Any one who’s started an apparel or accessories line can tell you that building a successful fashion line can be a daunting process; the battle to gain notoriety and competition for exposure is intense. When a designer launches their line, they often find it hard to get their product in boutiques or showrooms unless they’ve received a few pieces of notable press coverage.
So what do designers do? They develop marketing materials and a press kit (complete with whatever kick ass press coverage they have landed) to whet the appetite of boutique buyers in order encourage them represent their product lines. Boutiques want to carry the lines favored by editorial because that drives sales.
But once a designer has “the necessary” documents in place, how does he or she find the proper representation for his or her line? Oftentimes a designer will make the investment and connect with a sales rep, rather than take on the daunting task of traveling the country and meeting with boutiques in person.
Find Fashion Rep
A new resource connecting designers with sales reps and showrooms across the nation – FindFashionRep.com, aims to make this process a bit easier to manage.
Founded by former fashion manufacturer Kelli Nelson, FindFashionRep is a tool that helps designers and manufacturers find representation for their products. FindFashionRep features a comprehensive database of over 1100 sales representatives and showroom across the US and Canada.
To find representation, designers choose a territory (there are twelve fashion hubs throughout the U.S. where reps are located) and then refine the search by choosing the categories that their line fits into.
For example, if a designer classifies their product line in “jewelry” and “accessories,” this will enable the designer to see all the reps within that specific search. The search will also supply all of the representative’s contact information. The designer can see if their line will fit into that rep's existing package or not. The site is designed so the search can be very refined.
When asked about her inspiration to create FindFashionRep, Nelson pointed to a lack of information that could be found in one location. Nelson says, “I was a manufacturer of my own line, In Harmony, for twelve years and finding independent sales reps in the all the fashion hubs was very time consuming. It was a lot of phone calls and networking. The only other way was to hop on a plane to that territory and go to the fashion mart and talk to reps. I was a small business and finding the time and the expense wasn't in my budget.”
After Z. Cavaricci bought In Harmony (a multi-million dollar business at the time of acquisition), Nelson built FindFashionRep as a solution to overcome one of the biggest hurdles for designers and manufacturers in fashion industry.
Our opinion of the finished product:
Designers can now use the web to do one more thing that’s necessary in order for their brands to grow. FindFashionRep is quality site that helps designers and manufacturers find the quality representation they need in order to be successful.
FindFashionRep has just launched a classifieds section that enables sales reps to post ads looking for new lines. Designers and manufacturers can also post ads looking for reps. It much more attractive and refined than Craigslist.
Contributed By Macala Wright, A Los Angeles-based Fashion Marketing Consultant and Founder of FashionablyMarketing.Me