Entrepreneurs running a fashion brand—whether as a designer or a retailer—often have a lean marketing budget. It is crucial that to lay the groundwork for a healthy marketing mix across social media, web, and PR by investing in the best possible lookbook you can afford. When your marketing and advertising budget is lean, a good lookbook will take you far, providing content for social media, gaining the attention of blog and magazine editors, and getting noticed by consumers. One of the most common mistakes I see young brands make is not investing sufficiently in their look book.
For brands seeking press, understanding how fundamental the lookbook is to your brand identity is the first step towards landing on the radar of the most important industry and influencer blogs like Junior Style London, Pirouette, and Smudgetikka. Some brands have success strategically casting their lookbooks with Instagram influencers (Featherdrum wrote the book on this one!), amplifying the virality of their campaigns. Others work with well-networked creatives and models who are also proud to showcase the work; if you live (or will shoot) your lookbook in a metropolitan area, chances are you will be able to find a well-connected team.
It is quickly becoming standard for retailers to shoot their own seasonal lookbooks and those that don’t have a real disadvantage. Not only is your lookbook a narrative that tells the story of your shop in unique way, it gives you a great deal of quality content you can use on socials throughout the season. For examples of great retail lookbooks, check out Ladida, Kodomo, Over the Ocean, and Lublue. Not every retailer will have a big budget for a look book the first few seasons, but you can still produce something fun on a shoestring if you get a little creative and just set your mind to it.
Kodomo Christmas Lookbook
On the designer side, nothing breaks my heart more than to seeing a beautiful collection in person and finding the campaign images fall flat. If you want to generate earned media for your brand, a thoughtful, personal, and professionally shot and styled lookbook cannot be underestimated. It does not matter how spectacular your design is, how fine your fabrics are, how on trend your collection is—if your images do not convey this, your brand will stagnate.
There are so many talented photographers and stylists that specialize in children’s lifestyle that with a little digging, you can find someone who can make your designs shine within your price range. But before you approach a creative team, do your due diligence and research the photographers and stylists of campaigns you admire. Be sure to make a mood board, and collect images that speak to your brand. Would you go to the hair salon without a picture of the style you want? Of course not! The same idea applies to finding someone who can articulate your vision—the vision starts with you!
When you’ve collected your inspiration, done your research, and established your budget, be sure to share your ideas with people you trust and who are familiar with your brand. Everyone needs a sounding board, whether from a friend or family member or a professional consultant and your final product will be better off for the extra input!