Tag Archives: design

FUTURE NOTION is a social commerce start up for Fashion & Product Designers…

We’ve spent some time covering the trials and tribulations of the Designers that we carry and we thought it might be fitting to tell you about what FUTURE NOTION goes through! (full confession ahead!)

FUTURE NOTION, is a social commerce start up for Fashion and Product Designers, and like any new business, traction is always hard to gain especially in the face of super stiff competition. True, there are a plethora of tools out there to help a new business get started – Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Google+, StumbleUpon, Pinterest, Digg, FFFOUND, Svpply, Polyvore, headhurtingyet? Let’s not even start on advertising, okay? But the question remains – how?

FUTURE NOTION is a Social Commerce start up for Fashion and Design.

No doubt social media is definitely a boon to any emerging business, that is definitely not the issue here. The point is HOW to harness the effectiveness of social media to build your business. The theory of it sounds lovely, but the practice of it is a different story.

We at FUTURE NOTION, find that a combination of tools such as FacebookTwitterPinterest and Stumbleupon definitely helps in traffic. This works for us, and might not work for everyone. We are an image driven site, with original blog content so images are submitted to Pinterest (follow us follow us!) Blog posts and new designers are tweeted about and these get fed back into Facebook. What do YOU use?

FUTURE NOTION is a web2.0 company - gaining traction is NOT easy!

The other day we added a few pins of new products onto our FUTURE NOTION PINTEREST board which barely garnered any response. That was slightly depressing given how Pinterest is the new Social Media darling and drives traffic in droves. We almost gave up. BUT we added another pin that sought to drive traffic to one of our previous blog posts, and voila, the chain reaction was amazing. Almost immediately, traffic went up, the pin was re-pinned and liked and that was encouraging to us! Our point is this – it takes time to understand the mechanics of each Social Media Channel, much like it takes time to understand one’s customer base. So, time is all it takes – but for a lean operation, WHO HAS THE TIME?!?!?! That is something we are still trying to figure out, so if our SM strategy might seem sketchy, we are sorry but we are working on it, believe us!

Search Engine Optimization. I love how happy this term sounds, optimization / optimize / optimisticHaha, not entirely related..SEO is definitely a crucial component to any business seeking to grow their traffic organically (read: no beeg beeg advertising budget) It is the cornerstone of the web business and it does work if enough time, effort and intelligence is spent on it. BUT, again, who has the time, riiiight? Our advice is to pick a few words and optimize the heck out of it – make a conscious effort to work on those few words and there will be rewards.

Here’s what we have done, hopefully you might find it of use.

1. Install WordPress SEO by Yoast.

Can’t stress the importance of this enough. It’s basically a walk through for any new blogger or website (if you are on wordpress that is, but if you are on another blogging CMS, there should be a solution too. Just google it.)

2. Pay special care and attention to:

Title – make sure your keyword is inside it. work that right brain.

Meta Description – also make sure a keyword is inside. work that right brain harder.

H1 / H2 (for those who don’t know what this means, it simply stands for Header 1 and Header 2. easy peasy. Header 1 is important, okay?)

Keywords

Don’t stuff it – anything beyond 8-10 keywords is stuffing. That’s the threshold.

Follow these steps for a start, and you can progress to something more advanced once you have that nailed. baby steps, k..if you need further explanation, emailinfo@futurenotion.com, we will be more than happy to share our knowledge.

Administratively, it is also a challenge to implement best practices, some sort of workflow system and operational procedures. There are tools out there, of course, but sometimes, especially in more creative businesses, it is tough to carry it through, but needs must.

Cash flow – that is something ALL businesses face, unless you are Apple and have something like 40billion in cash just sitting pretty, you will face this problem.

What are some of the problems YOU face in your design / creative business? Share it with us okay?

Hi Fashion, Meet your Sister, Hard Work…

The Fashion Business is a deceptively breezy one. It appears glamorous, heck, FASHION IS glamorous – look it up in any Dictionary and I guarantee you’d find a picture of Kate Moss striking a pose-just kidding!  But the truth of the matter is that it takes hard work, an astute business mind, an unerring taste level and a passion for Fashion so deep that it your pockets aren’t just empty but burningly so.

So, you’re a Fashion Designer who really wants your Fashion Business to succeed – please know that building a sustainable company in the often finicky world of Fashion, Fun and Frivolity is not, well, frivolous nor always fun…BUT! it can be done, many have done it, and you can too! 🙂

The first and most important point is to get your pricing correct. Yes, it is easy to just say I want to sell a dress for $800 because that is the way it should be, but will it alienate your customer? Does it reflect accurately the quality of the work. MOST IMPORTANTLY, do you make a profit? If your piece requires hand sewn beads and torched lace, then chances are, $800 is your cost price and you can spend the next few months starving. So, get pricing right okay? VERRRRY important. You DO want to live to see the next collection. (It might be wise to also start getting some consumer confidence and eyeballs on your brand by selling at FUTURE NOTION (just sayin’) )

Once you nail that down, it is time to get some customers and buyers – a.k.a the bread and butter of your business. Fashion buyers are not an easy lot to please, and many of them have a very precise vision of what they’d want their store to look like, so be patient and polite as traipsing from one buying meeting to another is super stressful!

So, but you know, once you got that done, you are a bona fide Fashion Designer. It IS gratifying, that’s for sure…and don’t worry, humble pie is something many have eaten – just think of it as an appetizer to the juicy steak of success that is coming soon.

Rebecca Minkoff, we all know is a super successful Accessories Designer who has had a long and illustrious career, but read on for what it took for her to get to where she is today. (the take we get from it is that, well, credit card debt ain’t thatUNcommon in the pursuit of a career as a Designer and as an Entrepreneur – perhaps we should cover Entrepreneurs and Designers who have gotten themselves into some kind of Debt before Distinction.)

So now that you know a little more on how business is conducted in the Fashion World, jump at it & drink tons of Champagne while you’re at it okay?

Online Shopping List for Middle of Fashion Week Bliss

Need a Shopping Spree that you can immediately enjoy after following the Fashion Weeks’ news?

Check out these choice picks at FUTURE NOTION!
Ksenia Schnaider Jersey Dress, $319
Ksenia Schnaider Jersey Dress, $319
Camilla Wellton Ceti Top, $145
Camilla Wellton Ceti Top, $145
MODEMENT Lace Up Boot, $369
MODEMENT Lace Up Boot, $369
Irinalaaja Sexy vs Straightjacket Dress, $195
Irinalaaja Sexy vs Straightjacket Dress, $195
darkcloudsilver Sterling Silver headphones Pendant, $390
darkcloudsilver Sterling Silver headphones Pendant, $390
De Siena Mary Jane Pumps, $850
De Siena Mary Jane Pumps, $850

There’s No Business like Fash Business

Building a business from scratch is not easy. Building a Fashion Business, with its double whammy of competition and saturation is even more difficult. Building a Fashion EMPIRE…well, whooooo, well..but it can be done. Baby steps okay?

But as they say, those who can, Design, get a guest judge gig, get a tanan IPO, anda few Fashion week shows thrown. (feelin’ like an underachiever? who? ME? no, not really, okay a little.)

Being able to craft a collection and mould a piece of clothing, art or furniture out of a 2 dimensional piece of material is a talent, and one that should be celebrated. Everybody’s gotta start from somewhere, I mean, c’mon Rome wasn’t built in a day, yes?

Here are some basic things to do if the going gets tough! 

1. Work on outward facing situations first – if a seam needs to get fixed, fix it, if resolutions need to get adjusted, do it, if logos need to be re-worked, fire up photoshop or illustrator. These things tell people you are meticulous and care about your brand.

2. Get your Collections visible. Get your own online store, sell on (ahem, shamless plug) FUTURE NOTION, walk around stores in your neighborhood to ask about consignment opportunities. Get the word of your brand out there! Connect, connect, connect!

3. Get Social – Facebook, twitter, yes, there are many social media channels out there, and it will seem daunting. But instead of being overwhelmed, think of it as a glass full of opportunity and publicity channels for YOU!

4. Send a nicely crafted email out to friends and press. It’s free. again, IT’S FREE! Some free tools you might want to use are mailchimpconstant contact and vertical response.

5. Always respond to emails and Deliver top notch Customer Service. If you missed one or two, it’s okay. Just apologize profusely.

6. Remember that Fashion, like Real Estate, is CYCLICAL. Far better than WGSN and any other trend-spotting tools, is this infographic that might help you in your Merchandising next season.

Hipster Fashion Cycle - Merchandise Forecasting Remixed for being more on-trend
Hipster Fashion Cycle – Merchandise Forecasting Remixed for being more on-trend

What we would like to know is how are YOU doing? What are the challenges YOU are facing? Let us know in the comments if we can help you in any way!

Francesco Lorenzi, De Siena Shoe’s Designer shares the Grit behind the Glam.

The next time you want to shop for a truly unique shoe, keep De Siena in mind. It is one of those fairytale Shoe stories that every woman who is even a little bit in love with Luxury ( and who isn’t right?) will love.

Today, we sit down with Francesco Lorenzi, De Siena‘s handsome Creative Director to talk to him about the frenzy behind the fashion. Shoe Fashion, that is.

Francesco Lorenzi of De Siena Shoes serving it up!
Francesco Lorenzi of De Siena Shoes serving it up!

FUTURE NOTION (FN) :  Tell us a little bit more about yourself and how did you decide to De Siena.
Francesco Lorenzi (FL) : To be honest I’m still asking myself every day why I started it and I can tell you that so far, and considering this tough economical period, I haven’t found an answer that makes sense: it’s probably pure passion and a little touch of craziness!
I grew up in a textile district not far away from Florence, and my family was in the textile business, so I grew up amongst fabric swatches, colors, drawings. I started my career first as a textile designer and later on became head of design for several companies. There came a point where I was tired of working to make “other people’s dreams” come true and decided it was time to pursue my own dreams. That’s when I started my own company, De Siena.

FN : Why Shoes? 

FL : The decision to start a Shoe business came first because I envied a lot of famous shoes designers who always make women so happy with their creations and also because I have always bought so many shoes as presents for my friends that I thought having my own line would be a money-saving trick 😉

Jokes apart, I have always been in love with and attracted to the world of shoes. I’m passionate about the creative and artisanal skills you need in order to create a masterpiece: a perfect shoe is so complicated to design and produce that it is a real challenge to make it happen.

De Siena Shoes 100% Made in Italy
De Siena Shoes 100% Made in Italy & sitting pretty!

FN :  The economy is not good right now, what is your secret to being able to succeed as a new brand? any tips for aspiring designers too?

FL : Yes unfortunately, it is extremely difficult to succeed with a new brand; you have many competitors in the market and the big brands have huge financial resources, which makes competition very hard for the newcomers.

I believe that the secret to success is exactly the same as 50 years ago:

1. offer a high quality product, almost handmade  – do you know that 12 different people are working on a single pair of shoes in order to produce it?;

2. find a producer that will be your best source of all your business and treat him like your best shareholder.

3. find the right people to help you run the business, not just cold professionals but individuals that are 100% committed to your project, and make them part of the success of the company.
If you start with these basics, sooner or later you will succeed in the market…of course you need many hours of hard work, during the week end, nights, holydays…almost after thinking about your brand every single minute on a 24/7 basis!
FN :  Your shoes are Made in Italy – is it difficult to keep the price points , quality and workmanship how you want it? How do you do it? constant bargaining with factory 🙂

FL : Being Italian, I’m very proud to produce and present to the market a 100% made in Italy product.

Working with small shoemakers companies (with an average of maybe 30 employees) brings a specific story and very deep meaning for me: every single person in these companies are so skilled, competent and committed, and you can almost feel the love they bring into your product.

The drawback is that, being small, sometimes lead to a problem. Most of these people are so goodhearted and passionate about shoes that they would always like to help everybody, they can’t say “no” and they risk to accept overloads of orders that are way over their capacity, thus leading to delivery delays. This is something everybody needs to be careful with.

As for the bargaining issue, it’s not such a big difficulty, but of course being Italian makes it much easier!

More of De Seina's Luxury Shoes being Made in Italy.
More of De Seina’s Luxury Shoes being Made in Italy – It takes roughly 12 people to produce a pair of De Seina Shoes.
De Seina shoes being produced. 100% Made in Italy.
De Seina shoes being produced. 100% Made in Italy.

FN : Who are your style inspirations?

FL : My style inspirations are the big designers like Valentino, the French masters like Chanel, Dior, or the Italians like Prada…all those brands that are timeless but always so modern, never vulgar and that are able to give an “allure” of romanticism to women.

FN : Who are your customers?

FL: I love to mix the romanticism as described above together with a rock style: I’m thinking of somebody like Cinderella with AC/DC on the Ipod.
I’m addressing my products to the everyday woman – a sexy yet sophisticated individual, who wants to feel like in a fairy tale, and will be able to dream while wearing her shoes “of desire”.

FN :  You seem to be able to do it all – photography, styling, designing, AND run a business – how many hours do you sleep a week ? 🙂

FL : I must admit that I can’t sleep much during the night. I always wake up very early in the morning and start making plans for the day. I would say I sleep around 5 hours a night, so 35 hrs a week.

-end-

There we go kids, the secret behind successfully launching a luxury shoe label with European flair and panache. 35 hours of sleep a week is your answer!

De Siena Shoes are exclusively available at FUTURE NOTION.

FUTURE NOTION’s Shopping Widget & an Affiliate Proposal.

If you take a look-see on the right of this blog, you’d notice a new addition to our side bar – behold the FUTURE NOTION Shopping Widget!

You can also take a look at it here on our site:

PARTNERS

FUTURE NOTION shopping widget

FUTURE NOTION shopping widget

We love this super viral sales channel because it’s like a mini mall that you can take everywhere with you AND multiplies like zits on a teenager’s forehead – there ain’t no stopping it…woot..

In conjunction with launching the shopping widget, we are also launching FUTURE NOTION’s affiliate program – and frankly, it’s a win win win $ituation – ju$t $aying – drop us an email at info@futurenotion.com if you’d like to explore this option on your blog / site.

What we are looking for  are Design / Fashion / Lifestyle / Interior Design Blogs with good taste and good traffic to work with, and we have fancy things installed to track payments to you…

So whatcha waitin’ for?

Limp to Bling – Upcycling gone UBER Luxe

Upcycling is the process of converting waste materials or useless products into new materials or products of better quality or a higher environmental value.” – Wikipedia

If you have ever flown on a plane, you would have seen the ubiquitous airline trolley. It has the uncommon notoriety of being one of the most standardized things across the plethora of airlines out there. IT. ALL. LOOKS. THE. SAME.

Sort of like this.

Naked Airplane Trolley
Naked Airplane Trolley – un-bling, un-designed, un-upcycled

Naked Airplane Trolley – un-bling, un-designed, un-upcycled

Enter a dose of German Design genius via Founder and Creative Director, Peter Jorge Fischer and it becomes this:

Swarovski Crystal Trolley - BLINGED and SUITED UP!
Swarovski Crystal Trolley – BLINGED and SUITED UP!

BEHOLD : Swarovski Crystal Trolley – BLINGED and SUITED UP!

See the shiny shiny sparkly sparkly swarovski crystals? It’s like it comes with its own halo and glorious soundtrack…like this…

THAT, folks, is a fine lesson on how to pimp things out. Skypak’s gots it right.

Skypak’s bling bling airline trolley is customizable and is exclusively available here.