Monday night saw the Vauxhall Fashion Scout PR Mentoring Event at the Beach Blanket Babylon in Shoreditch. With a fantastic talking panel consisting of Pandora Lennard from Tank Magazine and Graeme Gaughan from IPR joining our Director Martyn Roberts, the evening was a phenomenal success. 

For those of you who weren't available to attend - you can copy our notes...

Speakers for the Evening:  

Pandora Lennard is a well-established London based freelance stylist. She joined Tank in 2007 where she has now become Fashion Editor. Contributing to Fashion Editorials as well as working on Production, Casting and Events. She

also contributes to work as a freelance stylist and has collaborated with brands including Liberty, TSEsay and Gstar.

Pandora looked fab on the night with her cool quirky style!

Greame Gaughan, Communications Director at IPR explained to us that he has a different perspective on PR! IPR is a Fashion, Lifestyle and Events Agency that specialises in building brand profiles and supporting new designers. Their expertise lie in delivering stand-out Editorial, product placement, creative marketing, event management, brand development and sales consultancy. 

The evening's topics centred around PR- how to find it, keep it, and perhaps most importantly- make it benefit your brand...

What makes a Designer stand out to a PR agency?

Its all about that first impression. When you first contact an agency, you need to get their attention immediately. You want them to stop and think, hang on a minute, this designer looks good!

What to do when contacting an Agency?

You need to come across professional, Use a professional e-mail address (NOT for   example kittykat69@hotmail.com)
- Don’t spell the companies or person you are contacting name wrong.
- State who you are, What you want and are looking for
Using visuals is the best way to get attention. Send a Pdf file of your work or collection
within your email.
- Give some information about your collection- an agency wants to know what your
collection is about- inspirations, garments, construction, etc.
- Include a Personal Profile...


What is a Profile?

A profile is a piece of text all about you. For example who you are, where and what you studied, and what you want in the future. An agency wants to know about about you.

As well as coming across professional, it is also important that you are bubbly and friendly.  It is just as important that you get on with the people you will be working with.

Brand Awareness

- Your LOOK-BOOK... A look-book is a something all designers should have!

Do! Keep it simple, clean, and professional. Make sure every image is clear; The reader needs to be able to see your garments clearly.

Don’t! Feel the need to include backgrounds such as Forests, Churches, Plants: they have seen this all before. Unless this really fits in with the theme you are going for, it just over complicates the image, drawing attention away from the garment. They need to be able to pull the image away from the background..

- We're in the age of technology, people-  All Designers should have a website! 
They only need to be simple. A profile about you, pictures of your collection, and a contact detail. Don’t over complicate things.

- Twitter is also a great way to let people know whats going on. When using Twitter, make it about you and your brand, not about what you’ve had for breakfast!

- Its always good to know Fashion Editors and Directors, these are the people that are going to help you in your career and get your garments out there.
Find out who the editors are of the Magazines you like and can see your garments in.


What is Press Worthy?

- The media are always looking for a new story, something that grabs their attention, that has a twist. Something that is going to attract their readers; a designer opening a new shop, going with a different stockiest, collaborating with another designer, a new name, a launch.

- They are much more likely to go for a story if it is exclusive. The media want to know they are going to be the only one that are going to get the story and them great pictures.

- When you're sending in a story to a Magazine, Newspaper, etc, make sure the ideas you pitch are up-to-date. You need to get as much information out there in a short space of time, and make sure everything you send in reflects your brand.

- Sometimes its not a case of someone not liking your collection, its that they just don't have enough room in the magazine. A lot of the time the editors have a limit of who they can and cant conclude. A handy tip- when sending your garments in for these shoots, try and send as many separate garments as you can. You won’t always get a full length photo, but if your garment can be used for a smaller shot, thats great!

Brand Growth

- Getting a business partner would really help you free up some time to concentrate on your designs! It’s hard to juggle everything; you as the designer need to put your time into the talent that has got you this far... Let someone else worry about the money, Press, etc.
It is very well getting interns to work for you, but you need a partner that is experienced and knows the industry.

- Get Editors and people within the industry wearing your collections; this is a great way to get free publicity. Loan people your clothing, see if they want anything specially made (theres a lot of money in this). You could even ask for photos of them in these garments. This will definitely help you become more well known, without breaking the bank!

Brand Protection

- Never send photos or collections to anyone without knowing who they are. You need to know who they work for, because believe it or not, people won’t always be who they say they are. A letter or email should have a letter head, with the Agencies name and details on. Make sure you get their name and who they work for. If you have doubts then contact the agency and ask if they have this person working for them.

- Make sure you know what you're products are being used for before you send them out, you want to make sure they are being used for the right thing; does this fit in with your brand?

- A lot of the times your garments will come back damaged. It is advisable to put a disclaimer and loan agreement form with these for the other party to sign. Don't be scared to invoice a company if there are damages to your garments.

- Make sure you describe your garments in detail when you send off the garment list, you don’t wan’t another designers collection back! You could also take photos of your garments before you send them off.

- If your garments are especially fragile, make sure the company knows this before hand. It also might be best that you hand deliver these, as couriers tend not to be very careful. It is also an idea to ring up the company when they receive it to make sure that everything got to them in one piece.

Is the PR Agency right for you?

There are 2 different types of PR...

Productive PR - The type of PR that really puts you out there, pushing for your garments to  get recognised. A PR that is interested in you and that shares your passion.

OR

Proactive PR - This is the type of PR that will just send out an email, and stick you're clothes on a rail. You need to watch out for this, make sure you know what you are getting from the agency.

- PR Agencies offer different packages, so make sure you know about these, and that the one you have chosen is right for you.

- Make sure the PR agency knows the look you are going for. Don't jump in there, shop around. Look into all avenues. Don't try and be something you're not.

A big thank you to everyone who was involved - Graeme and Pandora, who were fantastic speakers and The Beach Blanket Babylon team, together with the Mayor of London for giving us the opportunity to hold his event.  

Written by Janelle Kinsey

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