The indie fashion PR component to top fashion PR blog PR Couture, Show Me The Pretty features 5-question interviews with hand-selected indie fashion labels. PR Couture shares the pretty and then turns it back to the designers to ask questions and get advice and feedback about their own fashion PR strategy from a variety of industry experts. Sound like fun? Email info[at]prcouture.com for more information.
German born Erika Hendrix designs incredibly comfy and cozy cotton and linen separates using 90% natural fabrics and materials, as well as accessories including jewelry, scarves and headbands. Erika launched her line in 2005 and it is currently carried in boutiques in Germany and the US as well as online. She recently did a photoshoot for her Spring/Summer 09 collection with esteemed photographer Daniel Weisser.
- P.S. Exclusive for PR Couture - Take 15% off your Erika Hendrix with code prcouture until July 15. Yes! Shop the soft cozies!
What is the inspiration behind your line? What inspired your Spring/Summer Collectio
I started with my Spring/Summer Collection when we found out we would move back to Europe, so I guess the thought of moving from backwards Lawton, OK (sorry, no offense) to Europe was the inspiration. The chic Europeans in their effortless looking outfits - so stylish and comfortable at the same time.
You're plugged in! Twitter, Myspace, Facebook, Etsy, Chictini, Smashing Darling...which of these has done the most to drive awareness to your line? Why do you feel it's important to promote through social media/social shopping?
Yes I am. I love to be everywhere and meet all these new fantastic people. Twitter has helped me a lot to meet great people like yourself, that appreciate what I do. I think social media is very important, if I couldn’t connect with people through social media, fewer people whould know I exist. People tell me all the time, I am so glad I found you, if I hadn't read that article I would have never known you existed. Its just great!
Why is it important to you to use sustainable materials? Do you have trouble sourcing materials? Any stories to tell?
I use 90% natural materials, like cotton, silk etc. And I just got a load of organic jersey. Its not hard to find at all if you are open minded about colors etc. There is this wholesale fabric store I go to where they sell fabric from businesses that went out of business or overstock fabric. That’s how I can keep my prices affordable and I think it’s a great way to "reuse" fabric in a different way. Most designers get fabric woven and printed which is not necessary since I can buy fabric that already exists.
What is the process for getting your clothes into boutiques in Germany? Does going into a new shop make you nervous?
When I first started out I went to a ton of stores and of course I was nervous but most of them loved my stuff and took it in on consignment, so that made me feel confident. I don’t do that anymore, because I just opened my own online store which is doing better than I thought and I also sell a lot online [through places like Etsy and Smashing Darling]. So far no one has ever returned anything, which is so great because I know how hard it is to buy online with the fit, fabric etc.
Your clothes have such a comfy, "I want to live in this" quality to them. In your eyes, what makes the perfect t-shirt?
Thanks a lot and they are =) To me its important to look and feel good at the same time. And that pieces last for a few seasons, they have to be timeless but still different and stylish, that makes the perfect item! And I think I have accomplished that.
Fashion PR Tips*
How do I write a pitch that a publicist/editor wants to read and most importantly write about? And what makes them delete it right away?
PR Couture Says:
Pitches should demonstrate that you understand the kinds of stories your contact covers and that you've done a fair amount of research. Use her name and be quick and to the point, tell her why your brand is the right fit.
Less is more. Include a strong image, retail price and a BRIEF description along with your logo and off it goes. Editors get hundreds of inquiries a day, so a good visual and competitive price point typically garners the most attention in the least amount of time. - Shannon Cavanagh-Estrada. Partner, Pitch! Press
Always make sure your pitch has a personal touch, using the name of the publication or individual you're contacting, and the titles of any specific sections or areas you think you'd be a good fit for, or have enjoyed. Don't forget to take the time to email each contact individually, rather than ccing a whole list with one copy and paste mail, and keep your pitch concise and well constructed, with additional information such as your press release, images and brand bio attached. Finally, don't overlook the importance of providing clickable links to your website, Facebook, Myspace or Twitter within your email signature as standard; it might mean the difference between the recipient visiting your site there and then, or following your progress and building a future rapport. - Sarah-Jane Adams, Fashion editor,www.sarahjaneadams.com
Be yourself! One thing I love is working with people who are genuine and different. I get tons of pitches, a pitch that stands out to me is smart, relaxed and focused. If you don't know who you are writing to or you don't know anything about their company...your pitch will get deleted. In other words, don't pitch a publicist whose niche is high fashion a pitch about a new graphic tee. - Tierra M Wilson, "The Fashion Techie" www.tierramwilson.com
Should I accept every interview request or should I pick the "best" or "popular" ones?
PR Couture Says...
My vote is, within reason, to accept all interview opportunities. You never know where someone that passionate fashion blogger may end up in a few years, best to keep the relationship open. That said, don't accept opportunities to speak about things that are not in your realm of expertise or for publications that are a total disparate fit for your line.
Everyone is going to have their opinion on this question. I say, accept all interview requests as long as it doesn’t harm your reputation or efforts of building a positive PR campaign around your brand. - Shannon Cavanagh-Estrada. Partner, Pitch! Press
Discretion here is key. While an interview is useful for exposure and ultimately sales, some interviews will undoubtedly be a waste of your time. As busy as you are, interviews will not make or brake your business by themselves. The rule of thumb here is "Is this interview going to reach a pertinent audience given MY public relations needs?" If you cannot answer that with a resounding 'yes', then it is a waste of your time. Polina Raygorodskaya, President, Polina Fashion LLC
Lets talk DIY PR, because I am on a low budget and don’t really have time, how do I not waste my time on the internet but find the right places and people without spending hours a day?
PR Couture says...
Use social media monitoring tools to help track brand mentions, competitor mentions and friendly conversation via keyword digests delivered to your inbox. Specific promotional tweets can be set up beforehand, so you know your PR messages are getting out there, even if it's a busy day and you can't spend as much time engaging as you would like.
The best way I tell clients to find DIY PR is to let it come to you. Sign up for HARO (Help A Reporter Out) or IFB's Little Birdie. The leads are credible and you can look through each request and choose which ones work well with your product or service. - Tierra M Wilson, "The Fashion Techie" www.tierramwilson.com
You could always consider taking on an intern to do some ground work and research, and to provide you with leads; there are plenty of fashion students or budding pr reps looking to gain experience who will be more than happy to spend some time per week sending out your press kit and representing you to new contacts in return for references and tearsheets. Be selective and go for a long term partnership which will benefit you both, and don't underestimate the importance of choosing someone with excellent communication and writing skills. - Sarah-Jane Adams, Fashion editor,www.sarahjaneadams.com
How do I get more traffic to my site and is a lot of traffic really important?
PR Couture says...
If you are primarily seeking to generate sales from your site, then traffic is crucial. If you are seeing success with sites like Smashing Darling and Etsy, then perhaps your site functions more as a branding component, in which case you could optimize it for media interest and then traffic might be less important to your bottom line. There are tons of ways to get more traffic to your site including blog advertising, affiliate programs, hosting a blog on your site, developing a strong email database and communicating about your line regularly with top fans through social media.
I've found having a blog on your website is a great way to drive traffic and sales. We recently had a monogram necklace that several celebrities were spotted wearing, so I wrote a blog entry describing the necklace, who was wearing it, and the website where they can buy. Keep in mind the key words people may use to search and include these terms in your blog. On WordPress you can see your stats and what search terms bring people to your blog and what links they click. I try to keep the blog regularly updated with fresh content and images, so people are more likely to come back to my site and check out the latest news. - Adrienne Dorsey, Magnolia PR
"A lot" of traffic isn't in itself useful; quality, pertinent traffic, however is as good as gold. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) has evolved into a highly competitive art. There are many ways to imlement SEO, but it breaks down into on-site methods to increase traffic and off-site methods to supplement traffic. Many SEO methods are publicly available and can be found with a simple search, yet for SEO professionals their methods are closely guarded secrets. Your SEO strategy will vary to a great degree depending on the purpose of your website (e.g. is it for e-commerce? simply brand awareness? etc.) and there are best practices, there is no single, ultimate strategy.
As for a few quick tips, do not focus on meta keywords. Google, for instance, does not even look at them anymore. Getting highly visible inbound links on rlevant sites will bring in steady traffic that will be useful (as opposed to "junk" traffic). Lastly, as a general rule, do not build a website out of Flash, as it is invisible to search engines. Polina Raygorodskaya, President, Polina Fashion LLC
Personally, I’ve found that one of the best – and easiest – ways to increase traffic to our Pay-on-Performance site is by using social networks. Each week I post the link to my latest blog entry on Twitter for followers to check out and this alone brings new visitors to our site. It’s also important to get the folks that are on your site to engage in conversation and comment on blog posts. If the content is meaningful and the conversation is good, they will come. Alyson Rybar, Program Manager, Stalwart Communications
How do I find email addresses and phone numbers from publicists and important people?
This is one of the biggest benefits to working with a fashion publicist, they not only have access to the right names but have relationships with the media. You can subscribe to a media database, or check the few fashion PR search engines that exist like The Lookbook. You can also purchase celebrity publicist lists.
While there are directories (both free and expensive) with contact information as well as publicly posted email addresses for publicists (within magazines themselves at times), the basic tenet that important people are not easy to get in touch with holds true. Having contact information, by itself, can get often get you nowhere. These are highly sought-after people who are incredibly busy. If you want to get past their assistants and secretaries, go to an event or party, meet them in person, and create an impression. This quality of interaction makes the only difference between a VIP or publicist getting back to you, or ignoring your out-of-the-blue email. Interaction quality is key, as is rapport. You need to be 'someone' to them. - Polina Raygorodskaya, President, Polina Fashion LLC
Many of the bloggers are part of a network (ie. Glam Network) and have a “blogroll” of suggested sites (each being a part of the network they share), it’s a good start and kills loads of birds with one stone. - Shannon Cavanagh-Estrada. Partner, Pitch! Press
PR Couture is committed to sharing a variety of voices and opinions related to PR on our site. While we may not always agree 100% with our advisory panel’s suggestions, we believe in the power of discussion and debate and recognize that there are many approaches to fashion PR and each one deserves it’s due. Please consider leaving a comment with your own thoughts to continue the conversation. Or to put it another way, The opinions contained in this article are those of practitioners quoted and may not reflect the opinions of PR Couture.