Saturday, August 21, 2010

fashion marketing ... {and we're in a text book}

ill have to admit when Marianne Bickle, department of retail chair at the University of South Carolina, called to say she wanted to stop by and talk about my marketing strategy for an upcoming project i was a little surprised. marketing strategy? the same feeling overcomes me when someone wants to talk about my business plan. i have never had either. the plan in 2005 was to quit my job and make skirts. that was it. there was no market research or even a conversation with another young "designer" {even calling me a "designer"would have been a huge stretch and still is very flattering}. i did have one professor who said that opening a retail store was an awful idea. he loved my idea and creative energy but said there wasn't any money in retail and very little happiness. {im sure glad i was too stubborn to listen.}
my friends and family were always supportive although, im not sure if they knew how skirts would support me beyond a creative outlet. i didn't know either that you really can make a living off of your life by doing what you love.
when Marianne sat down in the studio we began to talk about facebook marketing. it just seemed logical to post my designs. my shop has always been a different shopping experience. i like to say its intimacy without the intensity. it can be a very personal experience to have your measurements taken for custom tailoring. often times, my customers do become my "friend".
facebook was different than how i expected. almost over night, i had girls wanting to "be my friend" on face book {or be friends with the fun frock in the picture}. who they were, i didn't know. of course i anticipated being "friends" with my clients, but where did these other "friends" come from? the questions and comments came flooding in and still do from dress lovers from all over the country who just happen to see a picture they fancy.
three years later we are close to 5,000 friends. facebook has been a great way to communicate with my clients. its easy to post pictures, alert customers when new fabric is in and share what what is playing on the ipod. i have been overwhelmed by the support, kind words and gratitude from laroque fans via facebook. seeing someone in thier laroque at a function truly makes my day. to think.....this person choose to wear my piece of art for their special occasion.

so here we go! the cover of Fashion Marketing by Marianne Bickle. the book focusses on theory, principles and practices of fashion marketing. the text book will be distributed world wide by Fairchild books for fashion, marketing and retail classes. i am extremely honored to be apart of this book. most, if not all, of my fashion icons are among the pages. to be associated with them in this way is very humbling. many thanks to Marianne Bickle for hearing my disorganized synopsis of a marketing plan. what an honor.

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