"I sent an email to Susie Bubble and the next day she blogged about [my line]. By the end of the week it had been reblogged over 20 times" - Shabd Simon-Alexander
As a child of the eighties, I remember all too well afternoons spent in the garage, tie-dyeing anything and everything in sight -tights, socks, tank tops, scrunchies - anything white was fair game. These efforts, however, are nothing compared to the true tie-dye artistry of indie fashion designer Shabd Simon-Alexander. Her limited-edition pieces are created using quality natural fibers including luxurious silks, organic cottons and textured wools and stocked in high-end boutiques and Barney’s Co-op internationally. This is the woman who taught Martha Stewart to tie-dye.
Shabd described her customer as "a creative, intellectual woman. [Perhaps] a designer, architect, gallerist, writer or artist who searches out and invests in a few choice, quality pieces to base her wardrobe on." Shabd handles all of her own PR, and says she owes a large part of her success to "the [fashion] blogosphere. When i first launched my online store I sent an email to Susie Bubble and the next day she blogged about it. By the end of the week it had been reblogged over 20 times, and by the end of the month I had been in Time Out NY, NY magazine, Daily Candy, and was contacted by various stores to begin wholesaling." In addition to those early press hits, Shabd has also been featured in The New York Times, The Martha Stewart Show, Nylon, Blackbook, Dossier Journal, and Bust Magazine.
While noting her biggest challenge is finding time to get everything done, Shabd is looking forward to expanding the ways she uses and embellish fabrics, as well as adding in fabrics that aren't hand dyed but still fit in with the concept of her line. In addition to scarves, wrap dresses, the occasional leotard, skirts and shirts, my favorite piece from her Fall 2011 Lookbook is a floor-length black dress with a delicious slit down the upper back. For those more inclined to rock the tie-dye, the dress also comes in a lovely pale blue.
Shabd had the following fashion PR question for PR Couture: How do I get press to come to my events?
Research the correct contact at the medium and craft a personal message, addressing them by name and not "Hey" or "To Whom It May Concern." Don't mass blast the media contacts either, it's not personable and is likely to be dismissed. Send out your invites early to the press, be prepared to send reminders and follow-up as well.
Keep in mind that media are inundated with e-mails and materials, so don't be afraid to pick up the phone and personally invite them to your event. Allow them to invite a guest as well. Media professionals have lives, too, and yes, while they may be working, if you can help them enjoy your event with a friend or colleague - even better. They may bring a photographer or a new contact from the media whom you'll have an opportunity to meet.
When you let the media know about your event, try and send out a save the date at least a month in advance and then send occasional reminders. Make sure you have all pertinent details in place: date, time, location, etc. Also, have high resolution pictures ready to send (upon request) and the ability to get your lookbook/line sheets to them promptly. While it's great to have media attend your event, your main goal is likely coverage for yourself, your brand/business and/or the event (either beforehand to promote or afterwards to recap/review your event). If you have all of the aforementioned (event deets, pics, etc.) and for some reason the media is unable to attend, they may still have enough information to provide you with press coverage either beforehand or after your event.
Consider a press only preview for your event, especially if it's being held late at night (club show) or on a day when there are multiple events going on in your city. This way you'll have an opportunity to still catch those media outlets who aren't night owls or whom are on assignment covering events at multiple locations.
Finally, don't be discouraged if the media does not attend your event. Public relations involves relationship building. Sending out the first invite and making yourself known to the media is important, and that first step may prove to be beneficial for future outreach and events.
~Nancy Vaughn, principal, pr & marketing director at White Book Agency
PR Couture has partnered with FadMashion to highlight their independent fashion designers and provide fashion PR & marketing advice.