I missed the initial launch of this great idea by founders Joah Spearman and Jon Pattillo at last year’s SXSW and was fortunate enough to ride the coattails of my sweetie Miramar, who was one of the event stylist for the weekend.
I meet a lot of great people that are doing wonderful things in the world of fashion and style all over the globe, particularly here in Austin, and I learned a lot from the panel discussions I sat around to hear.
The world is changing folks (as if you don’t already know this!) in all areas of commerce and business but particularly in the way of the old guard of fashion. No longer are the designers and magazine editors able to stay locked away in their elite palaces and dictate to us what we wear, how we wear it and who it’s for.
There are so many vehicles; Thre.ad and Pinterest to name a very few, as well as all of the other social media vehicles we use everyday without thought from Twitter to Facebook, that are taking away the power from all measures of commercial enterprise and putting it where it always belonged, in the hands of the consumer.
I learned during the discussions that this world, as global and connected as it is becoming is also being a niche consumer market for every designer, retailer, blogger…you name it. Basically every idea and business needs to figure out their niche audience. Who will get the most out of what you have to offer? Narrow marketing resources and strategies and find them and stay connected to them. We experience an overload of information every, single, day and because of this we have an overload of choices!
For example – I choose who I want to listen too now (select and proven bloggers, no longer GQ, Vogue, Esquire, etc), I choose the conversations I want to have with consumers that already have experience with the products I am considering buying (chat rooms, comment discussions, informed blogger interaction), I follow who they like (not the product’s slick and expensive advertising)…now here is where the niche part comes in…I then interact with the people who create the products I decide to buy. Let me say this another way, long gone are the days when a company has a wall of protection between them and their consumers and only talks to shareholders at duress during their yearly stockholder meeting. Consumers want to know, in fact are demanding to know and keep in close contact with the creators behind the brands they are buying.
If you are in the business of anything that has to do with the public, but particularly fashion, you need to know why you do what you do and convey that to your customer in everything you create, every way you present your brand and in all of the ways you promote your brand. What is your story? Why do you do what you do? And be prepared to make lifelong acquaintances if not friendships with the people who patron your business. This is a new global economy and it’s bringing us closer together everyday!