As Oscar de la Renta famously said, “Fashion is about dressing according to what’s fashionable. Style is more about being yourself.” And no one knows how to merge the two like the celebrity stylist. There are different types of styling in the fashion world today; editorial styling, brand consultancy, and the aforementioned celebrity styling.
Made famous in the last two decades from big names like Rachel Zoe, Kate Young, and Samantha McMillen; the world of celebrity styling isn’t just about picking the perfect outfit and accessories. The trade has turned into high-powered machine with enough wheeling and dealing to make any agent want to take a nap! For designers and fashion houses that are new to the game, celebrity stylists can be the toughest to snag; but the most coveted because of the cultural influence and media reach of their clients.
So, how can you capture the attention of the ultimate styling unicorn? We have some steps you can take to help you capture the ungettable get and hopefully get some huge exposure.
Have an impeccable lookbook
Lookbooks are professional, high-fashion catalogues, if you will, meant to show off various items and looks from you latest collection. But unlike catalogs, lookbooks don’t come with pricing, sizing, descriptions or much written content. That information should be reserved for your line sheet. A lookbook should be sleek enough to display on a coffee table and styled in a way that will promote the absolute best “looks” your brand has to offer. Your lookbook should have an engaging layout, which includes professional photography and lifestyle sections that showcase your looks in different environments.
While a printed, glassy lookbook is still a statement piece, many smaller businesses don’t have the resources to tackle the time and costs involved in a professional print job. Producing your lookbook in a digital format will cut down on costs and provide you with ease of use when making changes every season. They are a fantastic way to showcase any designer or fashion line. And as is the case with most marketing today; digital lookbooks should be easily transferable to your website and social media channels.
Regardless of the format or design you choose, having an impeccable lookbook available when pitching celebrity stylists is an absolute must. Stylists are incredibly busy; so, in order to stand out from the many inquiries they receive, you need to capture their attention with engaging content.
Do your homework
Although you are in the fashion industry, pitching celebrity stylists is no different than a public relations practitioner pitching a story to a journalist. The same rules apply. And one of the biggest mistakes you can make when you are pitching is not knowing your target audience. Sure, you know you want to get noticed by a celebrity stylist, but do you know how different each one of them can be?
Who would be the most likely to choose your clothing? What type of style to do normally dress their clients in? And for that matter, who are their clients? Where is their base of operations? When is the best time to contact them? Why would this stylist want to hear from you? You need to get down and dirty with the research.
Think of it like the 5 w’s that should always appear in the opening paragraph of a press release. Who, what, where, when, and why? And while it can be time consuming to do this amount of research, your ROI will be worth it when you receive a response rather than dead air.
So where can you do research? Start by stalking celebrity news sites, fashion blogs, and social media feeds. Most well-knowns stylists have a social media presence; which can resemble a digital lookbook of sorts. Get familiar with the stylists you want to target.
You can also use a professional service to aide in your research. Moda Database will provide you with access to celebrity stylist intelligence; including stylist contacts, and the brands and celebrities that they work with.
Perfect your pictch
You have your lookbook ready. You have a well-researched list of celebrity stylists that you want to target. Now what? You need to develop and perfect your pitch—your personal promotion on why they should notice you and choose your clothes for their clients. You can have the fanciest lookbook in the world with all of the right contact information, but if you don’t present well in your pitch; those items will not help you as much as they could.
A few years ago, I read an incredibly informative book about the art of pitching by Ron Shapiro, founder of the Shapiro Negotiations Institute and a renowned negotiator. In the book, Perfecting Your Pitch: How to Succeed in Business and In Life, By Finding Words That Work, Shapiro shares some really well-learned insight into the art of pitching. One part that stood out and rings true to our topic is that before you pitch follow “The Three D’s”– draft, devil’s advocate, and deliver”.
“Draft” is self-explanatory. Draft your pitch, write it down, type it up. What do you want to say and how do you want to say it? Use this phase to perfect your message. Draft, edit, and draft again. You will more than likely be doing your initial pitch via email. So how will you catch their attention?
“Devi’s advocate” involves another obtaining another opinion. Have someone, preferably with an unbiased point of view, review your pitch and give an honest opinion. This is the reason why writers have editors. Sometimes you are so invested in your own content that you don’t see your hand in-front of your face. Constructive criticism is an important part of the process.
“Deliver” applies more to in-person pitching. Practice your pitch out loud. Which is never a bad idea on the chance you score an in-person meeting. How does it sound out loud? Are you comfortable with the content?
In addition to the “Three D’s”, I would also recommend some following tactics:
- Keep your initial pitch short and sweet. Stylists don’t have the time or inclination to read an email the length of an essay.
- Personalizing your pitch to the stylist you are contacting is essential. Do not under any circumstances send out a form letter with a name inserted.
- Do not bombard your target with email after email. Follow up is not a bad thing but wait at least a week if you have not heard back. Be polite, and again, keep it short and simple. One follow-up email is acceptable, anything beyond that is borderline pesky.
Be willing to bend
So, you got a response? While you are high-fiving yourself and twirling down the sidewalk—remember to keep your eye on the prize. As we have said more than enough times, most stylists are extremely busy. If they have a request for follow up and more information; be willing to go the extra mile to get them what they need as quickly as possible.
Many big brands have been getting more difficult for celebrity stylists to work with. Set yourself apart by being more flexible and open to mixing and matching, accessories, pulling items, hand delivery, overnight shipping, etc.
And if you do happen to land the ungettable get; make sure you are watching the internet. Most stylists won’t personally notify you when the clothing is worn! You have to be your own personal stalker. Make sure to check the stylist’s social media pages, entertainment sites, blogs, and more. You can also set up Google alerts for any celebrity clients the stylist is dressing at the moment. You can then begin to build a different type of lookbook—a virtual resume if you will. This type of coverage will be valuable to your business for years to come!
Above all else; you know your brand better than anyone—so stay true to your style! Failures are going to happen; but as long as you are following a solid strategy, the hard work will pay off. You and stylists speak the same language, and as Miuccia Prada pointed out, “Fashion is instant language.”