Publicity for novices

2 August 2006

On Kathleen’s blog, Fashion-incubator, Miracle Wanzo deals with the complaints of a novice maker:

I am having a fashion show of my handwoven accessories next month. I have woven 42 pieces since Jan. 1, 2006 and done about a doz. beaded necklaces. I called people at Vogue, W and InStyle for the correct contact information and sent off my media kits to each. They were good about phone calls until I actually sent the media kits. No one even acknowledged with a form post card….

This maybe another case of not ready to be helped as Kathleen describes in “Why on one will help you”. I think this maker, full of energy and zeal, is not yet ready for prime time and is complaining about the industrial fashion world not taking notice. You need to do your home work first, find the answers to such questions as:
•was this fashion show targeted at a retail or wholesale customer? From the quanitity produced I suspect retail. These magazines are focused on trade shows, that is those ones for wholesale customers. You need to focus on your customers. Do you have a mailing list of potenial customers for the fashion show, did you send them each a postcard with a lovely image of one of your handwoven shawls? (I’ved made an assumption, maybe mistakenly, that the goal of the fashion show is to sell the 42 pieces.)
•have any of these publications featured handwoven accessories in the past year? If the answer is no, then in what publications do customers who want handwoven shawls look for information?
My rate of attaining publicity is directly related to the quality of the IMAGES that I produce of my own work. I produce the images, share them with PR companies, and if they find they intriguing they might use them. None of the magazines or other print media I have had the good fortune to be published in has ever generated images on their own, they always use mine.
I am part of a sub-world that makes and sells handmade accessories and I do not really want an order from a big retailer. I rember an article I read , it was an interview with Carter Smith say in the early 90’s. I was impressed because I had seen some his shawls in some of the fashion magazines. A recognized designer had ordered silk chiffon shibori shawls from him. In the interview, as I remember it, Carter explained how big an order he had gotten from the designer. I think Carter delivered one order then recieved an even bigger reoder. He had to gear up for the massive,fast production. New equipment… Everything else went by the wayside to make and deliver the second order. Then nothing, a new season and the designer was on to some new accessory. Carter had no orders because he had neglected his small galleries that had ordered from him before, to meet this huge demand. He has obviously recovered and was kind to share his experience.
Because I hand make each piece there are no economies of scale. I am NOT interested in making millions of pleated shibori scarves this year and hundreds next year. I’m am interested in galleries/boutiques that can sell my work this year and next. This is a different market than the big industrial fashion market that changes fast, wants new things each season. Maybe it is “slow fashion”. Some thought needs to be made about the role of the handmade in our society and how you can fit into that.


2 Responses to “Publicity for novices”

  1. Marguerite Says:

    Thanks to you and to Kathleen, you have very valuable things to say. I too am a “fiber artist” creating one of a kind pieces, your points are well taken.


  2. Karren Says:

    I ‘m taking note that this is an interesting topic and I’ll try to keep adding in this area too.


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