When you’re out here trying to make it, it’s rare that you get the chance to have a face to face with a person that’s making strides in the TV or music industry. Even if they’re not in your particular industry, it’s important to take every opportunity to get an insider’s perspective on the characteristics and actions of people with successful careers.
Milwaukee has a very small entertainment and arts market. So when it was announced on Facebook that there was an event, “The Todd Tucker Reality Mixer”, with an entertainment panel featuring Todd Tucker of the Real Housewives of Atlanta; I thought it would be the perfect platform to find out more about the basics of reality TV. The panel itself featured: Todd Tucker, public relations/marketing/branding guru Shaun McKenzie, and Grammy nominated producer/song writer Chad C-Note Roper.
The information and experiences they shared with the audience were priceless. No question was too minimal or too evasive, all subjects were fair game. People wanted advice on how to get discovered, how to tell their story, and if their journey was a viable option for a book or TV show. Out of all the advice, here are the three most important pieces of advice in a nutshell:
1. Social Media is EVERYTHING
This blog has stressed over and over again the importance of social media. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat etc. are a real time representation of your brand. You have to treat it like the commercials or ads for it. Chad C-Note Roper stated that he chooses almost 90% of his new talent off of social media sites. It’s the perfect platform to shine, and showcase whatever your talents are.
Keep your personal drama off of your feed, keep the content cohesive, and make sure your timelines are current.
2. What Kills Careers
The panel was in consensus about what kills careers. Inconsistency, no follow-through, not valuing time, and not having self awareness. You have to do what you say you;re going to do and do it well. You have to value people’s time and respect the time you invest within yourself. You have to know yourself, and respect and utilize the position that you’re in to get to the next level.
3. Know Your Story
You have to have a story to tell, especially if you want to be on Reality TV. You can’t be scared to share it, and you have to have the ability to effectively communicate it to the outside world. Shaun McKenzie kept reiterating that the clarity of your message dictates how it’s received by potential clients and audiences. Producers look for a person that will engage the masses.
In a nutshell it all goes back to old school principles. Make eye contact, smile, showcase your best work, keep your pictures and videos crispy and clear; and Todd Tucker specifically stated how it really annoys him when people are looking at their phones instead of paying attention in a meeting. So put your phone down!
It’s never too late to go after your dreams. Be persistent and do what you do best. Watch how your master plan comes into fruition.
Stay tuned………..Beyond New Style, Where Fashion Is Art In 3d
The finale for Phoenix Fashion Week concentrated on Couture. The creme de la creme of collections. By far, it was my favorite night of shows overall. Couture is what fashion is all about, the artistry of the industry.
The battle for Designer Of The Year continued n the couture category, the winner would have their collection sold on Evine Live, and when you’re trying to come up in this industry that’s a pretty big deal. Azmara Asefa, Hues Of Ego, Leola Sky and Michelle Hebert showed up and showed out. For the first time all week I was glued to the stage for every collection. This time I had front row, where I could check out the pieces, detail by detail, up close and personal.
Azmara had one of the best video introductions of all the designers. Describing her design aesthetic as “apocolypse ready” she referenced one of my favorite books of all time as her inspiration, “Brave New World” by Aldous Huxley. I could see the distinctions between the two worlds, The Savages and those who lived in The World State. Through the use of style lines, form, and color she successfully communicated the popular themes within the book. Edgy pieces with 2d elements, rips, leather, and sheers in soft tones of sea foam green, grey, white and black all told a story about fighting to maintain their individualism(savages). Other pieces were chic clean lines, stylized futuristic versions of classic pieces the designer categorized as “minimal fashion”(people in The World State).
Hues Of Ego
Hues Of Ego had a mind blowing intro. A ballerina opened up the show with a full performance down the runway. What I liked about it was that it really gave the audience a feel for character of the customer. I know who their customer is, and she stopped and did some moves right in front of me! It was breathtaking and captivating, then the first model came out with a giant lollipop/light globe to an interpretation of “Lose Yourself” by Eminem. There was a variety of pieces in this collection. Everyday wear to Art-To-Wear. That’s what made it stand out from the rest. White, black, peach, mustard, black and burgundy came together to create a fashion forward look for the fashion forward woman going into the future. The globe element was carried throughout the collection through caging, lace, and 2d elements. It was all very elegant and upscale, you could be a queen from another planet, going to a Hollywood event, or going to work.
Leola Sky had a collection of pieces that could all be worn everyday. could easily see a CEO in New York or Paris wearing these clothes to work or having them all in her wardrobe. Classic styles with an updated edge, combined with metallics and neutral colors spoke to the modern woman who likes clean lines and straightforward looks. A fan of the pencil skirt, and fitted anything… the metallic goold pencil skirt and black jacket, plus the white catsuit with the cape were my favorite pieces in her collection.
Michelle Hebert was the emerging designer who had the most “couture”-ish collection. It was more of a cross between fantasy mystic bride, and sexy socialite. There were bridal gowns and clothes inspired by everyday looks. Black, white, and tan kept it all neutral and soft; no hard edges. I’m not a fan of tattered detailing because it’s hard to do without leaving your piece looking like a ghost costume, but she pulled it off on some of those dresses. The trend of the sheer nude base with detailing on top was in almost every collection, and it continued throughout hers as well.
I was torn for who I thought the winner should be. My prediction is usually based on marketability and profitability. I ask myself, “who will buy these clothes?”. A younger demographic would buy Azmara Asefa, a more established consumer would buy Leola Sky’s collection, but Hues Of Ego could appeal to the widest audience, and their pieces looked very expensive. My choice was Hues Of Ego and I was right! They won Designer of The Year, and then Evine Live dropped a bomb ad named a people’s choice winner to also have their collection sold. Lily V Designs was chosen by a landslide for viewer’s choice.
The Established Designers came out hard from the start. DesignMe, Glenn Plaid, Albert Andrada and Rocky Gathercole came to remind us what fashion IS.
Design Me had pieces that were couture, but wearable. Lots of 2d elements like fringe with little eyeballs on them created movement and a playful look that was very Sex In The City. It was metropolitan, modern looks, balanced with modernized classic looks had clean lines, crispy colors and there was something for everybody.
Glenn Plaid menswear was full of eye candy. I had to work hard to pay attention to the clothes! This collection was for the classic man. Well tailored, suits, denim, shirts and coats/jackets came in a variety of patterns and colors. red/burgundy, blue, black/gray, white, and tan were the base colors. One of my favorite pieces was a Red wool navy pea coat, and I also like the denim jeans, white oxford shirt and blazer. Every piece looked like money.
This collection was full of dreamy gowns, rhinestones and beads. My favorite piece was this outfit with gold pants, a gold bustier, and gold jacket with tails. It’s similar to something I have in my bridal collection sketches. But the other dresses were very “princess barbie”. There was one sea foam green gown that was 70’s inspired with wing sleeves, and the finale gown that Miss Arizona 2015 was wearing was breathtaking. I could easily see it on the Red Carpet at the Oscars.
Rocky Gathercole was the finale for the whole Phoenix Fashion Week. He mananged to create a collectiion that was full of classic pieces created out of pearls, beads and rhinestones. Every piece was art-to wear. I had three favorite pieces in this collection. The black and white catsuit with the fringe, the onesie with the 2d detailed loops, and the white dress with the big pearl shoulders. I wasn’t too crazy about his finale bridal piece, but the rhinestone bodice was beautiful. What I can say is that the craftsmanship of his collection was on a whole nother level. I could see every detail, and every single piece was flawless.
Until Next time…Beyond New Style Where Fashion Is Art In 3d
Day 2 of Phoenix Fashion Week was full of pleasant surprises. So for this post I’m going to review the show from the end to the beginning, because it was the FINALE that blew my mind and really represented the epitome of fashion.
Friday night showcased 7 brands. ARAE, Cute Like Mad, Laura Tanzer, Lousy Rich, and Michi Knitwear were the Emerging Designers; while Dolcessa, Yen, and YAS Couture were the established designers in the evening wear category. Common elements throughout collections were: capes, trains, fringe, tye dye, hi-low hems, and mixed prints. Beyond that there was a variety of product, styles, color ways and detailing. I saw a little something for everybody. Now, as a luxury designer with a concentration in urban couture/luxury branding, I’m hard to impress because I’m hard on myself. Last night I was beyond impressed, I was inspired. But enough about me, I’ll blog about my personal experience after all the shows are over, let’s start with the established brands and talk about the showstopper; YAS Couture.
YAS Couture based in Kuwait is created by fashion designer Elie Madie. This collection was breathtaking. What set it apart from anything I had seen so far was the level of craftsmanship, and Mr. Madi pushes the envelope with his detailing and bling. YES honey these gowns had so much of what I lovem romance, elegance, superb fit, variety, color, beading, fringe, and Swarovski rhinestones, It was over the top, but marketable at the same time. I can easily see any one of these pieces on a celebrity red carpet. Prices ranging in the thousands, or even tens of thousands.
Short gowns, long gowns, rompers, onesies, open back, spaghetti strap, short sleeve, long sleeves, trains, capes, lace, piecing, and every color rhinestone/bead and fringe set on a nude base. Sheers, stretch satin, velvet, lace, and the sheer nude base made for a show stopping lineup. This was the most color I had seen on the catwalk all week. Deep burgundy, red, royal blue, black, yellow, green, white, metallic silver, and metallic goal came together in the opening few pieces and then staggered throughout the rest of the collection. The finale piece was a jaw dropping strapless white wedding gown with a rhinestone encrusted bodice and full balloon skirt with rhinestones that tapered back into a train; and she came out to my favorite song “Fantasy” by Alina Baraz. I couldn’t have been more pleased and speechless. The detailing was flawless, and even on the dresses without bling, Bukey created a 2d effect that gave the pieces a futuristic feel. The ladies looked like glammed out superheroes, but Elie Madi has definitely become this girl’s superman. Kudos to YAS Couture.
The man himself Elie Madi
Yen was a collection out of Dubai that also had beautiful gowns with rhinestones, pearls, lace, sheers, trains and some 2d detailing. Neutral color ways like black and white dominated but these pieces also contained exceptional structure, fit, and elegance.
Dolcessa Swimwear of Las Vegas was last year’s winner of the Emerging Designer Award. This brand is international and has been featured in Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. Bright color ways combined with peacock print, stain glass print, snakeskin, floral, tye dye, and pebble print defined this collection. Red, teal, gold, white, black, orange, green, and melon combinations made for edgy pieces that popped. But, I was more impressed with the Brazilian Charmosa Swimwear featured on Thursday night. It offered more of a variety and seemed more fashion forward. However, every designer has to go with what sells, so if it ain’t broke don’t fix it. Oh yea, the gold belt with the wrap attached was actually one of the best pieces next to the maxi beach dresses.
The Emerging Designer Competition was interesting. M pick for the winner based on marketability was a tie between Michi Knitwear and Laura Tanzer. Both collections were chic, could be marketed to a wide audience and I looked expensive, they looked like luxury brands.
Michi Knitwear of New York City was a collection of knit pieces in a rainbow of colors. I love color, so this was one of my favorites. The dresses, skirts and tops came in a varity of lengths, shapes, and styles; plus they all fit like a glove. The fabric would allow for the collection to be sold to many body types and appeals to a wide market ages 25-45.
The Laura Tanzer collection of Tuscon Arizona was another one of my top picks. These pieces were chic, upscale, and very New York. Her use of layering, trim, color blocking, and mastery of structure is what made the outfits stand out from the rest. Floral prints, pinstripes, and motorcycle jacket lapel element kept classic pieces fashion forward. Dresses, dress pants, blazers, jackets, and skirts could do numbers on Evine.
Cute Like Mad
Cute Like Mad of Seattle had a playful collection of dresses, pants, shorts, tops, and skirts. Their use of leather was fashion forward and edgy, along with my favorite piece which was a top with black fringe shoulders. I also really like this pebbly print that was incorporated into pieces with mixed fabric and lots of gores and piecing. The color blocking and prints are the elements that made the collection show worthy.
Arae of Chicago looked like loungewear or sleepwear with an organic feel. Soft tye dye satin pieces had clean lines and flawlessly lay on the body. It was elegant, and well executed. However there wasn’t the variety that I saw in other collections.
Lousy Rich of Scottsdale, Arizona was the other Emerging Designer but unfortunately I don’t have images. This collection was playful, with a color way of pepto pink, black and sea green from my notes. I must not have been too impressed, but I can’t picture the pieces, but they were in the running so I’m sure it was good.
In the end Evine chose ARAE as the Emerging designer of the year and will be selling their collection on their network.
Transcend The Trends, Beyond New Style Where Fashion Is Art In 3d
Phoenix is the quickly becoming the premiere fashion event in the Southwest. October 1-3 boutiques, emerging and established designers all come together for three days of sales and shows. Just straight fashion hustle and flow. So far, I’m loving it! I was impressed by the whole operation. The PR was on point, the setup was very chic and metropolitan, and I enjoyed every minute of the shows. It was all very, Southwest luxury.
Day one, was all about lifestyle brands. Evine has a competition for the emerging designers for a live TV show on their network selling the featured collection. The four brand s from October first were Charmosa Swimwear, Haute Body and Lily V and Medium Apparel.
Charmosa Swimwear of San Francisco has Brazilian roots. Its, elegant, sexy, and very fashion forward. I love water and own so many swimsuits that I can t keep track, so I would wear every piece I saw on the runway. The designer is a woman who is a woman, wife, mother and has strong family connections within her brand and it shows. Popular colors were red, orange, yellow, green and blue. Elements that I noticed were tie-dye, fringe coverups, rouching in the bum area, and high waist bottoms. the detailing stood out and kind of popped no matter where you were seated which speaks to the craftsmanship of the pieces.
HauteBody of Los Angeles is fashion forward athletic wear. Being a lover of yoga myself, I could picture having every piece in my closet. Yoga pants, jackets, sports tops, capris, and shorts and a catsuit came in black, white, pink and blue floral print, heather gray, white net, wet look black, and metallic silver. This collection was futuristic while staying true to its athletic roots, and versatile. I could see it being worn by a wide market around the globe.
Lily V of Peoria Illinois had a collection of casual wear. You could clearly see the 70’s inspiration throughout all the pieces. Fringe, crop tops, ponchos, bell bottoms, box pleats, tie-dye, tribal print jackets, and a hippie vest were in black, white, blue, purple, burnt orange, brown and mixed prints. This designer is from the Midwest so the color ways were very fall inspired and the jackets looked soft and warm.
Medium Apparel of Phoenix was the edgy, outside the box brand of the bunch. The “Counter Culture”The only designated urban wear in the running, their collection was straight forward street inspired with a mild touch of preppy. T-shirts, oxford style shirts, jackets, and hats donned with edgy graphics(lips, Benjamin Franklin, Teddy Bear with X’s for eyes, verbiage, army fatigue print, florals prints. The colorways were army green, black, white, blue, red, and baby blue. RocaWear sponsored the jeans to complete the looks.
Based on global marketability and trends, my pick for the winner was tied between Charmosa Swimwear and Haute Body. Lily V was a little too Boho for me and Medium Apparel seemed like it had already been done so many times. Although they both rocked, I couldn’t picture them selling on a shopping network. In the end the winner was Charmosa Swimwear (http://www.phoenixnewstimes.com/arts/charmosa-swimwear).
The established designers I got to see were Devereux Golf(men’s) and Elevee Lifestyle Golf(custom made men and women’s). These brands have established clientele, and have already made there mark on the industry. Inspiration from the 70’s was clear. Fitted styles, clean lines, simplicity, and classic looks dominated the runway for both brands. Preppy looks reminiscent of Ralph Lauren contained color blocking, stripes, plaids, in colors like melon, sea foam green, red, blue, khaki, black, and white. Elevee has a celebrity clientele that speaks for itself, and Devererux has a history that speaks for itself. I just have one question, why are some of the shorts for the men so short? Until tomorrow….
You love fashion, you love art, and you love the business. However, the bottom line is, you want to get paid. No matter how fashion forward and how awesome of a product you have to offer, if your sales are close to none you have to stop to figure out what you’re doing wrong. Where’s the hole in your strategy that needs to be addressed? What actions can you take to increase sales and visibility?
It happens to the best of them. You map everything out, bring it from concept to creation, get an online store, and BOOM you think you’ll start selling out off top. But whether it’s a brick and mortar storefront or the internet marketplace building your brand and making it profitable is not as easy as you think. But here’s 3 pieces of advice that will give you a strong starting point.
- Clearly Define, Understand, and Know Your Customer
Ask yourself who are you selling to? What type of person are they? What do they value? What drives them to buy? As we move into a future of more and more digital consumption, there are four main consumer tribes: Time Traders, New Eccentrics, Beliefists, and Co-Creators. Define which one, or which combination of tribes fits within your market. NOT knowing and understanding who your customer is, is detrimental to your business. Creating a product that addresses their needs, and solves their “problems” is your number one concern.
One thing all these tribes have in common is that they believe the future is now, but here’s a brief list of some elements that individually define them:
Time Traders: – have different realities of the future -augmented -establish communities and connections mostly online
-bored of technology -bored of wearable technology
-take inspiration from African Utopian Architecture eg. Masai tribe -believe in everyday opulence( luxury)
-takes inspiration from timeless art recreating the future -anticipation VS adaptation -healthy lifestyle
New Eccentrics: -playful -inspiration in everyday things -constant connectiveness (mobile and digital)
-uses everyday items to convey a message -speed of connectivity moves people to unplug
-offbeat attitudes -questions beauty standards -immersive entertainment -fun -embracing imperfections
Beliefists: -fear of having to forgo religion -engage people to slow down and reflect -self reflection -non-denominal
-start up religions (celebrrties/Beyism/Yeezus) -feeling of emptiness -reconnect w/nature
-collaboration of mind, body, and code/emotional wearables -contemplative construction/work-life balance
Co-Creators: -face to face community -craftsmanship back to community -don’t replace craft w/code -participate in creation
-believe in saving art -believe that to innovate must teach arts -share -hands on materials
uses the web as a canvas -value in customization -sets trends as opposed to following them
2. Create a Shopping Experience for Your Customer
The five things that matter to customers most are: fit, efficiency, joy of shopping itself, availability of items, and selection. With the failure of so many traditional brick and mortar stores and the move to online sales, every brand is attempting to master addressing the issue of getting the customer the perfect fit. Ill fitting clothes is the number one fear of online shoppers and the number one drawback of only having a store online. It’s important when building your store that you offer as much information on each item as you can. Sizing indifferent metrics, length, width, fabric, fabric properties, and high quality rich colorful photos with a 360 degree view. You want the customer to feel as if they’re in your store looking right at the product.
Online shoppers choose to shop online for convenience. So your site or app should be easy to navigate, they should be able to build a shopping profile so they can easily come back later, and it is very important that you offer reasonable and flexible return policies.
In reality, only 10 percent of the styles you carry drive 70 percent of your total sales. Those styles are what bring them to you, and those styles are what should partially drive your conversions. Keeping close track of what is bought, viewed, liked, and shared with others on social media; as well as what’s stored in the personal profiles of each customers helps to continue to stock and create only what your customers like to buy.
3. Invest in a “Mobile”App
As soon as you can afford it, create a mobile app for your bra. When you refer to the average that only 1.4 percent of sales are online, that’s on a traditional laptop/PC/tablet. The reality is more dollars are spent on sales done within mobile transactions. Looking at customer buying power, millenials(ages 25-45) have 2.5 trillion dollars in spending power. Aside from that, people in general, all over the world check their phones and browse an average of 150 times a day. For you that’s 250 chances for you to engage them with your brand. Although it’s a large investment, mobile marketing influences buyers, collect and tracks customer data, helps to define your conversion rates, and builds loyalty. Use the technology to leverage your brand.
Being an entrepreneur is never easy, but it’s never too late to stop, reflect, reposition yourself, and reconvene. If your ideas are strong and your drive is never ending, there’s always next season.
Everyday, every entrepreneur and dreamer measures the level of success they’ve achieved. We can’t help it, we’re in a constant rat race competition with ourselves to see how much of our inhumanly impossible expectations we’ve met, and we beat ourselves up for the marks that we miss. But it doesn’t have to be like that. Once you sit back and evaluate the road you’ve traveled to get where you are today, you’ll truly respect and value all the strides that you’ve made. See celebrities, and fake social media celebrities leave the impression that the materialistic gains are what determine whether or not you’re successful. But that’s not realistic, or true. Bob Marley was a global music icon and philanthropist, and he always stressed that money was never the end result of his success or the drive behind his passion. So, let’s take a look at and bust some myths to smithereens about what success should look like…
- Success is not about money
Don’t punch me. I hate to break it to you but success is not about money. You may be the hardest working person in your field for ten years and not see the financial gains yet. It’s not because you’re not awesome at what you do, it’s usually because it’s just not your time. You may be ahead of your time, and the world just isn’t ready for you yet. Every time I make a new collection or show some new pieces people act like my clothes are from outer space, they just don’t get it. But, like clockwork, I always see the shapes, colors, and styles I debuted two years ago is the hot trend of the day two years later. I’ve learned it’s a confirmation that I’m just ahead of my time, I’m fashion forward. It doesn’t mean the money won’t come, it just means it’s not coming today. Unfortunately, most artists don’t gain unprecedented fame until they’re dead. But I’m not going to wait that long, and neither should you, just don’t give up when the big checks aren’t coming in. Keep going hard and creating.
2. Your success is not based on the next person’s success
Don’t base your success on what the next person has going on, or what they’ve accomplished. No two paths to the promised land are the same. So don’t get all upset or depressed when others seem to come up and you don’t. You never know what they did or what they’ve gone through; and once again it just may not be your time yet. You can’t get caught up in trying to figure out why the next man has reached a level thet you haven’t, it takes time and energy away from what you’re trying to do AND it’s just not becoming. Focus on your own goals and ambitions and how you can utilize more of your time to achieve them.
3. Your vision of what success looks like can change over time
What you thought success was at 18 will be different at 25, 30, 35, and 40. That’s totally normal and probable very sensible depending on what you’ve got going on. If you were on the block at 18 trying to fund your rap career, oron the pole at 21 trying to fund your dreams; you should be doing something else to make it happen 10 years later. It’s ok, you haven’t failed, or been knocked off your square. You’ve just upgraded your hustle. Where you may have strived for platinum hits, cars and cash in the past; you may now strive for more cash, companies, and investments today
4. Sex does not equal success
This may ruffle some feathers but sex does not equal success. Now if you’re in the sex industry then it does, but in every other industry it does not. I mean, sex does sell, but only so much and only to so many. I say this because I see a lot of people exposing themselves sexually looking for some type of instant fame, not realizing it may later affect their long term dollars. Too many twerk videos, boobs, vaginas, a penises are just out here for no reason at all. These people are not even getting paid. But if likes and views were money, some of ya’ll would be rich. So, don’t act surprised if you have 700 likes on your Instagram nudie pic and no money in the bank. Andon the flip side don’t feel pressured to post something outrageous thinking it will gain some attention for your brand.
5. Different areas of your life may never be successful all at the same time
Unfortunately every area of your life may not be all good, all at the same time. You may want it to function like a well oiled machine, but in reality it may run like a jimmy rigged old school. Pretty on the outside, but full of non-factory issued parts under the hood. But that’s ok it’s your life, your dream, your vision, your world. And you have to do what works for you. When balancing a business, a family, a relationship, sometimes even another job(or two); things can get a little hectic. You may want to consider letting some of those things go to the wayside or get pushed to the backburner. One of the first rules I learned in marketing is that when juggling multiple projects and dealing with a multi-faceted skillbase; you have to choose 1-2 in which you’ll be exceptional, and the rest you will be functional but mediocre. Because a jack of all trades is a master of none so you have to choose what to master.
So what about me? What does my success look like? Well it looks like whatever my life is right now. All I can do from this point is keep it up, and wait for the checks to come in… See you on the catwalk