The Haute List: The App Edition — Ten of our favorite Apps

With the app store growing by 20,000 new apps per month, it’s hard to navigate through the ever changing madness. We’ve handpicked 10 of our favorite apps that we think you should download if you haven’t already.

1. Uber

Requesting a ride has never been easier. With Uber’s new uberTAXI and uberX, you can compare rates for different vehicles and get fare quotes in the app. At a party and don’t know the address? You can easily set up your pickup location, without having the exact address. You’re able to check the progress of your Uber and be notified when they are there.

2. CamMe

Get the perfect selfie or group shot with CamMe, a hand-gesture driven camera app that lets you take amazing pictures from a distance without touching the mobile device.

3. Find My iPhone

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t’s happened to all of us, and no matter how many times it happens, you still have a small panic attack everytime. Losing your phone can feel like losing an arm, even if it is stuck between the couch pillows. Find My iPhone eases that anxiety by allowing Apple users to sign on to an online account to get the GPS coordinates of your phone’s location.

4. ShopStyle

ShopStyle makes online shopping quick, easy, and fun, giving you access to millions of products and brands from top retailers on your phone or tablet. Browse the latest trends, shop the hottest sales, and dress for every occasion. Whether you’re filling your wardrobe wish list, hunting for a great deal, or just browsing the latest trends, ShopStyle is the perfect way to get your shopping fix on the go.

5. Textalyzer

Sometimes you have one too many cocktails. Sometimes you text your ex. Most times, you absolutely regret it the next morning. Textalyzer creates a “Don’t Text” forbidden list that prevents you from texting anyone on the list unless you complete a series of puzzles and mind tests. If you fail, the app saves your text for 12 hours before you can hit send. The best friend you always wanted.

6. Evernote

The standard notepad that comes with your smartphone just doesn’t cut it. Looking for an upgrade? Evernote is the super notepad that allows you to keep text, voice, and photo notes accessible from any desktop or device.

7. Nike Training Club

There are a multitude of fitness apps on the market. However, Nike Training Club encompasses all your workout needs. The app features cardio, core, strength, balance, and flexibility exercises, workout videos, a training schedule, and even allows you to create your own workouts.

8. Poynt

Dinner? Movies? Shopping? Gas off the freeway? Poynt is a local search app that let’s you find businesses, movies, restaurants, gas stations, and events near you whenever and wherever you need them. It’s so easy, that they provide the phone number, address, directions, and even movie showtimes and trailors to find a movie fast, plus gas prices show up when you want to find the best price.

9. Lulu

Want to research the guy you’re about to go on a date with? Want to share how you feel about a guy, anonymously? Want to help your guy friend get a date? Well this is the app for you if you love a good ol’ entertaining, gossip app. You can review that hookup from last month anonymously, save heartache from a player, or read informing things about a man you just met.

10. tripadvisor CityGuides

This is the ultimate travel app for traveling abroad. Don’t have wifi or a roaming plan? Not to worry– you download the city that you’re in and it has all the information already downloaded so you don’t need to use data while sightseeing. The only con with this app is that it only has major cities, so smaller cities will not be listed.

Fashionisto of the Month: Fashion Consultant & Entreprenuer, Colin T. McDonald

Photo Credit: Carrie Geiger

Our Fashionisto of the Month is a Stylist, Host, Writer, and Entrepreneur that goes by the name of Colin T. McDonald. From Upstate New York, he moved to NYC 5 years ago and began working towards his goal of creating an agency to help brands and designers gain exposure in a hard industry to be noticed in.

What does fashion mean to you? It’s a way for people to express themselves – an art form. I have a powerful fashion mantra that I use all of the time: image + confidence = style. Anyone can take an image or style and if they have the confidence to pull it off, they can inspire others and be a trendsetter.

What made you start your company & blog? Working in fashion 7 years (PR, styling, commentary, fashion editing, blogging, YouTube (Style TV), hosting Jennifer Hudson, Billy Baldwin) I wanted to create an agency to help brands and designers gain exposure in a hard industry to be noticed in. All those clients under the agency  use different mediums to get exposure and influence press which helps gets them out there even more.

Where do you get your inspiration? Magazines, art galleries, streets of NY (street style), internet (bloggers/social media).

Do you consider yourself an artist? Somewhat. I’m always looking to create things and help brands advance and grow.

What is your greatest accomplishment?  I’ve also interviewed Jennifer Hudson and Billy Baldwin – it’s very cool to have people share their personal stories with me. Most recently, I’d say starting my agency/blog a little over a year ago and being mentioned on Fox News, as well as my YouTube channel, Style TV. I give people the opportunity to have an all access look at the things they may not have the chance to see.

What are some of your goals? Short term: to grow my agency, gain more clients and brands, a bigger following for my blog/Style TV.  Long term: to take Style TV to national level (LA, NY, DC correspondents are already working). In a few years, I’d love to cover international fashion events as well as grow the blog, and have more features up – ultimately to be the premier fashion consulting agency in NY.

What are some of your biggest challenges? Being able to juggle everything. I have so many different hats to wear: styling, pitching a shoot to a client, coming up with blog posts, coordinating with Style TV, etc. Right now I’m a one man show, so maybe in the future I can hire someone to help me out with everything.

Who are your top three favorite designers? Tom Ford – I love him as a designer and trend setter. Christopher Bailey for Burberry – the distinguished, fresh, young look he brought to the collection is why it has been so successful. Most recently, Marisa Minicucci – the Grand Dame of Montreal fashion – who just expanded to the U.S. market and is getting lots of press features for her luxury, high-end jackets (MM: Minicucci x Marcanio).

What are some of your favorite fashion websites, magazines, or books? Harper’s Bazaar, In Style, GQ, ImageGranted.com (worked with him as DC style correspondent), The Glamourai, GrungyGentlemen.com, and Business of Fashion.

Three words that describe your style: chameleon (rocker, conservative) enjoy mixing styles, classic with edgy, classy with modern. likes to put own touch on traditional styles (cuffing pants, studded loafers, rolled up sleeves).

Any future projects or pieces we should look out for? I’m covering an event tonight for Style TV and interviewing Chanel Iman. I’m also covering an event handing out style awards for visual style center. On the blog, I plan on incorporating more look pieces and possibly partnering with upcoming designers.

Advice for other bloggers or fashion business owners? Fashion is one of the toughest industries to break into – it is a very small, select circle and trying to tap into it is hard. With knowledge, passion, dedication, and following thru. You will see progress. Just understand that things don’t happen overnight, and that having the passion and hard work to see things through/get out there is what will take you far. The industry is changing (online, magazines, blog, etc) so knowing how to incorporate these different channels into your business is a must.

 Colin’s Haute List

green tea

gym (hour a day)

macbook (life takes it everywhere, can work from anywhere)

music (stress, can unwind and break away with pandora)

new york (inspiraton/meeting people luxury of the city)

boconi wallet (black alligator custom initial wallet)

calvin klein underwear

pierre hardy silver metallic high-tops

lanvin bermuda shorts

ray-ban aviators with green metallic finish

Get in touch with Colin:

Website: www.colintmcdonaldagency.com

Blog: www.stylesource.me

Facebook: www.facebook.com/Colintmcdonaldagency

Twitter: www.twitter.com/colintmcdonald

If you would like to be considered for a Fashionista of the Month,   please email info@hautevisual.com with the subject “Fashionista of the Month.”

Retailers Experiment to Leverage The Social Network Facebook

In 2011, major retailers in the US flocked to Facebook to build digital storefronts in hopes of capturing sales where so many socialized. But by the end of the following year, most high-profile players had closed their Fcommerce shops.

While some US retailers and brands forge ahead, the e-tailing group’s “15th Annual Mystery Shopping Study” found that what appeared to be a mass exodus did indeed happen. The number of retailers in the US with Facebook-enabled checkout dropped 63% between Q4 2011 to Q4 2012, to 6%.

Still, even as fewer “buy now” and “add to cart” buttons sprinkle Facebook’s newsfeeds and apps, US retailers know the importance of being on the site. According to a new eMarketer report, “Facebook Commerce: Evolving, Not Extinct,” the question is whether or not retailers can crack the commerce half of social engagement.

According to the e-tailing group, 98% of US ecommerce merchants surveyed had a Facebook page in Q4 2012, and nearly the same number of respondents (97%) linked to Facebook from their site. It is also notable that sharing in general is on the rise—a tactic growing in popularity as social discovery becomes a bigger part of the shopping process.

And even if Fcommerce did not work out for plenty of retailers, they are still positive about the role Facebook plays in social commerce. A survey by RichRelevance demonstrated that Facebook retailers in the US consider Facebook with high regard: The site took up a significant share of user social commerce sessions compared with other social network sites in 2012.

RichRelevance also found that buyers coming from Facebook converted at more than twice the rate of Pinterest and Twitter and had the highest revenues per session. Pinterest, however, had the highest average order value.

Moreover, whether or not internet users go on Facebook with the intent to shop, it was the social network most likely to influence purchases among US internet users surveyed by Technorati in December 2012. Facebook nearly tied with blogs, at around 31%, and trailed only the more sales-focused brand and retail sites. The same study found that 21% of respondents followed brands on Facebook to make purchases.

Another way to leverage Facebook is to facilitate interactions among Facebook friends on an ecommerce site or app. And the key to encouraging this behavior is allowing Facebook Login, a tactic that’s not brand new yet only used by a small number of retailers.

Other approaches include tried-and-true deals, retargeted ads served via Facebook Exchange (FBX) and using the new Facebook Offers.

There are no set rules for how US merchants can leverage social commerce, and what’s possible is constantly evolving.

Source:

EMarketer.com

Online Sales Taxes and How It Could Affect You

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Photo Source: AP/Paul Sakuma

It’s far from a done-deal, but the days of mostly tax-free shopping on the Internet moved one big step closer to ending.

The Senate passed the Marketplace Fairness Act last month with bi-partisan support. The bill would allow a state that has a sales tax to require online retailers – those with more than a million dollars in out-of-state sales each year – to collect that sales tax from all of its customers in that state.

Under current law, Internet retailers don’t have to collect sales tax unless they have a physical presence in that state: such as a warehouse, office, showroom or brick-and-mortar store. The burden is on you, the shopper, to pay that sales tax if your state collects it – but few people do.

Here are answers to some commonly asked questions about the Marketplace Fairness Act:

How soon could this happen?

Online merchants and states would have time to prepare for the changeover. Even if the House does pass the bill, nothing would happen until the fall.

How much tax would I be charged?

If you live in the five states without a state sales tax – Alaska, Delaware, Montana, New Hampshire and Oregon – you wouldn’t pay anything. Otherwise, the online merchant will add the state sales tax; just as they would if you shopped at a local store.

Will this hurt online sales?

It could slow sales a bit. After all, online commerce has greatly benefited from being a tax-free zone.

“Internet sales have been growing rapidly and it’s going to continue to grow rapidly because there are many advantages to buying over the Internet: convenience, variety and so forth,” said Alan Auerbach, a professor of economics at the University of California, Berkeley. “But there are some purchases that might be marginally discouraged if there’s a tax.”

Could this help sales at traditional stores?

Many believe it could, especially for purchases where the tax savings from shopping online are significant. It might be more convenient to pay the tax and walk out with the item, rather than wait for it to be shipped.

It might also cut down on “showrooming,” a growing problem for local stores. That’s when someone goes to a physical store to check out the merchandise, but then buys it online.

What about the cost of collecting and paying the taxes?

“For some small retailers it will clearly be a burden,” said Neil Bruce, professor of economics at the University of Washington“This will impose costs on some online retailers who’ve been selling online without collecting taxes.”

Some states don’t charge sales tax and those that do often tax different items. For instance, New York charges sales tax on clothing; Pennsylvania does not. And the tax rate varies from location to location.

Online merchants who have their site hosted by a bigger company should be OK, but those who run their own platforms and host their own shopping carts may have some technical challenges and added expenses to deal with.

Who supports the bill and who opposes it?

Brick-and-mortar retailers believe online stores that don’t collect sales tax have an unfair advantage.

Online powerhouse, eBay has lobbied against the bill which it believes will hurt some of its sellers. Ebay wants Congress to exempt businesses that have less than $10 million in out-of-state sales or fewer than 50 employees.

Amazon.com, which had always argued against an online sales tax, now supports it. The shift in position comes as Amazon expands operations into more states, requiring the online retailer to collect the taxes from customers in those states.

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Source:

Amy Martinez, Seattle Times

Herb Weisbaum, Today Money

Will The Online Fashion Resale Market Take a Flash Sales Nosedive?

 

Photo Source: Shutterstock

NEW YORK, United States — There’s been a digital explosion in the market for pre-owned fashion. In the past year, we’ve seen a veritable land grab in the online consignment and resale space with the number of  “re-commerce” sites now exceeding 50 — and many more, no doubt, incubating in Silicon Valley, New York, London and beyond. Several market levels are being addressed: mall/high street (Threadflip, Tradesy), thrift (LikeTwice, NiftyThrifty), upmarket (TheRealReal), haute vintage (Byronesque) and boutique (ReFashioner, my own company).

It may seem like these sites are dealing in a mere by-product of the fashion industry. But no, this is the product. Everything that’s bought becomes pre-owned. A tidal wave is building and it has the power to undermine or even destroy. Indeed, the stockpile of merchandise is overwhelmingly vast. I did the math in 2009 for ReFashioner’s beta, a luxury fashion swap site: $880 billion trapped in closets. And that’s just high-end womenswear in the US.

Picture the slide in all those investor decks from 2011 to 2012, during which an estimated $172 million in venture money was poured into second-hand fashion extraction vehicles. That spectacular metric seemed to be the successor to the surplus inventory calculations of Gilt, HauteLook, RueLaLa, Ideeli  not to mention the doomed, exorbitant US launch of Vente-Privee. As with flash sales, the investor story in “re-commerce” is about monetising excess inventory.

But therein lies the rub. As with flash sales, this inventory is delimited by the retail market. And it’s wayward. The ROI sucks when every SKU is singular and inventory is locked up — literally — in houses. And there’s something of a standoff between buyer and seller: the non-professional seller, accustomed to seeing 100 percent mark-ups in the real world, wants top dollar for her career basics and contemporary designer wear, while the buyer wants Zappos-like service, Etsy pricing and Net-a-Porter merchandising. There are other issues too: resistance to higher ticket items without fittings, sketchy return policies, knock-off trading.

But there’s more. This merchandise is personal. It’s not just a numbers game, it’s about everything fashion means to us. It’s about honouring the past of the clothes and their place in our lives. If this is going to work, we need to add content and context. Idealistic, maybe. But idealism is how things get changed and idealism can work to the advantage of this category.

Remember, it wasn’t so long ago that shopping second-hand was contrarian. I remember, because I’ve always preferred pre-owned. It’s about the hunt and the history and the souls of objects; it’s about the superior construction of true vintage, about loathing trends and liking to look different. But then, suddenly, vintage was in vogue (and in Vogue).

Back to that tidal wave. All this new-old merchandise, if left to its own devices, could drown a lot of bottom lines. As the increasingly variegated and expanding pre-owned market cracks the above-listed consumer fears — and it’s happening — there’ll be ever-wider acceptance of actual vintage and of past season pieces. The fashion industry can try to ignore it or fight it, but it’s happening and embracing it is really the only option.

At first glance this tidal wave of owned merchandise, when it’s resold, contributes nothing to the bottom line of those who originally produced it. It seems to undermine the industry. But with a more systematic approach to valuation, we could create a secondary market that actually enhances the primary one. It’s resale value as a selling point; a designer’s archive as author’s back catalogue. The best work stays in print — or the best pieces retain (and maybe increase in) value. I’ve come to think of this as the ‘Blue Book of Fashion’  not the Corvettes and Cadillacs and Subaru Outbacks of different years, but the Birkins and Bumsters and Wrap Dresses of different vintages, and on through the ranks of fashion from haute to high street.

Such a ‘Blue Book’ would have the handy side effect of collating designers’ old work. And then quality past-season pieces of all price points can be recognised and properly valued. Conversely, trash can go cheap — no more Bangladeshi factory workers need die for fast fashion.

So how can such a massive task be achieved?

If all the clothes in the world come back to the market in a second (and third, and fourth…) round, who could possibly write that catalogue? Why, ‘the crowd’ of course. I envisage a structure into which the buyers and seekers and sellers and owners input each piece’s data — and an algorithm spits out its current value, according to factors like consumer desire, realised prices, original (adjusted) retail.

Why does this matter?

It matters because we, as a species, need to rethink our consumption. In all areas, including fashion, we must buy less, but buy better. Invest in quality that retains value. Gradually our mass taste buds will crave more haute flavours. And, if the pre-owned market is successfully stratified and organised, we’ll be able to purchase better quality items at several points in a garment’s lifecycle.

Currently, pre-owned vendors in the midst of the current land grab are fighting Round One, competing for the glammest cast-offs, rooting through socialites’ spare rooms, hitting up the same stylists, editors, designers, bloggers — oh there’s plenty to go around, even if the scuffle is a little unseemly. But then comes Round Two, when the first resold pieces come back on the market and everyone wakes up en masse to the cash that’s sitting in their closets. We don’t want a bloodbath. We need a plan.

So let’s learn from the demise of flash sales and avoid a race to the bottom. The closet economy is a closed economy: let’s avoid inflation and set some standards. Let’s remember the true value of great design and good design and pre-loved ‘interesting’ design. Let’s work together to literally revalue the objects we spend our lives creating, styling, writing about and selling.

Source: Kate Sekules, Business of Fashion

Kate Sekules is the founder of ReFashioner.

The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Haute Visual.

 

Fashionisto of The Month: Dean Hall, Fashion Stylist & Blogger for Hall and Saks

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New Jersey bred, San Diego based fashion stylist Dean Hall is our June Fashionisto of the Month! In his spare time Dean enjoys reading all things fashion and looking for vintage pieces to add to his collection. Although he is inspired by various forms of art – including old films – Dean says he doesn’t really consider himself as an artist. “I feel like the word artist is so cliché, so I call myself a passionist – someone who believes if you aren’t passionate about it don’t do it.” We couldn’t agree more!

Tell me a little about yourself. 

Hmmmmm I could totally sum me up in one word, geek! I love collecting old pins so I can put them on my jackets and blazers, watching/reading crime scene investigative TV shows/books. In between styling editorials and personal clients I am also the style expert for Fox5, which I love! I used to be the fashion editor for the local magazine Fashion 5.0.

What’s your educational background? 

Finance, Ha! Bet you didn’t see that coming.

What does fashion mean to you?

Fashion isn’t clothes it’s a lifestyle. Fashion is in every part of life from where you eat, to where you vacation, and even the books you read. I always say true fashion will always be thought provoking.

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What made you start your blog?

My blog partner Adrienne Saks, and I (hence the name Hall & Saks) felt like San Diego needed a fashion voice from real insiders. Adrienne has flown all over the country styling both celebrities and athletes. I’ve styled TV shows and fashion shows so it only made sense that we collab! We also thought it would be nice to provide a blog that wasn’t one sided, by giving a guy’s and girl’s point of view.

What is your greatest accomplishment?

I got the chance to create a look for one of the main character for the entire season for the Vh-1 show titled Making Mr. Right. Styling for TV is my favorite thing to do. I think it’s because I know millions are watching my work and I love being able to get feedback from different parts of the country. Without feedback it’s impossible to grow.

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What are some of your goals?

Style another TV show, get into brand styling, and to start teaching style seminars.

What are some of your biggest challenges? 

Balancing a family life and my career is my biggest challenge to date.

Who are your top three favorite designers?

Lanvin, GAP, Prada

What are some of your favorite fashion websites, magazines, or books?

Style.com / V-Man / Vogue / Thecoveteur.com / WWD

What do you do when you’re not blogging or working? 

Watching Sex And The City reruns. Love the fashion and the bond between the girls, even though I know it’s not real.

Three words that describe your style:

Interesting, modern, and dapper

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What’s your favorite item in your closet?

My Prada sequin loafers. I’m sooooooo obsessed with them!

Favorite beauty product?

Love my Neutrogena burst face scrub it totally gives you this refreshing feeling I use it religiously!

Where’s your favorite place to travel?

That’s tough, but I would have to say New York.

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Who is your celebrity crush? 

Hands down Rihanna, she is MAJOR!!!!!

Any future projects or pieces we should look out for? 

Yes! I’m actually working on a small accessories line for both men and women, called S.A.M it will be launching early August. I’m nervous and excited about it. It will be beanies and tanks, think cool bad kids.

Advice for other bloggers or fashion business owners? 

Keep focused! The best piece of advice I heard, not sure where it came from but it has stuck in my head for the past two years. “What separates the great from the average is not talent, but discipline”.  Put the time in and really master your craft.

 

Dean’s Haute List

Dean Haute List

Starbucks Chai Tea Latte

I-Phone 5

V-Man Magazine

My Christian Louboutin Harvananas

My Tiffany & Co. silver ID bracelet

Instagram

Cinepolis (The movie theatre where they bring you food and drinks to your seat)

Porsche Panamera

Urban Outfitters Men’s Socks

White Cheddar Popcorn

Blog: www.hallandsaks.com

Instagram: www.instagram.com/hallandsaks

Twitter: www.twitter.com/hallandsaks

How to Brand Yourself in Fashion

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Nowadays the face behind any given product, be that a blog, magazine or designer label, is just as important as the product itself–if not more so.

“Consumers today are buying into a lot more than just a commodity,” said Marc Beckman, co-founder of Designers Management Agency.

Consider Anna Wintour or Karl Lagerfeld–their personal brands are inextricably connected to those of the companies they work for. When people buy a Chanel lego bag, they’re buying into Lagerfeld’s kooky, high-fashion lifestyle almost as much as the brand itself.

A figurehead with a strong personal brand is not just a boon for the company; it’s a powerful asset for the individual, making them less dependent on any given organization. That’s why having a personal brand is even more important for entrepreneurs or free agents, like models and bloggers.

Whether you’re an editor, blogger, or designer, having a strong personal brand may be the key to success in the fashion industry.

“Developing a brand is important in that it goes hand in hand with developing your overall personal voice and point of view,” Raina Penchansky, Chief Strategy Officer at Digital Brand Architects, which represents brands and top bloggers, said. “Your brand is what gives you the ability to determine what you want your growth strategy to be and where you ultimately want to take your vision.”

“It is one of the most critical elements of building a sustainable long term business model,” said Beckman.

So how can you tap into your own personal brand? We’ve put together a comprehensive guide on how to effectively brand yourself, with input from industry experts like Beckman, Penchansky and Kelly Framel of the Glamourai.

1. Know That You Can’t Fake the Funk

Don’t try to come up with a personal brand that’s not, well, personal. Don’t fall in with trends or try to fill a perceived void just for the sake of doing it. Your personal branding strategy needs to feel intrinsic and authentic.

“A brand has to be rooted in something organic and authentic, it can’t be created from nothing or something disingenuous,” said Penchansky.

2. Have Talent, Skill and Dedication to Back it Up

“If it’s not a superior product, [consumers] will walk away,” said Beckman–no matter how snazzy your personal branding strategy.

Work hard, stay dedicated, and make sure you’re creating something that is high quality; file copy on time, update your blog constantly, tie up every last detail. Most importantly, you have to believe in what you do.

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3. Stand for Something.

Beckman recommends setting some time aside to think about what’s important to you, what appeals to you, and what you want to say. Ultimately, you need to figure out what you can bring to the industry that no one else can. This doesn’t mean you have to be the next Karl Lagerfeld or Cindy Crawford; simply having a unique point of view will do the trick.

4. Don’t Try to Appeal to Everyone
Whittle your branding strategy until it’s crystalized into a single, super-niche concept. And whatever you do, don’t try to appeal to everyone.

Penchansky said one of the most common mistakes aspiring bloggers make is to follow the pack too much. “Trying to edit yourself to fit into a trend might gain short term results but ultimately does not help with your long term growth as a blogger or brand.”

5. Write it Down.
The first thing Beckman does with all his clients is create what he calls a “brand soul” document.

“It analyzes every element, it defines the brand vision, the brand mission statement, the core values what the positioning statement is, what the competitive landscape is, and where they fit in it.”

It doesn’t necessarily have to get too technical. Writing down the basics, in your own words, will help you stay consistent and save time when you need to make tough decisions down the road.

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6. Communicate Your Brand. Again. And Again. And Again.
Once you’ve figure out what you want to say, and who you want to say it to, it’s time to get your message out there. In this day and age you have access to all sorts of platforms to express yourself–a blog, Twitter account or Instagram account being some of the more obvious ones.

When it comes to your social media and online presence, there’s no one right way to do it. The most important thing is that you stay on-brand and consistent.

7. Foster Brand Culture

“Just to have a strong personality and to look really good doesn’t mean you’re going to create a long term sustainable business,” Beckman said.

Ultimately what makes a brand successful is the consumers, the fans. Develop a personal rapport with your target audience, respond to messages and encourage discussion.

8. Don’t Be Afraid to Say No
So, about those tough decisions: Some of them will be about saying no. To really good offers.

Once your business starts picking up steam, you’ll start getting approached by other brands to partner up. These can be amazing opportunities–and often involve hefty paychecks–but be wary. One wrong partnership could alienate your audience and ruin your credibility for good.

Invest in your brand’s future, and wait for the right ones to come knocking.

9. Be Patient
“Brand development, if done the right way, takes time,” said Penchansky.

Don’t expect to come a sensation over night. Put in the work, stay on brand, and be consistent–don’t abandon your ethos when the going gets tough. It may take longer to develop, but in the long run, your brand will be the stronger for it.

 Source: Hayley Phelan, Fashionista.com

 

3 Digital Advertising Terms You Absolutely Must Know

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Even if you never want to make your blog your full-time job, when the time comes to start seeing a financial return for your efforts, the easiest route towards getting paid is advertising. It’s not the be all end all of developing a profitable blog, but it’s certainly the most prevalent. Whether you’re just considering your options, or already up and running with some form of advertising, there are a few terms every blogger should know.

CPM – Cost per Thousand

First things first, why isn’t it CPT? M is the Roman numeral for thousand, and if it seems old fashioned for digital advertising, that’s because CPMs are a metric dating all the way back to print advertising. For you, the blogger, it’s one of the most common metrics advertisers use when deciding to run ads on a site. When it comes to online ads, the CPM is typically the cost per thousand impressions.

Impressions are related to pageviews, but specific to the individual ad. Let’s say you have a banner ad at the top of your page, and another in your sidebar. Someone visiting the page one time would actually count for two impressions if they see both ads.

The sites that tend to make the most on CPM based advertising are sites that get millions of pageviews per month, due to the sheer volume of impressions they generate. Here’s an industry secret though: even big sites have trouble making money from all of their impressions. Typically, a site or network will negotiate a certain CPM rate with brands for guaranteed coverage. Traffic spikes, a story getting picked up by a popular blog, and other events can be hard to predict though. So if a blog normally has 100,000 impressions available, those might be sold at top rates. If a post does really well though, and there are 200,000 impressions in a certain month, the blog is left with what’s known as remnant inventory, which typically gets sold off at much lower rates.

Even if you aren’t a huge blogger pulling in millions of pageviews per month, the great thing about CPM based advertising is that you get paid just for putting the ads in front of your audience

Don’t let that stop you from testing CPM advertising out. Even if you aren’t a huge blogger pulling in millions of pageviews per month, the great thing about CPM based advertising is that you get paid just for putting the ads in front of your audience. Not anything to retire off of, and sometimes barely enough to cover your monthly hosting costs, but if you’re of the “something’s better than nothing” mindset, it’s something.

Networks can often negotiate higher CPM rates than small-medium sites can on their own. This is because most brands buying CPM ads are looking for a certain number of impressions, and 100 sites combined is an easier buying proposition than 10 individual sites. Glam Media is the largest CPM network with a focus on style publishers, and one of the few to work with bloggers internationally. Federated Media and SAY Media also work with fashion and beauty blogs on CPM campaigns, but tend to focus on publishers with predominantly US audiences. In the UK, Handpicked Media has a CPM offering for bloggers. Nuffnang offers CPM ads for bloggers in Australia and 6 other Asia-Pacific countries.

How much can you make?

For guaranteed placement, CPMs tend to range from $5-10, though some campaigns can go as high as the $40-50 range – rare for a CPM campaign alone. Remant CPMs, which aren’t guaranteed, tend to be in the $0.50-1 range, but vary based on a number of factors. One factor to consider is seasonality. While your readers may be just as valuable to you year-round, they’re even more valuable to advertisers in the lead up to Christmas, September (back-to-school, fall, and the runway fashion machine all happen then) and certain other holidays.

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Native Advertising

Advertorials, sponsored posts, product placement – “native” advertising actually isn’t anything new, but there’s a newfound interest from publishers and advertisers. For publishers, native ads tend to blend in with content and be less jarring than banner ads – and they can also pay much more. For advertisers, ads that don’t look like ads tend to be more effective than banners. People don’t ignore them the way they sometimes do with banners, and visitors aren’t as annoyed as the pop-up ads that only get clicked because people missed the close button.

For advertisers, ads that don’t look like ads tend to be more effective than banners.

The only thing uniform about native ads is that they aren’t uniform at all. While most networks do offer advertisers the option of sponsored posts or more content-like ads, native ads are often purchased on a one-on-one basis – a completely different model than CPM banners. Refinery29, who told BoF that they’re on track to generate $24 million in revenue this year, says it’s “all ad sales.” While their Shops section surely contributes at least something to the total, they’ve always been clear that the bulk of their (impressive) annual earnings come from the media/advertising side.

Granted, they have millions of visitors (not just impressions) each month, and a small army working on the site. Still, it’s worth noting that those tons of advertising impressions often accompany native advertising for brands. In their case, that’s usually a specially themed site section sponsored by a brand. During their month of Party Girls, it was a liquor brand – appropriate for the nightlife theme. In the past, it’s been a haircare brand for a month-long hair focused series, and various competitions for fashion and beauty brands. Usually, there are accompanying banner ads that run alongside the content, but they’re undoubtedly getting higher advertising rates by combining the banners with themed content to support it.

Be sure that any native advertising content is disclosed as sponsored. Also, since there is a closer connection to readers, be sure to only take on topics, brands and products that would make sense as part of regular, unpaid content.

How much can you make?

As your audience grows, native ads can run the gamut from $100 for talking about a brand on social media, to thousands for posts and more extensive content.

You probably won’t make $24 million, but this is one type of advertising that can actually be lucrative without a huge audience. When just starting out, the payout may simply be product from a brand to launch a giveaway or competition. As your audience grows, native ads can run the gamut from $100 for talking about a brand on social media, to thousands for posts and more extensive content. The highest paying campaigns often combine native elements with CPM banners, though they’re priced together.

 ROI – Return on Investment

Okay, so you may already know this one, but you may wonder what it is and how to calculate it. Guess what? It completely varies for many advertisers. Some brands want to be seen by as many people as possible, so a good ROI for them will be advertising on a high traffic blog, and knowing that their ad or product was seen by millions of people for less than the cost of a print ad or paid search or social media ad. For others, it could be product sales, and how much they had to spend on advertising to get people buying.

While it is reasonable for advertisers to expect a return on investment, as a publisher, you need to find out from them what that return is to make sure you don’t get post campaign unreasonable requests

While it is reasonable for advertisers to expect a return on investment, as a publisher, you need to find out from them what that return is to make sure you don’t get post campaign unreasonable requests. If you know that you have an audience that rabidly retweets your content, you might be able to deliver an incredible ROI when it comes to social media activity. Do you have a loyal following of shopping readers? Advertisers going for sales might get a great ROI with certain products on your site.

One type of return might not fit all advertisers, but figuring out what return you offer can lead to more profitable campaigns for you and the advertisers you work with.

 

Source: Independent Fashion Bloggers

Image sources: Fashion Law,  Internet Marketing Lakeland

Fashionista of the Month: Kimberly E. Stone, Founder of Poshglam

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Our fashionista for this month is Kimberly E. Stone, creator of the innovative and highly popular site POSHGLAM. Kimberly has launched a unique platform that not only promotes emerging designers, brands and artists – but also includes a witty, engaging tone with valuable inside knowledge of the fashion industry.

What made you start your blog rather than be a designer? 

I still do design from time to time. I wanted to first pay homage to designers that already exist. I knew that paying dues is a large part of getting into the fashion industry and I did not feel that I was ready to put my designs out there at the time. Being successful in fashion requires a combination of things: talent, design, marketing, publicity, timing – and I found that I was more interested in the marketing side of the business and really delving into how the web is dynamically changing the way we consume products and interact with brands. I wanted to better understand the evolving product life-cycle and assist emerging designers in marketing themselves globally utilizing the web as a vehicle for catalyzation.

What has been your greatest accomplishment (so far)? 

It is very exciting, I’ve met some wonderful people that have changed my life and enhanced my love for fashion, style and luxury as well as built relationships with people all over the globe. I call them my “virtual BFFs”, I would do anything for them! My greatest accomplishment has been establishing a recognizable brand and doing what I love. Giving people just like me a voice in the fashion industry, I’m thrilled everyday!

What are some of your goals (short and long term)? 

My short term goal is to become more immersed in the art of design, I’m taking classes here and there, and developing my critical eye. I have an appreciation for all fashion & design but have begun to crystallize my opinions on not only what works, but why.

I’m also playing with the idea of growing POSHGLAM as a communal presence. My peers have launched their social platforms, some have been very successful, others seem to have launched prematurely before the market was ready. As I focus on making the site more robust, I make a point to ensure that the market timing is perfect and I don’t want to introduce anything that my audience isn’t receptive to yet, the web evolves everyday, and so does online behavior. As the world of web changes, we (POSHGLAM) focus on adequate and disruptive evolution as well.

What are some of your biggest challenges? 

The application of theoretical business versus real world practice and learning how to balance the two is something I’m working on. I also try to make sure that any advice I receive whether it is from people I interact with or things I read on the internet, applies in today’s real-time market.

Who are some of your favorite designers? 

Burak Uyan (shoe designer)

Angel Jackson (handbag designer)

Melody Ehsani (jewelry designer)

Rachel Roy (fashion designer)

Mara Hoffman (Swimwear)

CC SKYE (Jewelry)

What are some of your favorite fashion websites, magazines, or books? 

British Vogue, Elle, Harpar’s Bazaar, I love graphic design…books on graphic design and imagery. I see art, design and fashion everywhere. It’s a cool perspective to have. My perception is altered by fashion, I guess it’s my filter, like rose-tinted lenses.

What do you do when you’re not blogging or working? 

When I’m not working, I enjoy traveling as well as trying new foods. I also like to invent things – working with an engineer and coming up to solutions for problems. Everyone always wants me to be their “business coach”, I always decline. I’m really annoying when it comes to business and getting things done, and they are even more annoying, when it’s not done…adequately.

Three words that describe your style: 

I would say: Polished, Artistic, and Enthusiastic.

What are some of your favorite beauty products? 

Laura Mercier Tightline Cake Eye LinerGuerian has a great Terracotta , Chanel Foundation: VITALUMIÈRE-AQUA, Brownberry Spraytan (guilty pleasure)

Any future projects or pieces we should look out for? 

I still like to design for fun, I will be collaborating with emergent designers and creating various handbags, shoes, jewelry etc. Also, I’m getting back into modeling, stay tuned!

What advice do you have for other bloggers or fashion business owners? 

My advice for any entrepreneur would be to have a plan of action. Not necessarily a business plan which does have its place, but a plan for market integration – knowing when and how to start. If you have an idea, ensure that it’s authentic and then run with it – because if you wait eventually someone else will come up with that same idea and produce it. There really is no time like the present because there will never be a perfect time for you to put your idea out there.

 

Kimberly’s Haute List

PicMonkey Collage2

1. My Primpette Pillowcases

2. Merlot, A great glass of merlot full of aminos

3. Archipelago Candles

4. Ahava dead sea salt body wash

5. Cartier Stationary (can’t live without)

6. Sweet & Spicy Cocktails

7. Mussels (one of my favorite dishes)

8. A great business book (always buying them)

9. Guiseppe Zanotti Shoes (love them)

10. Narciso Rodriguez for her (best fragrance in history)

Making Affiliate Marketing Programs Work For You

Photo Source: Amazon

What blogger wouldn’t love to monetize their site and receive a little cash for the products they rave about for free? Affiliate marketing sites can help make this dream a reality for the everyday fashionista. While more traditional means of advertising – such as Google Ad Sense – do bring in revenue, it can be difficult to see a short term return on investing in such ad programs. Not only that, but it still doesn’t allow bloggers to make money just from mentioning products like sites such as RewardStyle and Skimlinks do.

Skimlinks works with a variety of websites—tech, food, fashion, etc.—and is best known for ease of use. Whereas most referral programs require manual labor, Skimlinks requires a blogger only to drop a line of java script into their site’s coding, and the program automatically generates relevant links.

Of course, RewardStyle and Skimlinks both want you to use their links—not others—as often as possible. After all, they are making commissions on those links as well. That’s why both companies have recently launched new tools that make it even easier for a blogger to build a real business.

On May 1, Skimlinks announced the launch of Fashion Engine, a program that automatically links products, brand names, colors, and clothing or accessory types mentioned in stories to relevant affiliate links. “Fashion publishers have been using Skimlinks to monetize for years, but a key challenge has been for technology to understand often vague wording like ‘little black dress’ and match it with a relevant product,” said Alicia Navarro, CEO and Co-founder of Skimlinks, in a statement. “Skimlinks Fashion Engine automates this process in real-time.”

RewardStyle, which drove $80 million in sales back to retailers in 2012 and is undeniably the preferred affiliate marketer amongst fashion bloggers—prominent users includeWhoWhatWear, The Blonde Salad, and Wendy’s Lookbook—launched an iPhone/iPad app at its first-ever conference on April 20. The app allows the user to easily generate links straight from her phone. If she wants to tweet out a product she’s loving, she can do so quickly and efficiently. There are other functions as well, but this one’s the game-changer for RewardStyle devotees.

There are two types of affiliate marketing programs:  cost-per-acquisition (CPA) and cost-per-click (CPC). CPA programs pay when someone buys an item from a blog/site. An example of a CPA program is Reward Style. CPC pays per click. Some examples of CPC programs are ShopStyle, Shopzilla, Commission Junction, and LinkShare. CPA programs usually pay more since they pay on a percentage of the price of the item bought. But if you have a lot of traffic, CPC may be a better program to take advantage of each click. Depending on your audience, either is a sufficient model.

Sources:

Fashionista.com

Clothed Much

The Fashion Post