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.


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!