One of the most important things that you can do as emerging designer is surround yourself with good people that can help, inspire and help foster your business. And, at the same time, hopefully you can do the same for them. To do this you’ll have to spend time networking, going to Meetups and pitching yourself as a person that someone will want to invest their time in and do business with over the year. Strong business relationships are invaluable and know that it’s also okay to ask for help from others. These relationships may be with a wide range of people including editors, bloggers, factories, photographers and tastemakers.
Since people are so busy and most have to evaluate from a business perspective whether to invest time in your email, a response or meeting, here why it’s important to be specific about your needs and some thoughts on how to go about your outreach:
Press – If you are pitching an editor to be featured in their outlet, make a point to say why you or your product should be considered, how it’s a fit for their readers and what section you can see your story going in. This shows that you understand their publication and are serious about a story versus those that send out mass pitches.
Meetings – Instead of asking someone for a cup of coffee, be clear about how you want to spend your time with them and the purpose of the meeting. Drilling down to the details of a conversation instead of a general request to talk or learn more about them may be more compelling as the commute and the meeting itself can take up a significant amount of time.
Reviews – If you are asking someone to review your collection, consider their role and why you are asking them. For example, if it’s a buyer, strengthen your pitch so it’s not just a request to review, but a sales pitch that’s proprietary to their store.
Advice – There are many people out there that will give advice. Some to do it for free and some offer services so before reaching out, be cognizant of their position. If you want advice, instead of asking for general information, think about what you want. Is it to know more about sourcing, marketing or challenges that emerging designers face? You may generate a list of questions, but asking 2-3 detailed ones may be the right amount for someone to not feel overwhelmed and respond to easily.
Collaborations and partnerships – There are so many ways to parter with people. From content, giveaways and trade for exposure, these types of relationships can be mutually beneficial. When reaching out, try including details on how you see a partnership working because giving the person you are pitching something to react to will hopefully make it easier for them to respond because they will either see the opportunity or at least be intrigued by it.
The benefits of being specific shows that you are respectful of their time, have something to offer and have been proactive to consider how you see the relationship unfolding. It’s also a way for you to guide the conversation and stretches you to provide meaningful and strategic communication to others while building your brand.
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