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Ready for the Runway? (Pt. 2): Showoff, Showcase

Ready for the Runway? (Pt. 2): Showoff, Showcase

Awesome, you’ve totally decided it’s the right time to have your first fashion show!

In part two of this series about throwing your first fashion show, I’m going to continue walking you through the steps of planning your first fashion show.

Did you know there are really two types of fashion shows? They all have the same goal – to introduce your line and your name to the fashion press and fashion buyers. But each has advantages or disadvantages.

Runway
This is the type of show you picture when you think of a fashion show. Where the models walk up and down the catwalk in procession, showing off your full line. Runway shows are the roughest on the budget, requiring possibly dozens of models, a large venue, scenic design, audio, and especially lighting. I’ve seen a lot of first-time runway show clients come in for their first meeting vastly underestimating the time and details involved in a great runway show. If you pull off a great runway show, it can gain your brand international notability overnight. Lots of risk but lots of potential reward. I’ll be talking a lot about runway shows in this blog series.

Showcase
A showcase exposes your full line by placing models around a room or in a line, sometimes in some sort of set piece or with props. A showcase can be a bit easier on the budget, and much less stressful to plan. You can turn it into a combination launch event for your friends and family, which will make the room much more full. I like showcases a lot because it gives you the opportunity to share a bit more of your brand’s identity when you build a set. A surf brand can have surfboards and beach scenes, while luxury brands can have chandeliers and vintage furniture. Proper theatrical event lighting is essential to a showcase, as well as a high quality sound system, often with a DJ. I’ll also be talking about showcases, as well as how to perfectly design the audio system for your fashion show, throughout this blog series.

There are big pros and cons to each, both from an exposure standpoint as well as a budgetary standpoint.

Want to get started planning your first runway show or showcase? Or, just want to chat with me or anyone on the kayneLIVE lighting, audio, video, scenic, design, or production teams about whatever questions are on your mind? Give us a call at 212-858-9280. I’m at x1 and at benji@djbenji.com

Posted in: -OS Fashion-, Public Relations

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Ready for the Runway? (Pt. 1): Catwalk, Don’t Run

Ready for the Runway? (Pt. 1): Catwalk, Don’t Run

It finally happened… you’re looking at that rack and it’s full. Your life’s work, your first collection, is ready for the world to see. It’s time to plan your first fashion show!

Or is it?

I’m Benji, the founder of kayneLIVE. With 15+ years in the event production and lighting/audio/visual/design industries, I’m going to share some of the lessons I’ve learned the hard way about planning a successful first fashion show, and how to do it on a tight budget. But first, we need to decide if it’s really time for a fashion show. I’ve seen countless designers get overeager and throw their first fashion shows too soon, only to find themselves with no audience or a poorly presented line, damaging their brand potential.

A fashion show is loosely defined as any event to showcase a designer’s collection. More specifically, the goal of a fashion show is to showcase your collection of clothes, shoes, or accessories to three key audiences: fashion editors, fashion photographers and fashion buyers. It’s tempting to throw a fashion show to finally show your friends your years of hard work, but that’s just called throwing a party.

  • Is your line ready and complete? Do you absolutely love it and want it to represent you to the world indefinitely?
  • Do you have connections to the fashion PR world?
  • Do you know if editors or bloggers will come?
  • Is there anyone who buys what you’ve designed on a wholesale basis that you know is interested in seeing your collection presented?
  • Can you pack the house, in addition to the editors and buyers, with supportive friends and fellow fashion industry professionals?

If the answer is yes, then it’s quite possibly time to start planning your first fashion show. We’ll talk about that in the next column. But if you’ve hesitated on the answer to any of those questions, you need to do some networking and PR first. Some ideas include:

  • Reach out to a small fashion PR agency or professional freelance publicist and set up an initial consultation. If your vibes match, and you have a little money to spend, they will be your key to bringing the right audience. Take as many of these meetings as you can, listen carefully, take notes, and ask tons of questions; the knowledge you will gain is priceless.
  • Team up with an established designer to do a “secondary” show, perhaps in their venue before their show. Or collaborate to integrate your clothing with an accessory designer’s presentation. Lots of established designers remember what it was like to be just starting out, and perhaps you can barter some of your services in exchange for the help.
  • Beef up your social media presence, and begin connecting with the right audience on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, as well as on specialized sites such as OSFashion. Get out there and network. Go to parties, go to bars, go to clubs. Go to small fashion shows, trunk sales, and designer showcases. Take classes at your closest fashion institute and pick the brains of the guest speakers.

Once you’re confident you’ll be able to get the press and buyers to your show, it’s time to start planning. Get your credit card ready (fashion shows cost money to throw!) and we’ll chat about the different ways to showcase your collection and begin pre-production.

Original image created by Jason Hargrove.

Posted in: Public Relations

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Design Your Collection With the Bigger Picture in Mind

Design Your Collection With the Bigger Picture in Mind

When I think of designers, I marvel at their creativity, their innovation, dedication to hard work, and the persistence to overcome challenges and adversity. I admire their tenaciousness for life, art, and the desire to help people identify through fashion. I resonate with their vulnerability to showcase their designs before the world, and share their inspiration behind their collection.

While all of this intrigues me, it is when I come across a designer who creates a collection with the bigger picture in mind that I become empowered by their story. What does it mean to “be mindful of the bigger picture?” It is simply seeing the world through a different lens, a transformed perspective where it’s not “me,” rather “we.” If designers choose to use the “bigger picture” lens when designing their collection, then they can build an even deeper story allowing the customer to connect on a more meaningful level.

As the designer thinks about choosing their cause partner, they must first ask the question, why? Why is the idea of giving back and helping society important to me? What drives me to become part of the solution in someone else’s story? Once one understands the “why” then one needs to evaluate “where” they can be of help. The where is determined by our experiences, the discovering of real needs in the world or that simple tug at the heart. When we can have these conversations with ourselves and discover the calling, then we can bridge the gap between our company and our cause.

Here are 5 tips to designing your collection with the bigger picture in mind:

  1. Choose a cause you are passionate about. Think about your upbringing, your family, your values, and be honest about what is important to you.
  2. Look for synergy between your cause and your company. What similarities do you have in common? Compare audiences, age groups, interests, location, etc.
  3. Write down ideas on how your collection and cause partner can have a united voice, and how you can reach people in creative and innovative ways.
  4. Decide your “give back” approach. Will you focus on eco-friendly or sustainable materials? Will you donate a portion of your sales or work with artisans from remote villages and teach them new skills? Will you dedicate a specific piece from your collection to a cause or consider only using local materials?
  5. Share your story. Be vulnerable. Be real. Genuinely express the “why” behind your devotion to a cause.

As Editor-in-Chief at Lifestyle + Charity Magazine, I am always eager to discover these stories and share with our readers in hopes to inspire and empower them.

Posted in: Public Relations

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5 Must Have Event-Planning Apps

5 Must Have Event-Planning Apps

As a planner being organized and taking care of every single detail of an event all while being efficient and on the go is every event planners dream. Now with the functionality of a smart phone it makes this all doable to condense as much functionality as possible while being on the go.

I thought I would share with you some of my secrets– a.k.a.– iPhone apps that will help you plan your next event.

EvernoteFREE
During the years B.A. (Before Apps), we would have to keep all our event information including pics, notes and files in a binder with the possibility of losing it. Now with Evernote, you can keep everything virtually and in one location. Evernote allows you to store everything from pics (storyboards/inspirations), notes and audio recordings. It also gives you the functionality of sharing it with others via Facebook, Twitter and e-mail.

HoursTracker –  4.99
Tracking your time can be very confusing and tedious. Not to mention, the worst case scenario: You’re keeping track via notepad and then  it happens to go M.I.A. What do you do now? What you do now is: download Hours Tracker! Hours Tracker allows you to plug in all of your clients and keep track of how much time you are spending on their event. This app will help you add up all your time, keep track of how long you are spending on projects and will also help you bill your clients correctly.

The Seating Planner+ –  4.99
Seating your guests at a wedding, gala or any event is one of the hardest things to do as well it can make or break your guests experience.  Seating Planner allows you to organize a seating chart and allows you to pull guests from your contact list as well as Facebook.

EventbriteFREE
Managing your event guest list and check in can be quiet a headache. As planners, we always want to know who and how many guests showed up. With Eventbrite, it allows you to setup and customize your event online and have guests RSVP and purchase tickets.  Now that’s great and all, but now how will you manage the guests once they show up? Eventbrite has gone mobile and allows you to check guests in via your mobile phone by simply punching in their name. Once your event is over you can print out a list of attendees, making managing the list a lot more accurate and efficient.

Wedding BudgetFREE
Planning a wedding requires you to be very detail-oriented and on track with the client’s budget. Wedding Budget has taken the hassle out of figuring out your budgets allocation for each category of your wedding. It allows you to input your budget and it will provide you with a detailed list, in dollar value, of how much you should spend for each category of the wedding. It also allows you to input items within each category to help you stay on track. It also allows you to input how much was paid towards each category to see whether you are under or over budget.

Original image created by photosteve01

Posted in: Public Relations

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How to Win When Running a Sweepstakes

How to Win When Running a Sweepstakes

Who doesn’t love the chance to win something? As a consumer when I see the chance to win a fabulous prize I sign myself right up, with the hope that maybe just maybe I could be that lucky one. These promotions are not only exciting for the consumers but also beneficial to the business that run them. Co-promotions are the most efficient way to run a promotion and gives you the biggest bang-for-the-buck.

We at Eye on Response run co-promotions with two or three partners who each provide assets– media and the prize– and all the partners share the opt-in registration data. As the promotions manager with EyeonResponse, I have firsthand experience running co-promotions that have generated tens of thousands of registrations in as few as two weeks. There are three main components to success; the right partnership, the right incentive, and the effective follow through with the consumer.

First is the right partner. It’s important to find a partner that has an audience with a similar or complementary interest. If you are a promotion lead (the partner providing media, the prize and coordinating the effort) when looking for the partners you want, make sure that they can provide equitable resources to what you are providing. This makes the promotion a win-win.

The incentive (the prize) is what initially engages the consumer and generates the buzz for the promotion. Just like a store front, what is in the window will get people in the door. The prize has to be interesting to the consumer and also associate them with your brand. Keep in mind, if you are running a co-promotion, you may need a few prize options to make sure they see the value as well.

Now that your co-promotion is a success and you’ve generated your brand awareness with thousands of new opt-in registrants what do you do? Communicate! To extract the value from the promotion you have to develop a communications strategy that quickly engages them with your products and brings them back to your site. This communication starts with a welcome e-mail that has a balance between “welcome and sell”. All subsequent communications need to be relevant, and at a frequency that is right for your sales cycle. Be very structured with your communications and don’t forget to make an announcement of who the lucky winner is.

Original image created by Daniel Borman.

Posted in: Digital Marketing, Public Relations

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