I wanted to tell you all about an event we helped organise the other night. Our client, The Dress Change, is an online womenswear exchange marketplace. If you haven’t come across them yet, then let me tell you about who they are. The premise is simple, if you have old clothes you don’t tend to wear or dare I say it, clothes in your wardrobe with the tags still on (yes that’s me) then you can take a pic, upload them onto the site and swap them for something you do want. It’s an awesomely simple concept, yet they are one of the first in the market to create an online exchange marketplace.
The Dress Change is a relatively new brand and we are helping CEO and founder, Montana Marshall, raise the profile of the online marketplace and try to get more people swapping rather than buying new fast fashion. Sustainable fashion is at its core and it’s certainly a brand that will go from strength to strength. Sustainable fashion is a big issue right now and something the media is regularly talking about, especially since the Government rejected the new clothing levy the other day. Montana’s concept is to waste less, whilst allowing women to enjoy wearing new outfits at a fraction of the cost.
Why an event when this is an online concept?
Perhaps, rather ironically, one of the best ways to take a purely online (and very new) concept to market is to do something offline and show people how it works in person. This meant organising an event for people (customer, prospects, influencers and media) to get a feel for what the brand was all about and for them to try out their very own swaps in the flesh.
Everything we did for this event had to be done either for free or within a limited budget. The brand is a start-up after all, so we had to watch the pennies. And this mean using some clever tactics.
Having set ourselves the challenge of getting as much for free as possible we set to work. And I’m pleased to say that we managed to secure a venue, feed the troops, style the guests with a personal stylist and even fill all 130 goodie bags – all for free. In my opinion this highlights the power of PR. Get the right audience in the room and you will find that brands are very open to helping out if they know they can promote their brand too to that targeted audience.
And this was exactly the right kind of audience for these brands. An audience interested in sustainable fashion, who care about the environment, but who also enjoy experimenting with new styles. From CakeDrop which delivers cakes across the capital, through to Hallie Co eco make up remover pads, skincare brands like Herbal Essentials, a Himalayan inspired natural skincare and a sustainable skin and haircare brand called Beauty Kubes. We even sourced a completely sustainable humous company, ChicP, to showcase their dips too which were delicious and ensured none of us went hungry. Finally we also secured an awesome photographer, Nina Epelle, who was snapping away all night and got some great photos of people in doing their swaps.
Social media in advance of the event
And not only we were going to show these brands off at the event – allowing them to showcase their awesome products, but we wanted to go one better than that and PR them in advance of the event for free too. We designed up a load of stunning Instagram visuals about the brands being at the event, promoting and tagging them on The Dress Change Instagram account which has 748 followers. We also invited a load of relevant beauty, fashion and eco media and influencers down to the event too so they could get to know The Dress Change brand, and of course, find out all about our awesome vendors too.
On the night
We all got stuck in before the event, setting up the rails, designing up the chalk boards, laying out the ‘pimp your prosecco bar’ and much more. The venue was a hive of excitement and we hadn’t even started. It felt like a real team effort and lots of fun.
And it was certainly worth it when the guest started to show up (all looking around slightly nervously about what to do at a pop ‘n’ swap). Reassuringly however, and after a bit of coaxing from us all, everyone started to get into the swing of things, trying items on here there and everywhere and swapping to their hearts content. It was great to watch.
We did over 250 swaps on the night, 90 event attendees and had 80 sign ups. Not to mention the social media accounts buzzing with people tagging us in stories, boomerang videos and posts. Engagement rates on Instagram in particular were through the roof, alongside a massive uptick in followers.
It just goes to show that bringing an online concept into the real world really can work if paired cleverly with social media and good PR.