Posts tagged: Entrepreneurs

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.

3 Things Entrepreneurs should know about WordPress

By , February 1, 2014 8:53 am

Today’s blog is guest written by Stephanie Cockerl, a WordPress expert.
Stephanie owns nextSTEPH  a company that helps individuals, small businesses and companies take their websites to the next level.  She’s been doing this for over 16 years. nextSTEPH provides web development, search engine and social media services to clientele in the education, health, media, non-profit, and publishing industries.  For more information, visit http://www.nextsteph.com.

3 Things Entrepreneurs should know about WordPress

If you have been online for a while, hopefully you have heard the word “WordPress.”

WordPress has impacted the way people communicate and publish on the web.

Nearly 20% of the web operates on WordPress. (http://techland.time.com/2013/07/29/the-word-from-wordpress-catching-up-with-matt-mullenweg/). Many companies, media outlets, public figures, entertainers and non-profits run on WordPress. Here are some examples, http://wordpress.org/showcase/.

WordPress (http://www.wordpress.org)  is an open-source content management system or CMS for short.  “Open source” means that the software is non-proprietary. There is no additional cost for installing in on a website (other than web hosting.)

Anyone is free to contribute to the development of WordPress, from participating in the forums to attending and volunteering at WordPress conferences, or WordCamps. Developers contribute their support to the core software (http://wordpress.org/download/), themes (the templates), and plugins (mini- applications that extend beyond the WordPress core functionality.

Not long ago, if you didn’t know HTML, how to find web hosting, and create webpages, you were out of luck.  Now with WordPress, anyone can have a site within minutes.

One thing that entrepreneurs get confused about when getting started with WordPress is what version to use.  There are two versions of WordPress, www.wordpress.com  (hosted on WordPress ) and www.wordpress.org (self-hosted.)

WordPress.com

By using first method, www.wordpress.com. WordPress is hosting the website.

The benefit of having an account on WordPress.com is that you don’t have to contend with obtaining web hosting. You can also have multiple “blogs” or “websites” under one account.

When you sign up for a new account, you would be given a default web address like yoursite.wordpress.com. If you eventually obtain your own domain name, WordPress.com charges a yearly fee to attach it to your account. As the site grows, you may want to add more functionality. WordPress.com may not be able to accommodate it unless more space on the account is purchased. Also, if you don’t have your own domain, you are vulnerable if wordpress.com has hosting difficulties. If WordPress.com goes down, no one will be able to see your site.   That would be the point to consider self–hosting. When you establish your self-hosted website and you would like to forward your wordpress.com address to your own domain, there is also a fee for that.

WordPress.org

Most web hosts make it easy to install WordPress. WordPress is known for it’s “5 Minute Install.” Web hosts should also have a control panel in which WordPress is located.

Making your WordPress Site Yours

Once you install WordPress, it already comes with a default theme. If you want, you can start filling it up with content, or you can find a theme (http://wordpress.org/themes/) that better suits your website.

Once you find a theme you like and you have customized it to your liking, you may discover that the site needs a bit something extra. This is where plugins come in. Plugins extend the functionality of your site. If you want to install a form, or a place for banner ads, the plugin section of WordPress.org

(http://wordpress.org/plugins/) is where you would look.

WordPress has come a long way in under a decade. From what was once thought of as just another blogging platform to being the preferred CMS of not only the famous, but also those who want a flexible and manageable solution to make their mark on the web.

Stephanie M. Cockerl is the owner of nextSTEPH. The company has been helping individuals, small businesses and companies take their websites to the next level for over 16 years. nextSTEPH provides web development, search engine and social media services to clientele in the education, health, media, non-profit, and publishing industries.  For more information, visit http://www.nextsteph.com

 

 

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.

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.

Socks, Tights, and More!

By , October 22, 2013 7:00 pm

Meet our new Instructor, Fern Pochtar!

She will be teaching SXF 222 Intro to Legwear Design: Socks, Tights and More,
starting October 29, 2013!

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Hi Fern! So, tell us a little about yourself…

I am a graduate of Pratt Institute and have been a professional in the legwear hosiery industry for many years. After working for several corporations designing and merchandising legwear and other accessory items, in 1983, I started a business with a partner and we are still going strong. I’ve traveled all over the world making socks and hosiery and it has been a very fulfilling career.

For those of us unfamiliar with this market, please inform us…

One of the really great things about this market is that there is always a need for the product. The trends can change from one item to another, but but there is always a need for legwear. The most exciting thing about this category is the fun to blend the technology with the creative. Take the course and learn just how creative you can get!

Tell us about a project or accomplishment that you consider to be the most significant in your career…

Before I started my company, I was the designer at Danskin and made the first cotton tights. These have become a basic and classic for everybody’s wardrobe.
Also, starting my own company, SoloLicensing/Legwatch, Inc., after working for others. I understood the technical part of designing which was a unique quality and I felt that I was well respected in the industry and could build a business, which we did.

What will the students learn from your class?

Students will learn how to understand the technical information that one needs in order to detail and design any legwear item and have product come out exactly as they imagined. They will learn the terminology and all phases of the legwear design process.

Thank you and we look forward to your new class!
To register for this new class, please visit http://www.fitnyc.edu/noncreditregister.

 

NEW Class in Accessories!

By , October 22, 2013 11:52 am

Meet our new Instructor, Christina Caruso!

She will be teaching SXF 218, How to Design and Merchandise an Accessory Line, starting October 31, 2013!
Christina Caruso photo by Peter Hurley

 So, tell us a little about yourself…

I’m, Christina Caruso, a fashion accessory designer living and working in NYC.
I studied fashion design at Parsons School of Design. Upon graduating, I started my own line of fashion accessories (ChristinaCaruso.com), designed for major brands including Liz Claiborne / Isaac Mizrahi, and was a contestant on Lifetime’s Project Accessory show. I’m currently employed with the GAP as the Design Director for Banana Republic Jewelry.

For those of us unfamiliar with this market, please inform us…

The accessory market is a fast growing and profitable industry. Working with an American lifestyle brand like BR/GAP and collaborating with guest designers on a seasonal basis keeps my job exciting. Our designs are available in over 500 stores world wide reaching a massive audience.

Tell us about a project or accomplishment that you consider to be the most significant in your career…

When I was a student at Parsons School of Design, I knit a bag that was eventually featured on SJP in Sex and The City. This helped launch my career in the accessory world.

What will the students learn from your class?

I will share my personal experience and knowledge of working in the industry.
Students will learn how to design and merchandise a line from start to finish. We will create inspiration boards to tell the story.  I will also bring in other industry leaders as guests to speak about their expertise and share their knowledge of the industry.

Thank you and we look forward to your new class!
To register for this new class, please visit http://www.fitnyc.edu/noncreditregister.

 

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.

Are you curious about ethical fashion and sustainable sourcing and manufacturing?

By , October 13, 2013 10:02 am

This course will get you started and there will be AMAZING guest speakers!!

Materials and Eco Labels Photo by David Goldman/AP

Photo by David Goldman/AP

MATERIALS AND ECO LABELS – FASHION

2013 Dates: October 21, 28, November 4, 11
6:00 pm – 9:00 pm
http://www.fitnyc.edu/7390.asp

Course description:
The journey from raw material through processing, dyeing and finishing is complex. Sourcing raw materials, chemicals used in processing, energy and water use, finishing products and processes are just some of the considerations in developing sustainable textiles. This course will cover all the components and considerations of sustainable materials for fashion. It will cover the eco labels that pertain to materials in the United States and as applicable, worldwide markets and teach you how to evaluate these labels’ pros and cons. We will also touch on eco labels that apply to the packaging and labeling necessary for the retail environment.

Guest speakers include:

• Founder and Publisher of The Sourcing Journal, Edward Hertzman along with Editorial Assistant Tara Donaldson.

• Danielle Azoulay, Supervisor Product Compliance: PVH Corp.

• Rhett Godfrey, Coordinator- Sustainability Initiatives: Loomstate

• Prof. Nathan Fleisig, Expert in global supply chain, product safety, social responsibility & compliance issues. Brands include: Reebok/Adidas, Nike, Gap, AE, Justice, CLC, MLB, NBA, NFL, NHL and the US Olympic Committee.

 

Carmen Artigas teaches in the Sustainable Design Entrepreneurs certificate program.
You can follow her on facebook.com/ethicalfashionNY and twitter.com/artigascarmen.

Your corporate identity…get it right the first time

By , October 5, 2013 10:13 am

Part 1: Focus on your logo

Every company should start out with minimal corporate IDs or branding – logo, name, tag line (value proposition), design templates and color palettes. There should be a template developed that shows how these items are used (in larger companies, a brand book is created that spells out exactly how sizes, placements, colors etc. are to be used ).

This is the core of your company’s identity. Like a skeleton, it supports your body.  Do it early, and do it correctly. And especially don’t skimp on the fees to get it done.  It’s a lot more difficult to correct a brand identity mistake or direction than to establish it the first time – to make a correction, you will have to re-ID your company, and then spend countless dollars and time on PR to explain why the company has changed its basic identity and to overcome confusion created by this change.

I’ve seen a lot of results from websites where designers bid for the logo work.  Some of it is okay.  Okay is not good enough for your company.  A lot of the results are derivative of other logos, and leftover designs an artist hasn’t sold. Remember, you are going to pay for the result.  Pay one time and get it right and it won’t cost you dollars and time down the road.

So invest the money into a designer or firm who gets you.

When it’s my money, I look for someone who is intuitive about what my client or my company is and what they are trying to do/say to the marketplace (how do you know they are intuitive?  Check out what they’ve done for other people…you’ll get a feel for if they have a feel for their clients).  My designer is one of my company’s secret weapons to success.

An interesting take on designers is expressed in this link:
http://www.manta.com/TOTD/marketing/20131004?referid=16483&su=MT1000787066&uu=511dac7431f24625b3909f94

 

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

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