I wore Brooklyn designer Shades of Shea for part 2 of Cocktails with Claire New York.
I first discovered Shades of Shea when I co-hosted The UGA F.A.M show in New York City. The designer of the line, Lasheaya Diaz, gifted me a dress at the show, and later revealed that she figured out my measurements just by eyeing me and studying my pictures. She’s a genius!
After I wore her dress for the first time (and loved it!), we decided to collaborate again (and, spoiler alert, I’m wearing another one of her items tomorrow!).
Here’s a tip for young designers. If you want to get your items seen or ‘discovered,’ try to find a way to get close to someone with a following, whether they’re an Instagram star, editor, celebrity, actress, or singer! There are a million brunches, shopping, and cocktail events (!) going down around the nation, where you can potentially meet any of the above.
I’d suggest you, the designer, wear one of your pieces. I always ask designers if they’re wearing something from their line. You’d be surprised how many times they say no! You have to be a walking billboard for your brand.
But in addition to wearing the item, have a distinctive business card so someone can stay in touch. Kareen Singh’s card (a designer I wrote about here) was made out of textured faux crocodile and had stitching on it. I received (and lost) quite a few cards during Cocktails with Claire, but there was no way I was losing that one!
Lastly, and perhaps the most obvious tip: gift an item to your target person. Perhaps they won’t wear it. I was staring at the white peplum dress Shades of Shea gave me, thinking it was never going to work. But then I tried it on, and it fit beautifully!
That said, once you gift someone an item, they might wear it. And who knows? They might be a return customer. Bonus: you might pick up new customers along the way.
Here’s what I would advise designers NOT to do: don’t send something to someone and harass them about wearing it if they never agreed to.
Sending someone a product or an item should be looked at as a gift, not an obligation. Some big stars get paid to wear items. So unless you guys have worked out a deal beforehand, there is a chance the person might not wear it. Or maybe they’ll wait a few months. Or maybe they don’t like it. That’s their prerogative.
Understand that it is a chance you take. You send something out. If you’re lucky, your target will wear it. If not, on to the next!
But in the best case scenario, you’ve kicked off a fruitful and fabulous relationship.
My two cents!
What do you think?