Posts tagged: Business Tips

What “I’ll try” really means in business and personal relationships

By , June 28, 2014 10:16 am

Short answer: the other person isn’t really committed.

Communications 101: Communication is the foundation of all relationships  — business and personal.  When communications function well in a relationship, the relationship succeeds. When they don’t, the relationship struggles.  It’s that simple. And “I’ll try” is a bright red flag.  Whether it’s a business or personal relationship, “I’ll try”  is a signal that should not be ignored…it signifies something is amiss in the communications, and thus the relationship. When you receive the “I’ll try” message, you need to proceed carefully.

Gene Guberman (gguberman@verizon.net) specializes in dealing with communications within relationships. Here is his take on the situation: The way someone communicates reveals something the person is unaware of. In poker it’s known as a person’s “tell” that unveils they are “bluffing”. Interpersonal communication is loaded with varieties of information untrained people don’t perceive and speakers don’t know they are unwittingly sharing about themselves. Conflict is omnipresent between individuals. Managing conflict between people and building successful relationships requires understanding the hidden aspects of communications – our own and those of significant others.

 

Sandra Holtzman teaches CEO 035: Licensing.
She is the author of Lies Startups Tell Themselves to Avoid Marketing.

In Praise of Creative Entrepreneurs

By , May 14, 2014 2:39 pm

Written by:
David L. Colby, Esq., Managing Director of Colby Law Office, PC

When creative people start a business, interesting things happen. Cool things, Inspired things, game changing things. But sadly, also tragic, bad things. The users of this world prey on creative people far too often.

As an attorney who helps creative entrepreneurs, I will be the first one to say that creative people and business frequently are at odds. It is sometimes complicated for creative entrepreneurs to maintain control of their own companies. Indeed there are special challenges and disconnects that are almost directly proportionate to the level of originality and creativity in the entrepreneur.

I remind my clients of what Andy Warhol said: “being good in business is the most fascinating kind of art.” With that clever mindset, a creative entrepreneur can maintain their creative integrity and still have a head for business. Moreover, you can learn to harness creativity to structure deals, work out complex business relationships, and offer up creative solutions during negotiations.

No doubt creativity really what its all about. After all, what is a business without creativity? Its not difficult to find examples: uninspired copy-cats, knock-off agents, struggling plagiarists, copy-cats, soulless hacks pushing their way into the market with profit as its primary motive; design a secondary concern at best. A noteworthy hallmark of these types is that in the long run, they are limited in their potential. They lack authenticity… an original core… a deep well to keep going back to for inspiration.

The opposite of this is a business founded and controlled by the original creative person or team. The designer, the artist, being at the center is actually the engine, the heart of the beast, to what truly matters in the long run.

But as important as creativity and originality is, we cannot escape the fact that business is business. To level the playing field, it is imperative to have a plan and a relationship with the right kind of lawyer. If you are looking to start or grow a fashion-based business—whether as a designer or in some other related way– it is of the highest importance to organize your business and protect your interests to succeed.

In short, creative entrepreneurs require special care. And they deserve to get it. It isn’t just looking out for their interests, a lot of time it is just actually listening to them, encouraging them, and reminding them that their creativity is the secret ingredient and the most valuable asset they have.

David Colby
David L. Colby, Esq. is the Managing Director of Colby Law Office, PC, a law firm in NYC that represents many up and coming designers and their businesses worldwide. Colby Law Office works particularly with business formation and governance, intellectual property and contracts.

Colby Law Office is doing the second of their free legal clinics at FIT on May 19th from 5:30-7:30pm. Only RSVP’s may attend https://legalsalon-may.eventbrite.com. If no more space is available, David can be reached at dcolby@colbylaw.com to set up a free consultation.

A logo / design and tag line do not make a brand – especially a fashion brand

By , February 22, 2014 9:46 am

Yes. They are definitely contributors but there’s a 360-universe that comprises a brand and those elements are only a part of it. A key part of your brand is the brand promise:  what are you going to deliver?  It’s great if you can promise to deliver something no one else is talking about.  My company offers 60%-1,000% return-on-investment.  We back it up with numbers from actual clients.  A promise like this may not have clients knocking down the doors, but they ARE going to remember a promise that breaks through the clutter.

In what used to be called image marketing (such as fashion, liquor, and in the old days cigarettes),  you are often selling a story as the brand promise.  A story that the buyer believes will become their experience if they purchase and use the product.  Ralph Lauren is a master at creating stories that invite you to participate by wearing his clothing.

Below are some links that offer advice on branding for any kind of business (even Tom Fords’ advice works beyond the fashion world).

http://www.manta.com/TOTD/marketing/20140220/tm0h1bq

http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2009/12/define-brand.html

http://www.vogue.com.au/fashion/news/tom+fords+14+tips+on+building+a+fashion+brand,28189


Sandra Holtzman teaches CEO 035: Licensing.

She is the author of Lies Startups Tell Themselves to Avoid Marketing.

Business Startup Basics

By , January 11, 2014 8:24 am

Okay so it’s still January and below is a link to another list –  this one is good for all times.  The 20 points are all business startup basics. Great post.

I’ll add one point to the list:  21. Protect your intellectual property. Trademark, patent, copyright, trade dress and protect your trade secrets.  Make sure you own your name (Prince vs. the artist formerly known as Prince; Bistro Laurent Tourondal/BLT vs. Café Ruhlmann are just two examples of an artist and chef respectively who have had to fight to keep their name).

http://www.forbes.com/sites/theyec/2014/01/07/20-business-lessons-you-dont-want-to-learn-the-hard-way/#!

 

Sandra Holtzman teaches CEO 035: Licensing.
She is the author of Lies Startups Tell Themselves to Avoid Marketing.

How a clothing line moved itself from product to brand

By , November 23, 2013 10:15 am

Here’s a really great case history about how a fashion company used customer-focused market research and marketing.

The TwirlyGirl clothing line polled their customers about the feelings/descriptive words that identified the clothing to them.  They took the results, which when all combined generated a single consistent image, and came up with the word “transformative”.  This was the genesis of the brand.  They next took this information a step further and changed all their copy to reflect the transformative attitude.

This not only became the brand, which TwirlyGirl now has established, but also positioned the company and clothing line in its own space with regards to other girls clothing lines.  A very important double punch to success.  Because there are lots of girls clothing lines, but only TwirlyGirl provides an experience with each piece of clothing. What a great differentiator and competitive advantage.  By following this course of action, they have created a strong niche for themselves.

http://www.twirlygirlshop.com/blog/post/3577776


Sandra Holtzman teaches CEO 035: Licensing.

She is the author of Lies Startups Tell Themselves to Avoid Marketing.

New law protects fashion/runway models and could cost YOU

By , November 16, 2013 8:18 am

On November 20, a new law New York State law will go into effect that qualifies and protects child (defined as anyone under the age of 18) print and runway models as “child performers”.
So what does this mean for a fashion designer using “young” talent?

Even if you are not paying your models a traditional fee, you are still affected by this new law. According to Wendy Stryker, who is  Counsel, Executive Compensation and Employment Group at Frankfurt Kurnit Klein & Selz PC (a law firm who has a specialization in entertainment and media law) “I think that the new law is at odds with any practice of having models work for merchandise or experience.  It makes clear that employers using print and runway models who live or work in New York must comply with the permit, trust account and other provisions.  This will place additional administrative and financial burdens on all employers, and particularly on those without staff who are equipped to deal with the new paperwork. “

For a lot of you this new law will present a huge headache when planning to present new lines.  When you plan for your next runway show, trunk show, catalog, look book etc.  check out the age of the models you plan to use and make sure you are in compliance with the  law.  If you violate the law and are caught, your permit could be suspended and you could pay a fine of $1,000 for the first time you are caught, $2,000 for the second and so on.  Make sure you are in compliance by checking out your specific situation with your attorney or you can ask Wendy at wstryker@fkks.com.
Here are some more of the basic parts of this rule concerning the new law. For more information contact your attorney or Wendy.

Permits: Employers must now apply for and obtain a general Employer Certificate of Eligibility from the New York State Department of Labor before they employ any child performers. Employers must also verify that all child performers they employ have a valid employment permit from educational authorities such as a superintendent of schools as well as a certificate of physical fitness. All certificates and permits must be available at all times for inspection by authorized entities. At least two days before employing a child model, employers must also file a Notice of Use with the Department of Labor advising of their intent to employ child performers.  Notice of Use forms can be found http://labor.ny.gov/formsdocs/wp/LS556.pdf?utm_source=11.5.13+Fashion+Law+Alert&utm_campaign=11.6.2013+Fashion+Alert&utm_medium=email.

For purposes of the new law, a “child performer’s employer” will be considered a person or entity that employs a child model either directly, or through an agency or loan-out company.

Parent or Guardian: Child models must now have a designated responsible person on set at all times (for performers under age 16) or a nurse (for infants).

Trust Accounts: Prior to the first instance of employment, the Department of Labor requires that a child performer’s parent or guardian establish a child performer trust account. Employers must deposit at least 15% of the child’s gross earnings into this trust account. Trust accounts may be set up anywhere, so long as they meet the New York State requirements, or are a California “Coogan” type account.

Limited Work Hours: Under the existing child performer regulations, child performers are limited to restricted working hours based on age and school attendance. A chart summarizing the permitted working hours can be found http://labor.ny.gov/formsdocs/wp/LS559.pdf?utm_source=11.5.13+Fashion+Law+Alert&utm_campaign=11.6.2013+Fashion+Alert&utm_medium=email.

 

Sandra Holtzman teaches CEO 035: Licensing.
She is the author of Lies Startups Tell Themselves to Avoid Marketing.

When technology intersects with fashion – you benefit.

By , November 9, 2013 8:17 am

There’s a new tech idea/website that’s been specifically developed for fashion designers (although other businesses can certainly use it).  It seems to be a cross between crowdfunding/sourcing and market testing.  Here’s how it works: A designer posts several new items from their upcoming collection – or variations on one item – for instance the designer could post one item in multiple colors to see which color is the most appealing. The customer, if interested in the item, makes a commitment to purchase it.  When orders reach a minimum number designated by the designer, then the customer is charged and the designer starts production.  If the orders don’t reach that minimum, then the customer is refunded their money and the designer doesn’t produce it.  It’s a fashion variation on the crowdfunding theme.  But this idea goes one step further.

In crowdfunding, you go to a designated crowdfunding website and put up your idea.  Then there’s a huge hurdle which people rarely discuss – marketing. You have to market like hell to get people to go to the crowdfunding site. So you are essentially doing double marketing – first for your own website (assuming you have one) and second to the crowdfunding site.  With this product, you actually overlay the crowdfunding program onto your own website, thus driving people to your website only, which I think is a much more organic way to market yourself (although you will lose the crowdfunding site surfers who might be a source of revenue).

The concept sounds like a total win-win for the customer and for the designer.  It’s a great way for the customer to be not only ahead of the trend but to actually influence the trend – and to be the first wearing a new style.   Customers order their clothes in advance, and designers don’t risk wasting materials and manufacture for a product that isn’t going to sell well, thus avoiding excess inventory and cash flow difficulties among other issues.

So far, Voy-voy, a NY based clothing company, Feit, a shoe and accessories company, and Gustin, a jeans company are all using this new concept.

It’s called Mimoona – to learn more and hear testimonials, visit the site and see if it’s something that will work for you.  http://www.we.mimoona.com/Projects/1443?share=true&reffID=4299.

 

Sandra Holtzman teaches CEO 035: Licensing.
She is the author of Lies Startups Tell Themselves to Avoid Marketing.

Licensing – Signing the deal is just the beginning

By , October 26, 2013 9:24 am

A licensing agreement is like any other legal agreement.  You can’t just sign on the dotted line and fold up the agreement and put it away for safe keeping. Like a relationship, you must nurture all the parties involved.  It’s a living, breathing and highly dynamic bond.  Sure you’ve agreed to amounts, the frequency of payments, milestones, if any, and all the other details.  But, as in life, things happen.  What happens if one party doesn’t reach the milestone?  Or goes bankrupt? What if there are manufacturing or shipping delays?  What if the product composition or the amount of product isn’t exactly what you agreed upon?  And, probably most commonly, what if the personnel change or the license gets shifted from the original department into some other department’s bailiwick? Yes, the license should cover most of these possibilities but sometimes things come up unexpectedly.

This is why, whether you are the licensor or licensee, it’s really important to develop and maintain your relationship with the other party since both fates might depend on it.

The Licensing Executives Society’s upcoming meeting deals with a lot of these issues.  The focus will be on pharma, since that’s the 800-pound gorilla in the region.  However, if you attend, there will be lots of valuable information to gleam. Here’s the link:

http://us1.campaign-archive1.com/?u=2d4d04d50b85ccc79f5b5b933&id=173b67560e&e=

Here are some other examples of what can happen with copyrights, license rights etc.

http://kateharperblog.blogspot.com/2009/08/how-to-protect-your-assets-in-licensing.html

http://www.cracked.com/article_19683_6-terrifying-user-agreements-youve-probably-accepted.html

http://www.hrfmlaw.com/img/articles/The_IP_License_Agreement_A_View_from_5_000_Feet_article_370958.pdf

My parting suggestion:  Start a relationship with an Intellectual Property attorney who you trust.  It’s always important to have a trusted and knowledgeable partner on your side.

 

Sandra Holtzman teaches CEO 035: Licensing.
She is the author of Lies Startups Tell Themselves to Avoid Marketing.

Corporate ID

By , October 19, 2013 9:26 am

Part 2: Focus on your Tag line

The tag line, slogan, customer promise, value proposition, etc. is a key part of your corporate identity and brand.  Like your logo, it’s important to get it right the first time so that you start to build and reinforce a story/image about your company. It’s a verbal complement and reinforcement of your logo. And vice versa.

All those phrases I used do not mean the same thing – I’m purposely over simplifying to make a point.  The same characteristics and endpoint should be the goal of that line and that is – it should provide a benefit with a very brief (a few words) phrase as pithy as possible.

Let’s take the value proposition – in short, it’s a promise from the company or the product, to the customer. It delivers a benefit or value to the customer.  Some lines serve to differentiate the company from the competition at the same time.  A really good line will do all of the above and take it even further.  Those lines are rare.  There are many methodologies to develop a tag line.  Again, as in having an intuitive and creative designer for your logo, use a resource who will work with you to develop an equally sustainable tag line.

Here are some memorable taglines — some deliver a perceived benefit that is larger than the actual product:

BMW  -  The Ultimate Driving Machine
DeBeers   -  A Diamond is Forever
American Express   -  Don’t Leave Home Without It
Calvin Klein (fragrance)  -  Between Love and Madness Comes Obsession
Calvin Klein Jeans  -  Nothing Comes Between Me and My Calvin’s
Clarks  -  Shoes Designed for Living
Clarks  -  Shoes Designed to Live in
Levis  -  Original Jeans. Original People

Make your tag line memorable; it’s vital to capturing the image and story of your company, plus the immediate and aspirational benefit of your product/service.

 

Sandra Holtzman teaches CEO 035: Licensing.
She is the author of Lies Startups Tell Themselves to Avoid Marketing.

Warby Parker talk

By , September 23, 2013 7:58 am

Warby Parker

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