Here’s What Happens When You Fiercely Follow Your Dreams

Brand Awareness, business, entepreneur, Fashion Marketing, fashion PR, Marketing Strategy, press coverage, Public Relations Plan

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.

hell-yeah-hell-no

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.

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I’ve worked with many big brands but nothing compares to the rapid growth I’ve witnessed with the power of social media.

00-breakout-celebrity-labels10 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

 

 

HOW TO SUSTAIN YOUR STARTUP SUCCESS

business, creative collaboration, digital content strategy, Email Marketing, Influencer marketing, instagram, instagram insight, Instagram marketing, Marketing in the Moment, marketing muscle, marketing plans, social media, social media marketing, Technology, the future of branding

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

From Inspiration to Execution – Empowering Indie Fashion

Fashion Marketing, Guiding Principles for Success, Uncatergorized

 Inspiration to Execution was  hosted by Afingo and moderated by Britt Aboutaleb, Style News Editor of Elle.com last night at the Soho House in NY.

Afingo  is the ultimate designer resource, helping designers and retailers gain access to expert content with insider tools and industry connections to take your ideas from sketch to sale. Their sister site, Shoptoko gives independent retailers the power to access exclusive merchandise at the majors’ pricing with no minimums.

Panelists discussed the pitfalls and promises of taking an inspired idea and transforming it into a functional, profitable fashion collection.

The big question: How do designers hone their creative process and ideas to a more manageable, sellable, marketable product?

Feeling inspired to launch your own collection? Than read these words of wisdom from those who have been there and back. Evidentially, if you are a designer and have made it past four or five seasons, than you’ve learned most of your lessons.

The panelists:

  • Liza Deyrmenjian Co-Founder and CEO Afingo and Shoptoko
  • Meredith Kahn, Designer, Made Her Think (see Sword accessory collection photo today)
  • Bethany Mayer, Designer, Surf Bazaar 
  • Duncan Quinn, Designer of bespoke men’s apparel by his name
  • Cynthia Vincent, Designer, Twelfth Street by Cynthia Vincent

Tips and Advice from the experts-

  • Clothing is one of the most labor intensive products on the market, begin domestically with 12 to 15 merchandised pieces that tell a strong story. Producing stateside will empower you with maximum control.
  • Listen to your buyers and your customers to produce the most marketable collection possible.
  • When producing overseas (India, Portugal, China, wherever) don’t leave anything open to interpretation. Yes, it is possible to get a three-legged pant sample back.
  • Making things elsewhere is fun (read: exotic travel) but you lose control along the way.  If you are not perfectly clear, you may not get what you want.
  • Find a great agent and remember, the cheapest source is not necessarily the best.
  • Find the right people/company who can translate your dream. Cynthia has produced in almost every country in the world. Some just do certain things better. India for silks, Portugal for wovens, Brazil for leather, etc.
  • Make sure all details are written down and included in your tech pack and be sure to work off a time and action calendar.
  • Before you decide where to produce, look domestically. There are many hidden costs when producing overseas, including shipping, travel and sampling.
  • New word alert: “To Skive”  is to cut into thinner layers to bring down production costs. For example: Skive down a shoe design.
  • Find your garment cost by choosing something similar in your closet and dividing the retail price by 4.  Use this number as a guideline.
  • Reinvent your best sellers, as this is your bread and butter. Stop producing them for a season or two and then bring them back in different colors or  with a new design element.