Chapter: To Give and To Receive
Brief Description: This chapter relates to the sending and receiving of products to and from your target media. We discuss how to present your products and what information should be included each time you send out press samples.
Tip: Remember, each label, sticker and docket is free advertising for your brand, ensure your products clearly exhibit your brand name. You are raising awareness of your label every time you send out a delivery. A few carefully designed A5 stickers can work as wonderful logo carriers for the front of your bags. Coloured tissue paper casing each sample will send the message that your products are important to you and should be treated with care.
Chapter: Keeping A Record
Brief Description: Record keeping is perhaps the most important aspect of handling your own PR. By retaining clear and concise records of your actions you will speed up the entire PR process as well as keeping confusion to a minimum.
Tip: To aid the organisation of press correspondence and to appear more professional, set up an independent email account for your business, i.e. press@usual address.
Chapter: Release Yourself
Brief Description: We will regularly refer to your press release throughout this guide. Your press release is simply a few paragraphs providing key points on you, your label and your current collection.
Tip: A popular method for writing press releases is to concentrate on the 5 W’s. To ensure these W’s are applicable to the fashion industry, we have provided you with the following points to consider:
- Who? Brief description of the label/designers, who you are
- What? What products you design and for what season
- Why? Why you have been inspired, why you design
- Where? Where to find the collection; shows or stockists
- When? When the collection launches, when it is available
Chapter: Looking Good
Brief Description: This chapter is concerned with the shooting, presentation and desired effects of your images. From lookbooks to jpegs we discuss many of the options open to when handling the visual side of your PR plan. We also provide advise for preparing for a shoot.
Tip: Aim to include each piece from your collection. If you design throughout the season, you may prefer to use a mannequin or opt for the still life option. Recreating an orchestrated shoot for additional pieces later on in the season may be tricky. Ensure you can update these new pieces easily in to your lookbook as they arrive.
Tip: When shooting a new collection, take advantage of the facilities. Have a mini make over and take a few professional shots of you and your team. You may be required to provide these images for future press coverage.
Chapter: Knowing The Names
Brief Description: When contacting your key press you should possess at least their basic information, including their full name and job title. This chapter offers suggestions for obtaining and maintaining a solid contacts database for your target media.
Tip: Take care in noting subtle changes in job title. It can be easy to miss the promotion of “Acting Deputy Editor” to “Deputy Editor”. Consider your frustration if you were continually referred to as an assistant when you had been promoted to Manager some time ago. Always make immediate changes to your database if a contact has recently married and taken a new surname.
Chapter: Loose Buttons
Brief Description: At some point a button will fall off your PR plan and invariably you will have to deal with damaged samples, lost accessories and frustrating obstacles that might hold you up. This chapter reveals some of the black holes you will encounter and how best to approach them, as well as offering a few pointers for other, more general aspects of handling your own PR.
Tip: Misprints - If one of your samples is used in a fashion shoot, then it is vital that you are credited correctly for your designs. However there are occasions when publications print inaccurate information. In this instance, you must notify them immediately. No publication wants to provide their readers with incorrect information and they will usually do all they can to rectify the situation. The publication can notify readers of their mistake in a subsequent issue or, as with missing samples they can provide more coverage as a means of apology. The important point to remember in this instance is that you are losing potential sales and possibly giving another label credit for your designs. Be sure to persevere when seeking an amendment.
About Sophie Sheikh
Sophie Sheikh founded the boutique fashion PR company Preo PR in 2001. Passionate about fashion, Preo focused on emerging new fashion talent, concentrating on raising the profile of some of the UK’s hottest new labels. Success stories include Laura J London (previously Lollipop London) and Brittique.com.
Sophie soon became the resident PR trainer for the Craft Central association, providing regular ‘PR surgeries’ to a vast number of the networks’ clothing, jewelery and accessory designers. It was this experience that inspired The Pocket Guide To Fashion PR.