All posts by Gina Jones

Tom Ford ditches ‘show to shop’ catwalks

Tom Ford ditches show to shopJust when we thought the future of catwalk shopping had finally arrived, big name designers appear to be stepping away from the concept of ‘see-now-buy-now’ shopping.

The idea was to make entire collections available to buy online immediately after catwalk shows, but it seems that many have been struggling to make it work. Burberry was among the first to adopt the method, with Tom Ford, Tommy Hilfiger and Ralph Lauren all giving it a go.

Ford, however, announced his intention to drop it after trialling it for just one season, saying that the store shipping schedule didn’t align with the fashion show schedule and that it ultimately led to lost sales.

In theory this approach was a breath of fresh air for the industry – a further step towards democratizing fashion by making catwalk style more widely available, even to those who didn’t have an invitation to attend the show. Unfortunately the logistics haven’t up until now appeared to match up to the gruelling schedule of international shows that most designers are subject to.

While big design houses may struggle, could this be an opportunity for high street retailers? Being able to get limited edition or hot ticket items straight from the catwalk in your local shopping centre via your smartphone appears to be the Holy Grail for ardent fashion lovers. Unfortunately, the tight stock cycles of high street stores means that this is logistically difficult to facilitate right now – but perhaps one day technology will provide the answer…

5 top tips for successful blogger events

Five top tips for hosting a successful blogger event

Blogger events are a fantastic way of marketing your brand and gaining online coverage. Here’s how to make the most of your event…

1. Mix strategy with fun

If you’ve decided to host a blogger event, you obviously have a business reason for doing this – perhaps you want more online coverage, or to increase your social media following. But there should also be a clear benefit to the blogger for attending – on receiving the invite, the first thing the blogger will want to know is ‘what’s in it for me?’ and if you want your event to be a success you need to be able to answer this question.

Successful events are those in which the benefit is mutual. Why should the blogger promote your products? (FYI ‘because they’re great’ is not the answer; there are loads of great products out there!) What your event needs to do is give the blogger an experience they might not be able to get elsewhere. Inviting them in store for a preview of your products is fine, but they’ve probably had several preview invites from different brands. Why not make yours different by adding a little fun?

I once attended an event for a shoe brand where they provided bloggers with samples from their new shoe line and asked us to customise them. The invite was so different to anything else I’d received and it sounded like a lot of fun, so of course I said yes. At the event, they displayed all the customised shoes and the winning design was featured on their website. The winning blogger also received a free pair of shoes. The bloggers loved it and got quite competitive. Not only that, but we spent the whole night touching and getting to know the products, as well as posting pictures of them on social media while we worked on them. It was a win/win for both brand and bloggers. The best events are those that take a much more collaborative approach, allowing bloggers to do what they do best – be creative – whilst also providing you with the coverage you’re after.

2. Allow online registrations

Most brands organising events tend to send individual invites to bloggers via email, but by allowing bloggers to register online via services like Eventbrite you can collect a bit more data about your attendees and make it easier for them to share it with fellow bloggers. Eventbrite is great because it allows you to set a limit on the number of tickets and create mandatory fields in the registration process (e.g. tell us your email address, blog URL and Twitter handle). You can also set it to send out reminders to bloggers before the event to ensure they attend, and follow up with them afterwards in a thank you email.

3. Hashtag it

Make it easy for bloggers to share your event by creating a specific hashtag for it. A good hashtag is short, unique to your event, and ideally mentions your brand name so that those searching for it knows who is organising it, e.g. #StyleTribeBlogMeet. Having a hashtag means posts about your event can be easily grouped together and you could even include a widget on your website that pulls in all tweets that use your hashtag, providing great live content.

It also offers you a great way of measuring the social media impact of your event – tools like Tweetreach or Hashtracking will be able to tell you how many mentions your hashtag received and the potential reach of this.

4. Provide reasons to share on the day

To maximise the social media impact of your event, you’ll want bloggers to post as much as possible while they are at your event, but how do you get them to do this? It helps if you make it fun for them – for example, if you’re having a cocktail party, why not create a branded ‘photo booth’ area with props that they can pose with and post selfies? Or if you want them to feature your products, you could turn it into a competition and set them a challenge – e.g. the most creative product pic taken on the night wins a prize?

5. Follow up

After the event, don’t forget to measure the impact by looking at your social media stats – things like hashtag mentions and reach and @mentions for your brand by date will give you an idea of how much of a boost the event has given you. As well as quantitative research though, make sure you get some qualititative information too – read the blog posts and see what impressions the bloggers came out with. You could even create an online survey and email it out to them to see if their opinion of your brand has changed as a result of attending the event. Events are a great opportunity to learn from customers and drive your brand forward, so don’t waste them.

Still new to working with bloggers? Watch my video, five ways to engage with bloggers to help get you started. 


How to make thousands from your Instagram account – and other popular myths…

“You could charge £500 to £2000 per image!” yelled one Facebook post, advertising the joys of turning your Instagram account into a money-spinner. But, as the saying goes, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!

This week Facebook served me a sponsored post from Stylist Magazine about social media/blogging – pretty good targeting since I’m an avid reader and work in social media. What they dished up was completely off base though. Essentially they were flogging a message about how to use your Instagram following to make extra cash, but their headline and intro promised you could make “thousands a month” just like the superbloggers they interviewed in the piece.

I can’t tell you how infuriating it is when I see this kind of rubbish being trotted out online or by magazines I actually read and respect. While some of the advice might help aspiring bloggers, more often that not what it actually does is create unrealistic expectations.

In reality, it’s a very small section of the blogging community that gets paid this kind of money. Not everyone can or will achieve this. That doesn’t mean they should stop trying, but it just doesn’t happen for everyone like this. I work with so many talented young people who are making amazing progress with their blogging but constantly feel like they fall short thanks to pieces like this.

In the interest of balance, I think we should look at some of the things that make these bloggers stand out from the rest and what we can learn from them.

They have oodles of followers

If you want to get paid for championing brands on Instagram, it’s a lot about the quality of your pics but mainly about the numbers. Brands need to show a return on investment, so if they are buying your services, they need to show that it’s had an impact; how many eyeballs have seen my content? How many of those people bought it afterwards? For this reason, many won’t look at you until you have followers in the thousands. Patricia Bright (mentioned in the Stylist piece) has 272,000 followers. That’s more than the circulation of some of the most popular national magazines for women. It’s a numbers game, so if you want to get paid you need to have the numbers first.

They’re connected with the right people

Bip Ling’s mum and dad both attended Central St Martins and run a fashion illustration gallery in Mayfair. She has said she was around fashion shows from a young age and even went to Louis Vuitton HQ in Paris aged 14. Before starting Style Bubble, Susie Lau was commissioning editor of, so she wasn’t new in media circles and probably had a pretty good contacts book already. These people didn’t come from nowhere; they were in the right places at the right time to make things happen. That’s not to take away from the incredible talent they have or the hard work they put into making their blogs a success, but if your mum and dad work for the council and you live on a housing estate, you’re probably not going to have the same opportunities these people have had. You might have to put in a bit of extra effort to make some of the connections you need. This could take a bit longer and be more difficult than you think. (And I say this as someone whose dad works for the council and who grew up on a housing estate). You can do it, but just be prepared for it not to be easy.

They have an agent

Danielle Bernstein of We Wore What, touted in the article as earning upwards of $5,000 per post is actually on the books of Next Models. This means there is someone out there whose job it is to put her photo in front of brands and sell her. Not many ordinary bloggers have this kind of help and just because you’re posting it on Instagram, it doesn’t automatically mean brands will spot you and suddenly want to pay you lots of money. If you don’t have representation and want to make money, then a big part of your efforts should be concentrated on getting yourself in front of the decision makers. Enter contests, tag them when you wear their products, talk to them a lot. It’s a long road, but you’ll need to prize the door open somehow to start a conversation with them.

They have the right look

Having a strong following is really important when it comes to attracting attention (and money) from brands, but so is having the right look. Brand managers need to make sure that the person representing them fits with the brand’s image. Zoella’s ‘girl next door’ look and tween appeal made her an ideal fit for Superdrug. Tess Holliday’s gorgeous curves and outspoken attitude were a match made in heaven with Yours Clothing. You might have lots of followers and look great, but if you’re not what a brand is looking for, they won’t book with you. It’s as simple as that. There’s not a lot you can do about that really, apart from look like whatever they think is cool right now, and trying to do that is usually infuriating and a bit of a losing game. You’re far better off just looking like yourself and if they like it, then great.

Their photos are professional standard

A lot of articles about monetising your Instagram feed make it sound like you can make loads of money just by snapping any old thing with your iPhone and posting it, but there’s a lot more to it than that. Many bloggers work with a professional photographer to get those awe-inspiring shots and all use editing tools to make them absolutely perfect before posting. It’s called Insta-gram but it ought to be called ‘A lot of bloody effort’-gram.

They work bloody hard

There’s no denying it, these people put a lot of effort into these perfect-looking Instagram feeds and blogs. They make it look easy, carefree and natural, but very little about it is. They plan out their content strategy in advance, spend hours and hours crafting the content and schedule in their postings at exactly the right time for maximum impact. It can take years to hone the type of skills they have. And you shouldn’t feel ashamed about that. You have to start somewhere, so even if your blog isn’t perfect yet, it’s lovely to look back and see how far you’ve come.

Finally, I just want to add that blogging and getting into social media to try and get big money deals with brands is kind of the antithesis of what made it cool in the first place. You should be doing it because you have a passion for something, because you have a talent you want to share, not just because you want to make money. Brands are buying into bloggers because they want a piece of something ‘genuine’. Just be genuine, be yourself and you’ll make progress.

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