Veronica GledhillCorporate Brand/Digital Strategist
Bio

5 years as a Vogue Fashion Editor, 11 years of experience in fashion, luxury, beauty and top tier brands. I know exactly how to market / pitch a product or company to outlets like Techcrunch to more established outlets like the New York Times. I've worked as a consultant for brands Estée Lauder, Gap Inc, NASDAQ Moda Operandi, MAC cosmetics, Bobbi Brown, Jo Malone and more. My work has been featured in Vogue, WWD, New York Magazine, Vogue.com, and W Magazine. I worked as the Senior Fashion Market Editor for New York Magazine, Online. I joined to re-launch the site and style and edit market features and fashion stories driven by runway trends. I also co-founded a beauty startup which I presently run: Stash Beauty, http://www.hellostash.com written up in Techcrunch, Vogue, InStyle, Elle, Allure and featured on Good Morning America.



Recent Answers


I think you should do neither. You need to crystallize your intention and brand message on several levels, and make sure that your product and business model are revolutionary enough to make a splash in the fashion pond. From there, you can launch and then immediately alternate between courting press and aligning with "women in business" (not sure who you're referring to exactly). But of the two, press and drumming up sales are the most important. Once you have some footing, you can work on aligning yourself with the right brands for strategic partnerships.

Ok but back to your product. it's unclear who you are and what your product is. In your about section, resist the temptation to make it just a string of attempted taglines. You are saying a lot of words that don't, in the end, "say" anything to me. You want at most, two really, really strong taglines that explain the essence of what you do and how it's different from what others do.

I am going to just dissect company's about section

"Rciprocity is The Heart of Luxury." Ok, this doesn't say anything to me because there are thousands of companies with the same tagline. Kill this.

"We create extraordinary handbags, so women can create an extraordinary life." This is very vague.

"The first luxury brand and platform with a social mission – RCI – Recognition, Contribution, Inspiration." This statement is not true, there have been plenty of attempts in the luxury sphere with social consciousness as the peg toward purchases. Do research on Donna Karan's initiatives or the 7th on Sale Fashion Fund. Look at http://www.shopethica.com/ and others and figure out how you can do what they do, but better.

"Traditional handbags do a poor job of telling the world who you are." Is this the problem that you think most women have? I would argue that most women can articulate who they are but they can't find well made bags at reasonable costs which makes me wonder where your bags are made.

"Rciprocity is breaking all the the rules to bring you handbags and clutches that are socially conscious just like you." Cut this and get to the point, how are they socially conscious?

Each bag helps women in need to be self-sufficient by funding education projects and small business aspirations. Ok great,. What are these education projects, are you doing them. Are they in conjunction with another business or non profit?Small business aspirations? I'm wondering how the money is put to use in something that is merely an aspiration. Maybe cut "aspirations"

"Unlike other designer brands, these bags can’t be imitated. Why? Because the intrinsic value of each bag lies in what each one sold means for the global community." This makes little sense, try not to make vague, brushstroke statements like this. The bags can be replicated.

"Each Rciprocity bag sold gives 10 per cent of the retail price toward our Clutch Fund. The Clutch Fund is then allocated to women in need." Ok great, this should be your opening paragraph after any tagline you put up. you need to go into what the clutch fund actually is. in concrete details (backed with numbers) what value does it bring to women? Also who are these women? Are they impoverished?Are they in the US? How old are they? How did you find one. How does one apply for funding? This is all info that you need to outline the last few paragraphs. Not to burst your bubble but 10% doesn't seem to be a lot.

Ok I'll stop but the rest of your about us section doesn't say who you are, how you came to this idea, how (in concrete terms) it helps women. Where are these bags made? Who is making them? Who is designing them?

You should list yourself as the Founder of Rciprocity, not as an aspiring makeup artist, this dilutes and distracts from the purpose of your project.

Your bags are not bad but they do look like bags from Tory Burch, Michael Kors, etc I am only letting you know that because of this, you need to try much harder to distinguish the background of your project to get people and press to pay attention. Once you've figured out all of this, I could see it being placed in People, US Weekly, Lucky and InStyle easily.

I hope all of this helps, best of luck!


Facebook ads are not effective and actually far too costly for independent businesses. Unless you have a huge advertising budget, I don't advise it. To break into the hipster market You need 3 things. Great (concise) story, Great branding, and social engagement.

Luckily, you have "provenance"----the place of origin or earliest known history of something. Provenance is an important quality to convey in your brand's story especially when targeting the hipster demographic who are preoccupied by the origin of all things----they're generally well educated and like to know where everything that they consume comes from.

Great branding: Branding is a combination of visual consistency that positions you as different from competitors. I would consider coming up with a different name. Warmth of Russia, to me, seems long and vague. Maybe going back to the idea of provenance, is there a Russian word that's easy to pronounce and unique? Maybe the particular city where the scarves are made of. Maybe some Russian lore that can be woven into your product's story. I would make a list of 50 different names and then narrow it down to something that you think clicks. I would redesign your site and visuals as well with consideration to photographic styles, font type, colors etc to something a little edgier and different. To me, the colors, font type seem a bit retiring, snoozy. Happy to discuss more because this is a bit more nuanced. As for your site, Squarespace is a great option for making a great, professional looking e-commerce site, and they make it hard to design anything bad. Related to this, excellent SEO practice will bring more traffic to your site. I'm sure there are plenty here on Clarity who can advise you on best practices there.

Next, Social Engagement. You need to demonstrate people using your scarves, the making of the scarves, where the scarves come from, the yarn used for the scarves, etc. You can take pictures of all of these things and tell the story visually all on instagram. If you haven't already made an Instagram account, I would do so immediately. It will take time, but you can build a loyal following of people who believe in your brand story if you do a good job of visually telling it, and engaging with followers. Obviously there's more to it than just this but happy to discuss more specifically once you've thought more about what this brand is.

Hope all of this helps, best of luck!~


A good name is unique, and stands out but should ideally create a positive association with it, especially your target demographic. When it comes to naming new products, companies will spend sometimes months and go through thousands of options before arriving on the one that they'll ultimately go with. Don't rush this process because its ultimately much more costly to have to go back or change, or ultimately fail because the name did not resonate enough with your target demographic.

The name is not everything but it's a huge part. Go to techcrunch or cruncbase and look at any number of new start ups which are probably all great ideas or products but because they have either a dumb name or a not so unique name, they can fail. My personal pet peeve is the stilted and formulaic neologism of adding "ly" at the end of any noun or verb---perfectly hilariously noted throughout HBO's Silicon Valley. At this point, we are all more clever than this.
Anyway, when you have only seconds to make an impression on a consumer, the last thing you want is cognitive dissonance caused by the name. Cognitive dissonance occurs when the signifier is not what is signified and vice versa; you're looking at a bicycle but someone insists it's a fish. And you're like, wtf.

This happens when you're looking at a great product but then it unexpectedly has a weird or dumb name, a range of slight neorological impressions then occur, effecting the emotional relationship between consumer and product: confusion, annoyance, distrust, etc. All of these slight negative responses are not what you want associated with your product when you only have seconds to make an impression. That's why a good name matters.

Now to your name: Dude Undies. Scrap this immediately. First of all, when it comes to men's underwear (I'm assuming this is your product), this is dangerous minefield territory because whether you like it or not, you're automatically dealing with issues of male insecurities involving self worth, virility, potency, etc

Some light word association exercises (maybe among your friends) might be helpful in yielding an alternative to "undies" which i associate with: children, bedtime, potty training, etc.Absolutely not what men want to be wearing. You can see why this word next to "Dude" is cognitive dissonance in and of itself, never mind your product.

I suggest you go back to the drawing board on this. Think about what makes your product different from your competitors', what value are you bringing to the market? Play with these ideas make a list of at least 50 words (thesaurus.com is very helpful) find a word or words that at least create that same impression. From my own observations, I've found that men love products with as few syllables as possible.

If this is too daunting for you, enlist the help of a good copy writer with experience in product naming (I know a few if you need one), they should be able to give you a list of ad campaigns that they worked on. Paying them $100 for a good name is worth it in the long run.

I hope this helps, best of luck to you!


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