5 Books I Look Forward to in 2017

carrie-pilby-caren-lissnerAfter a long day of conference calls, design meetings, and overall planning for the launch of Style Union, one of my favorite things to do is curlup with a good book. Since 2016 is nearing an end, I thought I’d write about 5 books I look forward to reading in 2017:

  1. The still-untitled memoir of Ralph Lauren. Ralph Lauren is an American fashion icon, and his upcoming autobiography next fall will surely have some fabulous, stylish wisdom.
  2. Where Stylists Shop: The Fashion Insider’s Ultimate Guide by Booth Moore. Moore is a trusted fashion critic who has worked for publications like Los Angeles Times and The Hollywood Reporter – her guide on where to shop will surely be just as reliable as her critiques.
  3. Carrie Pilby by Caren Lissner. As a producer on the film version of Carrie Pilby, it’ll be fun to re-read the book before the movie is released in 2017.
  4. The Aisles Have Eyes: How Retailers Track Your Shopping, Strip Your Privacy, and Define Your Power by Joseph Turow. Retail has changed since True Religion Brand Jeans launched in 2002. This book will certainly be an interesting read on how consumers are tracked digitally online and in physical stores.
  5. The Book of Greens by Jenn Louis and Kathleen Squires. I love, love, love my vegetable garden and am so excited for this book, which looks like it has some amazing recipes for over 40 types of greens.

I’ve shown you mine, now you show me yours – what books are you excited to read in 2017?

Retail Advice: How to get New Customers – and Bring Them Back for More

Is your New Year’s Resolution to start a fashion brand? I’ve learned a lot of retail advice over the years creating and building on fashion brands, most notably True Religion.  If you are planning on becoming a fashion designer and managing your own business, I have some crucial retail advice that I hope you can apply to your new venture.

Research studies show that on average, the probability of selling your product to a new customer is 5-20%. But the probability of selling to an existing customer is 60-70%! Customer loyalty is important for a retail business, and it is the ultimate channel to get repeat business…at the lowest cost.

  1. Staples and Supplements: Sell things or services people need as well as things they might want. It’s very simple. A grocer that sells milk has a built in repeat business because milk is a staple, yet adding a bakery department is a supplement. People will come in for the staple and usually leave with a supplement (up sale).   Look at your business and see what staples you have to bring in repeat business and what your supplements are in order to capture the customer while they are there in the store or business. Make sure you have the right balance of staples to supplements.
  2. Educate your staff to thoroughly know your product and can be sales ambassadors. Test them periodically to ensure that they are staying on top of it. Product knowledge makes the customer feel confident they are purchasing something of value. Know your consumer demographic. Make sure your sales staff is always giving customers that top quality, extra care customer service, which brings customers back over and over again.  As a business owner myself, being the expert in your field or business gives customers the confidence that your product is the best in quality and price.kym-gold-product
  3. Offer discount promotions and or free giveaways. That helps generate new customers. Social media sites are inexpensive and have greatly helped the overall market to get the word out about your business. Networking in social groups and communities also helps spread the word of your new or existing business.  When I started True Religion, I would literally keep pairs of jeans in my car and hand them out to sales people to wear in the hopes that the store would buy my product.  It worked, and really got the word out, which gave True Religion its traction in the beginning.
  4. Follow up! Stay on top of your existing customers with personalization like personal emails or calling during business hours for upcoming special deals (Only if they are registered with your store for this). Do offer “gift with purchase” rewards or store discount credits to repeat customers to thank them for their loyalty. Thank you cards for repeat customers go a long way.
  5. Try something new! Some newer strategies that are working are offering subscriptions or membership packages; e-commerce that includes special service that caters to different types of customers directly. Brick and mortar stores are creating a personal or comfortable home environment for customers with the right music and comfortable lighting and seating, which keeps them there longer, and equals more sales.

Good luck on your new business, and I hope that the retail advice I’ve imparted with you today will be of use for you in your fashionable endeavors!

Book Excerpt: “Five Thousand Jeans and Nowhere to Go”

Below is an excerpt from my book, Gold Standard: How to Rock the World and Run an Empire.

Five Thousand Jeans and Nowhere to Go

We knew we needed to get the jeans known. Sales were in a tailspin. The stores we had given the pants to on consignment had customers returning the pants. The men’s jeans pockets were bigger, with a twisted seam, not a basic five pocket. People just didn’t get it. The smaller stores would tell us the customers didn’t like them and that they didn’t sell well. So a lot of those stores returned their inventory back to us. But we were steadfast in waiting for the “Yes.”

Our first set of reps was not as aggressive as we needed them to be. Normally, when a store writes an order from a rep in a showroom, the store’s buyer signs a purchase order, then the clothing company ships out the product. There has to be a real legitimate reason to return something. True Religion was so new and innovative that our sales team, who didn’t have knowledge of our particular category of clothing, didn’t understand how to sell our jeans.

It would have behooved our sales rep to say to the buyers, “These are new, give it another week.”

The sales reps don’t get paid if the stores return the jeans.

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Every day during that period, I would take a breath, suit up, show up, and just focus on marching forward. And “No” was not an option. It had to become a “Yes.” It just had to. There were times when I thought, “Fucks this. I’ll go become a designer for someone else again.” But then I would just carry on to the next moment, hand out another pair of jeans, and let that thought pass. It had to work. I needed it—for me, for us, for the family. It was like I willed it to be.

There’s no doubt it was a challenge. There were big stores that said “No” for years. Neiman Marcus said “No.” There were the ones who wanted us to change the logo, get rid of the Buddha, and change the name. Everything about it was “No, no, no,” and we didn’t change any of it. Ultimately, Neiman Marcus carried the line. It was like Sylvester Stallone wanting to be in his own movie. I was in my own movie. This was my movie. This was my vision, and I was not willing to give it up.

For more information about my book Gold Standard: How to Rock the World and Run an Empire, visit the book’s page.

Sneak Peek: STYLE UNION

To my fashionable readers,

I’m proud to announce STYLE UNION, my collaboration with 3JAINS, a young fashion powerhouse trio. We have designed a luscious new knitwear collection made for the modern woman who feels fit and fabulous, is a little rough around the edges, and is a die-hard romantic. She’s not afraid to put on her boxing gloves, but likes her bed of roses too.

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STYLE UNION is designed and made in Los Angeles and combines ultra-luxe fabrics, wear it again (and again!) pieces, and flattering details that will become your next closet staples.

I’ll stop there, since I don’t want to give too much away. Without further ado, below is a sneak peek of some of the upcoming designs for STYLE UNION. Releasing in 2017.

-Kym

STYLE UNION | RELEASING in 2017:

Live life, travel hard, stay cozy, and savor the sunsets…

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Phoenix Fashion Week Interviews, Part II

Hello friends,

Phoenix Fashion Week 2016 was bigger than last year, and I can’t wait to see what that means for next year’s PHXFW. This time, I got the chance to interview some of the fashion designers that were part of this year’s festivities. Check out my interviews below!


I interviewed MXN Fashion from Seattle, WA about what the biggest challenges were of PHXFW.


And I caught up with Monica Mauro to discuss her jewelry designs.

Next year’s PHXFW can’t come soon enough-I can’t wait to see what 2017’s emerging designers bring!

-Kym

Book Excerpt: Inverted Hem

Below is an excerpt from my book Gold Standard.

Inverted Hem:

No one ever wants to be the first to invest in a new brand or product, especially in the middle of a financial crisis. People want to wait for that tested sure thing before they put skin in the game. By then, the designer’s company has either wasted away or, hopefully, found another way to succeed.

Fashion is cyclical, and if you, a store owner, really feel strongly about a new style that is not familiar, it may take longer to get customers interested in the clothes. But wouldn’t you rather be known as someone who bought something fresh and new, rather than buying something that is part of the pack?

Conversely, if you, a designer, are doing a trouser line, you may have to bring it back for a few seasons. It may take a little while to catch on. In advertising, it’s subliminal. When you see a shoe and it’s in every fashion magazine, suddenly people are wearing them.

Helmut Lang and Missoni do prints and zigzags that scream their name. You know when it’s a Burberry. It’s staying true to the branding and how you want the design. It makes you a cohesive brand rather than schizophrenic. It’s important to maintain your presence until you get to a tipping point where they recognize you.

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In my experience, I have found most people don’t know what the hell they’re talking about. That’s the truth. So, in really knowing my product, and really believing in it, I have always had to become a stronger saleswoman and sell the shit out of it so I can find that other way in. I’m the one who designed it; I know every part of that garment.

Designers or arty types shouldn’t necessarily do sales, but no one is going to sell better than the creator. The salespeople will never know the brand as well as the designer. The salespeople who can sell a brand as well as the designer are far and few between.

For more information about Gold Standard: How to Rock the World and Run an Empire, check out the book’s page.

Carrie Pilby

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As one of the co-producers of the film Carrie Pilby, I’m excited to announce that the movie will soon be released worldwide! US premiere date to come soon, so keep checking back for updates. Carrie Pilby is the story of a young woman of high intelligence, who struggles to make sense of the world as it relates to morality, relationships, sex, and leaving her apartment.

Directed by: Susan Johnson

Starring: Bel Powley, Nathan Lane, Vanessa Bayer, Gabriel Byrne, Jason Ritter, Colin O’Donoghue, William Moseley, and Desmin Borges

For more information about the film please visit its website at www.carriepilbythemovie.com.

-Kym

PHXFW | Phoenix Fashion Week 2016

PHXFW #PHXFW

I’m excited to announce that I will be returning to Phoenix Fashion Week (PHXFW) at Talking Stick Resort this year! I had such a fantastic time last year and can’t wait to see all the new fabulous designers that are joining us this time.

business of fashion seminar

The Business of Fashion Seminar Series, presented by FIDM, runs from October 13th through 15th, 2016. Register for my seminar, “How I Did It…$1 to $100 Million in Sales,” which will take place on Saturday, October 15th at 12:00PM. Tickets can be purchased here.

For more information on #PHXFW 2016, visit www.phoenixfashionweek.com.

See you all soon!

-Kym

 

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