PR – Don’t Leave Your PR to Chance! It’s Your Key to Success.

I can’t emphasise enough the importance of good PR.  In the past I have only been able to pass my clients on to London PR companies that I knew of  but couldn’t recommend.  It all seemed very hit and miss with a huge financial outlay and commitment.  The general rule was a payment of £3,000 plus per month for a minimum of 6 months with no guarantees of any success!  Well in my opinion that’s simply not a good deal. I wouldn’t pay that unless they could guarantee some results.  You’ve worked hard to get your collection together and you deserve results!

I approached a few companies who claim to be ’emerging’ designer friendly but still couldn’t see where the value was in their offer.  In fact one PR company told me they wouldn’t be interested in being introduced to my clients as there was a ‘conflict of interest’…. what a load of bunkum!  My sole interest is helping my clients get a good deal on a PR proposal.  How can that be conflicting?

Anyway after about a year of researching options and possibilities, I decided to take on a fabulous PR lady who can offer my clients exactly what they need at the right price to help get them visible and to drive traffic on to their websites. This is what we’re offering exclusively to Fashionworks London clients.

Options:

1) A 90 minute call with Fashionworks London clients to discuss your strategy for increasing brand awareness and securing PR. Invaluable practical advice on moving forwards. A summary of actions will be given at the end of the call.
The focus will be on:-
  • Two areas of concern such as social media, securing PR coverage, influencer/celeb endorsement or promotion strategy
  • immediate actions over the next month that will get you on your way to more effective social media and PR strategy and getting your first pieces of coverage or the exact steps to take to go about promoting business activity, such as having a concession in Harrods or the necessary steps to securing celeb endorsement. As with anything, the advice that is given will be relevant to where the brand is with their current online, marketing and PR strategy.
Our clients will have:-
  • A recording of the call
  • An hour long online video training on how to draft a press release
  • A fashion press release template
  • A list of 25 relevant media outlets to pitch for both your brand and personal story
  • A list of ‘Awareness’ days for the next 12 months to enable you to forward plan your PR strategy
The call will be followed up with an email including the details or any resources mentioned during the call. You will be able to email Brenda once in the following week with any questions and she will provide you with guidance as required.
Please email Katy Cordina for further details of the fee for this fantastic PR option.  Email: info@fashionworkslondon.com
It’s much cheaper than you think!
2) The second option is for a full strategy day in person (11am-4pm)
The premium PR package is standard parlance for a half/full day experience in a luxury 121 setting to focus on one area of transformation and a set of results. In this instance it would be Fashion PR strategy session as requested to enable Fashionworks London clients to go on to start doing their own PR or outsource to an assistant.
A full day is required for Brenda to get to know everything about you, the client, your work and your goals. It’s also important that she gets a feel for you as an individual, in person, as a huge part of PR (and fashion) is appearance and presentation – especially if media interviews will be part of your PR strategy.
In addition, you will have a session with a UK national journalist to find out exactly what the media will be looking for and the publications they would be best suited to.
The areas of focus will be:-
  • The essential tools needed to get started with PR
  • Developing a media mindset – getting used to the idea of being a figurehead for your brand
  • The most effective PR tactics for your fashion brand
  • Meet the Journalist – A session with a top national journalist to explain what the media looks for in a pitch, help you refine your story and hone your pitch
  • The Art of Storytelling- learn how to leverage your personal story to increase PR opportunities and brand exposure
  • How to handle media requests and interviews
You will leave with:-
  • A media ready checklist
  • An hour long online video training on how to draft a press release
  • A fashion press release template
  • A list of 25 relevant media outlets to pitch for both your brand and personal story
  • A list of Awareness days for the next 12 months to enable you to forward plan your PR strategy
  • A PR plan for the next 12 months and a roadmap of how to get there with the resources you have
Brenda will follow up with an email including the details or any resources mentioned during the session.
You will also receive:-
  • 2 x 60 mins 1:1 Implementation Sessions (with Skype) spaced out by 2 weeks with Brenda after the VIP Day to help you take action and keep you accountable after the VIP Day
  • DONE-FOR-YOU: When the press release is ready, it will be emailed out to a list of key journalists in the right sector / relevant to your story
Brenda’s specialism is on fame and authority PR – that is to say PR for those who want to become national or globally recognised. This approach is more in-depth than the generic offerings currently on the market and requires looking not just at the brand but at the designer at the helm; your backstory, personality and vision for the brand.
One thing to note is that there aren’t short cuts that can be taken to brand notoriety. In this day and age, online presence is as important as anything else also mindset plays a huge part in PR and sales success.
The reason many people don’t get results with PR because agencies employ a cookie cutter approach to every account when a bespoke approach is required. Fashionworks London refuses to work this way as it is not at all effective – and at the end of every account or brand is an individual.
Email Katy at info@fashionworkslondon.com for further details and fees. 
It’s cheaper than you think!
Fashionworks London is the place where startups start!  Our team are experts.  We get results!

 

Fashion Startups Beware!

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I hate to have to write about this but it’s becoming more and more frequent, so I feel that I have to warn aspiring fashion entrepreneurs, especially those who have little experience in the fashion industry.

There are quite a few charlatans out there who will promise the earth and deliver nothing but quite willingly take your money from you.  As a startup your funds are very precious and you’ll need every penny for your patterns and samples and your fabrics.

craftsmanship

Only yesterday I received a phone call from a guy who told me he worked for several high profile designers and was looking for manufacturing for them.  I told him that we don’t just manufacture, we look after clients starting up and guide them through the entire process from start to finish, so I couldn’t help him or his designers.  He then proceeded to ask me many questions, implying that some of the designers he worked for were indeed startups. In the end I suggested he came for a consultation so that I could discuss the requirements of the designers he worked for in greater detail.  I assumed he was a design consultant.  That was the message he wanted me to believe.

I received his email and then I checked out his website ‘Bespokepatterns.co.uk’.  What a fraudster!  He was trying to pick my brains and find out how he could cash in by offering young designers a service that he was quite incapable of delivering.  His website contains paragraphs and sentences virtually copied word for word from Fashionworks London.  His Instagram contains images he’s stolen from an associate’s website too! He really can’t help startups, so please tread carefully and don’t part with your money until you’ve convinced yourself he can do the job he promises for you…. which I doubt very much.

One of my young clients was badly stung by an unscrupulous factory called ‘Stitchland’.  They took all of her money from her upfront, promising the earth and the results were appalling!  When Fashion Angel sent her to me, I was so angry that someone in our industry could be such a fraudster and rob this poor young lady of thousands of pounds, knowing that she had a dream and relied upon ‘honest’ people to help her realise it.  I advised her to take them to court and I put her in touch with my legal team who represented her.  It took a year but the day we went to court together, I promised her that we wouldn’t be leaving without getting all of her money back.  It was a bleak and cold day in January as we trundled into that courtroom… but worth the wait.  She won the case! The judge told them to pay all her money back to her and more!

Therefore I feel that this information is now necessary because I don’t want you to get stung and have your dreams shattered.  There are also other ‘pattern and sample studios’ that have set up over the past couple of years and many have already closed down.  One such establishment was ‘Needle ‘n Thread’ – again, appalling workmanship.  I personally went to their studio and insisted they hand over all of the fabrics and belongings of my young client and give her a full refund.

I often get approached by sample studios and pattern cutters offering their services to Fashionworks London.  I decline.  I have in the past trialled some of these people and I’m certainly not saying they’re all as bad, as some of them offer a good service – but be careful and ask all the right questions and do not part with your money until you’re sure.  What’s more, do not agree to an ‘hourly’ rate because you’re not going to be around to check these hours and the final invoice could be astronomical.  It’s like handing over your cheque book for them to fill in themselves! Ask for a fixed price for the work.  If they refuse, then go elsewhere.  An established and experienced pattern cutter or sample studio knows how long it takes to create a garment, whatever type of garment.  They should, if they’ve been doing it for years.  The design details will make a small difference but this can still be calculated fairly accurately.  My team and I have lengthy meetings to calculate our prices fairly and we never quote until I’ve discussed everything thoroughly during my consultations with my new clients.  Furthermore don’t trust ‘experienced designers’ who offer to cut your patterns and do your sampling.  You’re either a designer or a technical expert.  Rarely can you be both.

I’m pleased to say that the Fashionworks London team are all professionals with years of top class experience between us.  We take pride in the services we offer startups and when I take on a new project, my team and I make sure we deliver 100%.  We never finish a job until you’re entirely happy which is why we receive 5 star Google reviews from happy clients.

Soul Seeker

Our reputation is worth its weight in gold to us.  We work for you to become successful and we consider our services to be worthy of your investment! We never overcharge and we don’t quote hourly rates either.  Our fees are set in stone from the get go. Your success reflects upon our success in helping you.

If you’re considering starting a fashion line, come and see me first for a consultation.  I’ve helped more startups start than I can count hot dinners. I set up this business with the sole purpose of helping young fashion entrepreneurs.  The reason I did, was because I have a son too. He’s a musician and he relied upon honest people and mentors to help him get established in a tough industry.  Without their help, he probably wouldn’t be the talented young man he is today and would have given up on his dream.

Whether you go on to use Fashionworks London services or not, a consultation with me will probably be the best move you could ever make to get you walking up that catwalk!  Try us and let us set the bar!

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How to Become a Successful Online Fashion Entrepreneur.

Soul Seeker

Soul Seeker Official Launch SS19. 

2018 has been a great year for Fashionworks London.  We’ve helped many startups this year from swimwear to streetwear to red carpet gowns. I can tell immediately who has the potential to become successful.  They have passion and great determination.  Having a great idea and having great design ideas  is only part of the equation.  All pieces of the puzzle must fit and the desire for independence, to ‘be your own boss’ requires not only hard work but sacrifice and indestructible self-belief. Starting an online fashion label, manufacturing your own designs requires discipline and dedication and quite a lot of funding.

My clients also require a conscience.  I say that because we only help startups who want to tap into the quality resources we have available in the UK.  All of them desire to launch an ethical brand, whether that is through sustainable manufacturing, organic fabrics or simply the insistence that all garment workers are paid a good wage.  All of the garment workers who create for our clients are paid very well.  They work hard and produce top quality craftsmanship and that is rewarded accordingly. I wouldn’t have it any other way.  Their customers expect no less either.

All of my clients have other demanding careers.  I admire them for their hard work.  Their professions are often stressful and they work long hours.  Yet, they have still found time at the weekends and some evenings to devote themselves to their new projects.  Granted, they need me to project manage their startups but I still need them to make final decisions.  I’m always amazed at how quick they learn the ropes with my guidance and are confident enough to navigate their way around the fashion industry, after only a few months.

craftsmanship

When we’ve made the toiles, I call a fit meeting at my office and my clients see, for the first time, their ideas brought to life.  They’re overwhelmed.  They laugh and they cry.  It’s a great moment for us.  We’ve made them happy! We take this time to check the fit and make sure that the silhouettes have been interpreted according to the designers initial sketches.  All amendments are carried out before we begin sampling.  To save time and money, we aim to get it right first time and most often we do!  That’s what my professional and dedicated team can achieve… time and time again.

toiles

I like collections to have a signature print.  Whether that’s an all over print or a placement print, it adds something to a new collection.  We have the best printer in the UK to make our client’s prints.  We know they’ll deliver.

prints

I have good contacts with fabric mills all over the world.  I’ve carefully selected the best mills for quality fabrics at good prices and who carry stock and low minimums – this is crucial for a startup. You need to build a good relationship with your suppliers and I give all my clients those invaluable contacts.

Finally the day arrives when your samples are ready – fresh from the studio!  All beautifully sewn and pressed, waiting for those fabulous models to show them off for you and for our amazing photographer, Rinaldo, to give you the images to show off to the world.  Your creations!  Aaah!  I love this moment.

alice victoria resortwear for the site

Don’t dream about becoming a fashion entrepreneur – make it a reality with our help!

Check out our Google reviews and know you’ll be in good hands!

 

 

 

 

Start Your Own Fashion Label.

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Tress Clothing available at Wolf & Badger.

The high street is no longer the place where people go to buy clothes.  Many of the well known high street stores are closing their doors.  It’s all happening online!  The secret of successful online sales is simple.  Create a user friendly website and offer the very best customer service.  The clothes have to be photographed beautifully to reflect the brand and who the customer is.

You need to do your homework to find a niche for yourself.

If you dream of starting your own fashion label in the UK, you have to think quality and great fabrics, good designs and a well researched target market.  Who are you dressing?  Find that gap in the market and go for it.  There are many gaps to be filled.

My clients have all found a market with their collections.  The successful ones know who they are dressing.  They create brand loyalty by paying attention to the cut, the fit and the fabric.  As a start up you have to be realistic and create a collection that people will want to wear.  Wearable clothes that reflect quality and craftsmanship will sell, whoever your customer is.  He or she will want to be comfortable, will demand quality fabrics and finishing.  Made in the UK carries value.  It’s a sign of quality.  Think of those British heritage brands – Burberry, Barbour, Paul Smith… hang on to their coat tails and be very ‘British’.  Fly the flag of quality and expression.  We are a nation of highly creative people.  Milk that reputation.  Don’t try and copy the Italians or the Americans.  Sell them your unique ‘Britishness’, whether that’s classic or quirky.  The Japanese and the Americans love our Britishness, so sell it to them!   Because people worldwide believe that ‘British’ equals quality.  We’re the Rolls Royces and the Jaguars of the world!  We’ve got class and quality in bucketfuls!

I love Ivory Apparel.  Our young client Christopher epitomises his brand.  He dresses head to toe in vintage, including the haircut and looks amazing.  He’s like Jude Law! He’s selling his own brand of ‘Britishness’ back to the Americans and they love him! He’s found a niche market.

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Royal Soul who launched this week have taken Rococo prints and fused them with edgy streetwear – quirky Britishness, just what the Japanese love about us.

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Adelina Casini has taken inspiration from the glamour pusses of the Fifties and created a beautiful cotton collection of summer dresses  and separates.  She’s made them her own… vintage inspired but very ‘now’.

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Will Solomon hand painted the leather that has been sewn together to make his unique collection of the softest leather jackets for men and girls.  He’s on a roll at Harvey Nichols!

Tress clothing has gone down the minimalist route, creating pieces that are classic, well cut and beautifully coordinated to form a capsule collection that can be worn at work or in the bar. Pieces to be confident in.

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Alice Victoria created fabulous swimwear and resortwear for young girls who like to dress up on the beach and the beach bar…. all beautifully matched for a perfect holiday wardrobe.

starting a fashion business

 

If you want to start a fashion label, come and see me for a consultation.  I help many startups start and become successful.  That’s what I’m very good at.  I don’t just advise you, I tell you where to buy your fabrics, help you to create the perfect line up and I tell you exactly what I think about your ideas and your designs.  I make sure you don’t waste money.  My team create your patterns and your samples and find you the best factory at the best prices for small run production.  I help you from concept to creation…. by your side all the way.  By the time you launch your label, you’ll be confident and you’ll be on your way to success and I’ll have done my job well!

Fashionworks London is the place to start!  I never finish a job until you’re 100% happy!  That’s my promise. Happy clients equal great Google reviews! 😉 Check them out!

Adelina Casini – New Launch

ADELINA SS18 FINALShoot_Look_15_002It’s here and it’s fabulous!  The new Adelina Casini collection.  Fashionworks London have enjoyed working on this collection for the lovely owner Sara, who has made her vision a reality this year.

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ADELINA CASINI is a vintage-inspired womenswear label that incorporates feminine silhouettes of the 1950’s with luxurious natural fabrics. The collections focus on colour and beautiful tailoring and is designed to flatter women who crave tasteful, refined clothing. The colours are clean whites, soft rose and muted greys. The brand draws inspiration from vintage Italian glamour, beautifully portrayed through the feminine silhouettes of the pieces. ADELINA CASINI is built with luxury in mind using the finest fabrics, perfect for sun-drenched destinations and Mediterranean coastlines.
“I have always loved the fashion of the 1950’s and have been drawn to the glamour and sophisticated femininity of that era. It was important that I made a collection that embodied the spirit of vintage style. It was from my own desire to wear pieces that had classic silhouettes without compromising on quality that Adelina
Casini was created.” – Sara Scarlett, Founder.
The ADELINA CASINI collection is available to buy here:

http://www.adelina-casini.com

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Fashionworks London – where startups start!  If you have an idea and want to become a fashion entrepreneur, book an in-depth consultation with Katy Cordina:

info@fashionworkslondon.com

 

Dame Vivienne’s Playing Cards… A Strategy to Save the World!

I’ve been following Dame Vivienne on Instagram lately as she produces her set of playing cards.  She created the set as a ‘strategy to save the world’.  ‘Collect the cards, connect the cards’.  Her new collection has a theme of war running through it.  Her strategy is that when you connect the cards you create peace.

Fashion designers past and present have used fashion as a way of expressing their anger with politicians and current affairs.

In a short video she’s posted on her Instagram, Dame Vivienne is opposing consumption. Titled ‘Queen of Clubs’, she acts out being a blow up doll, shouting “Blow me up!” as she gets up from her lying down position. She claims that these blow up dolls are made to create a need that nobody needs….. Consumption.  “The only people that need to blow up people are the 1% who run the rotten financial system ‘rot dollar’ which causes consumption, waste and war”.

blow me up

She does have a point.  However, fashion is ‘consumption’ and it does create pollution and waste and it also creates a slave labour force in developing countries, without which, people would not be able to go to Primark and load up with brown bags full of the fruits of the slave’s labour. That’s my cause!  I’m strongly opposed to slave labour so that the likes of ‘Sir’ Philip Green can live it up in Monaco.  Fair pay for all in fashion!!

Dame Vivienne’s playing cards represent war and the general theme is greed and the 1% who own most of the wealth in the world. Her VWSS18 collection is about war. Rather gloomy stuff.  I understand her need to be heard.  Like the revolutionaries before her, she’s using her name and her influence to highlight the atrocities created by war and the people responsible. If we turn a blind eye and don’t do our bit, then we’re all responsible. We often feel powerless to do anything.  She is showing us that we can all play our part.

dame viv

She claims that her SS18 collection is the ‘last party on earth’ and tells everyone to dress up for it. I hope it’s not….

 

 

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The drawing she’s holding up here has been printed on a tshirt and she’s selling it.  So, if you want to spread the word and support the cause, please buy the tshirt.

Dam Viv

I am, doing my bit to support her and her anti war campaign.  Thank you Dame Vivienne for caring!  You are a great lady and it’s wonderful to see you using your creativity in this way.

If you’d like to see and hear more on the playing cards, you can go to the Instagram ‘ViviennePlayingCards’.

 

 

 

The £30 Dress – At What Cost?

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Fashionworks London helps startups start.  We make patterns, prototypes and samples to enable you to start a fashion business.  I personally mentor and consult young people at my office in Moorgate, to make sure they have the right formula and to guide them with choice of fabrics from reputable mills, prints, finishing and lots more besides.

I don’t take on new clients without a prior consultation and I charge for this. Why? Because many young people starting out need expert guidance and hand holding.  They may have great ideas, funding and have carried out a lot of research.  But most of them have no industry experience.

Paying for my consultation should be the first port of call.

Before I take on a new designer, I ask a very simple question.  What are your retail price points?  The answer to this question answers most of my other questions. If an aspiring fashion entrepreneur has done their homework, they will know that producing in the UK isn’t cheap and you cannot sell a dress for “£20-£30” and make any profit.  In fact you’d be subsidising every dress you sold.  Let me explain.  We don’t use slave labour in the UK.  I’ll do a few sums to explain.  Our sample machinists earn £15 per hour.  Some earn £20-£25 per hour. A good pattern cutter earns the same.  A reasonably complicated dress pattern will take about 7-8 hours to create and the same dress, fully lined will take the fabric cutter and sample machinist the same to cut and sew.  Add on your fabric costs, your haberdashery, any fabric finishes, embroidery, pleating, logos etc.  Any good at maths? These are ballpark figures.  It’s usually quite a bit more.

If your business plan is well researched you will know that to produce a collection in the UK will be high end and high quality and that every dress you sell online will have a price point of around “£350-£500” as a rough guide.  Your fabrics will be good quality and sourced from reputable mills, whether silk, cotton or polyester.

You cannot produce garments in the UK and compete with high street prices!

Please don’t contact me if you haven’t done your research.  Let me explain why it’s possible to buy a dress in a high street store for between “£30-£100” (and let’s leave Primark out of the equation for now).

The high street stores produce tens of thousands of one design. That means tens of thousands of metres of fabric too.  Cheap fabric.  Much cheaper because they’re able to buy tens of thousands of metres. So even if the mill is only making 20 pence per metre, he can still make a profit due to the large volumes.  It’s easy money.  It doesn’t take much more effort to produce tens of thousands of metres than it does to produce a few hundred metres.  These factories are highly automated and they have state of the art looms, cutting machines, dyeing facilities, embroidery machines etc.  You cannot buy this same fabric at these low prices.  They won’t sell you 10 metres.  It’s not worth their while.  So you have to select from a mill that carries stock and who will sell you 10 metres – at a premium. Very often the factory that sews also produces the fabric.

The company I worked for in Mauritius has factories that produce the fabric and factories that produce the garments.  They don’t even spin the yarn until the orders come through.  They are fully automated and the process takes weeks from start to finished garment.  It’s fascinating to see inside these huge factories – if a little noisy! They are geared up to produce huge volumes for Top Shop, Next, Miss Selfridge, Dorothy Perkins, Sainsbury’s TU, Florence and Fred and many more high street names.

They also, sadly, use slave labour from developing countries.  This is how you can buy a dress in the high street for “£20-£30”.  At what cost?  Labour is sourced from Sri Lanka, China, India and they’re shipped out on 3 year contracts, put into large dormitories, fenced in within the factory boundaries, barbed wired and have to work 6 days a week for a minimum of 12 hours per day.  30% of their pay is withheld until they finish the 3 years.  They do this because they have no choice.  They do this to send all their pay home to feed their families.

People like ‘Sir’ Philip Green get rich from the exploitation of human labour like this.  I used to train designers and pattern cutters in these factories.  I’ve seen it with my own eyes.  I was well paid and given a house by the beach and a nice car.  However, every day when I went to the factory to do my job, it pained me to know that my fellow workers were being treated so badly….. so that people in the UK could buy a cheap dress for £20. There was an organisation called ‘No Sweat’ and when I returned to the UK, I joined up.  Whatever I could do to highlight this appalling use of human labour I would do.

Fashionworks London would never exploit human labour in order to give you cheaper prices.  We pay all our people above average wages and we treat everyone with respect.  Every garment we produce for our clients is made by happy people.  Isn’t that good to know?

Startups seem to think that just because they’re starting up and not yet known, they have to keep their prices low.  They’re afraid to charge what the garment is really worth.  Even they have been brainwashed into thinking that if they charge the correct price, they won’t sell.  This is not true at all.  If your designs are good and your collection is amazing and you’ve found a niche and a following, your clothes will sell.

Social media has opened up endless possibilities for aspiring fashion entrepreneurs.  But you have to do it right… right from the start.

My consultations are a very small price to pay for a lot of invaluable advice and expertise.  I’ll know if you’re serious and I’ll know if your collection has a chance of success.. how?  Because you’ll take that first step and book a consultation with me.

To end my rant, I’ll say this.  More and more consumers are looking for sustainable and ethically produced collections.  They don’t want to wear cheap clothes produced by slave labour these days – they couldn’t bear to feel that ‘sweat shop’ on their backs.  Me neither!

Made in the UK – is the way to go.  Let’s create value and end exploitation together!topshop