We know a lot of new jewellery designers can become discouraged because they’re having a hard time breaking into the market. The article below has a number of ‘discovery’ tips that you may find useful!
I often hear envy in the voices of designers as they mention other designers being featured in magazines. The press is undoubtedly enviable because aside from a possible increase in sales, that’s how one can become famous. Few people understand how one should go about being “discovered”. The secret behind it is PR firms. There are specialty firms that focus on jewellery and fashion accessories. I’m here to write about their inner workings and their strengths and weaknesses.
In the age of budget cuts and reduced advertising dollars, magazines and all media have gone without many things; fewer hours spent really sourcing for new stories or verifying stories from PR firms, no budget for photography… As a result, very few articles are original, or even paraphrased. Journalists rely on trusted PR firms to submit stories, including photographs that are print ready. Some will change wording, others just straight print, trusting the PR consultant to have changed the words for them. So, it does pay to use a really well connected PR firm. How much you end up paying, and whether it is worth your while is another story.
Some of the most basic services include writing copy, which is writing any story or description for your own printing in brochures or for the website. It goes up from there to include guaranteed magazine submissions and product or designer feature. The Cadillac of services would include full product launch and press release in all sorts of media. Five years ago, and I am sure it is a lot more now, the going rate for an independent firm, with one writer/proprietor with some experience and connection with the magazine editors was about $1,500 per month, and that only guaranteed 2 print coverages. This could mean only the product features of a pair of earrings with company name and price, and a mention in a list of many local designers. The monthly rate was for no more than 4 hours of work per month. Anything beyond that was negotiated and charged separately. The contract was for a minimum of 6 months. Just for curiosity, at that time, the amount Mont Blanc brand was rumoured to be paying in excess of $100,000 for the Canadian region for PR. It is vital to select a firm that specializes in your industry and can show that she/he has been successful in getting many entries into the magazines. With cut budget, journalists have less time to meet with that many PR consultants, and like designers, there are many consultants out there. So, they rely on a few.
I know of several designers who have downsized after a few years of growth and use of PR firms. The press is addictive and the designer often invests on the optimism of a tidal wave of orders. However, most of the time this does not happen, and at least not because of the PR. The press gives the designer and the sales representatives more drive to go out and get more business and perhaps a slight advantage in entry into stores. However, the legwork still has to be done the old fashion way. It is not long before many designers realize that much of the profit goes toward the PR firms and magazine advertisements. And after scaling back the PR expenditures, most of them realize the brand recognition does carry forward for long. The sales dwindle and after being exhausted for a couple of years, most designers decide to scale back operations all together. I have personally known of designers who have had full 2 page coverage, with photographs taken alongside Sharon Stone, wearing a few pieces of her jewellery, go back to selling only at parties and holding a full-time job to make ends meet. And Oprah does not turn everything she touches or mentions into gold. I have a friend who had her necklace design worn by Oprah and she’s out of business. Perhaps it was unfortunate that Oprah didn’t wear her necklace on the cover of O Magazine…..if only she had!
For more tips on What you should do if you are going to hire a PR firm, click here