Friday, January 29, 2010

Runway to Reality Press

As some of you may know, I write a weekly column for Australian Exhibition & Conferences. One week its Fashion Exposed Online and then the other its Australian Shoe Fair Online. As part of my involvement with the Runway to Reality Workshops, I was interviewed by Belinda Smart (editor of both online newsletters). Above is the screengrab from the newsletter and below is the copy so you can actually read it!

"As Fashion Exposed approaches anticipation is building, with the trade fair offering a number of value adding events in addition to the usual feast of cutting edge brands and products. The Runway to Reality workshops, presented by style expert (and resident Exposed Online iSpyStyle columnist) Kate Vandermeer, is one of these. From what Kate had to say when I caught up with her, they look set to be stimulating as well as commercially indispensable.

"I think this initiative is great and I'm looking forward to holding the workshops," she said. "Whilst the glamour of the fashion industry is fun, these workshops are about the reality of how to capture customers' attention and get them spending with your brand or business again. Many of the SMEs attending Fashion Exposed have been doing it tough through the GFC and now need new direction and inspiration about their customers, their buying habits and what their next strategy should be."

Friday, January 22, 2010

Runway to Reality Press

As part of the PR campaign surrounding the Runway to Reality workshops between iSpyStyle and Fashion Exposed, the Australasian Textiles & Fashion e-newsletter titled "Apparell B2B Central" interviewed me for a feature about the workshops. Above, is a screengrab of the interview, however the full interview written by Dawn Adams is below.

"Strategies on conducting business in a more challenging economic environment and how to improve relationships with customers will be among the topics covered during a series of workshops to be staged at Fashion Exposed in Sydney in February. The 'Runway to Reality' program will be conducted by Kate Vandermeer, director of iSpyStyle in three business seminars designed to tackle grass roots issues.

In a back-to-basics approach, topics covered will include promotions, visual merchandising and buying strategies. Separate menswear and womenswear programs will review trends for spring/summer 2010 and relate them to exhibitor stands demonstrating how they capture the latest looks. "This approach increases the styling relationship with customers," Vandermeer said.

A third workshop will focus on business practices such as engaging the local community by, for example, enlisting a school to become involved in visual merchandising to increase store traffic. Social networking opportunities will also be reviewed but Vandermeer stressed they should only be used if they are appropriate to an individual business. "If their customer is not internet or text savvy, it wouldn't work for them," she said.

Stressed throughout the workshops will be to ensure that strategies are effective for each customer base. Vandermeer also highlighted how difficult it was to fully comprehend the demographic being reached in today's marketplace. "We tend to shop around, pick who to follow and graze a wider retail environment," she said. "It's harder to pinpoint a detailed demographic."
She said important was to test strategies with care to ensure a core customer base was not alienated.

And she stressed the value of knowledge held by retail staff pointing to the importance of asking the 'right' questions to find out more about a customer base. "Retail staff don't always realise how much they know about the customer base," she said. "They might know their habits, if they shop after school, if times are tough for them or if they're time poor." - Dawn Adams"

Runway to Reality Workshops

2010 is the year of the iSpyStyle Workshops launching and to kick it all off is a great collaboration with Fashion Exposed. This year Fashion Exposed and iSpyStyle are presenting "Runway to Reality"; a series of 'back to business' workshops aimed at supporting, nurturing and inspiring the SME's attending.

The Menswear Report - Sunday 14 February, 1pm - 1.45pm
Be guided on how to maximise next season's trends for the best return for your business.

Retail Workshop - Monday 15 February, 1pm - 1.45pm
Attend this retail workshop to learn secret trade tips on how to improve your marketing, branding and retail presence, incorporating tips on visual merchandising, social media and building customer loyalty!

Runway to Reality - Monday 15 February, 3pm - 3.45pm
Understand the top Womenswear trends and how they can be interpreted to suit a 'real, everyday customer' in order to improve your business and sales.

All workshops are FREE to attend, you just need to be a visitor to the Fashion Exposed Fair held at the Sydney Exhibition Centre, Darling Harbour from Sunday 14th February to Tuesday 16th February 2010.

Look forward to seeing you there. Come and say hi!

For more info on other iSpyStyle workshops, check out the website.