In a few weeks, designers-in-residence at the Chicago Fashion Incubator at Macy’s on State Street will unveil their latest collection at Fashion Focus Chicago, on Tuesday, October 18 at Millennium Park.
This high-profile event provides designers their best public relations opportunity of the year as reporters, bloggers, investors, buyers and other designers will be among the crowd awing at the local design talent.
However, designers should see this as more than just a one-night PR opportunity but rather a series of reasons to proactively connect with potential consumer and customers before, during and after the show.
Designers that take a quick break from finishing the details of their line and take advantage of the PR tips below will find they double the value of the evening.
Starting now, let your family, friends and business contacts know about the show.
• Utilize social media to invite friends and followers to the show. Include a link to the event and you’ll be surprised how many people show up to support you.
• Make a personal phone call to consumers, buyers, investors and suppliers that have expressed an interest in your business. This simple tactic will reinforce that you value the relationship and take your business seriously.
• Email reporters, bloggers and alumni associations to let them know about the show. Reassure them you will make time for them at the event if they are interested in learning more about your collection and business. You might want to go so far as to designate a time and place where you can easily be located after the event.
The night of the event will likely be overwhelming, but as a business owner you need to prepare so you can demonstrate that you deliver under pressure.
• Write your key talking points on a note card. They should be simple and succinct -- name of your line, who is your target audience and why, and what’s different or special about your line. You might also want to note who you are not. People appreciate a businessperson with focus and a filter.
• Despite the party atmosphere, view the evening as a business event. Dress and speak professionally. Prioritize business contacts over friends and family.
• Make it easy to network by having business cards handy. The cards should include your contact information, the name of the line, and links to any websites with you collection. Don’t feel the need to overdesign the card. Less is more.
Take advantage of the post-show buzz to gather feedback.
• Utilize social media, again, and thank friends and family for supporting you. Send a link to the event photos and your line.
• Personally contact any business connections -- customers, consumers, peers, suppliers, and investors -- and ask for their feedback.
• Post show pictures on your company website.
• Be responsive to media interested in learning more about you and your line. Be prepared with brand and collection fact sheets as well as personal bio sheet.
These are easy steps any designer can do to create buzz and make opportunities for themselves to propel their business.