I had the pleasure of interviewing Anni Koltun Glenn, a fashion industry insider and highly sought-after rep, with over two decades of experience. She’s known for being a straight shooter and began her fashion career in 1981 at Kolsen Apparel, simply because she had the intuition and smarts to answer a phone. Read below for my no nonsense interview on the basics of the business of fashion.
What’s one piece of advice that you would give to retailers in order to be successful?
Be very specific about who your customer is. Know what trends they will respond to, what looks best on them, what doesn’t work for them. Have a clear picture of who will wear your clothes and that's what you should put in your store. When you go the shows and visit showrooms, shop for that customer. You can’t be everything to everyone, so make sure you carry what your target customer will respond to.
Visual merchandising matters. Be mindful of your floor display. Don’t always put the new stuff in front, put it in the back so the customer has to walk through your entire store to get to the new merchandise. Also, know what you have in stock and your inventory. Be aware of when merchandise will arrive and how much of it is going out.
What’s some advice for fashion students?
Carry a business card. If you want to be taken seriously as a professional in this industry, act like one. Just because you are a creative person, don’t lose sight of the business side of this industry.
Create your own content, buzz, and portfolio. If you want to be a fashion publicist, write press releases for your friends clothing lines. Those friends can then include that press release in their portfolios as recent on buzz on their designs to garner more interest. Think about marketing and branding as a part of your career, don’t make the mistake of only focusing on the creative aspect. To be successful, you need to have both.
What are some styling tips you have for consumers?
Look at yourself from the front and back in the mirror! Often we only look at the front of ourselves, but the back is just as important. Wear your clothes looser rather than skintight. It creates a flattering drape effect. Also, dress for what fits your body type. You can still be fashionable and age-appropriate.
Some more tips (from FashionIndustryNetwork):
Tip #1: Work is the new four-letter word that brings definite success. Fashion shoots and runway shows look glamorous but there's a lot of work behind the scenes. Put in the work and learn the trade.
Tip #2: Intern is the new six-letter word that can add years of experience to your resume. You can intern at a modeling agency, magazine, photography studio, or styling agency.Just think of it as on-the-job mentoring.
Tip #3: Consistency is the new eleven-letter word to keep you on the right track without those discouraging breaks and unproductive periods in between.
Tip #4: Events is the new six-letter word, which will get you exposure and broaden your network of like minded professionals. The fashion industry is infamous because of partnerships.
Tip #5: Excitement is the new ten-letter word required to keep the positive energy flowing through your veins like life's blood. When you loose the excitement, it's time to find a new profession.
Tip #6: Confidence is necessary in order for you to out from the crowd. The industry is saturated with models, photographers, stylists and designers. You must believe to achieve! You must remain focused on your career goal and maintain a positive attitude about yourself, your work and your peers.
Tip #7: Be Observant is the new phrase that will keep you on the edge your profession. Pay close attention to other professionals at the top of your field. Study the competition. Get inspired.
Tip #8: Low self-esteem is the largest barrier between people and their dreams and a huge problem in today's society. Feel good about you. You are unique because there's no one exactly like you!