6 Ways To Network In The Fashion Industry Like A Pro
What if I told you, you could grow your professional network in the fashion industry without ever having to step foot in a boring old networking event? Most people dread having to attend those things; even if it is for the fashion industry. Who could blame them? Networking events are boring and so last season!
First, let’s get one thing straight. Networking is not something you do only when you are looking for a new job. It’s a numbers game! The more people you meet, the larger your network, and the greater the odds of you meeting new customers, partners, employers or employees.
And there are lots of fabulous reasons to network on a regular basis: to find new collaboration partners, to learn about the latest news in your industry, expand your client base, find a better job or find people to join your own organization. The truth is, you should be regularly trying to meet new people. However, you want to do it the right way.
We couldn’t possibly include everything you need to know about networking in the fashion industry in this one article. So, I created a 5 part Fashionable Networking Blog Series. To read the entire series and get valuable insight go to the bottom of this page to see all the links. I’ve even thrown in a FREE 6-Day Networking email course to get you started!
The cardinal rule of networking in the fashion industry
The cardinal rule of networking in the fashion industry is to build your professional relationships organically. That means meeting people to share your passions and ideas with. It’s about listening to others needs, and then connecting them with people you know might be able to help them without any expectations of personal gain. The most successful networkers build genuine relationships and give more than they receive.
6 Ways To Network In The Fashion Industry Like A Pro
1) Start By Reconnecting
Keeping in touch with old school mates and co-workers is the best place to start to grow your network. You will be surprised what your old friends are up to and they will appreciate that you bothered to keep in touch with them. Invite them to coffee if you can or message them if you don’t live nearby. Be sure to ask them about their current challenges and see if there is any way you can help. Because you know them well already it should feel more comfortable for you to tell them about what your new interests are as well, and they will naturally reciprocate if they can.
2) Meet-up, Hang Out And Learn Something
Attend meet up events related to your industry. There are lots of fashion talks taking place in almost every city. Check out meetup.com and search for fashion related groups to join near you. Most events center around some sort of panel discussion or lecture. This gives you a reason to go there and a topic of conversation to mingle with other attendees about.
There are a few major fashion conferences that take place throughout the year that are high octane events. These events can be very expensive to attend if you are not being sponsored by a company. However, there is one loophole! If you offer to volunteer at the event – setting up tables and chairs, working the registration table, etc. – you will get the opportunity to attend the event for free and still meet lots of interesting new people. And the networking opportunities come much more naturally when you have a task at hand. If you work the registration desk you get to have a hundred mini-conversations with attendees. Make a note of any of the anyone you meet that might merit a longer conversation later. You might also have an opportunity to chat with the event organizers or possibly any of the speakers depending on your task.
4) Join A Built-In Network
Joining a professional organization is a great idea to build your network. The best reason is they come with built-in networks! Think alumni groups as well as professional fashion industry organizations such as Fashion Group International. Most professional groups host several events throughout the year that gives you the opportunity to meet new people in your industry.
5) Social Share
When you are planning to attend any of the above-listed events it is a good idea to let everyone in your network know you are attending. So share it on your favorite social media platform and ask if any of your friends or colleagues are planning to attend. You will be inviting others to partake in the event with you which makes you the insider. And who doesn’t like to know people who are in the know?
6) Follow Up & Follow Through
What is the point of you spending all your time and energy meeting people if you don’t follow up? The best way to have good follow up is to make it as natural as possible. You don’t want to come off like a used car salesman or someone who is only contacting this person so you can get something from them. You wouldn’t want someone to do that to you right? One pro tip is when you first meet this person ask them about themselves and/ or what they are working on. This way when you do reach out to them later (within 48 hours) you can offer them something that will be useful to them. Perhaps an article you read related to one of their interest. Figure out how you can offer your assistance or offer to introduce them to someone you know.
Fashionable Networking Blog Series
This article is part of a 5 part Fashionable Networking Blog Series. Learn from the pros how to connect with industry professionals the right way in order to grow your network and build your career or business in the fashion industry. Read the entire series here:
- Top 5 Reasons You Need To Build Your Network In The Fashion Industry
- 6 Ways To Network In The Fashion Industry Like A Pro
- How To Silently Self Promo In The Fashion Industry
- How You Should Use LinkedIn to Network In The Fashion Industry
- How Fashion Professionals Use Social Media To Build Their Network