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Diary of a Fashion Designer: Marketing

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Diary of a Fashion Designer: Marketing

Running a business in the fashion industry is no easy task. Smaller companies with limited staff and limited resources have to make strategic decisions about what can effectively be done in-house and what needs to be outsourced. It’s important to maintain control of product development, distribution, and the supply chain when possible. That leaves you to decide whether to delegate your marketing efforts to an agency or attempt to pursue all the promotions on your own. Based on your situation, there are Pros and Cons to in-house versus agency marketing for small fashion companies.

In House Marketing

Pros

  • Absolute control of content- you create and pick images, text, video, color scheme, theme, music, models, outlets, when it goes out, how it goes out, etc.
  • Real time social media management
  • You can plan and execute your strategy using a tool like Buffer– create, schedule and execute social media marketing campaigns
  • Cost effective- create a marketing team within your existing team that knows your brand identity and culture
  • Personal engagement with consumers- engage with the customers making them feel like they’re a part of the brand

Cons

  • Time consuming
  • Time is divided- can’t focus on what you do best
  • Can’t keep up the pace- customers have short attention spans, marketing efforts need to be updated or refreshed more frequently as methods and platforms change

Agency Marketing

Pros

  • Leave it to the experts- they already have proven processes that get results because that’s all they do
  • Monitored control- you supply the vision and get the final say
  • Leaves time for you to focus on product development, distribution, and the supply chain
  • They have access to tools you don’t have that will make the content better and process more efficient
  • Pays off in sales, customer engagement, and acquisition of new customers

Cons

  • Less control
  • Can get expensive
  • Engagement may not be as personal

Diary of a Fashion Designer: 2017 and Beyond

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Hello World! It’s been a longtime since we dished so this is just an intro to a series of 3 posts that will catch you up on what’s been going on in my world, and what to look forward to in the near future; like more video posts. 2016 has been the longest year EVER. So many twists and turns have made it memorable and full of so many lessons, not only in my journey to establish my brand, but also in my personal life.

In a nutshell, I gave birth to another baby girl, I’m still single, I had an extremely successful fashion show, launched new products: one of a kind leather handbags, sustainable active and swimwear, opened an additional online storefront, launched an unsuccessful KICKSTARTER campaign, gained some new writing clients, and much more.

I’m excited for the new year and what I have planned. People always claim, “This year is the year  for me, I’ll be successful, my careers going to take off, I’ll find love etc. etc.” But you know what, this time instead of making some vague claim about what’s going to occur, or how things are going to be, I’m going to focus on the steps I’ll be taking to get those results. 2017 will be all about action and what I;m going to call “proactivity.” At this point, I know what has not been working for me, and I’ve tallied all the casualties of my failures and put them to rest. However, I’m working hard to move on and NOT repeat the same mistakes. R.I.P to my past, and hello to my future…

Stay Tuned…….MUAH aaaaaaaaaand scene

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Diary Of A Fashion Designer: Phoenix Fashion Week Day 3

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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.

Emerging Designers

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 Asefa

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

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

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.

Established Designers

The Established Designers came out hard from the start. DesignMe, Glenn Plaid, Albert Andrada and Rocky Gathercole came to remind us what fashion IS.

DesignMe

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

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.
  

Albert Andrada

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

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

Diary Of A Fashion Designer: Phoenix Fashion Week Fall 2015

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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.

Emerging Designers

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).

Established Brands

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….

WIN_20150219_123215 (6) Transcend The Trends, Beyond New Style Where Fashion Is Art In 3d

Diary Of A Fashion Designer: Retailing 2016 and Beyond Improve Your Profitability

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p12glowingedgesgal2 copy  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.

  1. 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.

zazzleposter1self love copy   Transcend The Trends, Beyond New Style Where Fashion Is Art In 3d

Diary Of A Fashion Designer: What Does Success Look Like?

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Anything's possible in America... 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…

  1. 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

Snapshot_20131007_34 Transcend The Trends, Beyond New Style Where Fashion Is Art In 3d

Diary Of A Fashion Designer: WWDMagic 2015 The Business Of Fashion

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WIN_20150219_123215 (6) WWDMagic is always the height of the season for fashion professionals that want to stay on top of the game. Fresh off of New York Fashion Week runways and onto the eagerly waiting eyes and ears of every facet of the retail and supply chain. Trends, projections, collections, and all the most up to date information available in the world. So what would a small fry luxury brand like TSX Design House hope to accomplish at a show this massive on a shoestring budget?

I had 5 goals this year when I attended Magic. The original plan was to walk the floor, find a manufacturer, place an order, and have my first run in production by March 1, 2015. However, finances didn’t permit things to go down like that. I had to completely re-evaluate my plan to benefit the position I was currently in. It’s important as I’m trying to pull all this together, that I don’t bust any moves that will set me back. I have to fight not only for my current position, but I also have to strategize to keep pushing forward and advancing.

5 GOALS

1. Find and meet with an American manufacturer

2. Find and meet with an American textile factory

3. Find and meet with and American shoemaker

1,2, and 3

One of the most frequently asked questions is, “Why are you sourcing an American supply chain? That’s so expensive.” The label “Made in America” is a part of my niche market. My products are created by an American company, American designer, and made in America. That speaks to the history and foundation of TSX design House and that’s what supports my claim of being a luxury brand. Yes it’s a little more expensive, but that justifies my high end price point. In addition I have to be able to go to the factories where my products are being produced and check on quality control and compliance maintenance. I’m not in a position to fly to China or India to walk the floors of factories and make sure the conditions are safe and legal.

4. Physically speak face to face with industry professionals about financing, and what do they suggest as a next step

5. High Profile Networking

4,5

The high profile networking turned out to be the conversations about the funding and the next steps I should take. The MAGIC seminar series was the opportunity to get the information and meet the heavy hitters. Getting face to face with lasers in the industry, asking questions, dropping quick ideas and receiving better feedback than you could have ever imagined. Barbara Ende, Blaine Vossler, Nadia Shouraboura, and Edward Hartman exchanged a few words with me, knowledge, and enlightenment.

If asked whether or not I feel I met my goals, I’m happy to say I accomplished all 5 things within 48 hours and I was already laying plans for the show in August. Over the next few weeks I’ll cover the seminars, consumer trends, fashion trends, social media and branding advice from the best in the business. Stay tuned……..MUAH aaand scene