Hi friends! Hope you had a fantastic weekend! Welcome back to my Newbie Guide to NYFW, Part Dos. [If you missed Part One, you can find it here.] To briefly recap, at this point you have committed to attending your first Fashion Week. Mazel Tov! [I mean that in the most sincere, non sarcastic way. It’s super exciting!!] Flights and hotels are booked, unless you’re still negotiating a comped or discounted stay somewhere. And hopefully you have found a really awesome travel partner. If going solo is your thing, kudos to you! I can totally respect that.
So what’s a girl or boy to do next? NETWORK! NETWORK! NETWORK!
Step 3: Create a Target List
Who should be on your list you ask?
Companies, Brands, PR Firms
Make a list of PR Firms and companies you’ve worked with on past collaborations or have sent you gifted items. If you really haven’t worked with that many brands, that’s okay! Add companies that you’d like to work with on your list. Since pregnancy and mommyhood, my memory has gone downhill, so I had to go through my emails from the past year to remember the different agencies and companies I had communicated with at some point. Obviously if you worked with a small boutique in Arkansas, chances are they’re not gonna be much of a help for New York Fashion Week, so when I say “Companies, Brands, PR Firms,” focus on ones who can actually help you get into shows, presentations, meetings, events, and showrooms. Look for companies headquartered in NYC. And don’t solely think clothing companies…be open minded to other aspects of fashion like the make-up, hair, and nail teams.
I’d recommend choosing bloggers or social influencers with a similar aesthetic to yours and
stalk look through their Instagram and blog posts to see what companies they’ve worked with to get an idea of which brands utilize bloggers for promotion and advertisement. An even better idea would be to target people who have attended previous Fashion Weeks and try to find tags or shoutouts on their posts from when they were in New York. Maybe they posted an Instagram pic of the Julie Vos showroom and Birchbox store, or maybe they recapped getting their hair done by Aveda. Again, it’s good to know what brands have a history of being part of Fashion Week. [The tips I’m sharing with you are helpful for blogging collaborations in general, but again, will be doing a separate Blogging 101 Series in the very near future. If that is something you’re interested in, sign up here so you can be notified first as soon as it’s live!]
Be realistic, yet don’t sell yourself short. And what I mean by that is a company that worked with Something Navy and Sincerely Jules [two of my favorites] probably wouldn’t choose to work with someone like me considering I have less than 1% of their following. But what’s the worst that can happen? They say “No?” They don’t respond? Something I have learned from having a Sales Background is if you don’t ask, you won’t receive.
Blogging Platforms, Programs, Societies, Groups
Do you have an Account Manager on RewardStyle or another type of blogging related platform? Are you a part of ShopStyle? Bloglovin’? Mode Media? Fohr Card? IZEA? What about The Blog Societies or a specific Facebook Group that’s dedicated to networking? [If you’re not part of any of these, what are you waiting for?! There are so many different type of groups. Some have waiting lists and require certain criteria to be accepted, but not everything! Do your research and start applying stat!] Contacts from these sources should be considered for your list. This year I was invited to a party hosted by Bloglovin’ and Ferragamo. Prior to opening that email, I would have never thought to reach out to a Bloglovin’ rep. I’m also part of a blogging group on Facebook…and Anna, the creator of this group [who I had the chance of meeting in person, and she’s so great!] suggested I look at Modem Online for info on shows and presentations, designer showrooms, press info. From there I was able to see all of the different PR Firms that represent a ton of different brands [and a lot included their contact information], in addition to a complete Fashion Week calendar. When I ran into Anna backstage at Leanne Marshall, she recommended I download this Fashion GPS Radar App. By that time, the rest of my trip was pretty much booked and planned out, but she said it’s a great resource to have, so I definitely plan on signing up and creating an account before September’s NYFW. So my point is, the more groups you’re a part of, inevitibly the more people you’re connected to. Use that to your advantage and NETWORK!
Friends and Family in the Business
Have any contacts in the Fashion World? They may have zero ties to Fashion Week, but again, it can’t hurt to ask! And if they can’t really help you, perhaps they have a friend who can, so put them on your target list! Are there certain “Instagram friends” you have? Perhaps someone you have followed for a long time and you guys constantly comment and emoji the crap out of each other’s pics?? Leave no man behind and ADD THEM, ADD THEM, ADD THEM!
So if you were worried that you didn’t have any connections to Fashion Week, hopefully after taking my advice and compiling your target list, you can clearly see that you have a significant amount of people to reach out to!
Step 4: Start Emailing, Texting, Messaging
Putting yourself out there can leave you feeling scared and vulnerable, but it’s just something you have to do. Even if you have a relatively impressive following, so do a ton of other people, so you need to sell yourself! I know in Part One I mentioned how blogging can be like High School all over again, and you may run into some girls who are less than helpful, but don’t let that discourage you because there are plenty of men and women who are happy to provide whatever assistance they can.
When reaching out to brands and different companies, know your audience and keep things short and sweet. You want to be professional, but at the same time this isn’t a job interview, so you don’t have to be overly “formal.” In fact, some of the people you may be contacting are your age or younger, so just do you!
Your email can be as simple as this:
Dear So & So [Hopefully you can get a name and direct email to the person who handles PR],
I’m Jaime, writer behind Sunflowers and Stilettos, a Fashion & Lifestyle blog and wanted to reach out because I’m a huge fan of XYZ. While I’m in New York for Fashion Week, I would absolutely love to visit your showroom if possible. Will XYZ be participating in any NYFW events? I’ll be up during these dates [tell them the dates you’ll be there] and am really looking forward to the opportunity to connect with you!
I can be reached by email or phone [provide phone # if you feel comfortable with that]. Looking forward to hearing from you!
[make sure you have a proper email signature]
See? Nothing fancy. You’ll have to make each email relevant to the person/company you’re contacting so that your inquiry or proposal makes sense to what they can offer you. If you have a Media Kit that you’re proud of, attach that in your email and you can add a sentence saying, “I’ve included my Media Kit in case you wanted to know a little more about me and Sunflowers and Stilettos.” Leave your Price Sheet out of it because you’re not asking them for a sponsorship or campaign. If your Media Kit is one page and includes pricing on it, I’d recommend creating a separate one that just has a brief summary about you, your blog, your stats and following. You can also include a list of brands you’ve worked with if you want. There are so many different Media Kit options available on Etsy. If you don’t have one, or the one you have needs major updating, don’t stress. You don’t necessarily need it. I just think it’s something extra to offer that perhaps will make you stand out. You DO need business cards though! I made mine on MOO, which I was really happy with! Sorry – I went a little off topic, but it’s all applicable to the purpose of this post!
So go down your target list and reach out to as many people as possible. All companies, brands, and firms should be emailed, but if you don’t get a response, try connecting with them on Social Media. I’d recommend sending a direct message on LinkedIn if you can, but you can also reach out via Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. I don’t think you’ll need to take all of these actions to get responses and invites, but I want to make sure I teach you all of the ways you can connect with people. As I said, I have a background in Sales, as does my husband, and there have definitely been some creative measures used to reach certain people on our radar.
For friends and family, a simple text or phone call will do.
Step 5: Don’t be Greedy! Share the Love!
Once I heard back from a few people on my target list and confirmed that I had backstage access to three of the runway shows as well as that Bloglovin’ and Ferragamo party I mentioned before, I shared that information with two of my Charlotte friends, Maggie and Kristen who I had been talking to throughout the entire NYFW planning process, as well as my girl Sarah from Long Island. I either asked my contact if my friends could come with me, or I gave my friends the contact information so they could directly communicate and ask for an invite. Both scenarios worked. Because I voluntarily helped them out by sharing the steps I took to get these invitations, as well as included them in my plans, they were equally as generous and offered me to join them on the meetings they were able to lock down. Just to be clear, there was no ulterior motive. I didn’t invite them just so they could return the favor… I wanted them to come with me because I thought it would be fun to experience this with friends. And it was!
Want details on what it was like to be at the runway shows and backstage? Or at different showrooms? Stay tuned for Part Three along with my final tips!