Alright guys, we’re down to the last module in the Parsons online course we’ve been discussing the past few months. This one is probably the most geared to selling yourself both as an individual and a brand; I’d sum it up with the famous Steve Job’s quote: “Real artists ship.” This is one of the most overlooked parts of the business, and I find it’s something I still struggle with from time to time. Once you finish your research, make the product, and take photos, you have to sell your ideas to others to be a real designer. Honestly, this is where 98% of people fail, and it’s mostly a mental game.
You did the work, so make the money.
It takes a lot of courage to “face a crowd naked,” so to speak, to open your sketchbook to outside review. But at the end of the day you’re not going to ship to everyone, so focus on finding your buyers. Although good photographs with great lighting are important, they I hate to tell you, but I know several very successful designers ($10 million+) who sell from a linesheet with some photos of product on hangers, and the rough quality would likely surprise you. So, photos help, but meeting people makes the money. I would encourage you to get out there and find yourself in the real world. Pavement meeting rubber soles.
Prepare for criticism. Even the most talented designers I know with decades in the business STILL get negative reviews from time to time. This can make it hard to pull the trigger some days. You just have to do it like Nike.
Sales is about putting a smile on and getting your butt out there. Which brings me to my favorite marketing person to watch for motivation when I’m feeling shy or gearing up for a tradeshow or industry event: Gary Vee. He’s a little crass compared to the average marketing college textbook or professor (his YouTube channel is great), but his advice is REAL. And it works. I know too many fashion designer friends who produce a beautiful collection that wins awards at shows and then never end up selling a piece in a store. You don’t have to do that! Really, what’s the worst that can happen?
Alright, that’s the end of my advice for new designers in the industry. Have a wonderful summer, and I hope to see you at a few events. Check back here next week for information on upcoming events/shows we’ll be attending. Oh, and if you’re in the industry or producing a show and need to hire a production team to execute your vision, drop Nash a line at: firstname.lastname@example.org.