It’s not who you know, it’s how you connect

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!






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