I often get emails about how I get opportunities to show my line on the runway, or how I found showroom reps, or how I get opportunities to dress or do fundraisers with celebs like Gordana Gehlhausen from Project Runway. The truth is I have not purposely seeked out any of this. I connected my way to it.
I say that with a huge humble heart as I appreciate every opportunity that comes my way. And that’s just it. I have the optimism to see the potential in every connection. And not just the potential to benefit me, I also strive to help others as much as I can. Cheesy as it is, I believe in paying it forward and it has come back to me ten fold. It’s why I started this blog.
So how have my connections worked and how can you use the same strategy? So nice of you to ask I was just about to tell you. 🙂 Below are some of my connection paths and following that are the top 5 ways you can better connect for your business:
Showroom Rep: A rep contacted me through Etsy, great timing as I was online at that time researching how to find and approach a rep. I didn’t sign with her room but I did get an introduction to another showroom that I did sign with in LA. My LA rep told a Chicago rep about my line and that’s how I met that rep. My LA rep dropped me for a larger line but introduced me to a new rep that now reps me in LA, Dallas and soon Atlanta. My newest rep is rocking sales!
Runway Opportunities: A local designer, Feanna of Kait Emerson Designs ,I met by discovering her on Etsy and stalking her at trade shows became my friend and introduced me to a local fashion non-profit OCFA. I showcased my line twice during OCFA fashion week. I will soon be on the runway in TX for the roll out of Vivica Fox’s new hair product line. I gained that opportunity through a girl I had model a swimsuit for me last year. Other opportunities have come my way but they have required a high fee so I bowed out.
Dressing Aubrey Anderson-Emmons for the Red Carpet: Aubrey’s Agent Carlyne is the mother of the gal who MC’d for Orange County Fashion Week. She wanted a designer that was just starting out to dress Aubrey. She wanted to give someone the opportunity. Since she saw my clothes on the runway, she picked me.
Celeb Fundraiser: Carlyne once again invited me to show my line along side Project Runway’s Gordana Gehlhausen and Michael Costello. She knew I need publicity for my clothes and she knew I had a heart for Charity. I paid this forward by inviting my readers to donate to the silent auction part of the event.
OK so enough about me for now but I just wanted to give you an idea of how things have come together for me. Now I will tell you 5 ways to make better connections that will benefit your business:
1. Say YES!: I cannot tell you the importance of this. I rarely ever say no. It doesn’t matter how busy I am or how much I may dread it, if it involves an opportunity to get my business name out there I do it! I donate, I promote others, I give advice, I just do it! (pretty sure that’s a Nike copyright so I better state that. Go Nike!)
2. Be a Social Butterfly: You need to meet people to make things happen. Go to industry or networking events and actually hand out your card. Don’t sit down, don’t bring a friend as a crutch. Go meet someone and see what your connection is.
3. Facilitate 5 a day: I make it a point to connect with at least 5 people a day online. Whether it’s a new page on fb, messaging new fans, emailing customers or clients, or emailing people I met at networking events. Connect with 5 people a day and see what happens. Emailing people back does not count. 5 connections that you facilitate.
4. Scratch Some Facebook Backs!: I have a lot of online “friends” and “likers” with businesses and I make it a point to repost their posts or send people to their page. The ones that understand connections return the favor. The ones that don’t-I stop promoting. Don’t waste time on dead-end connections.
5. Give it Away!: I know it’s costly but I have earned at least 60% of my fans through Facebook giveaways and those fans are now my customers. I gift to celebs, I donate for runway shows and charity events. As long as it is an opportunity to get your brand seen do it!