3 Fashion Business Tips Learned at The FFCNYC.

This is Jessie, I’m a production associate here at Human B.

This past weekend we attended the Freestyle Fashion Conference hosted by Open Source Fashion here in New York which brought out an inspiring group of industry professionals to talk about fashion and business. We spent the day attending and teaching workshop classes on subjects ranging from Pop-Up Shops to Data Driven Marketing Strategies.

I want to share a few stand-out moments from the classes for those of you who couldn't make it:

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1.       “Think about your personal brand socially versus professionally”.  Across every industry, the newest buzzword “Networking” is often associated with forced grey suits and a stifled LinkedIn conversation. Michael Roderick of Small Pond Enterprises encouraged us to think about networking simply as a way of connecting rather than the business like formality of strictly job talk.

You will be much more engaging and create successful connections if you are able to bring these personal elements across during a conversation. Remember, don’t forget to ask your partner these questions too:

  • Inspirational – Asking someone why they do what they do will immediately create an introspective moment for them and they’ll appreciate telling their story; this is the passion behind the hard work and learning each other’s motives is instantly connecting as well as rewarding.
  • Aspirational – Talk about where you see yourself in the future or how you see your business growing.
  • Problematic – Once you've shared what it is that you do, speaking about a gap that you’re looking to fill is an invitation for this person to think about their skills and contacts and potentially offer further connections that can help.

2.       21st century marketing: be the great whale shark with his mouth open for thousands of fish to swim in vs. the shark spending all of his energy targeting one swimmer.

In this metaphor, the great whale shark is content marketing: A surefire technique for your brand to build traffic when you consistently share a variety of content (be it blog posts, facebook events, Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest, etc.) to gather an audience. But once you’ve created this content, don’t stop there! Interacting with your followers is key for two reasons:

  • People are interested in reviews and Google is interested in brands that people are interested in. Therefore, having comments gives your brand legitimacy and this reads well for Search Engine Optimization--a key component when you want your brand to be the first to pop up in a broad online search.
  • Actually spend time studying your followers. Take note of your target audience by keeping track of the core group that are active followers (those that like, comment, and share) vs. the rest of your followers. Taking the time to note their age, location, and other demographics will help you form a community around your brand.

3.       The importance of storytelling as a means of building a solid brand. Melissa Gonzalez from the Lion’esque Group, a company that builds pop-up stores for designers, took the audience step by step through a case study for an emerging designer in the audience.

By thoroughly exploring the company she brought across one main point that strongly resonates to anyone at any stage of your brand from a marketing perspective: What does your brand promise? She asks this question at every stage of the store planning process in order to build the strongest sense of personality and uniqueness.  

But for those of you in the earlier stage of development, this question is equally as important. Whether you’re building a singular product or presenting a collection in a pop-up store you should think about what the customer is eating and drinking, what do they on the weekends, what kind of music they listen to, etc. This can be translated into a website design layout, a logo, or translated into garment feature. It’s this deep sense of storytelling that will create an emotional connection between the customer and the product that will really set your product apart from the others. 

P.S The next FFCNYC  event will be in Washington DC. Stay tune for the date, we'd love to see you there.