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Archive for the ‘Guerrilla Marketing’ Category

As a follow-up to my last post, where I linked to an article discussing how an emerging fashion designer used the power of bloggers to get the word-of-mouth she needed to boost her biz, I found a great article that covers exactly how to get that coveted blog coverage. So you, too, can have your very own strategy of blog domination. Rock on. Here’s the link, from SmallBizTrends.com:

5 Dos & Donts For Getting Blog Coverage

by Lisa Barone
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A little note: The FCC now regulates how companies and bloggers interact, and bloggers must disclose their relationship with you. Read about it here. Note, the link to the right of the FCC page takes you to short videos explaining some of the guidelines.

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I love this article about Shabby Apple, a dress company inspired by vintage looks, and how the designer launched her business and connected with bloggers to get her message out there inexpensively. The article also covers other strategic hits and misses, things we can all definitely learn from. But founder Athelia Woolley must be doing something right: after being founded in 2007, the company is now doing a profitable 1.4 million in annual sales.

Read the article here on Crain’s New York:

Hits & Misses: Fashioning a winning strategy

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Surely you’ve heard of Rodarte, the young and wildly successful label by Laura and Kate Mulleavy. Apparently, what got them noticed was their first lookbook, a gorgeous handcrafted piece using paper dolls, which they sent to editors and got immediate attention at WWD and Vogue, giving the young and insanely talented designers a rocket boost into superstardom. To read more about it, go here.

Your lesson here. An amazing lookbook can help you get noticed by the people that count. When you are ready to make your lookbook, think creatively. Use unusual materials. Send it in a gorgeous package. How can you stand out from a pile of junk on editors’ desks? I am sure you’ve got the creative chops to handle it.

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Ok, you have to read this article. Then when you’re done, read it again. Because Marc Ecko has killer brand building ideas. And so should you. Here’s the link:

“It’s Going to Be Big” by Arthur Lubow for Inc. magazine

My quick summary:

Don’t think of yourself as a T-shirt company or a jeans company, but think of yourself as a brand. A brand that lives and breathes. If you’ve got limited funds, find creative ways to build and promote your brand. Marc used YouTube to inexpensively generate lots of media attention for publicity stunts, way before it was fashionable to do so.  One year, Marc couldn’t afford to be at MAGIC but turned it into his best sales year to date by employing a street team to promote the fact that he wasn’t at MAGIC, therefore generating tons of inquiries. (Guerrilla marketing at its best.) As of today, Marc’s brand continues to be successful, despite the economic down-turn, demonstrating the power of brand loyalty.

These are some of the highlights of the article, but you should really read all of it to learn from the awesomeness that is Marc Ecko. Enjoy!

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I just received a question from the kind folks at CloakInc, who had a great question about getting noticed on a small budget. Here is a question from Johanna Pradek at Cloak, followed by my answer:

“Hello,

First of all, thank you so much for providing all of this useful information. It is so helpful and very applicable.

I am one half of the CLOAK Apparel Inc. creative team. CLOAK is a new fashion brand with a cause. We are using our passion for fashion and design to become a vast resource for charities and missions groups around the world. We are focusing on producing designer tees and scarves for the moment and have already launched a collection titled, “Positivity Moves.” Positivity Moves is a designer t-shirt with a large + symbol on it that represents positivity. The profits from that collection will be donated to help the food crisis and recent hurricane devastation in the nation of Haiti.

We currenly do all of our selling online. Because we’re a small start-up, we don’t have a large budget to attend trade shows where we could get get large quantity orders. Most of our budget has been spent on producing the shirts at sample quantities. We’ve been selling the shirts piece by piece on our website. We obviously can’t continue to do business that way if we plan to reach our business objectives. Our #1 problem is a lack of knowledge as to how the business works. We KNOW we have a great product and we’ve have tons of designs just waiting to get produced. We’ve worked hard on our presentation, look book, line sheet and overall brand ID.

So, the BIG questions are…
How do we get our product in front of buyers?
Who should we be sending our look book to?
Is there a directory with contact info available?

PLEASE HELP!!!”

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Johanna, thanks so much for your question, it’s a great one.

First off, congrats for starting a line that gives back to great causes. The world needs more people like you.

Now, some advice for you. If you can’t afford trade shows, you’re going to have to take a grass-roots approach. It’s hard work but the best way to get started until you can afford a sales rep or big marketing budget. Before a client of mine was able to hire a sales rep, he started out by first identifying local shops that would be ideal venues for his product, a line of organic, fair trade fashion. He then made appointments with the buyers at local retail shops that supported this type of fashion, and showed them the product in person. He was able to get local commitments to his line from this very grass-roots approach. I recommend you do the same. Find the local shops that might be interested, and give them a shout. Most boutique owners are hungry to get new lines that no one else has, so you can work this to your advantage.

Then to get exposure across the country, we did a mailing to boutiques that supported organic, fair trade, and socially conscious fashion. This built excitement for the line and generated inquiries. Within days of the postcard going into the mail, we had several inquiries of buyers wanting to see the lookbook, requesting more info, etc.

You asked if there are directories for contact info for retail buyers.

There isn’t really a directory to my knowledge. But you could build your own targeted mailing list (rather than buying a list from a list broker). To do so, first research some brands you like that have some similarities to yours and are also reasonably successful and have lots of exposure. Then, go to their websites and see where they’re stocked. Chances are, those stores might be interested in your product too. Send them a postcard announcing your line, and make sure your contact info is on it, along with a call to action.

Other ideas:

• Work the Press and Social networks: Get very comfortable with PR, learn how to write your own press release to save money. Send samples to the press. The more press you can get cheaply, the more advantage your brand will have. Imagine if you got into LUCKY magazine? Also, identify key bloggers in the socially conscious fashion world and send them samples too. You want as many people talking about you as possible. And there are some great social shopping sites that can generate a lot of page views, where people will review and form groups around your product. They are:

– Crowdstorm

– Kaboodle

– Stylehive

ThisNext

And, I’d love for you to create an amazing video and post it on Youtube. Don’t forget to include your URL.

• Go “guerrilla”: get as much exposure on the street as you possibly can. But don’t get just anyone wearing it. Identify the local hipsters on the scene—local celebrities—and send them samples. Let them become brand evangelists. If they’re spotted wearing your shirt, it increases your street cred and generates attention.

You may already be doing some of this stuff, but keep it up and don’t be afraid to step it up. I wish you tons of luck! If you ever have any questions in the future, don’t be afraid to reach out.

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