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.

1501758_643632312349057_41950675_nImage: Wix Lounge

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.

Team USA: Uniform of Tradition

Olympic sweater

There is no doubt that to participate in the olympics is an honor unlike any other.

Countless athletes have done their best to describe the feeling of representing your country, what it’s like to hear your nation’s anthem ring through the stadium or arena, all because for a frozen moment in time you were the best, your country, was the best.

Unfortunately though, that’s a feeling that many of us probably won’t experience. We won’t feel the pressure of a global audience, we won’t feel the weight of an expectant nation on our shoulders, looking to us to prove the strength and resilience of our country despite such an unstable world.

No, the international stage of the Olympic Games is reserved for an elite few, but luckily, there is one thing that we can share.

Tradition.

No matter who you are, what you believe, or where you live; tradition is one thing that we can all value. From family farms to generations of cops and fire fighters, tradition is one thing that may ring more true than the freedom we so proudly boast.

It’s with tradition in mind that I’ve come to appreciate what Ralph Lauren is doing with the 2014 Sochi Olympic uniforms. I wasn’t a fan of the Polo logo skillfully emblazoned on each garment, but understanding the story and the lengths the company went to to develop a truly American uniform is something that we can all appreciate.

From Oregon to New York, North Carolina to California, the details of the process pay homage to the traditions that have built this great nation.

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.

Writing: Killing Creativity

c715335c16fc11e39d5d22000a1fbb3c_7Image: Paige Hogan

Journalists and PR pros alike have one problem that they all have to deal with.

AP-style. The written laws passed down from the journalistic gods of yesteryear. A style taught and mandated to ensure that editing would be easier for publishers, to streamline the news and breaking stories.

The problem with AP-style, and I know I’m not the only one that feels this way, is that it kills creativity.

As I attempt to write my first feature story, I’m struggling to come up with just that… The story. After two years of being beat over the head and spoon fed AP-style, it’s difficult to find the creativity necessary to develop a story worth reading.

The beauty of the feature, for the Third Wave Fashion October report, is that I have the freedom to have fun, but I’ve been so focused on facts that I’ve allowed creative writing to dissipate as one of my skills. The voice of the story is meant to carry one of old time horror films, a Twilight Zone science fiction feel that plays on the mild fears that every person carries, but would never admit.

So as I search for facts to back up the terrifying reality that is the unknown world of tech, I implore you to go find the creativity that thrived deep inside you when you were in elementary school. The same creativity that was limited in middle school and weeded out of you in high school.

There’s nothing better than feeling fulfilled by the work you do, and writing is something that everyone is capable of. Go have fun, and let writing be more than dry facts and boring words.

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