Saturday, 12 December 2009

Vauxhall Fashion Scout Salon

The Salon part Deux

It's round two at Vauxhall Fashion Scout, a sales orientated evening with:

Eastern Block is a seasonal sales showroom dedicated to working with design labels on the up.

Mark has a huge amount of experience in selling designer fashion online

Unfortunately Dylan can't make it so Mark has our undivided attention for the eve. We are also entertained by a power cut affecting the whole block, leaving candles and Brians iPhone for guidance. It feels very Christmasy and there's a happy hum of merry voices chattering away in the darkness.

Mark starts off by giving us the low-down on what he does (he is the creative director of on-line fashion store and what they're about (womens and mens fashion, not couture, not high street. They also have an increasing budget for taking on young designers, about 45%).
The main topics that are then discussed are:
Q. How to make a product work online?
A. Get bloggers to discuss your product on their sites (many retailers pay bloggers to promote their product), also link your web pages/ blogs etc to your e-commerce site.
n.b Customers are spending more on-line now-a-days. Sites like ASOS have helped break the mold, rubbishing speculation about late deliveries, bad quality etc, reassuring customers in their potential purchases.
Q. How do we as young designers get retailers attention and get them to buy our product?
A. Be innovative. Don't just send an email and a swanky look-book, it'll go straight to the bottom of the pile. Personalize your application and be persistent.

Mark then goes on to answer questions from the floor. To sum up here is what he said:
- Don't run before you can walk. Try to sell to a few select retailers and build relationships with them
- Advise retailers of your RRP. It doesn't look great on you if they're all trying to undercut each other.
- Give your collection a theme, a story.

Mark finished by saying no matter what, if he didn't like a designer/ brand he would not work for them. So the last bit of advice was, be a charmer (at this point the whole room smiled and charged for Mark, with that 45% budget they're no surprise that each and every person was handing Mark business cards, look-books etc. Poor man should have been petrified but astonishingly, like Brian he was totally cool. I need to bottle that 'cool', I'd be a millionaire.


  1. Hi Charlotte - Can you elaborate a bit on what he meant by 'personalizing' your application? Thank you!

  2. H Maria, He gave an example of someone who has sent him a postcard everyday for the last couple of months or so with just a word on it, something describing the mood of the collection. He is yet to unveil who he is or what he is selling but he has got Marks attention.
    Hope that helps.