Which Wearable: A FitTech Poll

There are a ton of options out there in wearable technology, and that number is growing exponentially by the day. Aside from the fun things like Google Glass, FitTech is exploding too; from major brands with Nike+ to upcoming debuts like OMsignal, there are a ton of options out there.

That being said, the team at Third Wave Fashion wants to know which FitTech you’re using! Head over and take the poll on their blog and weigh in with your favorite device.

Find the Poll Here!
Find the Poll Here!

Event Recap: Fashion Business Strategies

The business of fashion can be an overwhelming, but with the right strategies in place the startup process can run a little smoother. That was the focus Monday night at Wix Lounge thanks to sponsors GarysGuide and AlleyWatch, with excellent food and drinks from Qwiker Liquor, For The Gourmet, and Hint.

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Moderated by Dalia Strum, a digital marketing expert and FIT professor, the discussion took aim at the issues facing startups in the fashion business with advice from Becca Aronson, of Adornia, and Ashlene Nand, of Lacquerous. What was even better about the conversation was that Aronson and Nand both brought years of corporate experience to the table as well. Aronson with Lucky Magazine and Redbook, and Nand with Anvil Knitwear and a current position with Gap Global Brand Partnerships, provided insight to the startup world from both sides of the spectrum, which I believe is rarely available and accessible like it was Monday night.

After introductions, the evening turned to questions about branding, customer acquisition and retention, how to use social media, and getting your brand message to the world.

What could be more important than those things?

Determining if you should be an entrepreneur at all. Aronson and Nand seemed to agree on the importance of answering that question first, and basing it on if you want to make money and if you want to do fulfilling work.

Essentially, even if media has always been your dream job and you land it, if you’re creatively left wanting, then you have to pursue the career that will make you the happiest. It may take time to realize it, but the passion and flexibility provided from starting your own business is unmatched by a 9-5 job. If nothing else, making your own decisions and engaging an audience that’s genuinely interested in your product is a rewarding experience. In fact, that interest is where your most loyal customers can be found.

Since business is based on customers, and many of the strategies discussed revolve immediately around the topic, I think Aronson offered one of the best opinions on engaging your customers that I’ve ever heard. She said:

People don’t live in the digital world, they live in the real world.

It seems like a simple concept, something that seems so obvious it doesn’t need to be said, but when you attempt to manage the beast that is social media, understanding that real people don’t actually live online is crucial to your approach. A customer could run a Google image search if all they wanted to do was look at pictures, but that search can’t provide a way to touch the product, can’t offer a hand to shake, and certainly won’t convey the personality that your brand is built on.

That isn’t to say that social media isn’t important, but it does point to the second element that spanned the evening: how you spend your time and what you prioritize will enhance your company and your personal life. Both Nand and Aronson emphasized that you have to be willing to take care of yourself first, and at the end of the day, no matter what you’ll have to live with yourself. Prioritization from there is where the balance in customer engagement and brand growth will take root. More importantly, as your brand grows, you have to remember that some things don’t have to be done today while others don’t need to be done at all. Knowing where to draw that line will come with experience, but the quicker that understanding is developed, the more at-ease you’ll find yourself.

Ultimately, your business is your responsibility. If there was anything to glean from the discussion it was that you must be willing to step outside of your box, learn new things, and partner yourself with like-minded people that compliment your strengths and help you navigate your weaknesses. Build your team based on your needs, but developing your brand voice is like developing yourself, it won’t happen over night, but that process will shape where your brand is heading and how it needs to be positioned.

Be aggressive, be fearless, and always be yourself. You’re brand is depending on it.

Making Social Media Work For You

IMG_0357Image: Paige Hogan for Third Wave Fashion

To many people, social media is a game, one that almost isn’t worth playing because success is difficult to measure.

Yes, the more followers or fans you have, the better it looks, but without meaningful relationships in that community, the numbers don’t mean anything.

Advice flowed from the panel of industry experts that Third Wave Fashion put together, and for a look at what you missed, jump over to my recap on Making Social Media Work For You.

Kids: The Best Things at Fashion Week

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New York Fashion Week is one of the most exciting events on the calendar.

At least… It was.

My introduction to NYFW was with the frigid Fall 2013 shows back in March, when nobody but the truly dedicated wanted to be at Lincoln Center. There was space for bloggers, models, photographers, and everyone in between to do their own thing. In reality it was an excellent experience to see what the fashion die-hards will put themselves through in spite of the challenges that mother nature throws at them.

Spring 2014 however, with temperatures climbing toward 90 everyday, has just been ridiculous. Men wearing wool jackets, puffy down vests, eight layers of clothes, get real idiots we all know you’re pouring sweat.

Unfortunately though, that theme of saturation carried through the crowd, there was no way to differentiate from photographer, student, or common tourist. The best way that I’ve seen it described was by InStyle’s editor Ariel Foxman.

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Essentially, we didn’t even bother trying to photograph like we did with our photos that we submitted to Cosmo UK.

Nope, instead we focused on the gems like this little girl.

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Our trip to NYFW was like going back to high school, everybody was just trying too hard. So when we noticed the children, we knew where the actual story was.

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Not only are children radiant examples of innocence, but they are unimaginably accurate beacons of honesty. Their faces, body language, and general demeanor always deliver the truth that lies underneath the white-knuckle grip that their parents drag them along with.

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I understand that fashion weeks are hugely popular for unknown artists and models to attempt to be found, and can turn people into divas that even a Snickers can’t cure, but after dodging puppies and moms with strollers for a few hours, patience is lost.

Besides, if this little girl gets to be a diva…
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Then I do too.

Image Collaboration with Paige Hogan

Invest in Perfection

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Are you happy with products that aren’t perfect? Probably not. So why would you expect your customer to respond any different.

The focus of Tuesday’s “Software Meets Fashion: How Software Will Impact the Fashion Industry” meetup explored this idea.

The perfect product comes from the perfect customer. And the perfect customer is one that feels appreciated. To see the other tips and suggestions from the excellent panel of industry leading engineers, check out my guest recap for Third Wave Fashion.

Even if you aren’t building software, you’ll benefit from this read.

The Essentials- Jeans

As you try to find your style, consider what you have to build with.  Though you may see different looks in magazines or online, you don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars revamping your wardrobe.  My suggestion is to start with the essentials.  The first building block, the staple to every wardrobe: JEANS.  A good pair of jeans can make the difference in looking good or looking “old”.  Keep in mind that this “old” is not vintage, Dad jeans are never a good idea.  Having worked at American Eagle, I can speak first hand that there is at least one good pair of jeans for you. 

Step 1:  Find these “magic” jeans.  Go to the right store and ask for help.  You have seen the employees desperately searching for a customer to help and you could make their day by accepting the help.  These employees are being paid to help you, similar to picking up a map at an amusement park.  You would be foolish to wander around a city that is unfamiliar, so why do that with your clothes?

Step 2:  Let the employee pick your jeans.  For those of you stuck in average department stores, your general styles vary from bootcut to slim, or some variation of that.  Even if you know exactly what you are looking for, step back and see what somebody else would put you in.  Allow the employee to pull different styles off the wall, and see what others think of the new look.

Step 3:  Try anything.  If you see the tag says slim but you always wear bootcut jeans, don’t automatically discredit the jeans.  In the search for your style, you must be willing to try anything, that way you can test and see what direction your look is going to take.  The benefit too of having somebody help you is the fact that most employees can check for sizes that may not be on the floor.  If you refuse the help, you may end up with jeans that do not correctly fit.

Step 4:  TRY THEM ON!  Once you have found the jeans that you are interested in, or the employee has found jeans for you, try them on.  There is no rule that says you must buy jeans that you try on.  This will prevent you from buying jeans that don’t appeal to you, and you can see if the jeans have a good feel.  In my last blog I talked about how the key to street fashion was being comfortable while looking good, so you MUST try on your jeans to see if you are comfortable.  The other key to trying on jeans is the fact that you may not be the size that you think you are.

Step 5:  Relax, if they don’t fit it’s ok.  If you try on jeans that don’t fit, get a different size.  This could mean two things, either you are bigger than the jeans you are trying on, or you could be too small for them.  This should not discourage you from getting these jeans, nor should it turn you off from the store.  As you look for jeans you must be understanding that most stores size their jeans differently.  This means that a 2 at American Eagle could be very different from a 2 at Hollister.  So stick with it, and keep trying on jeans.

Step 6:  SHOW OFF!  Once you find your “perfect” jeans, be proud of your new look!  Take this pair of jeans and use them to build your look on.  These jeans could be the stepping stone you were looking for to push your look to the next level, so show them off and see what people think.

Now that you know how to buy your jeans, go out and have FUN.  Walk into a store and make it known what you are looking for, and NEVER get discouraged.  Once you have your jeans, you can begin to work with the other key elements of the outfit.