I recently started a leggings company. Since I am brand new and have no budget, I dropship and sell exclusively on my website. It's going very well - I started it with the goal of selling 4 pairs of leggings a month, and I've sold 22 pairs in the month and a half I've been open. I have given some leggings out as promo samples as well - and so far all of my customers and brand ambassadors have been very happy with the quality, fit, and style of the leggings. I am good at social media marketing and content creation, so it's been easy for me to self-promote on a smaller scale.
However, I want to gain a larger audience and to do that I need to reach out to larger websites like Refinery29 and Bustle to try to get a feature. I've never written a product pitch or press release - I need advice on how to do it!
My product is somewhat unique - I am an artist and designer so I'm selling bold, artistic leggings. A few other brands like Black Milk and Werkshop do this, and their products are considered high-end. Most legging companies sell less colorful or more generic looking designs, so I have some built in cache by having unique artwork that I design myself.
Aside from that, I have a fairly good story. I'm an artist and designer as I said - I had two sons when I was a teen, and dropped out of school. I went to some college for art but had to drop out as well. As well as doing freelance art for years, I apprenticed under a custom clothier and learned to sew and make patterns professionally. Now I sew a lot of my own clothes. I've worked really hard to work (somewhat) successfully in a design career - and come a long way. I'm now happily married, and able to focus on starting my own leggings brand. I'm training to become a yoga teacher, and my husband is a local yoga teacher. We have a lot of friends and contacts in the area for yoga and fitness, which goes well with leggings.
I want to write a pitch that focuses on why my leggings are unique and great, and why my story is inspiring and motivating to other young women and entrepreneurs, but still sounds professional and put together. Any advice is welcome!
Good question. I used to get a lot of these pitches when I was a reporter and I can help. What you need here is a good pitch email to some editors and writers at those sites. I would first do some research to find out which publications are the best fit for your product. Which write more about cool new items for small companies rather than new releases from major brands? Which publications might like a unique story like yours (I agree that Bustle is a good fit!) and not just a straight product announcement.
Next I would do the same type of research about the editors/writers you want to pitch. Who writes a few times per day and needs story material? Who writes about inspiring stories and small businesses? These are the people you want to target. You'll have way more success targeting these people than you'll have mass-emailing reporters at a publication.
Finally, I think you already understand how you need to pitch. Tack the newsworthy angle to the top of your pitch (something like high-end leggings at a low price from a teen mom-turned-successful fashion designer) and expound a little on that in the body of the pitch. Keep the pitch concise and tell them why their audience would like to hear your story and why it's one that readers aren't hearing enough about.
Not directly answering your question, but related. Most journalists don't like traditional press releases. Also, consider you're just one of a ton of companies sending stuff in for submission.
What I have found that works are three things;
1. Get to know the journalists you'd like to cover you. Meet them, email them, try and help them. Relationships win.
2. Don't just send in a release about a new feature or launch. It's important to you but do people really care? Be smart and position it around a story/data and link your business/product to it. Essentially create value in the piece you're writing, not just for your business but the audience the journalist is serving.
3. Hijack. If there is a big event happening, a competitor story or anything you believe you can jump on, do it. Use the noise and momentum created by other news items to hijack that story and get publicity for yourself.
Hope this helps and good luck :)
Rachel, I think you have a powerful story, and sometimes that can be one of the most influential selling points. Michael Porter talks about focusing on an "elite customer segment," which helps you to avoid confrontation with major competitors by focusing on narrowly defined market niches and customer segments.
I would suggest defining a very specific customer segment that is artistic and appreciates the entrepreneurial spirit and drive you have. Use your story as a spotlight and appeal to other artists by emphasizing the fact that you do some of the artwork yourself, but keep it about the quality of the leggings and the lifestyle you want your brand to portray.
I would echo Adam's #1 ... get to know the journalists. Find publications and articles that appeal to you. Introduce yourself to the journalists. Get to know them and let them know of your progress. An authentic and credible story may follow.
1. Find the suitable publications. (List)
2. Meet them (media relations)
You need to write your press release as newsworthy as possible.
Curious about where you are with this question. My interest is I am learning to do PR with another professional and would like to know more about your experience doing it. If you are still interested and wish to, you may want to practice doing this with someone suitable. I personally found even though I understand the concepts, I need to practice pitching for it to come out the way I would like it to. It is like learning a language and culture. The more you do it, the better you get at it.
I contacted the editor of a trade journal in my field. They were happy to run a blurb for me:
And then I get to post it again...
Rachel, I look at your question from a Trademark attorney's viewpoint. So please consider my advice as someone who has seen the process of launching successful and sometimes not-so-successful companies, being repeated over many years.
Before writing a press release and publicizing your fashion company it is critically important to clear and secure your brand, under which you will be selling your fashions.
A brand is very important to a fashion company, since it embodies all of the goodwill you build up with the purchasing public from your reputation, advertising and marketing efforts.
However, if you don't have your brand cleared and protected before marketing efforts commence, a senior user of the same or similar brand, whom you may not have any idea existed, may send you a cease and desist letter or file a law suit and shut your company down cold. Typically this occurs at launch and often it may not happen until after your company just begins to gain momentum and starts to become profitable.
Additionally, if you don't protect your brand and your fashions become successful, other, less-creative businesses will copy your fashions and brand to piggy-back on the hard earned good-will and reputation that you established in your business and products.
Therefore, before you launch and publicize your fashion brand you should retain an experienced Trademark attorney to clear and if possible file for federal protection of your brand, in advance of marketing and publicity efforts. Although this effort may be more expensive than you may have anticipated, it is well worth the expense, as clearing your brandwill minimize the chances of your company being sued after launching and marketing efforts have begun. Also, federal registration of your brand or brands will allow you to enforce your brands against copiers who will take advantage of your efforts and reputation in launching a successful product.
Best of luck in your launch!