju, and not long after came along Dirtbox... I acquired Lotus in 2007, and the Fallow concept was born in early 2008. Most recently, our formalwear store has evolved into Bessie Head Black and our younger men's store Angus Black opened on Brunswick Street.
Who does all your marketing and PR?
All of our marketing and PR is handled in-house. It is a collaborative effort between myself, our Business Manager - Laura, and our Marketing Manager - Austin. Each stores' Manager plays an integral role in the promotion of their store as well.
Occasionally, Graphic Design work is commissioned to the publication in which we have purchased advertising space, otherwise it is created by Austin, or my daughter Pascale.
What do you believe are the most important things to remember when launching a new brand/store?
-Have a particular customer base in mind - it's not so much an age bracket as it is a mind-set.
- A strong concept is a must. A store must reflect the direction of the clothing it sells.
- Always have a plan as to where you see the store/brand in years to come...
Bam and Juju
Bessie Head Black
Image: Maggie Knitted Socks from the Karla Spetic's Autumn Winter 10 collection, currently stocked in Bam and Juju
Thursday, April 15, 2010
Sweaty Betty PR is one of the most highly regarded fashion, beauty and lifestyle public relations and marketing agencies in Australia. Launching in 2004, Sweaty Betty is celebrating their six year aniversary this month, and have truly come a long way from humble beginnings as a small, niche agency.
Sweaty Betty's Director and Publicist Roxy Jacenko is truly a masterfind of her field, and I was fortunate enough to get to know a little bit more about the woman behind the Bettys.
Job title/ description, what you do
Director & Publicist, Sweaty Betty PR. Day to day I meet with new clients and pitch for new PR accounts for the company, manage the staff and assist with brainstorming on their brands and angles to secure press for them, hiring and firing, working on my own accounts and managing all facets of the business daily!
How you got started
I worked in PR for Diesel in an inhouse role and then decided to branch out on my own, so started Sweaty Betty PR, 6 years ago this month!
I have no formal training, everything was learnt on the job, I think practical experience is invaluable in PR.
Advice to others trying to get started in fashion marketing and pr
WORK EXPERIENCE!! A Communications degree is good, but the more hands on experience you have the more lucrative to an employer in my opinion,
I want to know that a prospective staff member is fully aware of the hours and the blood, sweat and tears that are required on a daily basis. Its also crucial that you are well read –
To be a successful Publicist you need to know whats happening trends wise Internationally so you are abreast of what you can localize for your region and your brands!
What are the three main things brands need to do to get themselves ahead of the game?
Great Imagery of the Product / Editors love supplied imagery – makes their job much easier
A comprehensive Press Release which is tight – don’t make it pages long and include RRP’s and Stockist info!
A good angle – Whats the SPIN? Whats going to make the publication NEED to run you… Angle is everything.
What has been the highlight of your career so far?
I don’t know that there is a highlight, the whole journey has been very rewarding, I suppose, if anything, watching my staff evolve from juniors to account managers
And seeing the excitement on their faces when they open magazines and see their hard work on the pages!
Where do you see yourself and Sweaty Betty PR in five years time?
Hard to say, I would never have thought we could reach what we have today, so I guess, keeping the momentum up, growing the team and lots more smiling
Clients… For me personally – maybe a clone to help with the workload!!!!!
Who do you look to for career inspiration?
My Dad – he is brutal, but that makes him inspirational – always striving to do everything better, faster and ahead of the game…..
Image: The Betty of all Bettys - Roxy Jacenko
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
Stlyestalker first caught my eye when fellow Australian blogger/model Zanita posted images of herself wearing the brand on her blog. I was instantly in love, and how could I not be? Here was a brand that was so on trend AND affordable AND available at a click of a button. Still quite a new label, turning two this August, Stylestalker is definitely set for an exciting future.
I got in touch with the ladies behind Stylestalker, Sue-Ann and Rachel Zeilic, who gave me some insight into how they got started and key advice for those wanting to get into the industry.
What are each of your Job title/ descriptions
As directors of a small business Rachel and I pretty much do everything from designing, marketing, blogging, invoices, photoshoots etc
How you got started/ prior work experience and education
Rachel and I met in university (UTS in Sydney) and have been best friends ever since. We studied advertising/public relations/law and got jobs at the same advertising agency. We both travel extensively and usually saved up all our money to blow it all on Topshop, Zara when we were in the Europe. So while we were working at the ad agency we came up with the idea for a fashion label which fuses designer and the 'high street' concept. This label was stylestalker and we set it up as a small online store and 2 years later we have 160 stockists in Australia, USA and Japan.
What online marketing initiatives does Style Stalker engage in?
We have our own blog to communicate with customers and we are about to launch an affiliate marketing program in partnership with our favorite fashion blogs
What do you think are the three main things brands need to do to get themselves ahead of the game?
Always know their target market, follow their gut instinct and research everything before jumping in head first
What was one of the biggest lessons you’ve learnt since starting Style Stalker in 2008?
Business is always the same, it doesn't matter if you're selling clothes or toothpicks. Get grounded by doing a business course so you have your foundations right.
Where do you see yourselves and Style Stalker in five years time?Global domination!
What advice would you give to others trying to get into the business?
Be fearless and committed. Don't do it unless you know that you really want to do it, cause it's something which you'll have to commit your life to!
Image: Vulture Dress from Stylestalker's Midnight collection
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
I'll hopefully be sharing lots more interviews with you from key people within the Australian fashion/marketing/pr industry.
Article written by Brooke Moreland
I am obsessed with Kell on Earth. This week marks the season finale of what I consider to be one of the best shows on Bravo, and I’m a little bummed. The draw I feel to the show is a strange one. Most of the characters are total bitches. The sunken-eyed underlings work long hours under crazy of pressure and endure endless verbal abuse. Yet I continue to be impressed and fascinated with Kelly Cutrone and respect what she had done with her business.
My fascination with this show really has opened my eyes to the reality of a business I never knew much about: Fashion PR. It’s an industry I really did not know a lot about. What exactly do people in Fashion PR do? Could it really be as crazy as the ladies and gents at People’s Revolution make it seem? Is it fun? So I decided to interview Lindsey Green, Director of Communications for Jill Stuart, to help me clear some of this stuff up.
What exactly does a fashion publicist do all day?
I’m the Director of Communications which is PR but also covers more. Basically all operations regarding name, the brand, press, image, magazine credits, you name it- all goes through me. It’s my job to make sure our company’s image is presented in the best way possible. Fashion is a big world and it can be hard to control. You do spend time putting out fires, but mostly I spend my days focusing on gaining exposure for our line, whether is communicating with editors and seeing what styles they need for upcoming shoots, talking to celeb stylists and coordinating which looks would be great for their clients, setting up photo shoots and interviews and generally handling all business Jill Stuart related.
How did you get into this line of work? Is there any way to train for it, or is it mostly on-the-job learning stuff?
I got into fashion pretty randomly. I didn’t go to fashion school or have aspirations to be in the fashion world. I have a very business-oriented mind and I came here after working in restaurants and hotels and doing a little film. I was always very interested in style and fashion personally and decided to take the leap and I took an internship at Jill Stuart during fashion week a few years ago. It was one of the toughest weeks of my life coming in three days before a show knowing zero about the industry, but it was the best thing I’ve ever done. It was like getting a four year degree in four and a half days. I was brought on as an assistant where I assisted the former Director of Communications for a while and then took over the position when she moved on. It was all on the job training. Jill was there every step of the way to guide me as well, which has made all the difference. We’re a great team. I think the only way to train for this kind of position or to find out if it’s for you is to just jump in and fearlessly do it. I think on the job training and internships are the best tools for learning the fashion business. You can’t be taught any of this in a classroom.
Is your job a glamorous one? Do you have to go out to parties and mingle for work? Is that fun, or is work always work?
There are certainly glamorous aspects to any fashion job but it’s not the kind of glamour people perceive when they see movies or watch reality TV. It’s tough, hard work with long hours, lots of details and responsibilities. Going out to events is often a part of my job. Sometimes it’s really exciting as there’s so many great things going on in the fashion world, but obviously some nights you’ve been working all day and it can be tough to then go out. I find the experience really fun and I feel really fortunate to be able to be a part of it. Who’s going to complain about free cocktails and mingling with interesting people? I’m not.
What advice would you give to someone who is interested in a career change to PR?
I would recommend that they try to get a little bit of on the job experience if possible. Maybe an internship during fashion week. Fashion week is the best time to test your ability to handle the pressure, the hours and all the many details that come with the job. It’s fast paced and you have to keep up. If you can cut it during fashion week, you can survive in the industry.
Can you explain the different types of fashion PR?
There are a few different types. What I do is called “In House PR” meaning I just work in house for one brand. I love this because it gives me the ability to really connect with our line and have a relationship with editors, stylists, our design team etc as the face of the brand. They can all come to me and they know me. I’ve been with Jill for over two years and we’re like a family. I absolutely love it. Working in house also means you take care of many day to day things and also have a lot more business thrown your way than just PR. Fashion is, after all, a business and being inside a house you gain that exposure in huge levels. Then there’s Agency PR. We work with a fantastic Agency, Alison Brod PR. They rep lots of different brands, yet somehow manage to make us feel like we’re their only client, which is the trick to running a good agency operation. Alison is never out of reach to me, we talk almost daily, I also have constant communication with her VP of fashion. Agency PR gives you the very face paced experience of working with LOTS of difference brands. There’s more pitching stories, more events to work and set up and plan for, lots of clients to juggle and different personalities to navigate. ABPR helps me handle almost all the details of our show such as our invites, seating chart (that’s a big one, and I love them for it!) making sure the celebrities coming have everything they need, they set up backstage interviews and requests for me to approve. We still over see everything, but they are there to make sure it goes exactly to our liking. I think to be great in Fashion PR it’s vital to have some experience working at both an Agency and In house. For someone just starting out an agency job can be ideal. You get so much exposure and you learn quickly, because you have to.
Do you feel pressure to dress well to for your job?
For important meetings and events, of course I want to look great. I was a fan of Jill Stuart clothing before I came here, so I wear our line constantly. However day to day in the office, I’m a pretty casual gal. You’ll find me most days in a plaid button down and jeans and during the college football season, you’ll see in my Florida Gators T-shirt every Friday. Go Gators!
What are some of the perks of working in your business?
It’s a lot of fun working in fashion. It’s one of the few businesses that’s 100 percent business and also 100 percent creative, which makes it very special. Obviously I love being able to get clothes, I wear our brand literally all the time, and being that I love the designs, that’s my favorite perk! Also, being able to go to events, meet people, make connections. It’s just an all around great industry to be a part of.
Is there money to be made in this line of work?
There can be, but like any job not at first. For those of us on the PR and business side, if you’re good at what you do, the possibility to be paid well is pretty high. It definitely takes time. Starting salaries in fashion, like most creative industries are low and you have to pay your dues, but there’s light at the end of the tunnel if you work hard and put yourself in a position to succeed.
If someone wants to be a fashion designer, is it helpful at all for them to her their start working in PR?
I personally don’t think so. I think if you want to be a designer, be a designer. Take a design internship or wait for the right opportunity. For designers it’s vital they know how PR works so if you can be a part of a company where you can closely observe PR, small companies such as Jill are perfect for this, that’s ideal. PR is great to make connections if you’re a designer, but I find those who really want to design and have that creative mind aren’t happy for long before they are longing to be a part of the design team. So if you’re a designer, stick with it and really fight to get into the design department.
Have you seen the Bravo show Kell on Earth? Do you think it accurately portrays the industry? Do you like it? Is everyone really as stressed out as the employees of People’s Revolution? Is it really that miserable? (I’m obsessed with this show and really curious about other people’s take on it.)
Um yes and I LOVE IT! First off, Kelly Cutrone is one of the best in industry and with good reason. She trusts her employees with immense responsibilities because she’s kept her firm small and intimate, which for clients is ideal, this is why people flock to that firm for representation. Is it that miserable during fashion week…it can be, but at the same time you still enjoy it, if you can’t enjoy it even in the stressful times, then it’s not the right industry for you. I love watching the show because even though my situation at Jill is very different, I can still relate to it. Obviously on reality TV the drama is going to be played up and the stress is going to be played up, but fashion is a high stress industry and if you can’t handle that pressure then you’re not going to succeed. This, as I like to say, is a world for the tough.
Monday, April 12, 2010
American designer Cynthia Rowley has collaborated with Australia’s surfwear brand Roxy.
The collection is all about mixing fashion with functionality, a well known Australian swim design trait. The collection is over 40 pieces of neoprene (wetsuit material) and knits, with my favourites being the Green Room Wetsuit (pictured) and the Bond Swimsuit. It also extends to footwear and accessories.
The range is said to be limited to Barney’s in New York, Colette in Paris, David Jones in Australia and Roxy stores, and will continue over the next three years .
Check out more of the product line here
There seems no end to designer collaborations, with Kym Ellery’s range at Sportsgirl being revealed online last week, and Jess Hart’s Neon Hart for General Pants being released in March. Sportsgirl is also currently doing collaborations with Alpha60 and Cassette Society.
Designer collaborations I’d like to see? How about Zimmermann for Sportsgirl, Shakuhachi for Supre, Sass and Bide for General Pants.. oh wait they’ve already done that one.