Social Media Planning for Emerging Fashion Designers

This past fall I taught Social Media Applications for Fashion Marketing at George Brown College in Toronto, Canada. I made sure each of my classes had an application to the fashion industry, but truth be told, the basics of how to use social media for your business are the same, it doesn’t matter what industry you are in.

Yes, of course whether you are a B2B or a B2C company, if you are small or large, or your industry matter when you consider your tools and platforms, and even your execution, but the strategy stays the same:

Plan, execute, measure and repeat. – Click to TWEET it!

I find planning puts people off. It takes time and you don’t see immediate results. But good planing can be efficient, and it saves you more time and money later on.

I am going to tell you the 4 main stages for building a social media plan, whether you are a tech startup, a fashion brand or a biotech company.

1. Social Media Plan – Target Audience

Don’t start using social media channels for your brand before knowing your target audience.

  • Where are they online?
  • Where are they offline?

Create a user persona for your product/services:

  • Demographic profile (age, physical attributes, family and friends)
  • Psychographic profile (attitudes, beliefs and opinions)
  • Professional profile (education, work experience)
  • Environment profile ( physical)

2. Social Media Plan – Goals

List 3 goals for your social media strategy that are:

  • Specific
  • Realistic
  • Measurable

Set a specific timeline for achieving your goals.

3. Social Media Plan – Track & Measure

Remember that “likes are not buys” ( I have to give credit for this to one of my clients, clever and true!). Your goals shouldn’t necessarily mean you have to reach a certain number of followers or likes. Rather, you should strive for high engagement rates and for receiving positive feedback from your customers.

Use analytics tools:

  • Google Analytics
  • Twitter Analytics
  • Facebook Insights
  • Hootsuite

Always measure against your goals. What worked and what didn’t?

4. Social Media Plan – Adjust & Repeat

This is the end of one learning cycle. Eliminate the tactics that didn’t work for you and focus and improve on those that did.

Keep it lean! – Click to TWEET it!

If you are an emerging fashion designers use these 4 key elements to social media planning to help you build an efficient and solid strategy. If you need any help setting up your social media profiles or you have any questions about social media tools, platforms and practices, contact us and we will love to chat with you!

This article was first published on LinkedIn by our co-founder Ana Caracaleanu.


Finding manufacturers for your clothing line (part 2)

In the first part of this article we looked at a fashion designer’s first steps towards choosing the right manufacturer for a clothing line.  Let’s continue by diving in even deeper and pin-point what you must consider when you go through your production process.

First, consider where the manufacturer is located. Are they close to you? Perfect! Set up an appointment and meet with them! Start the quotation process and get a tour of the facilities.  Enquire about the technologies they use, the lead times and the delivery terms. The goal is to get an idea of the services they will provide you, from customer service to when and how will you receive your goods. Enter these discussions with several manufacturers, and once you get quotes, compare them.

When you are talking to overseas manufacturers, getting into contact and building a trustworthy relationship with them is of course a bit more tricky. Nowadays you have the ability to order online, send in your sketches with very precise details and get samples in return. But nothing compares to an actual visit. If you get the possibility to travel and meet your potential partners, don’t hesitate. Go. You might find better deals for when you’ll produce in bigger quantities. Be aware of: delivery terms, FOB, Ex Works, even currency exchange rates. Because the product is not the only important part of your contract. But the payment and the delivery terms of your goods are also critical to the success of your line. Let’s look at the 4 main points you have to consider when you evaluate a manufacturer: product quality, money, time, terms and conditions.

Product Quality.

Asses product quality by visiting your manufacturer. Moreover, your manufacturer might not have all of the components you will require for producing (trims, rivets, etc.). You might need to source them yourself. This will cost you more money and time.


Remember that it is not the producer who will dictate your retailing price. Your customer is. Your business plan should be ready by this stage and you should know the cost you are able to absorb for production in order to preserve your profit margins. Consider this: When do you have to pay? Do you have to place a deposit? How much of the order is the deposit?


Make sure you get confirmed lead times.You need to know when your product will be ready from the manufacturer for you to sell it to the end customer.

Terms and Conditions.

Check all the little details, like where will the merchandise be delivered? It could be delivered directly to you or to a warehouse for pick-up. When do you transfer the ownership of the merchandise? It could be outside of the producing facility or at the delivery. Find out which currency will be used for the transaction. And finally find out if you have any kind of liability insurance from the manufacturer, in case something is wrong with the quality of your products.

Once you go through these 4 points with your pre-selected manufacturer, use your negotiation skills to place your order.

This article was written by Alexandra, fashion consultant. Follow her on Twitter @Stylindublin

Finding manufacturers for your clothing line (part 1)

As a designer you cannot create your label without going through the process of production. Set aside the fun part (the designing part of course!) and think seriously about production. You can have a concept, a design, a brand, but ultimately your success is based on one thing: the product itself. In this two part article I am going to help you go through the process of finding a manufacturer for your product.

Before you start negotiating with a producer (and if you need help with that, check out my article on the basic 7 step negotiation process), the first question is: who? Who will be able to produce your product line?

Remember that if you are new to the industry then you don’t have any established partnership, and you won’t be able to place an order that will prioritize you in the eyes of the producer. Be aware of this before establishing delivery commitments to your retail partners. The first impression always lasts. If you cannot follow your initial commitment, continuing your business activity will be even tougher.

So let’s come back at the initial question. Who will be able to produce your goods? How will you find your production partner?

You can get access to different resources depending on where you are in your business cycle. Are you a startup business or are you more established and in growth stage? As it is in many other industries, in fashion you’ll have an advantage if you can already leverage your existing relationships.

You might not know this, but you probably already have some relationships in the industry, so let’s see how you can find and leverage these.

Former Partners:

If you’ve worked for another fashion company, some of your former producers may be willing to work with you, or at least make a referral. Try to remember your contacts by always keeping in touch, they will be able to guide you.


If you already are in discussions with a potential retailer for distributing your products (and of course, depending at what stage in the negotiation process you are with them), don’t hesitate to ask about their experience, about their preferred partners. They might be able to give you some names and even introduce you to them.

Fashion Schools:

If you are a student or alumni of a fashion school, ask your professors and tutors to see what resources could be available to you. They may also have industry connections that you can leverage.

Friends and Colleagues:

We never know…

Online Resources:

You can do a basic Google research. From there, you might get some names and with contacting these facilities your can even try to get some quotes, in order to check the accuracy of your production budget estimation and also to adjust it. You can also check online repertories of textile manufacturers. is one example, and if you ware in US check out MakersRow database for local manufacturers. But there are many other textile manufacturers listings and review sites online, just start google-ing!

From my experience, most of the start ups I have worked with first use the internet to find their partners. It is actually the most effective way to get information and contacts when you are entering the fashion world without any connections. From there, you’ll have to adapt your tactic based on the direction your business is taking.

In part 2 of this article I will go over the 4 main points you have to remember when choosing your manufacturing partner.

This article was written by Alexandra, fashion consultant. Follow her on Twitter @Stylindublin

Best American Fashion Weeks for Emerging Designers (part 2)

Fashion weeks are happening across the globe. If this year’s events haven’t already commenced then the final steps are being set in motion.  Turning to America you have traditional fashion weeks like NYFW, Miami Fashion Week and many more that captivate fashion lovers.  Presenting your collection at any of these events is the dream and goal for many designers. It means that you have made it after all your hard work not only to yourself, but also to the fashion world.

Let’s have a look at some of my top picks for fashion week events in the U.S. that actually support emerging fashion designers. In my previous post I highlighted Fashion Week San Diego and DC Fashion Week. I am moving  further up  the East Coast to Brooklyn.  I had the chance to talk with Colleen Armstrong, Media Director of Fashion Week Brooklyn.

FW Brooklyn: When asked about their origin

Photo courtesy of Fashion Week Brooklyn©

Photo courtesy of Fashion Week Brooklyn©

“Our event, formerly called Brooklyn Fashion Weekend, and now known as Fashion Week Brooklyn, launched on May 10, 2006. The event was created to support and launch emerging designers, while showcasing Brooklyn as a creative borough and ultimately as a fashion destination. Our next Fall/Winter 2015/2016 collection show begins April 16-19, 2015.”

Photo courtesy of Fashion Week Brooklyn ©

Claire Consigny SS 2015 Highlight-002 Photo courtesy of Fashion Week Brooklyn ©

FW Brooklyn: Greatest challenge facing emerging designers and brands

“Many of our emerging designers are based abroad. One of the main challenges they face is finding a platform to showcase their work to press and media, so that they can gain a public following and pique the interest of buyers and potential investors.”

FW Brooklyn: Success of a designer that was launched on your platform

“There are several designers that have launched with our platform. One designer that comes to mind is Laurel Dewitt. She designs Laurel Luxe custom metal couture pieces for artists and celebrities including Will.I.Am and Lady Gaga.”

You can find more about Fashion Week Brooklyn at their website . They are also can be found via social media at Facebook, Twitter, Instagram.

Lastly, I went down to my own region of the country the South. Erin Bradley is Director of Business Development of Fashion X and Editor of Fashion X Austin.

Fashion X Austin: When asked about their origin

Photo courtesy of Fashion X Austin ©

Photo courtesy of Fashion X Austin ©

“Fashion X founder/CEO Matt Swinney introduced Austin Fashion Week in 2009 and it has been recognized as one of the top fashion events in the South. Over the course of the past five years, Austin Fashion Week has provided a platform for independent designers to show their work to the general public, consumers, buyers and media.”

Fashion X Austin: Greatest challenge facing emerging designers and brands

“When launching a label, it is often difficult for emerging designers to act as the creative, managing design and production, while also having to build a cohesive brand with marketing and sales. Limited resources may not only mean limited dollars but also a small team or in some cases a team of one. Budget is constantly a concern and the cost of showing at a major fashion week like New York Fashion Week or attending national markets and tradeshows is often out of reach. This makes it extremely difficult for emerging designers to connect with retail buyers, which means most of these designers sell directly to the end consumer through their websites. ”


Fashion X Austin: Success of a designer that was launched on your platform

Mysterious NPN photo courtesy of Fashion X Austin ©

Mysterious NPN
photo courtesy of Fashion X Austin ©

“It has been a joy to watch Austin-based designer Isabella Rose Taylor flourish over the past few years. She presented her very first runway show at just 12 years old during Austin Fashion Week in 2013. We put her brand front and center with local and regional media and helped build her early consumer base. Since then, she earned a Rising Star Award at the Austin Fashion Awards, headlined Fashion X Dallas and showed at New York Fashion Week this past September. Her Fall 2014 collection was picked up by Nordstrom and She was recently named as Dreamer on The List of People Shaping Retail’s Future by the National Retail Federation and included in Latina Magazine’s 30 Under 30.”

You can find Fashion X Austin at their website, and on the following social media websites: Facebook (FashionXAustin), Twitter,(fashionxaustin) & Instagram (fashionxaustin).


There you have it. Here a just some of the American Fashion Weeks that you should check it out especially if you are an emerging designer. With any chance you found some fashion weeks to add to your lists while finding some helpful information in the process.

This article was written by our guest blogger Tamarah Brown. You can follow her on Tumblr and Twitter.

The Best American Fashion Weeks for Emerging Designers (part1)

We are all familiar with New York, Paris, London, Berlin as cities hosting the most influential fashion week events featuring the biggest names in fashion . But how about the emerging fashion designers?  Are there fashion weeks that cater to and are beneficial to them?   The answers to those questions is yes.   I contacted four distinct fashion weeks in the US who are actually accomplishing those very things.  Each representative I spoke to informed me of ways they are making sure emerging designers not only receive exposure, but also provide a platform and support.

I will start with the West Coast and Fashion Week San Diego. Samantha DeWarf is the Assistant Director of Fashion Week San Diego. We discussed more about FWSD and how it is doing its part when it comes to emerging designers.   Here is a portion of what she had to say.

  FWSD: When asked about their origin

“Fashion Week San Diego ® was founded by Director, Allison Andrews. In 2007 she created Fashion Week San Diego to highlight and showcase emerging designers from around the world. ”

Photo courtesy of Fashion Week San Diego ©

Photo courtesy of Fashion Week San Diego ©

FWSD: Greatest challenge facing emerging designers and brands

When asked about the challenges that emerging designers potentially may face Samantha states they may not have the proper resources or funding to take their brand to the next level (whatever that may mean to them – to the emerging designers).

“This is where FWSD comes into play. We want to assist them in growing their brand, and giving them the network and knowledge to do so. ”

           FWSD: Success of a designer that was launched on your platform

Photo courtesy of Fashion Week San Diego©

Dos Caras Swimwear Photo courtesy of Fashion Week San Diego©

“FWSD couldn’t be more proud of our many designer success stories, but if we had to pick one, it would probably be Yuwei Designs. Yuwei launched her first ever jewelry line at FWSD 2013, and then immediately following the FWSD 13 Runway Shows, she was picked up by Fred Segal Santa Monica and The Golden Door (Oprah’s favorite salon.) Now she has been featured in countless magazines, and is really making her dreams a reality. Jessica Faulkner is also another top condenser and has been featured in People Magazine and many other top national publications.”

To find out more about Fashion Week San Diego and stay up-to- date you can find them at their website. You can also find them on Facebook at FashionWeekSD,Twitter, Linkedin and Pinterest.

Switching over to the East Coast I spoke with Ean Williams, Executive Director of DC Fashion Week. When asked to discuss this topic he had this to say:

            DCFW: When asked about their origin

 “A partnership of independent fashion designers, producers and models, DCFASHIONWEEK was created to increase economic development in the area of fashion design, clothing merchandising and modeling, and to enhance the visibility of the nation’s capital as a center of international fashion. District of Columbia Mayor Anthony Williams issued September 3, 2004, an official proclamation from his Policy and Current Events office, proclaiming September 10-19, 2004, to be “DCFASHIONWEEK” in the District of Columbia.”

DCFW: Greatest challenge facing emerging designers and brands

“Emerging designers biggest challengers are budgets, establishing a brick and mortar business and attracting visitors to online retail store.  Fortunately ecommerce companies such as Luevo can assist emerging designers secure a more attainable path to a lucrative direct to consumer retail channel. Online sales are at an all time high for most consumer goods, so establishing an online business is a lifeline for new brands.”

Photo courtesy of DC Fashion Week ©

Photo courtesy of DC Fashion Week ©


  DCFW: Success of a designer that was launched on your platform

Photo courtesy of DC Fashion Week ©

Photo courtesy of DC Fashion Week ©

“A group of designers met at DC Fashion Week and established DC’s first designer showroom. Another talent was featured at fashion week and opened its first retail location at the National Harbour.  Other designers have used this platform to convert their part time hobby to a full-time career position.”

You can find out more about DC Fashion Week at their website , Twitter Facebook.

These were just two of my top picks for American Fashion Weeks that support and launch emerging designers. Stay tuned, and later in the week I will unveil my other 2 choices!

This article was written by our guest blogger Tamarah. You can follow her on Tumblr and Twitter.

Top 3 Social Media Practices for Fashion Designers

You are a fashion designer and want to grow your brand and ultimately you want to grow your sales. You might think using social media is a good start to spread the word about your brand, and hopefully achieve your sales goals. You are on the right track! Indeed, social media are online tools that can help you grow awareness, connect with people you otherwise could have not and they can help you get closer to your audience.

These are the top 3 social media practices we’ve implemented at Luevo and proved to be successful for us. It led to partnerships, media coverage, and more happy customers.

Social Media Practice #1

LISTEN. Use social media channels to get valuable feedback about your products or services. Your customers will use Twitter, Facebook and other channels to mention and review your products, and even suggest new features.This practice can help you with your product development; it is key to an eCommerce retail business that may lack the face to face interaction with its customers.

Social Media Practice #2

LESS IS MORE. Post valuable information that your fans, readers and potential customers may find useful and less about your own products (self-promotion). Be less promotional, do less product pitching: try to be helpful to others and become a great resource for what they need.
TIP: You can easily test this: post only about your brand and products and you will see no growth in your number of followers or even a drop.

Social media practice #3

MONITOR. You can learn a lot about your market by monitoring industry specialists, your competitors and their customers. Add your business to Google+ communities and join LinkedIn groups, set up Twitter lists and monitor the pulse of your industry.
This article was first published on LinkedIn.
 Keep in mind that if you make it about them (your customers, your audience), your social media tactics can only have a positive impact on your business. If you need any help with your social media strategy, feel free to connect with me personally and we can talk! We’re also launching a Social Media Guide, so sign-up to get it first!

Instagram – Lessons from 2014 for emerging fashion designers

Simply Measured recently released their 2014 Q4 Instagram Study. The study included over 6,000 posts from 82 brands active on Instagram (from Interbrand 2014 top 100 brands),  and over 129,000,000 likes. Basically – think of it as a study of the most successful brands on Instagram. In this post I will summarize their key findings  and how they relate to you, the emerging fashion designer.

If you are a fashion brand, should you care about yet another social media platform?

YES, and here is why Instagram is important:

  • Over 300,000,000 monthly active users
  • Over 2.5 Billion likes per day
  • 86% of brands are already on Instagram
  • Brands have a very high engagement rate on Instagram
Instagram statistics Simply Measured



Some of the most interesting findings of this study:

  • The brands in this study are posting more and more on a regular basis
  • Post engagements are steadily growing for these brands
  • The average caption length is 141 characters long – including hashtags
  • But they couldn’t find any direct correlation between caption length and engagement rates
  • Posts that mention another user in the caption get 37% more engagement
  • Top brands have on average 3 hashtags per post
  • Geo-located posts see 50% more engagement

 What should you do?

  1. Post consistently (Experiment and find the right balance for you: maybe it is once a day, maybe it is once a week, but be consistent)
  2. @Mention other users in your posts ( you can do this to show appreciation to partners such  as MUA or to your clients)
  3. Tag the location of your posts (for example if you are at a fashion event)
  4. Focus on content not length of the caption
  5. Filters don’t have a correlation with engagement rates, in fact most brands post with no filters
  6. Don’t go overboard with hashtags; stick to 2-3 per post

Instagram is a very powerful social media platform, remember an image is more than a thousand words! This is why you should use good quality images, use the right hashtags, engage with your fans  and just be creative and have fun with it! If you have any questions about Instagram or your social media strategy, let us help you!


This article was written by our co-founder Ana Cara, marketing consultant and social media professor.



Negotiation Steps for Fashion Designers

Starting a fashion business will require a lot of investments. You’ll need to find a location for your store of office, you’ll need to source your fabrics, you’ll need to invest in your production, you’ll need to get your products shipped, you’ll need to get a website, etc. You’ll maybe also need to get a loan. And very early on, even before you start designing, you will need to sign contracts, so make sure you know how to negotiate them well.

Negotiation is not only a price/cost question, you’ll have to negotiate time, length of contract, service quality, exclusivity, shipping terms, interests, commissions, you name it. When trying to set up any kind of contract it is easy to fall into the trap of focusing on the price alone, trying to get the lower price possible. But in B2B negotiations, one is not a bazaar customer.

For this article, I looked back at my courses in Fashion Management and continued researching online. I concluded that the basics of negotiations are similar for both sellers and buyers.

Let’s look at the 6 steps of negotiation for sellers, and adapt them to a buyer’s perspective.

The 6 steps that lead to signing a contract are:

Identification and Formalisation of the Need

What do you really need? You need to ask yourself this question. We are not talking about what you want or what you wish for. In a business negotiation, the seller has to understand your needs. We are coming back to the essence of communications with this topic. To be prepared to negotiate, you have to know and communicate your expectations.
To communicate your needs, you will have to assess them, to evaluate them and to formulate them. You have to set up goals and make a differentiation in between what you cannot live without and what you wish for. Drawing this line will help you in focusing on the important points of your negotiation.

For example, your need may be to set up your business, to get your products in the hands of your customers.

This formalization of need implies a quantification of the need, a clear assertion of what is your budget for a particular quantity and for a certain level of service.

Then, from your own understanding of your needs, wishes and acceptance level, you can perform a market analysis.

Market Analysis

Learn as much as you can about suppliers and their products, their own competitors, the market situation (economically and geographically), etc. Be aware of your purchasing power and then you’ll be able to draw a tender.


From your analysis, ask for quotes. Quotes, quotes and quotes. Contact the companies you found during your market analysis. Communicate them your needs. Be honest, be open. Explain your situation, who you are, what you do and what you want to do. The company in front of you will be able to make you a proper offer on the ground of a good understanding of your needs.

Results Analysis

Don’t jump on the first quote you receive. Study all of them, compare them and meet the vendors. Talk with them. Assess the quotes that are meeting your request.

Short List

From your results just pick up the quotes or offers that match your needs. Now you enter the negotiation process. Don’t waste your time in negotiating with all of the companies that answered to you.


You can not become a negotiator overnight. Attitude and tactics will come with experience and are to be taken depending the type of service you are contracting for. You are not negotiating the same way the terms of  a contract with your fabric supplier as you are negotiating your rent.

Until this point, you communicated to your potential businesses partners, who you are and how or why you would use their services for.

You want to conduct business with individuals that really understand your needs, and who are not trying to push you. Think about long term relationships, you need to get into a win-win situation. Establishing a solid, trustworthy relationship with a supplier can only help your retail business in the long-run.

Bonus Negotiation Tip: Don’t hesitate in mentioning you talked with competitors (just don’t reveal confidential information). You’ll be able to assess the other party’s real interest in working with you and the value they can bring. Remember, vendor relations should be treated as collaborations rather than conquests. Just like the buyer, the vendor must make a profit to stay in business, so if you feel he tries to conquer you, you might not be 100% in a collaboration situation. Conquest equals to short term, while collaboration equals to long-term success.


Ok, you are there. In front of your contract. Just insure what’s written corresponds to your verbal agreement. Then sign, congratulations you got yourself a vendor!

With experience and time, other variables will have to be taken in account in negotiation : culture (you will maybe not be contracting in your own country), verbal and non verbal communication tricks, your negotiation style, psychology, etc. They will have to be discussed topic by topic. But first, get out there and make your own negotiation experience.

This article was written by Alexandra, fashion consultant. Follow her on Twitter @Stylindublin

Are you looking for a new writing opportunity? Perhaps you have style tips that you would like to share with the world? We value new fashion trends and are always looking for talented guest bloggers. If you’re a blogger or writer, this is the place for you to get noticed. Can you see yourself as a part of our blogging team? Apply here!

When to hire a PR agency for your fashion brand?

        As an emerging  designer, you are responsible for everything that happens in your business.   As you gain customers, establish more contacts, and participate in more fashion weeks, you are probably considering if you should continue the work yourself or is it time to bring in a PR professional (consultant or agency).  I interviewed the industry’s experts to help you make the right PR choices.

For those of you who are leaning towards the idea of hiring a PR consultant and agency here is some advice.  I received feedback from image consultants to fashion designers who wanted to share their opinions on when is the appropriate time to hire PR representation.

The first tip comes from Robert Barrows president of R.M. Barrows, Inc. Advertising & Public Relations.

 “Emerging designers should hire both an advertising agency and a

PR  agency.

In many cases, there may not be a lot of PR opportunities for emerging

designers, and you can’t count on when or where they might run, or

what they might say. With advertising, you can say exactly what you want, when and where

you want it, depending on your budget.” – Robert Barrows

Tony Felice President of TFPR & Image Mgmt had this to say,

“What’s the difference between popularity and celebrity? Answer: Publicity. That being said, a new designer can’t afford a large agency. I’d recommend they find an  independent PR rep with industry experience and PROVEN media contacts.”

I also spoke with Emily Taffel  Founder/CEO of Mugsly PR  who suggested:

“Without a PR representative on their team, emerging designers  have the possibility of missing numerous editorial pieces, event and partnership opportunities, and connections to influencers and others that can help bring them into spotlight.”

Alicia Sanchez, designer of Favala and brander of Fashion Designer Business Academy offered her opinion from a designer and brander’s perspective:

  “If you’re a Brand, PR will be knocking on your doors. However, designers should have a budget for PR because no man is an island and Fashion is a Business! Designers must know first if they are a brand or another clothing line.”

The last piece of advice comes courtesy of Annette Szczepan who is a publicist and founder of AnetkaStarrPR.  Here is what she had to share:

“The fashion industry is oversaturated with designers trying to break into it and they need a good publicist or agency behind them, helping them to get noticed, talked about, worn, and connect them to the right people.  I think PR representation is necessary ,but ultimately, designers need to be prepared for what comes with hiring a PR agency so they are not wasting their time and money.”

Hopefully this expert advice will help put things in perspective before taking the plunge to hire a PR consultant or an agency.   Remember to do your research and have a plan in place, and choosing the best representations should be easy.


This article is written by guest writer Tamarah. Follow her on Twitter @TZB86

Are you looking for a new writing opportunity? Perhaps you have style tips that you would like to share with the world? We value new fashion trends and are always looking for talented guest bloggers. If you’re a blogger or writer, this is the place for you to get noticed. Can you see yourself as a part of our blogging team? Apply here!


Branding and Communications for Emerging Designer Part 3

On Part 1/3 we studied the basics of the concepts of communications and branding. On part 2/3 we saw the important points to think about for business communications when you are a young designer trying to get yourself out there. Now, what about the direct communications to the customer?

When it comes to communicating to the customer, all of the visual identity of your brand are important. This part is particularly crucial regarding how much we rely on images for communications and marketing.  Just think about the high use of photo sharing platforms such as Instagram and Facebook. When considering direct communications to the customer, the visual part will be your departure point.

Things you will need to build your branding and communications strategy:

YOUR LOGO: It has to stand out. First of all you have to personally like it. To be proud of it. It is advised that you keep it simple, it must be visible on the label, and this will make it easier and less expensive if you wish to sew the logo directly on your products. You should also strive to have a logo that is readable, understandable and unique.

YOUR LOOKBOOK: Every season you’ll be able to show your inspiration, your identity and the products from your most recent collection. This lookbook has to be carefully crafted as it will define the overall identity of your brand and clothing.

YOUR WEBSITE: If you chose to create a logo, make sure that the design of your logo is consistent with the design of your website. Do something simple, clear and refrain from adding to much details and unnecessary embellishments. It is also recommended that you have a blog, again that fits the overall design and identity of your other visual components.

Why a blog? A blog is a great way to interract with your customers. Find subjects that interest you, and focus on those. It can be anything from art and design, ethical fashion, charity events, technology etc. If you are passionate about your subject it will read more engaging to your customers. One important rule to follow : when updating the blog, make sure you are putting yourself in the company mindset, to ensure that your content is consistent and that it correlates with your brand identity and value. Moreover, your blog will help become more Search Engine Optimal (SEO).

SOCIAL MEDIA: Using social media you’ll be able to easily engage and communicate with your customers. Here are some of the main elements you’ll want to focus on when creating your profile and engaging with the public through social media:


Facebook is a great tool to gain visibility. You’ll get to share and engage with your customers, be referenced on search engines, and it’s a great way to present your portfolio. Most of your “followers” on Facebook will be mainly customers that you already bonded with, and who are continuing the shopping experience through social media, so keep this in mind when deciding on the content you want to post.

You are more likely to gain new customers through Twitter as opposed to Facebook. Twitter is an open network, where people tend to do more ‘exploring’, while most of the likes on Facebook come from existing customers. You’ll get a network of potential customers through Twitter, that will help you gain visibility.


While Facebook and Twitter will be your “corporate” style social media platforms for your brand, you can use Instagram to share more about yourself and what is the actual behind the scenes of your work and life (depending on which extent you want to share snapshots about your daily life).

Facebook and Twitter have to be seen as the more professional interfaces, on which you will have to gain a strategy and style and stick to it. Through Instagram you’ll be able to express yourself in a much more extended and personal way in order to get closer to your viewers.

Now, everything comes together. You’ll have to identify the important questions regarding the overall values of your brand: Who are you? What is your identity? What do you stand for? What makes you stand out in the market? Your vision of the brand has to be clear. You’ll communicate it primarily through images, your product won’t be the only variable in the decision of whether or not to make a purchase for your customer. Who you are as a brand will make the difference in whether or not you are suitable to your audience.

The main takeaway is that you have to create a strong brand identity for your line. You have to take into consideration the customer experience, which does not only take place when your customer is in store.

Think about your customer service, you still have to keep your customers interested with events, pictures of what is happening in store, who are the employees working with you, how are your clothes made, etc. Give some insights of what’s happening on your side or a behind the scene look of the company. Finally, don’t hesitate to engage with the customer! They will feel special and more connected to the brand. If you have some political or charity commitments connected to your line, don’t hesitate sharing about it. Organizing events, communicating about your community engagement, whatever they may be, if they are in line with your brand you can use them to create a stronger bond with your customers.

Last but not least, go out ! Meet your customers ! Go to events, concerts, parties. Be there ! Be around, show yourself, present who you are, what you do and network. Word of mouth and networking are the best weapons to start a business. You have to get your name around !

One last piece of advice: branding is very important but make sure you keep a balance between your products and the brand itself. When growing your company that will be a challenge you will have to be cautious of. A brand has to be consistent with the quality of your products. Don’t put all your eggs in one branding basket!

This article was written by Alexandra. Follow her on Twitter @Stylindublin

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