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
Note to reader: I have included examples of digital press kits and timely news angles in this article that you can download. They may be helpful for you as you build out your stories to share with top tier media and influencers.
Examples from the Front Lines of Digital Marketing
One of the reasons I continue working with startups and emerging entrepreneurs is because it keeps my ear to the ground and in touch with the true pain points and biggest challenges that many new brands struggle with when it comes to marketing and promoting their products and services. The obstacles they face become my opportunity to help.
Case Study #1 – The More They Burn, The Better They Learn
Matt Gardner is a physical education teacher and health and wellness professional speaker from Novato, California. Championing kids to be more active and healthy on a daily basis, Matt has created PEbyDesign,, a program to help elementary school teachers get their students moving in the classroom for at least 60 minutes a day (a requirement from most states and the federal government).
I have been helping Matt build his side hustle, working with him on everything from his website user experience to building his own authentic voice while creating his digital press kit and all of his social media platforms including LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook.
Right now I am conducting one-hour consulting calls with Matt and screen sharing video web chats with him to help him build out his social media strategy.
Case Study #2 – The Best Place For a Financial Wellness Check up
The best place to start your financial future and an empowering tool for financial wellness, I have helped R.J. Irving, a former Morgan Stanley advisor launch this SaaS platform to help Millennials understand how much to allocate to their 401K savings, health plans, and rainy day, emergency accounts. I created his digital marketing decks and press kit and scheduled and executed his strategy for Twitter and LinkedIn.
A sample of marketing collateral and digital press releases in a downloadable PDF file here Melius General Presentation-2.
Case Study #3 – Celebrating The Millennial Home Buyers Journey
Hearth & Beam’s creator Kyle Rothschild hired me to write his digital press kit, timely news stories, and social media strategy. Hearth & Beam was created to document and share everything that makes a house a true home.
Hearth & Beam’s downloadable digital press kit here. A writing example of a creator profile Kyle Rothschild, HearthandBeam.com,
An example of FAQ’s for the media and influencers here HearthandBeam.com Media FAQs
My fact sheet writing sample here Hearth and Beam Fact Sheet
And timely and newsworthy story angles here HearthandBeam.com News Stories
Case Study # 3 – Artisanal Gourmet & Organic Condiments
Brown Dog Fancy is the purveyor of artisanal gourmet mustard. Made from organic ingredients and sold online and in stores, I helped the owners of this condiment brand with their marketing collateral, digital press kits and social media strategy for #HowIFancy
Here are examples of a healthy food digital press release that I wrote for Brown Dog Fancy to share their story Brown Dog Fancy Story
Here, timely, news angles and ideas for reporters and influencers Brown Dog Fancy Story Suggestions
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.