It takes boatloads of courage to act on your gut and it takes an even bigger heroic dose of bravery to say f-ck no to everything else. The path is dark and full of the dreaded unknown, yet you proceed any way. Sure, from time-to-time you’re tempted by a false sense of security, of a “job” and an actual paycheck and all the glittery shiny things it can buy.
But this is not the way of the creative warrior, the emerging designer.
No. You hold out.
You just keep building. You just keep creating. You just keep going. You do anything to make it happen.
You hold the standard. Your standard.
This is what bootstrapping a business feels like and what it means to only say hell yes to what you really want.
I’ve been closely involved in the behind the scenes development of fashion brand Orseund Iris for the past two and half years and I am so immensely proud of Alana Johnson, one of my four remarkable bad ass daughters.
I’ve worked with many big brands but nothing compares to the rapid growth I’ve witnessed with the power of social media.
10 Celebrity-Approved Contemporary Labels That Made It Big in 2017
Alana Johnson’s New York–based label, Orseund Iris, was launched several seasons ago, but 2017 was the year it really took off, making the rounds on social media and the street style circuit alike. What began as a collection-based brand that soon developed into a non-seasonal model, it has become a celebrity-approved go-to for reworked classics. Its claim to fame is the corset, which gave way to the three-dimensional bra tops that are every bit as much a hit; whatever the case, both have molded the famous curves of models such as Bella Hadid and Emily Ratajkowski.
Here are three super important tips for new fashion designers to follow –
1. Build your social media following every single damn day. Your business will only be as big and beautiful as the number of people who find you.
2. Press won’t come until you build your own gorgeous content and start confidently shining your own light. So take those snaps, share those stories and connect with your favorites on Instagram and Facebook first.
3. Wear your own designs before you finalize the details., before you cut that first pattern and before you grade. We know you’re inspired by what’s out there, but what make’s it an original – your design – is the very touches you add that no one else can.
Forge on brave one and hold the standard.
xo Madeline Johnson
This list of market building business tips about how to stay on course while you design epic products and services for the world was originally created for my daughter who is a hard-working, bad-ass fashion designer. Like every child ever born, she asks for advice daily and then ignores a lot of it. SO THAT IS WHY THERE IS SO MUCH EMOTION BEHIND THIS POST. All of these tips apply to anyone making anything. They work and they are important and today is a SPECIAL DAY because she is FINALLY heeding more of this advice. Amen.
Sure she’s nervous, as any startup who has achieved a bit of success would be. You might be nervous too – the big question – how do I sustain the success? Especially in the finicky world of Insta-fashion. Here, I humbly give you YOUR GUIDING STRATEGY FOR STAYING & GROWING SUCCESSFULLY.
WAKE UP, DESIGN, REPEAT
Design EVERY SINGLE DAMN DAY. Do not let a morning go by without designing. That means you don’t answer emails or texts or schedule meetings unto 1 pm every day. Why? Because the life of your authentic brand depends on you DESIGNING. Designing can mean sketching, shopping vintage, eating something delicious, going to an inspiring store, museum, listening to music – WHATEVER MAKES YOUR CREATIVE MINDFLOW BABY. The only reason you are in business is that you designed epicness in the first place. There is a lot of stuff people can buy out there, they are choosing to drop their bank on yours. KEEP THOSE CUSTOMERS HAPPY.
DEVELOP SYSTEMS FOR REPETITIVE STUFF.
What is a system? A set of rules that a baby monkey can do. They just learn the system (written or video instructions) and they do it.
Develop a system for responding to customers emails including templates for their frequently asked questions.
Develop a system for making sizing 1,000% CLEAR for all customers. Put it on the website.
Develop a system for ordering office stuff – like your favorite drinks, food, printer ink. Yes. make a list for the intern or assistand – where to go, when to reorder, how to pay for it. Make it so YOU DON’T EVEN HAVE TO TELL HIM OR HER WHAT TO DO.
Develop a system for packing items for shipment – include the surprise and delight gift – write it down or video it for the new interns. Then make them watch it. Show them PRECISELY HOW YOU LIKE IT DONE.
If you are complaining that an intern or assistant isn’t doing something the way you like it, it is YOUR FAULT. You didn’t set up the easy-to-learn systems.
TAKE PRE-ORDERS ON ALL NEW DESIGNS
The best rule of business is to MARKET BEFORE YOU MANUFACTURER. This is done by the best, most SUCCESSFUL companies. Create the demand BEFORE YOU ACTUALLY MAKE THE style. How?? Start sharing the backstory of design on your Instagram and Pinterest (YES PINTEREST) accounts. Show your customers the inside scoop. Tease them and then create a link to a page where they can GIVE YOU THEIR MONEY. Let them know they are going to be the FIRST TO HAVE IT. How exciting is that?? And give them a little something special for supporting you in the meantime. Make the “landing page” really JAZZY, sexy & FUN. Show the super special parts of designing, what inspired you. What is a LANDING PAGE? It is a special page on your website that you LINK TO THE BIO in your Instagram account every time you POST about that one design to INSTAGRAM. Don’t wait for the customer to SAVE your post. Make it EASY FOR THEM TO SHOP THE LINE. Stop with this I DON’T WANT TO BE TOO “PUSHY” CRAP. THERE IS PUSHY AND THEN There IS MAKING IT SIMPLE & EASY. DO THE LATTER.
SAVE SOME MONEY FOR GOD’S SAKE
Stop f-ing WASTING YOUR MONEY on stupidly expensive food. That $6.00 matcha drink isn’t good for you. Don’t buy into it. What is good for you is PEACE OF MIND THAT YOUR BANK ACCOUNT ISN’T NEGATIVE. Lack of money is the most stressful thing that can happen to you. You can lose your lover, break a leg, create something stupid that people will laugh at, but if you don’t have dough in the oven, life will SUCK. Make it a habit. Open up a BUSINESS SAVINGS ACCOUNT TOMORROW. Do it after you finish designing. Move $500 over IMMEDIATELY and then add reminders to your calendar to drop $500 in every month. DO THIS NOW. More if you can. Save, save, save. We are going to INVEST that money too, so your money can make baby money. GROW THAT ACCOUNT BABY.
LET THOSE DAMN HATERS HATE
It’s their job. That is what they do. Haters are going to HATE. It’s GREAT to have haters. Why? Because you are actually doing something that get’s noticed. Hater’s don’t hate on something that isn’t getting any attention. Why? BECAUSE HATERS DON’T DO ANYTHING BUT HATE. That is how they get their ATTENTION. MORE MONEY, MORE HATERS. That’s okay. Hell, some brands actually pay to have more HATERS. It’s called Facebook and Instagram ADVERTISING.
CHILL YOUR ROLL. TAKE A BREAK.
Every day make sure you do something ridiculously extravagant and/or luxurious. GO AHEAD WASTE SOME TIME. Whatever that means to you. A pedicure, a bike ride, a hello fresh meal with your partner. This business building thing is NOT A RACE. It is YOUR LIFE and you need to enjoy YOUR LIFE. So make some time every day to do something fun that you enjoy. DON’T FEEL GUILTY ABOUT IT. Just do it. Just like you design, you also take time to RELAX every day.
IMITATION IS THE HIGHEST FORM OF FLATTERY – MY ASS
Anytime you can call out some creep ass KNOCK OFF cheater brand copying your original designs DO IT. Make them feel like what they are GREEDY, UNORIGINAL A-HOLES. That’s right. Call them out. Call them out in public in a CLEVER AND FUN WAY. Like you care but you don’t care. Unless they are HUGE creepy conglomerate – a dinosaur – looking to stay relevant. Then EMAIL CALL & SCREAM at the CEO & Founder and their BOARD OF DIRECTORS. Remember, however, when YOU are INSPIRED by something to REDESIGN IT and make it your VERY OWN. Best thing to do really is KNOCK OFF YOUR OWN DESIGNS and start a second business in the weird ass bowels of eBay. LOL. P.S. Don’t spend too much time on this and try to design something so ahead of the curve that the market has to catch up. One step ahead baby.
MOST PEOPLE ARE CLUELESS ABOUT HOW FAST THE WORLD IS CHANGING
So, don’t listen to MOST anyone, except maybe people like Elon Musk and Ray Kurzweil and maybe me because I have made it my business to stay RELEVANT, ahead of the CURVE and on top of my game. I AM FASCINATED WITH CHANGE AND YOU SHOULD BE TOO. NO JOKE. Every business is being disrupted by technology. This includes INSTAGRAM. You have to start emailing & MEETING with your customers and clients. WHY? Because Instagram may become the old people’s party and then how you gonna find them customers? SnapChat?
But doesn’t everyone hate email? Hello, people DON’T CHANGE THEIR EMAILS. Some still hang on to their freaking yahoo and aol accounts. Emails are a tighter connection. Better YET get the cell phones of your VIP customers and take them to DINNER. Just, whatever you do, DON’T BE BORING. Create an email you WISH SOMEONE WOULD SEND YOU.
GROW UP WITH YOUR CUSTOMERS OR KEEP ATTRACTING THE YOUNG GUNS
Yeah, your 25-year-old Insta-hottie is going to have a baby and all of a sudden that cropped off the shoulder number isn’t going hide her love handles and/or mother belt. Oh, am I “body shaming”? Read the HATERS note above. This is reality. Have a plan as to how you will keep moving forward with your biggest fans now or the babies coming down the pike.
EVERYONE IS GOING TO WANT A BIG BITE OF YOU. CHOOSE YOUR PACK WISELY
Why? Cause your haute, hot, HOT right now. Yup. Especially the has-beens and the wannabes. Be DISCERNING. Be choosy. Be SUPER SELECTIVE about who you chill with. Why? Because if you hang with the reckless and wild, you will become reckless and wilder. If you chill with the sorry asses, you, in turn, will be a sadder one. EVERY dedicated entrepreneur experiences a bit of FOMO at times. There should be a LONELY HEARTS CLUB MEETUP for those building something big. Get out, dance, laugh and then get back to work. That BULL SHIT ABOUT WORKING HARD & PLAYING HARD is for drunks and trust fund IDIOTS without a purpose. Balance your work and play and stay away from the MDMA. Seriously, it’s not worth the emotional roller coaster ride. Get HIGH ON LIFE.
SELECT WHO YOU WANT TO DO BUSINESS & SCREW THE 15 MINS OF FAME
Stop getting so flattered every time someone wants to COLLAB or PARTNER WITH YOU. You are WORKING YOUR ASS OFF and deserve to be noticed. Say NO to anyone not willing to collaborate with respect or who brings their headaches to the table. You have enough of your own problems to solve. If it’s not a HELL YEAH immediately than it’s a F NO. If you have to THINK about whether you want to sleep with someone, then it’s A F NO and collaborating is a lot like sleeping with someone. Create a list TODAY of the discerning people or businesses you want to align yourself with. SAY NO to anyone else who reaches out. Say it nicely. Always be kind. Kind always works.
You WON’T MISS OUT. Andy Warhol was WRONG and RIDICULOUS about that 15 minutes of FAME. Not true. Most people remain anonymous their whole lives. You may never be famous. Who cares? It’s better to BE GREAT.
KNOW WHAT SUCCESS MEANS TO YOU
Stop measuring your success by other people’s stupid ideas of success. SUCCESS IS SIMPLY DOING WHAT YOU LOVE. Life is short. Everything else is BS.
IT ALWAYS TAKES LONGER THAN YOU THINK.
Whether it’s sex with an ex or a check-up at the dentist or building your first prototype or sample. So STOP with the anxiousness. IT WILL TAKE YEARS TO GROW YOUR BUSINESS. Even Google, the FASTEST growing business in the history of the world took 15 years to become a GIANT. SO SLOW THE HELL DOWN.
It was during a back-to-back deskside media tour here in NYC smack in the middle of an epic snowstorm, as we rushed to appointments with top tier publishers of magazines like People, Elle, Fitness, Glamour, Cosmopolitan and Women’s Health magazines that Ottmar, one of my all-time favorite clients, told me “I think you should start figuring out how to make money while you sleep.” He claimed that was the smartest advice he ever got from his father.
It sounds so easy, doesn’t it? Sure, just make some money while you sleep, you know, sell something on line or invest in the right stocks and bonds or braver yet, try to run more than one business at a time. Hah! fancy me, a serial entrepreneur.
Before you even start thinking about starting a new business, your own company or a second brand, understand that there are some right (read: smart) and wrong ways to expand your entrepreneurial profile.
I was interviewed for the May issue of Inc. Magazine about how to start up and manage more than one business at a time. I learned an awful lot about what not to do and finally figured out how to grow faster and easier. If you are running off on your second venture take a moment to read some wise advice here, Just Because Elon Musk Is Doing It All, It Doesn’t Mean That You Should Too.
The takeaway – do what you know, expand on your strengths and don’t try to make money in an industry that you know nothing about.
Out of all the social media platforms right now, I am finding Instagram to be the most engaging and rewarding. Yesterday I had a group of holistic nutritionists invite me to their Instagram group, yes we are creating our own community, and they have inspired me with the healthiest recipes for plant-based food – delicious meals as healing medicine for the body. If we haven’t connected on Instagram yet, please say hello @MadelineMarieJohnson I’d love to learn more about what you are up to.
Helpful Hashtags & Consistent Content
Two of the strategies that I find work best include using #hashtags within the 100,000 and 800,000 range. For someone like me this includes #healthandwellness which at the time of this post is at 562,451 and #digitalmarketing 951,149.
The second strategy is posting at least four times a day. I am paying attention to Instagram Insights (I have a business page) and find that around 3:00 pm is the golden hour for engagement and likes.
LinkedIn ProFinder Best of Badge
The team at Linkedin emailed me a badge of honor yesterday. According to the marketing team at Linkedin, the Best of 2016 badge signals a best in class ranking on their platform and spotlights the services I provide on ProFinder.
Strategies to Grow Your Business
And, if you are looking for a way to grow your business, than check out my online course, www.ThePRPlaybook.com which is packed with PR strategies to take your personal brand to the next level of success. Comment below and ask me for a code to take the course for free.
Who am I? Why am I creating ThePRPlaybook.com and how will it help you?
My name is Madeline Johnson and I am a Marketing & Media Strategist & Consultant specializing in health, wellness, fitness & nutrition. I am based in NYC. I enjoy working with startups and entrepreneurs who are creating anything that makes us look and feel good. I am also the creator of The PR Playbook, an essential guide to growing your business through brand awareness and consumer engagement that leads to sales.
I consult. I strategize and I create content for emerging brands. I help businesses grow. Right now, at this moment, I am working on –
- Creating brand guidelines and editing training manuals for Tevia Feng, the creator and founder of White Tiger Qigong.
- Writing and designing digital media kits for Kyle Rothschild, owner of HearthandBeam and BrownDogFancy.
- Developing a blogging and social media strategy for Richard Silver, a very talented photographer who is about to embark on A Remote Year.
I am creating The PR Playbook, a two hour online course, to help startups and small brands cut through the clutter of repetitive, abundant and confusing marketing advice, while helping them to understand and execute only the most productive and critical marketing tactics and activities to build upon success.
This course is unique in that it is an intelligently-designed mash up of marketing strategy, timely tactics and and technology to help you grow faster.
With each lecture you will benefit from –
- my years of experience working with businesses of all sizes while collaborating with top tier media like The NY Times and The Wall Street Journal and influential bloggers. I have had the opportunity to represent incredible brands like Reebok, Aveda, Fairmont Hotels & Resorts and Lisa Drayer, former CNN Health correspondent and author of The Beauty Diet, to name a few.
- a real time focus on continual social media execution and every day marketing in the moment activities with real time insights as I work with brands of all stages and sizes and from around the world.
- wisdom from winning business strategies and growth hacking techniques boiled down to simple and easy to understand and implement directives.
This course offers much more than just high level strategy and lessons on how to find a writers email or google more bloggers to review your new product.
Who is this course perfect for?
Startups, brands and personal consultants and coaches disrupting the world of health with technology and new products and services designed to help people become physically, emotionally and mentally prime.
Professionals in the wellness industry including aestheticians, spa operators, licensed massage therapists, cosmetic dentists, physical therapists, meditation facilitators and anyone with a business helping people become a better and stronger version of themselves.
Personal trainers, dancers and fitness coaches and mentors who are looking to build an online community and audience for their new workout product, video classes, gym concept, studio or other exercise innovation.
The two-hour course will launch this September. Sign up here to receive updates at ThePRPlaybook.com
Spying on competitors and copying their best practices is a growth hacking and marketing secret to finding your next clients or customers. This tip really applies to all businesses, so anyone can really benefit.
Stealing from your competitors is nothing new. That’s how Airbnb built their business off Craig’s List. Read here for the back story. It was pure, unadulterated hustle.
Growth hacker Vincent Dignan recommends a site like SimiliarWeb but I really like the list below. Spy on your competition with these tools.
Have you found a way to dig deep into your competitor’s best practices? If so, comment below.