Designers agree that advertising expenditure can turn out to be a major hindrance, especially if you are new in the fashion industry. Creating awareness about your brand and attracting customers becomes an additional cost. But this is where social media steps in.
By simply uploading fashion collections on social networking websites such as Facebook or posting about it on Twitter, designers are successfully attracting clients from all across the globe, not just Pakistan.
A few local designers talked to The Express Tribune about how social media has served as a tool in promoting their labels. “Facebook is a champ!” says Sanam Chaudhri, a designer known for her contemporary designs for the modern woman. “It has done wonders in marketing my label.”
Designer Sania Maskatiya also says: “It [social media] is an amazing thing; very convenient and a great way to promote business — it makes things so much easier.” She admits that she realised the importance of social networking websites after she launched her label, almost two years ago, and used Facebook to create brand awareness.
“For any event-related information or upcoming collections, I would simply post about it on Facebook, to inform my clients [existing and potential],” she continued. “It became so much easier for me — to let people know about my brand and forthcoming collections.” She admits that she relies heavily on Facebook and Twitter to promote her brand.
Maheen Karim, another renowned name in the world of fashion, confesses that Facebook has really helped expand her business. “I’m not that tech-savvy and still a bit old-school but I have to admit that social media has made the world a very small place,” she says. “My business has grown and I’ve been contacted by many people, interested in buying and stocking my collection, from all over the world.”
When asked how people contact her, Karim said: “They either contact me directly through Facebook or stumble upon my images [on Facebook] and then get in touch.” She is hopeful that it will continue to boost her business, like it has in the past. “So many people write blogs regarding my work — it really helps getting the word out,” she said, adding that she is not active on Twitter yet but intends to be.
“Social media has made it very easy for people to discover and view images of our latest collections,” says designer Nida Azwer. “I feel our clients can easily access our Facebook page and find out about our latest activities — fashion shows, upcoming trends [designs/styles] and various collections.”
“By simply typing ‘Nida Azwer’, one can easily access all the information documented about the label — creating easy access for a wider global clientele,” she says, adding that it has definitely helped increase their sales.
“It’s very rewarding when I receive recognition and appreciation for my work,” she continued. “Each time I get a compliment on my designs [on Facebook, Twitter or other blogs], it makes me feel really good and motivates me to do even better.”
Accessory designer Mahin Hussain also talks about the advantages of having a social media presence. “Facebook made it possible for me to reach out to millions of people, without facing any charges,” says the patriotic designer, known for her distinctive “Zinda Qaum” handbag collection. “In my early days of handbag designing, I was able to fulfill customer demands easily via this great forum [Facebook].”
While all their collections and photo shoots are displayed publicly on Facebook, visitors on their pages will notice that most designers do not disclose the price of their products online. The numerous comments under pictures of outfits asking “Price please?” are answered with a “Please check your inbox” from the Facebook page’s moderation team. While one can understand the flood of commentors that would launch into an online debate on why a jora is priced at a certain amount if the amount was disclosed, it is indeed frustrating for an online visitor to perpetually have to request to know the price.
“I feel that prices should be attached,” says Maskatiya, admitting that she does not have price tags disclosed online. “It’s so annoying for people on the page! But I really don’t know why we do this — it’s decided by our PR team.”
Published in The Express Tribune, September 10th, 2012.
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