I am a huge advocate for social networking. My love of Twitter has kind of become a running joke around the office. Everything we do, I try to work in a way to utilize Twitter. In fact, our partner WeRead has implemented Twitter into the site and is allowing users to easily send out what they are reading. We are working on a few things at Lulu.com as well to help authors utilize all the social networking tools available (more on that later).
One issue with gaining converts to the power of social networking is showing the value. Many people who are unfamiliar with the medium only see the noise and not the benefits. I have found a number of my LuluBlog author interviews via social networking. In fact, Lulu author Bob McDonald conducted an interview with me via Twitter. Samata Angel found me via my LinkedIn profile and asked me some questions about Lulu.com and how she could effectively market her books. That simple message turned into this interview. The real trick to marketing your business, and yourself, via social networking is creating a conversation. None of the people who I have profiled or helped promote their content have sent impersonal messages. They all started a conversation with me. For now, here is my post on using Twitter to gain an audience and we’ll have more social networking how-to posts coming up on the blog and on Lulu.com.
Samata Angel has used Lulu to promote her fashion career. So far, she has created two books using Lulu.com and was kind enough to do an interview with me via email.
Tell us a bit about your background?
I grew up in Cambridge and moved to London to study my undergraduate degree in Economics, Finance and Management. Whist in London I just used the opportunity to get more involved in the fashion scene as I always loved being creative and wanted to see where it may take me, so I got involved in fashion shows backstage, assisted other designers and went to lots of networking parties. After university I worked in a range of fashion industry roles including Head of PR for a Chelsea 3 floor boutique and as Head of Marketing for a Japanese clothing label and it was after all of these experiences that I decided to register my company, Samata’s Muse. Since that I have just worked hard and been given the some great opportunities, with Samata’s Muse counting the likes of Jennifer Lopez and Dawn Richards as clients and having been featured in LOOK, PRIDE and Fashion Capital to name a few!
What inspired you to write your books?
It was really whilst working in the fashion industry as a designer and doing various spots as a guest speaker at different business and enterprise events that I realized there was a need for a certain type of assistance and that I could provide it! By launching “Fashioning your Life, A Clothing Designer’s Guide – Volumes 1 & 2” I wanted to provide essential books to assist fashion designers understand business elements of running a clothing label. I studied business and I am very much a self-taught designer so I wanted to share knowledge in areas such as Marketing, PR, Trade Show participation and writing a business plan. I also got some industry friends on board who are experts in their fields such as international photographer Nigel Barker (America’s Next Top Model), celebrity stylist Nick Ede (Project Catwalk ), Jenny Holloway (Fashion Capital founder) and PR Guru Courtney Blackman (Fashion Business Club) to share brilliant advice in their relevant sectors
How have your books helped your career?
I would say they have helped others more than my career (I hope!) but the acknowledgement I have picked up due to writing them has been phenomenal. They have definitely brought a great deal of press my way and I have been asked to speak at some really fantastic events alongside other entrepreneurs and business leaders such as Levi Roots, Baroness Scotland and Margaret Mountford in part due to this achievement. They have also helped me focus on what I would love to do and I can see that in the future some form of social enterprise work is very much on the cards for me. I am an ambassador for the national campaign Make your Mark which aims to encourage young people into enterprise so I have a taster of what to expect and how rewarding that type of work can be.
Tell us about the awards you have won?
Since launching I have picked up a few industry nominations and wins such as Best Couture Line 2006 at UK Urban Fashion Awards, British Female Inventor and Innovator Network’s ‘Exceptionally Creative Award 2006’ (Finalist), Aristoc’s ‘Ultra Woman of 2007’ (Finalist)
and Precious’ ‘Young Entrepreneur of the Year 2008’. They have been huge acknowledgements which have meant a great deal to me because they give me a pat on the back and show much-needed industry support.
What is the most important advice you think a budding designer needs to have?
I would say try to stay inspired by surrounding yourself with positive people, new environments and the materials of your craft, work hard and stay true to who you are. It is easy for people to get caught up in the glamorous image of the fashion industry and yes, of course it is sparkly, exciting and fast paced, but it is a business industry like any other and what really matters is putting in the hard work so that you can rightfully reap the rewards.
Any plans for a 3rd Volume?
I am definitely planning volumes 3 &4 of the guide for later this year early 2010. Right now I am focusing on promoting the first two and trying to ensure the content will be relevant and also that I can get the same caliber of contributors for that as I did for 1 & 2. I want each step I take to be a progression from the next and not a step backwards.
To learn more about Samata: