Whatever sector of fashion you’re in, whether you’e a stylist, store owner, designer or run a PR agency, you have to invest money and time into meeting the right people who can help take your business to the next level. What exactly do I mean? I’m talking about the power and importance of networking! This is when you meet potential customers, clients, members of the press, business partners, mentors, and anyone else who can help expand your career. Where do you find these networking events? The easiest way to find them is through your colleagues and by surfing the web. Meetup.com is a great place to find an event for any kind of interest or industry. I suggest you start there. In the meantime, let me give you a few useful networking tips to remember.
Building your network takes a lot of time money and these are the two factors that turn people off about it. But, it’s really something you can’t escape. Don’t get discouraged if you didn’t make any much traction after the 1st networking event you went to. The truth is, it takes a good 1-2 years to build a solid, reputable following around yourself and your business. Therefore, don’t give up so easily. And most importantly, don’t get turned off by the money you’ll have to spend. I’m not saying that networking events will cost you thousands of dollars. But, you will have to fork up some cash here and there. All you have to remember is the rule of cost of acquisition. So, let’s say you pay $500 to attend a convention with major potential clients. After the convention, you end up landing 10 different jobs that equaled to $50k, translating to $5000 per client. That means the cost to acquire 1 client was a mere $50! $50 in exchange for $5000-I’ll take that any day.
Always have business cards! Never ever attend a networking event without business cards. The main reason you’re at that event is to make connections. So, how will you ever make a connection if you can’t easily distribute your contact information.
Dress appropriately sharp. Dress to impress, depending on the type of industry event you attend. If you are going to a fashion event for Diane Von Furstenberg, don’t come dressed in Bebe club attire. You want to dress appropriately but still stand out from the crowd.
Make your rounds. Do not stay with one person during the entire event, unless something huge is happening (a business deal, partnership deal, etc). You want to meet as many people as possible and you can’t do that if you’re stuck with the same person all day or night.
Look at the guestlist the night before the event to strategize who you’ll be approaching. If big people are going to be there, you’re going to want to get in front of their faces.
Don’t be shy to introduce yourself. Your peers are expecting to be approached during these type of events, so don’t feel awkward or silly when you reach out to them.
Have a pitch about your business ready to go. Everyone will ask you who you are and what you do. So, you should be able to explain that clearly and succinctly.
Always ask for people’s business cards even if you’ve given them yours. People sometimes forget to follow up. If you don’t have their contact info, you’re pretty much screwed. But, if you have their email or phone number, you can easily reach out to them yourself.
Alright, I think I covered everything. If you have any other questions, feel free to tweet me @fabcounsel. And to leave you guys with a parting gift, there’s great networking event coming up for stylists and designers on Saturday, March 1st. Actually, it’s great for anyone in or interested in fashion. It’s an event by Simply Stylist, an organization dedicated to connecting designers and stylists. There will be a yummy luncheon, a fun shopping event, a networking mixer, and a great seminar complete with a panel of industry experts. Jeanne Hang (stylist for Katie Holmes), Jamie Krell (style Expert for E! and the Style Network), fashion blogger Shea Marie (Chayenne Meets Chanel), fashion editor Brenna Egan (LA editor of Refinery29) will all be there! This event is a great place to network with your fellow fashionistas. I’ll be going to this shindig, so I hope to see your lovely faces there.
Purchase Tickets here
xo Mary aka FAB counsel
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