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Marketing dreams


#1

Hi All! This is a very strange question… I didn’t even bother
looking in the archives as I figured I would not find anything
remotely near this.

Has anyone ever dreamed of contacting certain celebrities to promote
their work? Odd, I know, but I keep having dreams to give different
celebrities, especially a select few (like I really even have a clue
how to contact them!) either a necklace, a bracelet or one of my
purses. I wake up every time just dumbfounded and it keeps recurring
about once or twice a week.

Is this even a feasable act or am I daft as all get out? Maybe it is
to be interpreted in some way… It is sometimes very hard to be an
artist and talk to non-artists about things… like this… as all my
friends and family have usually just laughed at me. But I am praised
for my work by them. (Normies anyways!)

Thanks Robin

PS: If you think I am just nutty, let me know this also. :o)


#2

Robin, my personal feeling is that your subconscious mind is giving
you a marketing idea. Whether it is a GOOD idea, remains to be seen.

We (Lord of the Rings) are in Los Angeles, and we have a number of
Entertainment Industry clients. They are folks, just like you and
me.

The major exception, is that they have LAYERS of protection around
them to protect their privacy, and to keep AWAY people who might want
to:

1.Offer them a (business) proposition.

2.Offer a different kind of proposition.

3.Put ‘the touch’ on them for money.

4.Do them harm (think Rebecca Schaeffer.) etc.,etc.

If you want to follow through on your dream, to find out whether it
is a valid marketing idea, you will have to be very creative to get
past the “layers.” David Barzilay


#3

Robin,

While I have never had any celebrity contacts I do have a couple of

friends whose work is more in the fashion arena and they do have
celeb clients. The bad news is that many celebrities expect to be
given your work because they believe that just the act of their
wearing it should compensate you enough. If you have the PR savvy
and marketing machine in place to capitalize on this then great, but
I prefer my clients to pay for the work.

Jim


#4

Hi, Robin,

I don’t think you’re nutty-- you might as well go for it, if you can
figure out how. But I think your recipient has to be really
well-targeted, as I’m sure many people are after celebrities all the
time for endorsements of this sort. It the person doesn’t respond
really well to the piece, it will never see the light of day. After
all, what’s in it for them? But the fact that the idea won’t go away
suggests you should do something about it. Either try to “place” a
piece, or see a Jungian analyst…

–Noel


#5

Hi Robin,

No, I don’t think you’re nutty at all! I have a necklace that I
laughingly refer to as my Catherine Zeta Jones necklace… the
design just kind of came together in a flash of inspiration (after 6
months of thinking about it :slight_smile: and the design was definitely
something that I kept picturing her wearing! (If you’re curious, you
can see it at:

I’d love to hear others’ suggestions for how to get a piece that you
feel is just “perfect” in front of the stylists that can get them in
front of the stars! Wouldn’t THAT be a wonderful kick!?

And on a similar theme, do any of you know who picks the accessory
pieces used in fashion shows, photo shoots, bridal mags (not the
jewelry that’s being marketed, but the pieces worn in photos
advertising a gown, for example), etc.? Any advice on accessing that
market would be great!

Thanks,
Karen Goeller

@Karen_Goeller


#6

Robin, I do not believe this idea is unique at all. It is probably a
fantasy many of us have at one time or another.

I recently noticed one of our local TV News Anchors has begun to
wear a variety of necklaces, and most recently a pin. I have no
doubt she is wearing jewelry from a single designer. She probably
gets inquiries about them from viewers.

Perhaps find a path to a TV personality, or even a politician. See
where that takes you. Then let me know, who knows what that may
bring.

Good luck,
Teresa


#7

Hello Robin, I think you are not so alone in this thought. I have
had it many times myself and definitely take notice what celebrities
are donning. But as you have, I have always figured it was
impossible to reach them but maybe there is a path - obviously
someone does.

Grace in Cleveland


#8

Hi, Robin, I don’t think you are nuts at all. How could some of us
see the photos of (e.g.) Meryl Streep in (e.g.) “borrowed” Fred
Leighton (yes, I read In Style–a guilty but helpful pleasure)
without having dreams or fantasies such as these?

The only suggestion I have is the “six degrees of separation” game.
I just discovered that I am 2 degrees from Eric Clapton–my friend’s
stepdaughter works with him (and who else? I don’t know yet.) in some
obscure way. My friend insists that I design something spectacular
for this young woman and let her “model” it. Now I find myself
singing “Layla” as I work on a new over-the-top design, while I
"dream" of Eric getting down on his knees with my necklace in his
hands!

Ask everybody you know who they know who might know…and there are
pivotal people who can speed this process. Who have you known who
seems to have known “everyone”?

Lisa


#9
Has anyone ever dreamed of contacting certain celebrities to
promote their work?  Is this even a feasable act or am I daft as
all get out? 

Well, Robin, we share that dream (although mine’s a daydream). If you
could get access to a celebrity (or better yet, their stylist), and
they wore your design in some public forum, your jewelry would be
seen by more people in one fell swoop than it would spending a year
hanging in a gallery. I’ve had my eye on a certain news anchor who
wears alot of different necklaces, but I don’t have the access. I
did approach a musician I know who’s married to an even more
well-known musician (thinking they must go to alot of celeb parties)
and she wore my stuff to some events. She said she got alot of nice
comments, but it never led to any sales. (To thank her, I made her a
pair of earrings to keep.) If you can make your particular dream come
true, it would certainly be worth pursuing. Good luck!

Alan


#10

Robin,

Not odd at all . But -my recommendation: When you wake up with these
dreams -take a pill, lie down again, and wait for it to go away…

But, seriously, folks - (This is a bit long, but please bear with
me. I am something of a veteran …)

Once upon a time, the public got its fashion cues primarily from
magazines like Vogue, Glamour, Seventeen, etc… While print is still
critical, it’s impact is supplemental to, and supportive of,
television and film, which are now the most important means of
promotion. The styles worn by the women on, say, ‘Friends’ and ‘Sex
In the City’ - or Oprah - or MTV - are more visible and have more
impact on the “street” than anything in an ad in your local paper.
Just ask Jimmy Choo…

Recognition of that power is the reason ‘In Style’ magazine was born
with its emphasis on celebrity trends (and likely the cues for those
dreams of yours, Robin.) It isn’t enough that a particular store is
interesting, or an item is of good design. It becomes
promotion-worthy if they can name a high-profile celebrity who has
Been There or Worn That. This perceived endorsement establishes a
kind of credibility, somehow, even if the connection is tenuous, at
best.

This symbiotic nature of the fashion and entertainment industries -
or Fashion AS Entertainment - has given rise to the Personal Stylist
as a “Force Majeur”; a catagory of specialist which has become just
as commonplace in this town as p.r. reps, agents, eyebrow stylists,
and vegan caterers. The assistant or stylist functions as the
gatekeeper, one more line of defense for their employers against the
favor-seekers (or worse), understandably and necessarily. To get to
the stars, one must somehow make contact with their personal
assistants or stylists (not necessarily the same person - and not
necessarily the same person as yesterday.)

In recent years,with savvy public relations efforts, some of these
folks have been built up as a sort of cult class of ‘celebrities by
proxy’. They are heavily courted by any - and - everyone with a
product to promote, eager to have a Nicole Kidman or Jennifer Aniston
photographed wearing it, carrying it, or standing somewhere near it.
That confers a lot of potential power upon these individuals, who are
in a prime position to use it or abuse it without recourse.

This brings us to the next level: What’s the first rule of business
success? Recognize a Need and Fill It. Thus, a middle-man industry
has been created to service these ‘servants’, and to provide the
hopeful designer with a practical venue for reaching the target
audience.

Show-rooms have sprung up in Los Angeles or New York, and sometimes
elsewhere, catering to costumers, print stylists, and personal
assistants &/or personal shoppers. Sometimes items are purchased in
this way, sometimes at dramatic discounts from “retail”, sometimes
borrowed and returned, sometimes neither sold nor returned. Depends
on the showroom and the relationships. Different places work it
differently, some on regular consignment, some like a sales rep, etc.

These reps, for hefty fees, promise to promote your work to
costumers and stylists. There are, however, absolutely no guarantees
that your piece will actually be worn by your “Friends”, etc… (It’s
rather like the companies who promise, for a monthly fee, to "try"
to help you get your website listed with the most popular search
engines.)

One such rep, about to open a showroom (not in L.A.), approached me
recently.She showed me her contract in which I am to give her the
merchandise which she would, in turn, send to the
costumers/designers on the most sought-after shows - or to the
personal stylists of the alleged stars - and for this I would pay her
a regular monthly fee which varied according to a tiered scale of
service. (This, of course, presumes that she truly has the contacts).
I can’t recall exactly what the figures were, but they had 3 zeros
trailing after them. Of course, she would also take an additional
percentage of any merchandise which was actually sold. You cannot
expect to get your merchandise back if it is not used, and you are
unlikely to be paid for it if it is. You are more than likely never
to see it on camera or in print, either. Your bracelet or purse could
just as likely go home with one of the show’s techs or office staff
as it is to be seen by the actors. (Remember - you are paying a hefty
monthly fee for this…) But, as it was proposed to me, the mere fact
that it was sent to them would ‘technically’ be enough to allow me to
claim that my work was “worn by such-an-such actor” or “seen on this
or that show”…(Who’s to say otherwise, I guess…right? Hmmmm…)

Then there is also a big business here in LA for the now-famous
"gift basket" promotional, the ones assembled for the many industry
events and for awards shows’ presenters and nominees. Not mere party
favours, these. Literally thousands of dollars’ worth of merchandise
-per ‘basket’ - or Vuitton travel case - is given away by designers

  • who also pay fees, in the thousands, to the gift basket provider
    for the privilege of having their products or services included. It
    can be a terrific promotional device, even better if the pre-Awards
    telecasts give the tv audience a tour of the Gift Tent. It’s a
    guarantee that the celebrities will at least glance at your specialty
    -if not necessarily use it , or remember it - and if you are in a
    position to assume the expense…

Then there are charities or good causes, where you can donate your
work for silent auction, eg., as has been recently discussed, or you
might try to hook up with one of the many opportunites for mass
give-aways of merchandise which occur at openings of boutiques, spas,
etc. which hope to draw a celebrity clientele to promote their
business - and may also often connect the event with some kind of
charity to provide a bit of high-minded cache. In that way, you can
try to hitch your wagon to their promotional efforts.

Are you beginning to see a pattern emerging here? James Binnion
said it well ( and more succintly -lol…). Free stuff has become a
condition of celebrity. The bigger they are, the higher the pile, so
to speak. (In light of the opportunities for celebrities to receive
freebees - or drastically discounted merchandise - you have to wonder
why Wynona would even bother to shoplift…)

All of this giveaway is legitimate, time-honored, even ancient,
promotional practice - if taken to somewhat surreal extremes. It’s
the “you have to spend money to make money” adage. But to make it
work for you, you have to have your ducks in a row. If you are
making jewelry that is cheap to produce &/or have a well-financed
business machine behind you, it may be well worth the gamble. If you
are a small operation, with a big investment in your materials, then
the expense may simply be too prohibitive to undertake this means of
promotion.

Are you prepared to support all of this with appropriate press
releases and photos - which may or may not get used? Is your product
positioned visibly enough already so that, should you actually get
the hoped-for attention, there are places where the paying public can
follow up and find you? And to make the contacts in the first place -
the “Six Degrees”, so-called lucky connection - is very much a factor

  • but one, like anything else, which comes with work , effort, and a
    little ‘chutzpah’. (Kind of sounds like the old chicken vs. the egg
    story, doesn’t it?)

In essence, you are providing your work as part of your advertising
or promotional budget - if you have one… You must be able to afford
the financial consequences of giving away your product, often in
considerable quantity, and on the basis of what amounts to be a very,
very long shot.

In the past, stylists were generally courteous and appreciative in
their dealings with artists and designers who agreed to lend their
work. In the last few years, however, the attitude - and boy, do I
mean attitude - has all too often changed to reflect the stylists’
above-mentioned elevation in status, (and concurrent lowering of age
bracket). Now they are doing you the favour, instead of the other way
around…or more accurately, as I always perceived it, working
co-operatively, as professionals, for mutual benefit. Of course,
this is not true of everyone, let me hasten to say, but, true
enough…

Let me point out, btw, that I have walked both sides of this talk- I
was a costume designer myself, for theatre, film, and television for
16 years before morphing into jewelry design, so I come by my
observations honestly and with an historical perspective… When I
worked on (several) network television series,for example, I
routinely took out merchandise on memo for fittings, promptly
returned what we couldn’t use (in original condition), paid for what
we did use, and never demanded or expected freebies. I was
occasionally offered free goods, but since I had no authority to
guarantee them the screen credit in return - I wouldn’t accept them.
But that was Then. Such ethics no longer seem to apply.

On occasion I have lent merchandise to print stylists, allegedly in
exchange for a credit &/or copies of the pictures for my promotional
use. But, in my experience, not once did any of them actually come
across with either the promised credit or the picture-proof. At least
I learned from others’ bad experiences how to get the merchandise
safely back; When I lend or rent anything, I invoice it, and take
either a signed, blank check or a credit card imprint as security,
with specific terms and charges clearly stated against their timely
return. You cannot imagine how many eager souls are willing to just
hand over their work, so starry-eyed that they forget all good sense.

As a jewelry artist now, my work is seen on television and in films

  • but the stylists I work with will buy it. So, too, have the actors
    on the shows. And, yes, I have lent jewelry to celebrities at times
    to wear to awards shows - often even specially designing pieces to
    work with the clothes. It’s a great, fun experience - although
    sometimes you can find yourself dragged right down the rabbit-hole,
    straight into someone’s Adventure in Bi-polar Wonderland. (The
    Beautiful People ain’t always Pretty…) I have been promised
    "thousands in free publicity" for the honor of having my work worn
    for all the world to see, only to have it covered up by a
    coat…sometimes the actor makes a conscientious effort to publicize
    your name, sometimes not. Publicists have promised to write stories
    about me for the news media in trade for my jewelry for themselves or
    to massage their actor-clients, only to hedge on the deal and throw
    up yet more conditions to be met… It’s all a game.

At this point, if I do it, it’s for my own sense of satisfaction,
for the fun of it, and with my sense of perspective and my sense of
humour well-tuned. I am ever optimistic, but try to stop short of
delusional. I have yet to see any tangible, direct benefit derived
from most of this. But - one never knows… A certain"someone"
earnestly assured me, after receiving compliments on (my) jewelry at
the SAG Awards, that I should expect that Lorraine Braccho, Julianne
Moore and Adrian Brody’s mother will be calling me soon… !

(Oh - and need I mention that I haven’t gotten the promised photos
yet from that one, either - lolol…)

Margery Epstein


#11
And on a similar theme, do any of you know who picks the accessory
pieces used in fashion shows, photo shoots, bridal mags (not the
jewelry that's being marketed, but the pieces worn in photos
advertising a gown, for example), etc.?  Any advice on accessing
that market would be great! 

Karen,

I have worked in fashion industry for seventeen years, and the
people you’re referring to are called stylists. They work for the
magazine and work under the guidance of the jewelry or accessories
editor at the magazine. Although, typically the props for the shoot
are selected by the jewelry or accessories editor.

Look in the masthead of magazines that on occasion have jewelry
editorials, think Town & Country, In Style, W, Vogue, etc., and the
editor’s name(s) will be listed in the masthead. Stylists
occasionally are freelance or work specifically with a big name
photographer and will scout their own “props”, but still, everything
must be approved by the editor and eventually the art director.

How it works is the art director has given the editor the "story"
idea or merchandise to be featured and it’s up to the
jewelry/accessory editor to come up with the corresponding merch to
go with the story, most of times it’s not up to the stylist to
choose the “props”, but merely to make sure stuff is draping well at
the shoot, etc. Before the photo shoot those “accessories” and other
props are brought to meetings where they discussed add nauseam.
That’s when I started to wonder privately, “do these people have a
life other than fashion?” I mean, they took it and themselves so
seriously, you’d have though it was a meeting at the UN. Anyway,
that’s the way it worked at the place where I worked.

Most editors are deluged everyday with everybody and his brothers
samples and press kits that get sent to them for consideration.
Don’t expect the samples back, they don’t have time to deal with
packing them up again and sending them to the mail room with
instructions for insurance, etc. It’s not that they are careless,
they really do not have the time. Consider it a price of doing biz,
and great photos can be just as good, although at all costs, they
shouldn’t look cheesy (the photos). Remember they also look at great
photographers portfolios too. I can tell you if the photo is really
cool it will end up on their “oh, isn’t this great, and don’t I have
such fabulous taste” wall.

These people are swamped every day with tons of visual stimuli, so
the photos had better stand out, or it gets immediately put in the
"round file". Don’t waste your time with press kit blurbs, resumes,
awards and galleries you’ve been in, they could care less, because
it’s all about the jewelry, what it looks like! Figure that your
mailing is going to get about a five second glance, unless it looks
interesting enough, you’ll get maybe a minute or two. And whatever
you do not waste your time with e-mail and phone calls, it is such a
turn-off (read: sales pitch) when you’re busy. I mean, do people
think they actually have time to listen those kinds of calls.

On an aside, have you ever noticed how often jewelry is overlooked
when they credit the merch on the page, even when you look in back
on the page the merch was shown, there is no mention of it.

Fashion is still God and jewelry is just it’s poor relative. It’s
because the story is about the almighty fashion (God/star/celebrity)
designer and jewelry designers don’t have that aura. Why I don’t
know. I mean, how many Americans do you think could name one even
two contemporary jewelry designers! Ask, it’s really depressing! I
guess it’s all a matter of what’s important to you as an individual,
I mean, is that kind of status important to you?

Personally, it’s very important. I vant to be a star, daarling.

Good luck,
Mollie Morrissette
@barbara_morrissette


#12

Anyone that is “green”, earth friendly, might want the B-52’s…I
know someone that knows someone…:wink: And well, the closest I got
to meeting the group personally was at a concert in Atlantic City at
the Sands, where a group of us ran into Julie Cruise in the hallway.
She was a substitute for Cindy when she was home on maternity. They
are serious about environment issues, so the person that wanted to
open a environmentally friendly store may want to contact them!
(Kate was the one that was arrested for a PETA demonostration!)
greenlaughter


#13

Hi Friends, Along with all the suppositions and excellent, and
insightful feedback from David and Margery, I have a couple/few
anecdotes. I think a lot of it has to do with serendipity… being at
the right place at the right time.

A chance encounter and an offer to help a poor soul with a computer
problem has led me to be in “close contact” with the band Blues
Traveler. The closest I’ve come to being able to place work with them
is to make a gift pin for the wife (then, fianc=E9e) of the
merchandising manager for the band. I still dream of making (and
getting paid for) a sterling hat band for front-man John Popper.

I made a contemporary interpretation of a southwestern squash
blossom necklace, called Buffalo Dream. Spent years on it, mostly
thinking about it, and didn’t know if I could ever sell it when it
was done. I was watching a Roger Waters (of Pink Floyd fame) DVD and
noticed his young prot=E9g=E9 guitarist (doing the David Gilmore part)
wearing a nice squash blossom necklace. I got his name from the
credits, researched him on the Web and was able to get his email
address from his Web site. I actually composed a draft of an email
message to him offering to sell Buffalo Dream (not lend or give), but
much to my delight, I sold it at a show before I sent the mail.
Highly targeted “would-be” celebrity.

See Buffalo Dream #1:
http://www.carolinaartisans.com/shop/buffalo_dream1.htm

Several years ago, I was working with one of my better clients, who
is a guy… a banker. He fell in love with an exquisite chrysoprase
carving by Bart Curren I had picked up at a gem show, and wanted me
to make it into a pendant. It was one of my earliest gold pieces, and
the first piece I ever sold for over $500. Shortly after taking
delivery, he split with his girlfriend, and coincidentally, had a
house warming party. At the party, he was showing off the necklace,
and another woman fell in love with it and wore it all night. She
ended up buying it from him. Turns out she “moonlights” as the
spotter for champion NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon, and she wore the
necklace to his championship banquet that year… even bought her
dress to match the necklace! Never resulted in any additional sales
or inquiries, though! I’ve gently and subtly “tickled” this contact
in recent months, to no avail. I know those NASCAR wives have money
to burn!

See the pendant: http://www.carolinaartisans.com/shop/chrys_gold.htm

Don’t ya just love these illustrated stories?!? :wink: Anyway, glean
from these tidbits what you will. If there’s an effective strategy
for accessing the “elite” crowd, everyone would be doing it, which is
probably why there’s not one. When there’s a lucky chance encounter,
be swift on your feet and capitalize on it when you can. Chances are
your target will be defensive because they get “hit up” all the time.

All the best,
Dave
Dave Sebaste
Sebaste Studio and
Carolina Artisans’ Gallery
Charlotte, NC (USA)
dave@sebaste.com