Posts tagged: Entrepreneurs

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.

Are You A Design Entrepreneur?

By , September 28, 2013 8:21 am

DENYC logo

The second (annual I hope) Design Entrepreneurs NYC program came to an amazing finale Thursday evening September 26 with the announcement of two winners of cash awards of 1st place- $25,000 and 2nd place- $10,000. Becca McCharen owner of CHROMAT (chromatgarments.com) placed first in the business plan competition and Vasumathi Soundararajan (an FIT grad!) of Ken Wroy, Inc. (kenwroy.com) came in second (there were only two places). Kudos to the winners!

Design Entrepreneur Winners 2013

L to R: Dr. Joyce F. Brown, President, Fashion Institute of Technology; Vasumathi Soundararajan, Ken Wroy, Inc.; Becca McCharen, Chromat; Jeanette Nostra, President, G-III Apparel Group.

And kudos to the entire 2013 class of Design Entrepreneurs NYC! Everyone is on their way to growing their companies with freshly minted business plans in their possession.  The intensive mini-MBA program started in June with solid weekend-filled classes and then the entrepreneurs spent their summer, under the guidance of mentors,  working hard writing and refining their business plans. After submitting their business plans, the entrepreneurs waited to hear which ones were selected to present – half of the class of 35.  The presentations, in front of industry judges in four different rooms, narrowed down the field to 4 finalists who then presented in front of all the judges and the 2013 class.  Some of the Judges included: Tim Baxter (EVP & GMM, Macy’s), Morris Goldfarb (CEO, G-III Apparel), Ellen Rodriguez (President & CEO, French Connection), Jeffrey Binder (Consultant, Former Divisional Merchandise Manager, Bloomingdales), and Laurence Leeds, Jr. (Chair, Buckingham Capital).  I was privileged to be a moderator for one of the panels.

So the entrepreneurs are off now to grow their businesses and take them in new directions as a result of this experience.  As well as stay in touch with their classmates, faculty, school and judges.

 

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

DIY or hire it out

By , September 14, 2013 9:31 am

Two Sides of the DIY Coin
What every entrepreneur should understand before they Do It Themselves

Side One:  Efficient Use of Your Time
You’re the CEO.  You must figure out the value of your time in general against the value of your time spent against a DIY project.  Is it worth it?
While you are writing the patent and filing it yourself (I know of at least two entrepreneurs that did this, one in fashion, one in tech), six months could easily go by and your business is headless during that time because your energies are focused elsewhere. Can your company really survive without you running it for that length of time?

For more insight on this side of the coin see: http://blog.nyctechconnect.com/2013/08/13/why-am-i-doing-this/

Side Two:  Good Communications Skills

“The only way to get something done right is to do it myself”.  If that’s the way you think, then there’s a problem with the way you are communicating…you aren’t.  Making yourself understood is crucial in business (and every other aspect of your life as well).  Not only with employees and freelancers but with vendors and clients as well. You must be able to make yourself understood to grow your business and to operate it efficiently.  You can’t do everything yourself (I’m sure you’ve seen org charts where every function is “YOU”) or you and your business won’t get very far.

For more insight on this side of the coin see: http://blog.gcsagents.com/2010/10/06/if-you-want-something-done-right-you-can-do-it-yourself-but-if-you-want-a-lot-of-things-done-right-communicate/

 

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

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