DIY PR for Emerging Fashion Designers

In the world of business it’s all about finding ways you can improve and stay in business.  The same can be said in the fashion industry.  I want to focus on emerging designers.  Besides their unique designs and brands what other ways can emerging designers make sure they are exposed to potential customers and opportunities? The answer is Public Relations.  However, if you are just starting off you might not be able to afford to hire a PR agency.  Here are some solutions I have researched for those who want to go the DIY route.

There are a couple of ways you can approach handling your own PR.  While researching I came across the website Handle Your Own PR.   Here you will find free tips as well as media list packages starting as low as $80.00. The packages are categorized by type and number of contacts.   What I liked about this website is in addition to being able to purchase media lists there is also a step by step process on how to get started .    If you want to find more about Handle Your Own PR visit their website and  find them on Facebook  .

Another option is using social media.  It’s amazing how many opportunities have happened thanks to social media.  If you are new to social media I would suggest approaching one account at a time.  Test one out (i.e. Facebook, Twitter, and etc.) and see which one you are most comfortable with.  You never know who might see it and find something they like.  If you don’t want to make a personal Facebook page you can always create a Business or Fan Page.  I have one myself and it has helped me establish more contacts along with building my audience.

Another helpful DIY approach to PR is putting together a media kit. Basically it gives people a better idea about your company(press release, interviews, and etc).  If you aren’t quite sure just how to put one together there are several sources to help guide you along.  One website in particular coincidentally called The Emerging Designer just happens to have a must have list of what to include in your brand’s media kit.


Emerging designers can always research the best ways to tackling their own PR  by way of books. I happen to have found several books on how you can be your own PR rep. Do Your Own PR: The A-Z of Growing Your Business Through The Press, Networking and Social Media by Paula Gardner is just one of the books that can offer you guidance. This option is great if you want to take notes and bookmark certain sections that have peak your interest.

fashion pr

Image courtesy of

Lastly, you can always participate in interviews to get people more familiar with your brand. There are several websites that can connect you to fashion bloggers and writers who might be in interested in interviewing you.  Websites like Help A Reporter Out help make connections like this happen.

No matter what method you choose, you should be well on your way to creating an image that will bring you more contacts and increase your business opportunities.


Branding and Communications for Emerging Designers (Part 2)

In the first part of this series, we discussed the basics of communications and branding. Today we’ll take you through the practical steps to branding your collection.

This step is vital in having a place to communicate your existence to fashion followers. Which markets have you chosen and what are you target customers? Presenting your collection on various platforms with a logo and products is important, but what’s more crucial is your business lingo as you meet buyers. How can you convince individuals that your products will be a hit?  This is when your business brain should take over.

Discussing who your target is and how your brand is relevant to today’s industry is important. How will you cope with stock turnover or fit the demands of your target store? Depending on the store, the demands and commitments will vary. For example, a department store won’t ask the same things as a small independant shop. This business discussion will be key in communicating with buyers.

Visuals in the form of a logo, pictures, advertising campaigns are key to supporting the expansion of your brand. These will aid in communicating the message of your collection as you meet with buyers. How can you use visuals to show what your brand is, what it stands for, and who it is for? It should align with the message your trying to communicate.

Buyers are not the only individuals designers will have to meet. In the industry, there are suppliers and distributors. This again shows the business side of the industry. For a moment, forget about your brand, creativity, art and your design. You’ll have to prepare the technical aspects of exactly what you want for your products and partners you are working with. Appropriate patterns will be needed for factories to produce products and there is little room for errors. This is described as a business to business (B2B) meeting and for smaller designers, don’t expect the same treatment as a big brand who will have a larger scale of production.

  • Focus on the quality you’ll get for your budget

  • Focus on your margins

  • Be professional, communicate as a professional

  • Be prepared of what you are willing to accept and what you are not

  • Know shipping terms, quantities, quality, margin

  • Get a factory you can count on, though it may not be the cheapest you can find

  • Find a producer with who you can build a long term relationship with

Finally, there is also another group that matters: the press.

If your advertising budget is very small, you’ll have to rely on Public Relations. To create awareness about brands, a good pitch will interest journalists through story telling. Don’t forget pictures in aiding your descriptions of the collection. It should be simple and direct. A great way to do this is communicating with bloggers in your market and important press mediums. Talk about the values and inspiration behind why and how you’ve created the brand.

Doing this is a difficult task for people who are not journalists, but it will help you in business negotiations. This simple exercise will help you express your brand and values in front of buyers and press. Always back up your presentations and PR communications with images as these will define your collection. Optimal use of social media will add to creating brand awareness which will hopefully lead to customers.

With a modest budget, the things outlined above are challenging but not impossible. This is also the case with advertising – how can designers do this with a small budget? Stay tuned for part 3/3!

This article was written by Alexandra. 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!

Branding and Communications for Emerging Designers (Part 1)

Are you a designer with a great collection? Perfect. Now you just need to sell it by using branding and communications; you need to let others know of your amazing designs! This is a three part series aimed at giving emerging designers the top branding and communications tips they need for their businesses.

In order to understand how to brand a collection let’s start with the basics of communications and branding.

Communication refers to the reception and/or broadcasting of information, news, ideas, feelings, etc. This happens by speaking, writing or any other mediums. This communication drives the connection of people or places and meaning.

Strategic communication is coordinating the things you do and say in support of your objectives. More formally, I define strategic communication as coordinated actions, messages, images, and other forms of signaling or engagement intended to inform, influence, or persuade selected audiences (…)”
-Christopher Paul, Strategic Communication: Origins, Concepts, and Current Debates

Branding is creating a unique name and image for a product or range of products in the consumers’ mind. Branding focuses on influencing the perception of customers as an image or impression is built in the mind of customers. The idea of branding came up when the product itself was not enough in the midst of many competitors. Branding gave more options for the customers to choose from: the brand was an added value to the product. Customers could recognize their set of values through the brand.

“ Brand is the image people have of your company or product. It’s who people think you are. Or quoting Ze Frank, it’s the “emotional aftertaste” that comes after an experience (even a second-hand one) with a product, service or company.  (Also, it’s the mark left after a red-hot iron is applied to a steer’s hindquarters.)”
-Ann Handley , Author with C.C. Chapman of Content Rules

The Millward Brown Pyramid is an extremely simple visual of what builds a brand and customer loyalty.

millward brown

The next important step is creating a Presence – customers have to notice your brand. Consider how your products can be sold and where: will your products be located online? In a brick and mortar store? Do you want to concentrate on your local market or reach other countries? If you will reach an international market, are you ready to ship products overseas? Deciding on your target market will help this process and improve communication as well. By simply deciding on location, you can assess the selling platforms that will best be accessible. An example is having your target be an international market. The easiest method would be to contact the appropriate websites that have reach many consumers. In contrast, brick and mortar distributors may be better for local markets.

After you succeed choosing how to create your presence, the next step is to think of the type of customer and their needs. This is your Relevance.
What type of customer will be interested in your products? What type of customers are you interested in? And most importantly, how much is your target customer willing to spend? Because the customer has so much influence over the price, you must consider your market when determining price points that are relevant to them. Factors to consider are: customer’s age, shopping patterns, revenue, and interests. In order to build a strong brand relevant to your target, you have to understand your customer.

Finally, how do you compare with other brands? This depends on your brand’s Performance. Performance adds value among other competitors. Understanding what already exists in the fashion industry is vital to the growth of your brand. What are some strengths/weaknesses of other brands? Where do you fit in? Asking these questions and taking what you’ve learnt about your brand will allow you to stand out. Being unique is not hard to do once you find what is unique to your brand.

A factor in addition to your brand’s performance is the Advantage it has. There will be many comparisons to be made based on the quality and pricing of your products, but what makes your brand truly stand out? This can be done in many ways through your engagement with customers and the customer service you provide. Whatever can contribute to the brand’s essence and values to help the customer relate to it is valuable.

After your customer has identified with your brand and products, you’ve Bonded with them. Hopefully ,the customer will become a loyal follower and continue to support your brand.

As you can see, communication and brand building takes a lot of work, but the most important part is understanding the customer and who you’re designing for. With the foundation, the next steps will be easier to build upon.

Stay tuned for practical steps to branding (Part 2/3)!


This article was written by Alexandra. 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!

Learn how to crowdfund your fashion business

Crowdfunding is now a popular alternative to traditional funding, but is it right for you and your fashion business?

Luevo has teamed up with Startup Fashion and put together a detailed and resourceful guide and workbook for fashion businesses interested in crowdfunding. It took us months and we accumulated hundreds of hours in research and in writing, but here it is available now to fashion entrepreneurs around the world.

The 77 page guide includes 7 chapters from how to choose the right platform, how to prepare for a crowdfunding campaign, how to market it and what to do once the campaign is over. To make things easier, we’ve also included templates, checklists, extra resources, budget tools and sample social media messaging. Basically, everything independent and emerging fashion brands need to know to successfully launch and manage their crowdfunding campaigns, on any platform of their choice.

Check out the table of contents!


Introduction to Crowdfunding
Is Crowdfunding Right for You?
Choosing Your Crowdfunding Platform
Preparing for Your Crowdfunding Campaign
Marketing Your Crowdfunding Campaign Before Your Launch
Marketing Your Live Crowdfunding Campaign
What to Do After your Campaign Has Closed

Tools and Bonus info:

Pre-Launch Campaign Checklist
Social Media Resources
Social Media Sample Posts
Email Templates
Project Budget Template
Fashion Industry Interviews
8 Tips for Positioning your Brand for Funding
12 Tips for Continued Business Success

If you’ve used our crowdfunding guide let us know how it helped you and your fashion business via Twitter. If you’d like to apply as a designer on our platform, please do so here, our platform is now open for any designers located in USA and in Canada.


Tips for Trunk Shows

With the many holiday festivities, come the exciting shopping opportunities. Celebrated as a shopping tradition, the trunk show has become a mainstay for many shoppers. Traditionally understood as a travelling trunk of products, trunk shows are where designers, artisans or vendors bring their merchandise directly to a boutique or other unique location for a special in-shop showing for store personnel and customers. So why should you hold a trunk show and what makes for a successful one?

Trunk Show1

For all emerging designers and smaller artist-designer lines, trunk shows can be a great opportunity to fuel your fashion business. It is a chance to introduce your brand and products to customers and new clientele. As such, you’ll be able to interact and sell your brand, ultimately receiving valuable insight and feedback. As a bonus, by partnering with other retailers or vendors your brand becomes known and potentially gains credibility. For success, these are 5 top tips for a noteworthy trunk show.

Partner with the right vendors and boutiques

Since one of the aims of the trunk show is to show your products to potential customers, choose vendors that complement your work and understand your businesses end. Same goes to boutiques, you’ll want to work with a retailer whose lines attract customers to ensure a steady flow of traffic. Ideally, you’ll want to work with a boutique whose clientele fits with your brand’s lifestyle and what it has to offer.

Hintz Design trunk show 2

Plan the time

Similar to other events, trunk shows require a calendar. While timing is dependent on merchandise, there are key shopping periods throughout the year that can guarantee a high or low profitability. For instance, the holiday season is an ideal ‘selling period’ where customers are fixated in shopping eagerness. However, you’ll want to avoid sale periods, typically January, a month associated with shopping coma, the post-shock of holiday shopping.

Promote Yourself

To ensure a high probability of traffic, you’ll want strong promotion. Connect with your online social networks, and use your savvy social media skills. To promote your trunk show, you’ll need to send timely and key messages and attention filled imagery through your social channels and associated websites. For your committed clientele, send personalized email invitations, these customers are special so make the invitations seem that way too.

Have an inviting display

Plan on having an intriguing display for the trunk show, nothing that seems typical. To attract and encourage customers to visit use noticeable colour, neat arrangement of merchandise and a section that highlights the trunk show. If your section looks special and well put together, it will translate into your brand and products.

Trunk Show Hintz

Know your story

One of the special qualities of a trunk show is the interaction you have with your customers. As such, communicate the story and inspiration behind your work, people are interested in the uniqueness and novelty of your products. If the vendor or designer is not available throughout the whole show, make sure all parties can speak accurately and knowledgeable about the products and brand.

trunk show 6


Article written by Raylin Grace aka the Red Curl Owl with Luevo. You can follow Raylin at @raylingm 

Five Tips for any Successful Crowdfunding Campaign

In a web 2.0 generation, the ‘crowd’ is synonymous with the buzzword, crowdfunding. This collective effort of the crowd or “wisdom of the crowd” has become a mainstay for the creation and success of many early stage companies, startups and digital platforms.

From the many successful crowdfunding campaigns through Kickstarter and Indiegogo it seems like this trend won’t be disappearing anytime soon. While, we may think crowdfunding is an easy and simple effort in actuality it requires extensive thinking and planning. What makes a crowdfunding campaign successful? Many would ask. To explore this question, let’s look at five tips for crowdfunding success.


Do your research. When planning a crowdfunding campaign, research is a crucial step that shouldn’t be overlooked. Research provides the building blocks to understanding your key demographic, competition, and place in the market. By doing your research, you can stumble upon other successful crowdfunding projects, which could lead to inspiration and ideas for your project. Additionally, you’ll need to research relevant media and keep an ongoing list of people who may be interested in your project.


Define the specifics: Defining and knowing your brand is important. For instance, spend time planning out your goals, missions, and any descriptions that resonate with your product. Here, you should consider the perks or incentives that will encourage people to get involved and support your campaign.


Communicate your brand: While, knowing your brand is important you’ll need to communicate it to others. In order for potential backers and media to support you, and the crowd to follow, make sure your pitch is genuine and well articulated. Simply telling people about your product won’t lead to success, you’ll need to create a story for your product. Resist the hard facts and tech specs, and opt for a story that connects with people in a meaningful way. Add in some creativity and weave in videos, images, and anything that will catch people’s interest.briseeley

Leverage your social networks: The words ‘hype’ and ‘buzz’ should resonate with your ambitions for a successful crowdfunding campaign. Get heavily connected to social channels to help spread the word about your crowdfunding efforts. You’ll want your crowdfunding project to be promoted to people in your personal social networks and beyond. By reaching out such as through a tweet, you can connect to like-minded and tech-savvy people to start channeling the interaction about your efforts. In addition, you can generate a lot of buzz by reaching out to bloggers, journalists, and reporters for potential press coverage and media recognition.


Always recognize your contributors and supporters: Have a ready to go list of core contacts that can help promote your crowdfunding efforts. These contacts will help contribute and make the project successful, and also give you the extra confidence and positivity needed for launching. Even after the initial burst of energy after launching, you’ll need to stay engaged, which requires frequent updates to your contributors and supporters. These contacts can do wonders for your campaign, but you’ll need to find ways of returning the favour to make them feel important and appreciated for their effort.



Article written by Raylin Grace aka the Red Curl Owl with Luevo. You can follow Raylin at@raylingm

Business Fashion & Beyond with Hannah Yakobi

FAJO is Canada’s leading digital fashion magazine. Started in Canada, the publication is international in Italy, the USA and the UK. Hannah Yakobi, the Editor-In-Chief of FAJO was the main speaker for the Fashion, Business & Beyond event. One of the topics discussed was harnessing the digital space for a brand by explaining the importance of quality photos, shortening links and creating specific hashtags.

FAJO_Hanna Yakobi

Quality photos may sound like an obvious positive brand experience but is often overlooked with small labels. A little effort goes a long way – nobody expects professional imagery for start-ups, but effort is required. Taking quality photos is about promoting the brand, so jeopardizing it with poorly executed photos should be avoided. If a brand is not willing to put effort into displaying pieces, certainly nobody would be interested in investing time or money with the brand. Utilize a historical building, a beach or a park. Ask around for help, photography students or a friend who takes pictures as a past time.

Secondly, shortening links is an easy yet vital part of operating a successful in the digital realm. It’s no surprise that having a digital presence is a necessary part of operating in the twenty-first century. Use it effectively, for Twitter and Facebook, shorten your links. You only have 140 characters on Twitter to sell the brand so there is no room for long links. Give followers something clean and professional to look at. Websites like Bitly or Google URL Shortener are free options to use to shorten links.

Finally, create a memorable and unique hashtag to help followers be able to connect with how others are experiencing the brand. Whether it is campaign specific, or something the brand will use time and time again, a quick search on Twitter will allow you to know how many people – if any – have used the hashtag. It’s an opportunity to own a piece of digital space, if marketed effectively enough it will be instantly recognizable for your brand.


Fashion is a competitive world and these changes in the digital space for your brand are necessary to stay competitive. Take the time, make a plan and dedicate time to learn to make the above three habit. The only thing more exciting than creating the labels next collection is having an engaged audience to motivate and cheer you on along the way.


Guest Blogger: Bhreigh Gillis, Community Manager at Luevo and blogger.

Feature image and Hannah Yakobi photo credits to Fajo magazine.


Fashion Designers Apply Now to Fund Your Next Collection!

We are so excited to have seen a wonderful 2014/2015 season with so many amazing collections being funded on our platform!

Here is a short list of FAQs to prepare you for the application process:

Q1. I am fresh out of school can I still apply?

A1. Yes. Your acceptance depends on a combination of  factors: experience, education, skills, awards received, uniqueness of products. We are looking for talented individuals  that have the potential to grow when using our service.

Q2. I am a somewhat established independent fashion designer, what can I get from your service?

A2. As an established designer  you can use the Luevo platform to test the market desirability of  your new products. Better yet, you gain more followers, pre-sell your collections and further strengthen your brand!

Q3. Can I just post my design drawings?

A3. Unfortunately, no. Our customers want to see exactly the final product they will be buying. You will have to produce a sample and post high-resolution images that show the details of your product.

Q4. Is Luevo manufacturing my products once they are successfully funded?

A4. NO. You as a designer are in charge of your own production.

Q5. Do my products have to be handmade?

A5. NO. This is not a site for handmade products only. You can choose to make your own production or outsource. We encourage using local manufacturers and suppliers.

Q6.What happens with the returns?

A6. You are responsible for accepting returns and refund the customer.

Q7. Do I have to compromise on price because I am pre-selling my products?

A7.  You are responsible for determining the appropriate price for your products, based on your costs and required profit margins. If your minimums are high then it makes business sense to reduce pricing accordingly.

Q8. Does Luevo own the rights over my designs?

A8. NOPE. You own full rights over your designs, products and brand.

Q9. Do I have to be based in North America to post my products on Luevo?

A9. YES. Currently we can only launch US and Canada based designers.

Q10. Do I have to pay to have my products on Luevo?

A10. NO. It is free to post products and request pre-orders. We only make money if you do, after you successfully fund your products.

If you are a fashion designer ready to crowdfund your next collection, please use our online application HERE. And if you’d like to learn more, don’t forget to check out our free tips and sign-up for courses and webinars.


3 Tips for the Emerging Fashion Designer

Yet another week of fashion extravaganza stormed through our city, and many emerging fashion designers have had the opportunity to mingle, network or even launch their collections.

I am a big follower of everything that moves in the fashion industry: bloggers, stylists, designers, fashionistas and pretty much anyone that cares and is involved in the local fashion scene. I lived every moment of the fashion week by digesting Twitter feeds , Instagram pictures and Facebook posts.

And here is tip #1: If you are an aspiring or emerging fashion designer – you must stay connected to your local fashion influencers! Twitter is a good place to “stalk” them and stay up-to-date with latest news and events in the fashion industry. Find bloggers, stylists, fashion publications and organizations that will surely overload you with the latest fashion news.

Indeed, during fashion week it can be a little overwhelming with all the media hype around the big established designers and the runway shows. But learn to listen and filter to what is of real value to you

Tip #2: Attend smaller events where you can get valuable networking done.

Best part of fashion week is the high concentration of fashion influencers, but you will have to find the appropriate event to network with them. One of these opportunities was the speed-networking event organized by Fashion Group international and Fashion Takes Action. This event is typically sold-out, and you can meet with potential clients, HR recruiting firms specializing in fashion, bloggers, boutique owners and mentors. I recommend these types of events to anyone starting up in any kind of industry, and make sure you bring tons of business cards!

Tip #3: Enroll in industry specific organizations before the fashion week.

You are very lucky to be able to start a fashion business in a city like Toronto. Bigger metropolitan cities typically have fashion hubs that come with non-for-profit organizations, incubators, and an abundance of mentors. Being part of these will give you access to latest news, reduced ticket prices to fashion events and more networking opportunities.
Here is a short list of organizations that as an aspiring or emerging fashion designer in Toronto you should seriously consider:

Toronto Fashion Incubator – an innovative and highly respected non-profit organization dedicated to supporting and nurturing small business entrepreneurs in the fashion industry.

Fashion Group International – global non-profit organization of executives, designers and entrepreneurs in more than 30 chapters around the world. Toronto is their only Canadian chapter.

Fashion Takes Action – Canada’s premier non-profit organization that focuses on sustainability in the fashion industry.

pre-ordering retail fashion for independent fashion designers

Crowdfunding and Crowdsourcing Fashion

In one of our previous posts we highlighted some of the challenges that aspiring fashion designers encounter when starting up their businesses (you can find the full article here). To sum up, here are the top three problems:

Let’s be honest, the fashion industry does not take full advantage of the advancements in IT, and the designers have to be very creative to overcome their challenges. Many resort to major online marketplaces to sell their creations. These work for designers offering custom made products – and they can sell one item at a time based on customer’s requirements. On the downside, the designers can’t source materials in large quantities because of the unpredictability in demand and they end up sourcing expensive supplies and pass that cost to the buyer. Furthermore, it is very difficult for the buyer to find a particular designer as these marketplaces become more like a universe of everything for everyone (For example, Etsy reportedly has over 800,000 active shops).

What we’ve recently noticed is that independent fashion designers are now appealing to the public to support their businesses and they do it on crowdfunding websites. Still, the fashion category on Kickstarter has the lowest success rate. We believe this is because the existing crowdfunding platforms don’t make for an elegant e-commerce solution. Consumers can’t really shop the designers’ products, but rather “donate” in return for different types of rewards. Crowdfunding works for fashion retailers that sell single products (such as the super-famous pebble watch); however, they don’t work as well for fashion designers that sell multiple products. crowdfunding fashion

Finally, a lot of new designers try crowdsourcing their designs, which takes care of the second obstacle they encounter – forecasting demand. By using a voting, liking and sharing system you can learn from your potential buyers more than if you were to investigate yourself. You can choose to produce only the most popular products or modify your collection based on consumer’s feedback. Still – desirability doesn’t necessarily translate into orders, as the potential buyers are not required to commit to a purchase.

At Luevo, we are working hard to develop a new kind of crowdfunding solution specifically targeted at aspiring and emerging independent fashion designers. We will use a combination of best practices from existing crowdfunding and crowdsourcing business models to create one solution to a designer’s top three challenges. We understand that as independent fashion designers you have certain production requirements. On our platform you will be able to obtain the pre-orders you need by crowdsourcing your demand.

You can find out more on how our fashion crowdfunding platform works here.