Holding Promotional Events for Your Fashion Business
It's all well and good to send out promotional items and appear at fashion shows, but if you really want to draw attention to what you're doing with your fashion design business, you're going to need to run your own events. These can be held for your business launch, when you bring out a new apparel collection, or in celebration of notable successes. They're an opportunity for you to distribute promotional products and make an impression on the people who really matter.
Of course, the worst thing you can do is to invest a lot of time and resources in an event to which hardly anybody turns up, so it's important to plan carefully and to advertise effectively. You can use the fashion press for this, but it's also a good idea to advertise your event at trade shows and by sending promotional items to buyers, retailers and modelling agencies. When you're more established it can be advantageous to make your events seem more exclusive, but as a new company you should invite people at all levels of the industry. Personal invitations are generally the most successful, and you should be sure to invite everybody whom you've directly done business with.
Putting on an EventThe first thing you need to get right when planning an event is the venue. Avoid the temptation to use your own premises, where there's too much chance of valuable equipment and fabrics getting damaged, or to use your own home, which - unless it's huge and spectacular - looks unprofessional. If possible, choose a venue with a bar, as most people in the fashion industry like to drink. By arranging a tab with the bar you can offer free drinks to the first few people there, always a good way to get the party started. Of course, as people get drunk they're more amenable to persuasion, so this is a great opportunity to talk to them about your fashion designs. Needless to say, make sure you don't get drunk yourself.
Make sure that some of the people at your event are wearing your designer apparel, whether they're professional models or just good looking friends. It's important to keep everybody's minds focused on what the events is about, even whilst they relax and enjoy themselves. This also helps to create a bit of glamour. You can add to the effect by decorating the venue with large pictures of your work. Promotional products like catalogues should be easily available. Make sure there's a photographer present so that you have some pictures of your event available for future use, especially if well-known people from the fashion industry attend.
You will usually be able to buy materials for your events, such as invitations, decorations and catering supplies, at wholesale prices provided that you identify yourself as a business customer. It's normal to provide some food at promotional events, but a couple of plates of sandwiches will suffice, and you can always save money by making these yourself. Some venues will offer them for free.
Informal EventsFormal events are not the only way to draw attention to your fashion design business. Sometimes it's beneficial to break the rules and use an informal venue to gain extra attention. Make sure you have permission to do this, especially if it's in a public place, and tip off the press before it happens, but let it surprise the public.
Informal events are sometimes held in partnership with stores stocking a particular designer's apparel, as they're a great way to boost sales for everybody. They need to be glamorous, so get models involved. Impromptu fashion shows in unusual places are a great way to capture the imagination of the press and the public alike. Distributing free promotional products to the public will help them to remember what the event was about and will make them feel extra good about having been there, encouraging them to spread good word of mouth about your work.
Whatever type of event you go for, make sure that it looks good and that it feels fun to be a part of. For your own part, you'll probably find it exhausting, but it can be a very effective way to put your new fashion design business on the map.