From Dreams to Reality

Hi, welcome to my blog! My name is Audrey-Ann and I’m a 19 years old student. I am the kind of person that always had, even when I was a child, a lot of ambition in life. When I was around 8 years old, I wanted to become a popular singer. I wanted to sing in front of thousands of people, live in Los Angeles and just in general, live my best life! My biggest dream has changed over the time but a part of me wanted to accomplish big things no matter what.

When I was in my senior year of High School, I found this Influencer named Elisabeth Rioux. She is from Québec (like me) and she owns a swimsuit company named Hoaka Swimwear. She really inspired me to start my own brand even if I was considered young to create a business. I’ve always been interested in fashion as well. When I was younger, I had a fashion book where I drew dresses and cute outfits. I looked at it the other day and I’m glad that my fashion sense has changed! 

Hoaka Swimwear official website

So, during my senior year, I decided that I wanted to create my own clothing brand. It was now my new goal. After I graduated, I decided to go study in a business program. After one year and a half in this program, I felt like I wasn’t in my element. I wanted to create an online shop but we never learned a thing about online marketing or even online businesses. So, I left the program. I thought that It would be better if I learned everything I needed through blogs and YouTube videos.

Young lady typing on keyboard by Vlada Karpovich

I was all by myself through this whole process. All I had was me and the Internet. I started looking for a factory that would produce my designs but it ended up being harder than I thought. It took me months to choose the right one for my needs. I was also on YouTube for hours watching videos about other entrepreneurs starting their own businesses. It really helped me to know what I needed to do before I buy my inventory. I also spent hours analyzing big fashion brands: their history, what made them blew up, their values as a business… I had ups and downs like everyone else but the thing is, I didn’t know how to solve some issues I had. Some of them took me months before I really knew how to solve them.

Logo of Audrey-Ann’s business, Rêve Bodysuits

What I want to do through this blog is to help young boys or girls like me to start their own businesses. There is a lot of competition in this industry and I know how hard it is to start with only an idea and nothing else. I wish I could’ve had someone when I started to guide me through this whole process. That is why I want to share my experience with you. Things that seem simple but are actually important like finding the right clothing factory for your needs, how and where to register your business, how to save money to buy your inventory… It’s easy to give up when you’re young and doing everything by yourself because you don’t necessarily know where to start. Take your time and make sure you understand a minimum what you are doing before launching your brand. See you in my next post!

Ottawa Fashion Network: Event Participation

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Image from Facebook

Networking in person, especially in the winter, can be a struggle. When I saw this event on Eventbrite, an event management website, I thought I would give it a shot since I am interested in fashion and would like to meet others with similar interests here in Ottawa.

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My Golden Ticket

Not expecting the pouring rain, I still hustled myself over to the venue by myself and am glad I did. I was a bit nervous at first, since there weren’t too many people there and everyone seemed to already be in friend groups. The loud music didn’t help things.

However, luckily I found another girl who was also there by herself and sat near her. We got to talking after a little while, both glad to have someone to talk to and get to know!

Surprisingly, she was also in communications and we had a lot in common that we could discuss. I got her contact details (Instagram) and we plan on talking more later this week.

“You have to use what you have.”

When I was telling her all about my networking in London and how much more fun it was over there in comparison to Ottawa, she told me something that made me think which was about using what you have.

She made me rethink how I view Ottawa, and realize that there is a place for fashion and ingenuity in my home city. I always like to have new perspectives so I really appreciated that comment.

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What is different from in person events is all the preparation that is involved. I definitely spent a while planning what I was going to wear that would fit the ambiguous ‘dress to impress’ dress code.

After googling what to wear to a networking event, and what a ‘mixer’ even was, I settled on this hopefully chic look to the left.

The amount of effort it takes to look effortless is exhausting sometimes. The icing on the cake was being complimented not on my outfit, but the highlighter (makeup) on my face. Such is life!

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I was also able to see the guest list on Facebook. After scanning through, I found a designer whom I didn’t see at the event but thought was cool so I sent her a  message on Instagram.

You never know, maybe we’ll meet up some time as well! A mix between in person and online networking is key.

Overall, I am definitely glad that I went to this event and will go to more in the future when I can. I got out of my comfort zone and made a worthwhile connection. The Ottawa Fashion Network also reposted my snippet of their event, so I’m on their radar now as well which is great.

If that wasn’t enough, networking in person leads to some great appetizers! It’s rude to not eat the free food.

What kind of networking is more your style? Let me know in the comments!

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One of many events to come!

COM0014 Blog Post #4: B2C Case Study

I decided to do my case study on the teen/tween clothing company, Aeropostale. This popular clothing store uses all forms of social media to reach out to their target consumers, by being an active presence on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest, as well as having an email subscription service.

Their social media presence is strong, with posts being made numerous times a day on all of their platforms. They seem to respond to their consumers over on Twitter more so than any other platform. As a matter of fact, that seems to be the only outlet where I have witnessed any sort of B2C direct response activity from them.

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Screen capture images courtesy of Aeropostale’s Facebook page

After browsing their Facebook account, and taking a peek at their comment section on their content, as well as the posts left on their page by their visitors, there seems to be numerous consumer complaints on everything from their service online/in stores, to shipping concerns, to quality complains, that have all gone unanswered by Aeropostale. This is worrying as people tend to “jump on the bandwagon,” so to speak, when it comes to complaints about a popular brand. Aeropostale needs to start responding customer concerns on all of their social media outlets, not just Twitter.

Image courtesy of Aeropostale's webpage

Image courtesy of Aeropostale’s webpage

What Aeropostale is doing right, and might I add a little differently than their competitors, is partnering with popular online personalities. Many clothing companies partake in using online personalities to promote their brands by sharing these personalities’ content that features their products. Aeropostale has gone a step further to use the current popularity of online “stars” by partnering with Youtube star Bethany Mota on a clothing line for their business. This partnership drives business and popularity towards both Aeropostale and Bethany Mota’s brands. I have personally yet to see another teen clothing company utilize the blowup popularity of online personalities in this way.

In conclusion, Aeropostale’s online social media communications is doing some things right, but also some things wrong as well. It would not hurt for them to consider expanding their social media department internally perhaps, so that they can cater to the voices of their consumers by improving on their online conversation monitoring, and taking the time to respond to their audience on all of their social media platforms.

COM0011- Discovering Myself. Again.

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In a manner of speaking.

As someone who is only just beginning what can be considered ‘adult life’, I’ve spent a good chunk of my teenaged years online, joining different online communities and social media websites as they presented themselves to the public. The concept of blogging, posting, and sharing updates and interests was never something that was all that new to me.

What is a new thought and becoming an increasing necessity for me is the idea of using these online tools to share and market myself as a brand of sorts. That is, using online websites such as Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, etc. etc., as more than something that I simply use to post about what I’m doing that day.

I work as a model, and have been working as one for about five years. To me, social media was something I only ever used to share with friends and family where I was in the world, and that I was a-okay and happy in that place. It wasn’t as hugely used in the marketing scene as it is today just yet.

Since then, I’ve added countless clients, agents, company owners, designers, photographers, and more to my Facebook’s friend list. You can imagine my Facebook, (as well as all social add-ons such as Instagram), is closely monitored by said people. With that in mind, I find myself thinking twice about what exactly I’m posting on my social media accounts. Is what I’m about to post appropriate for a work client to see freely on my account? Am I allowed to post this behind-the-scenes look from this photoshoot? Will I get in trouble for this? Have I connected, tagged, and credited the correct people who worked on this image? There’s certainly a whole lot more to consider now.

Just as it is with almost every type of business today, social media is a hugely growing aspect in the fashion industry. Coincidentally, just a few days ago I was sent a mass email from two of my modelling agencies, addressing ground rules in regards to what I can and cannot post in social media, as well as appropriate hashtags to use when tagging content to promote the agency. Kind of a funny coincidence, isn’t it?

Not only that, it’s becoming more and more important to build up a following on things like Instagram and Twitter. A good example of this comes from a friend of mine who was recently featured in a campaign for a rather large clothing brand. She told me that the casting director had informed her that she only hired models with a large Instagram following to be in their campaigns, as it was good promotion for the brand.

But how does one go about getting that kind of exposure?

It’s certainly a tricky thing to manoeuvre. On one hand, you want to preserve a professional and appropriate image for your work clients. On the other hand, you also need to let who you are as a person shine through as well, to build up that kind of likability and following from the general public (There doesn’t seem to be a lot of people who like someone with no hint of any kind of personality, after all.)

The key to this is discovering what’s called an online/internet identity, which can be described as “a social identity that an Internet user establishes in online communities and websites.” To put it simply, figuring out just who you want to be, or viewed as, in an online community. It’s like going through that self-discovery phase you go through as a teenager and early adulthood all over again. Or, in some cases, it’s a mask people use to present themselves as something they wish they were in reality, but can pretend to be online. But that’s a whole different topic in itself.

I’m in that sort of position right now. I’m still sorting through just exactly how I want to present myself to the online world, and how I can use that presence to benefit my career. It’s a lot more complicated and difficult than I thought it would be, honestly.

An article I found useful in regards to this idea of an online image and how to clean it up was posted by Ponoma’s College website, which you can take a look at here.

Something to think about- How professional and clean do you think your online image is?

Definition Reference:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Online_identity

Image taken from:

http://www.destineddaughters.com/2013/04/18/who-am-i/