7 Surprising Things Fashion Week Can Teach You About Marketing Your Business

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Two weeks ago, I found myself in New York City attending Rachel Zoe’s private fashion show and wondering how I got there.

Before that night, the only runways I had been on were at the airport.

But don’t worry, it might have been unfamiliar territory, but I didn’t waste the opportunity. I did what any good entrepreneur would do when surrounded by supermodels. I analyzed the marketing strategies.

And I have to say, I learned a few things. In fact, here are 7 insights about Fashion Week that you can use to more successfully market your business and yourself.

1. Rally the people who believe what you believe.

I had never heard of Rachel Zoe until that night, but almost everyone else had. They were part of her fashion community. They watch her TV show. They look at all of her designs.

In short: they believe fashion and design are important.

Most strong communities are built around a common belief system. The strange thing is that most marketers waste their time and money trying to convince people to change their beliefs.

Rachel didn’t waste her time trying to convince people like me to love her work. If you’re leading a business or a movement of any type, the goal isn’t to force people to think like you. The goal is to rally the people who don’t need to be fixed.

2. Dream big, start small.

If you wanted to be a fashion designer it would be easy to look at Rachel Zoe now and think, “Ugh, it’s so easy for her. I wish I could have that.”

Two things.

First, you can, so don’t cut down your own dreams. Second, the only way to make progress is one step at a time.

Do you know the first person Rachel Zoe did fashion design for? Her next door neighbor. She laid out all of his clothes for the week.

It sounds so simple, but what you have right now is enough to get started on your dream. Start with what you have and start now.

I’m sure Rachel Zoe still has big dreams about where she wants to go with her career, but she will probably start small by designing the next piece of clothing.

3. Launches attract attention.

Fashion Week is a big production. As a result, it gets a lot of attention. Major companies like American Express and Mercedes Benz roll in to sponsor it. Thousands of people pay to attend. Major celebrities show up.

Do you know the only reason all of this happens? It’s because the people who run Fashion Week decided to make it one big product launch. It only happens once each year. Tons of blockbuster designers show up. People plan their schedules around it.

If you’re launching a business or a product of some type, then consider how you can make it something for people to look forward to. It doesn’t have to be an event in the physical world (although that would be great). Just give people something to point to and say, “I want to be there for that.”

4. Market around events to drive yourself forward.

Having trouble getting things done? Feel like your business is languishing and you’re not sure what to work on next? Have five or six open projects instead of one or two completed ones?

Use events to push your business forward and get things done.

Every designer who has a show going on the runway knows that they need to be finished by the time the first model walks out onto the stage. There is a deadline for completion that can’t be adjusted.

Having deadlines that can’t be adjusted is an excellent way to improve your productivity because it forces you to get something out to the world — even if it’s smaller than you imagined.

Use events — speeches, meetings, webinars, conferences — to force yourself to complete tasks and market your product publicly.

5. Rigid thinking benefits no one.

Sure, some of the designs at Fashion Week are off–the–wall and over–the–top, but so what? If everyone stuck with what we already do, then we would all end up stuck.

Whenever you try something new there will be a lot of mistakes made. (And let’s be real: when I see someone coming down the runway dressed like Big Bird, I’d call that mistake.)

But in the end, making mistakes is the only way forward. You can either play it safe in the world someone else created, or you can push the envelope and (possibly) create a new world for everyone to enjoy.

6. Success unshared is failure.

Take a moment to imagine the thousands of people wearing Rachel Zoe designs. Now imagine if she had kept those designs to herself. Imagine if she simply drew them up in her free time and filed them away in a drawer.

That’s exactly what many would-be business owners do! They think up great ideas, but then talk themselves out of sharing them with the world.

It doesn’t matter how great your ideas are or how brilliant your plan is, it only becomes meaningful once you allow other people to take part in it. Your value doesn’t come from the achievements you enjoy, but the people you share them with.

Sidenote: The people you share your ideas with are the only ones who can make it a success. Every person at that fashion show can now be an advocate for Rachel Zoe and her work because she shared it with us.

And yet, what do new entrepreneurs do? They ask advisors to sign an NDA before they reveal the million dollar idea. They hoard their thoughts in private spreadsheets and documents for fear of getting them stolen. Stop overestimating the risk of letting other people in on your idea and start realizing that sharing your work is the only way for it to become successful.

7. Give away something nice.

Apparently, the gifts at Fashion Week weren’t very good. I didn’t even notice until the third person came up to me complaining about the “lame” gift bags.

At first, my response was, “It’s free, people. Let’s get serious here. How do you complain about something you don’t have to pay for? If you don’t like it, don’t take it.”

But there is something to be said for having a cohesive experience. Everything else at Fashion Week was so nice that the second rate gift bags seemed out of place. They didn’t meet the expectations that were set by the rest of the event.

The lesson: It’s better to do a few things very well than to force in half–baked ideas.

Speaking of giving away something nice…

How would you like $250?

American Express is a sponsor of Fashion Week and Passive Panda, which is how I ended up at the event. As a little bonus for you and courtesy of the Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card, I’m giving away a $250 American Express gift card to a lucky Passive Panda reader.

Sidenote: While we’re talking about fashion and shopping, the Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card offers some of the best shopping purchase protection on the market. For example, eligible purchases made with an Amex Card are protected against accidental damage and theft for up to 90 days from the date of purchase. Additionally, cardholders enjoy 90-day Return Protection, so that you can get a refund (up to $300) on eligible items you can’t return in store.

How to Enter: Leave a Comment Below

To enter, all you need to do is leave a comment below telling me what you would spend your $250 American Express gift card on. You can enter once per day until Tuesday, October 2nd.

The Fine Print: the winner will be chosen at random on October 2nd, 2012 at 3pm EST.

UPDATE: Brad Berkebile was chosen as the lucky winner of the $250 American Express gift card. Stay tuned for more giveaways.

Disclosure: Just in case you missed it earlier, American Express is an official partner with Passive Panda and they have donated a $250 gift card for Passive Panda readers to win.

225 Responses to 7 Surprising Things Fashion Week Can Teach You About Marketing Your Business

  1. Arlene says:

    Great ideas that really can make a difference!

  2. I would use the $250 to start the website for the RECRUITING and STAFFING company I am starting. I need a website and money is a little tight right now – so that would be perfect to get the website going.

  3. Great article! No matter what I am doing throughout the day, when I get one of your emails I stop and read, I find it helps me to stay motivated and focused.

    If I win the $250 American Express card, I would use it to get new web publishing software. Ours is outdated and we could really use an overhaul!


  4. Linda Cruise says:

    Thanks for all the great advice, as always. I’d like to spend the money on office equipment for my multimedia business. Maybe some software, like Photoshop, a wireless printer, and digital recording equipment. I’m trying to adapt a creative-writing course, which I teach in person, to a DVD set, so that I can market it not only to former students who want a refresher, but also so I can sell it on Amazon.com and through my website. I’m currently writing a companion craft-technique book, too, which I hope to market online and to my students.

  5. Mrinalini says:

    Holiday shopping, here I come!

  6. Peter K says:

    I would take the $250 from Amex and take my friend James to Ponty Bistro in New York City. I would then find a good pub or happy hour to use the remaining cash. WINNER WINNER CHICKEN DINNER.

  7. Krist Wojkowski says:

    I’d use the gift card for a vintage dress (or two or three). Thx!

  8. Kevin says:

    I’d give my daughter a little start up help with her new business.

  9. Cathleen Wall says:

    I love how you tied Fashion Week to your blog! I would spend my $250 on things for my new place! I am moving in two weeks so winning would be just perfect timing! Thank you!

  10. Patricia says:

    This was an awesome read! I love fashion and fashion week but I never looked at it from this point of view! One thing I’ve learned that you didn’t point out, some of the best and most valuable feedback will come from someone who hardly knows you and your product!

    • James Clear says:

      Very true — oftentimes, the people who aren’t close to the product like you are can spot a flaw pretty quickly. Finding a solution is usually up to you, but other people are often right when they point out something that’s wrong.

      Thanks for reading, Patricia!

  11. Dax says:

    When I win the $250 I’m going to the liquor store to celebrate a day of awesomeness and 24 hour break from business. Yeehaw!

  12. Neeti says:

    I would spend the $250 gift card towards launching my clothing line. And an air ticket to meet my vendors in India. :-)

  13. Mike Marchev says:

    Should I be the happy winner of the American Express Gift Card, I would take my wife, brother and sister-in-law out to dinner as my way of saying thank-you for being there for me.

  14. Virginia says:

    When I win the $250 I’ll give away a portion and the rest will go in the vacation fund! :)

  15. Beth says:

    I’d buy groceries. Not very sexy, I know, but I have a start-up… and a family to feed.

  16. Karen Lewis says:

    I would use the Amex card to finish building my website which I’m working on now, it would give me the extra I need to launch my site! I love Fashion Week so welcome to the world of fashion James. I find it so interesting that you know nothing about it and yet ended up there I have dreamed of going for years. Way to go James! All men dream of being surrounded by super models! Wish me luck I need to win…. ;)

  17. Rachel Bucci says:

    Great article. Actually all of them are great. It’s following them that’s hard! I have a stalled business because of lack of time and funds. The American Express gift card would be great to give us a jump start and “get off the couch”! The money would help with our print marketing – business cards, brochures, etc. and business packets for company meetings so we can sell ourselves professionally.

    If you have any ideas of grants for interactive media type start ups let me know that too. I can’t find a thing!

    Again, thanks for your articles…they give an internal push. Now all I need is a physical one! :)

  18. I’d spend it on a plane ticket for a writer’s conference.

  19. Patricia says:

    Oh and if I won the $250 I would use it toward getting my business license which I can not afford right now.

  20. Good article James. Another reason for the outrageous designs is to create publicity around a particular brand. Think, a Richard Branson stunt but with clothes and supermodels.
    This leads to another lesson, in some businesses, no publicity is worse than bad publicity.

    • James Clear says:

      Thanks for reading, Jeremy. And that’s a good lesson you shared. The extremes often get talked about while the middle is ignored. Hence, some people would rather be on the extremes.

      Thanks for reading!

  21. Keith says:

    I would use my $250.00 to complete a website for my son Myles. He 16 and a musician. You can hear him at this link:


    Thanks for giving, Passive Panda

  22. Kaitlyn says:

    I always find great value within your articles, however this one in particular. I feel that I myself keep my million dollar ideas on lock-down. Also, I am a big fan of Ms. Zoe!

    The $250 gift card would be used to treat myself rather than pay off my student loans (as all my other money goes to)!

  23. Carene says:

    This was a great post–bite sized and packed with info. I am intrigued by the idea that you have sponsors for your blog. I think that’s innovative and brilliant. If I won I’d spend the giftcard on PPC advertising for my blog.

  24. Karen says:

    Great article! I’m working with my 18-year-old son who is starting an apparel line and I know he will find these tips valuable. I especially like “dream big, start small” as that is exactly how he has been slowly building up to his business. I would use the $250 for blank T’s for him to screenprint his designs on. With a base of T’s he can then sell, he’ll be able to use the income on those to purchase some more blanks, slowly working his way up to more designs and a website.

  25. Hi James,

    Great piece as always!

    I have started to undergo the process of becoming certified as a post partum doula (http://www.dona.org/mothers/faqs_postpartum.php). It’s a lengthy process and expensive! If I won the $250 gift card I would put it towards the books that I need. They are pricey because they are the newest additions which are a must so I’m offering current information & resources at a time when my clients really need it.

    Thanks for offering the contest.

    Elizabeth M. Johnson

  26. if I were given an additional $250 right now.
    I would buy my fiance a pair of shoes.
    She deserves a good pair of walking shoes…
    She’s a student from a foreign country and money has been tight in planning a new apartment & getting married. She’s been wearing an old pair of sneakers that she’s had to fix at the cobbler…haha I didnt know you could fix sneakers.. !!! But thats the first thing I would do, then I’d take her out to eat and put the rest to getting our apartment.. we need a bed…

  27. Pani says:

    These principles work well for promoting any HR program in a public sector undertaking also. This article shows that way public sector can save money by promoting the programs well. Often, public sector creates excellent programs but fail in marketing the same.
    Pani Tademeti’HR Manager
    NCFlex program

  28. Tom says:

    Great article as always.

    At first I thought about getting a video camera, paying my web developer, getting software, etc. etc. etc. Stuff I need for my business.

    But then I thought I would take my wife out for a great dinner or a night out or send her to a spa. She deserves it for putting up with me.

  29. I would use the $250 towards production of t-shirts and hats to promote my writing & editorial business.

    I found this article to be packed with useful information to take my business to the next level.


  30. Jenni says:

    Very clear article with some important points! I would use the gift card towards an airplane ticket back to my hometown where my start-up group is based so I can have a face-to-face meeting with them.

  31. Sam says:

    Depending on whether this offer is open to people living outside the USA, I would donate the $250 gift card to ‘Greece Debt Free’ – GDF accepts donations for the purpose of buying Greek government bonds in international markets at prices much lower than the amount owed by the Greek government. GDF will then help reduce the debt through the cancellation of these bonds.

    GDF is a purely patriotic organization. It is non-political, non-governmental, and non-profit. GDF is fully transparent and operates under the laws of the State of Delaware. It is subject to U.S. Charitable Foundation laws, which exclude it from political influence. It has no employees, is run by volunteers and concerned patriots, and its operating expenses are negligible.

    and I’m English :-)

  32. Phuong says:

    Great article and ideas for my massage therapy business.
    I would use the $250 to start my massage therapy business on Guam. I need the money to get the equipment, website and training for my massage therapy business.

  33. Okay so guilty of this- afraid to speak ideas out loud. My husband and business partner is not though. Do I have to admit he was right! $250 would go to finishing up our website!

  34. Norman says:

    I would deposit the $250 in my ING account subaccount called Travel and slowly build up to taking my wife to the honeymoon she (and I) never got a chance to go on. I don’t care where we go, but it would be so much sweeter knowing that it s being used to enhance the quality of our life together.

  35. Monchiere' says:

    Great article!!! I am growing a community of Southern women and realized I was working overtime trying to convert people so I started targeting people who love their Southern roots and what growth I found in engagement. Winning $250 from American Express would be awesome- I can’t wait to receive my card in the mail.

  36. Jessica says:

    I would buy some new business clothing so I can look awesome at networking events.

  37. Karen Zieff says:

    Great article James! I especially liked the first observation! I think I spend a little too much time trying to convert people, when I just need to put my product out there to see who rallies!! If I won, I would use the money towards a new website. Mine is ancient and is long overdue for an overhaul.

    Thanks a bunch!

  38. Chris Wisbey says:

    I would use the money to help my dad (sub-contractor) start a website for his business Wisbey Construction. He has been self employeed for nearly 30 years and never advertised, always word of mouth. Due to the economy construction slowed and the GC’s he worked for didn’t have much business. Most recently he has been doing work on multi-million dollar homes but is slow to get paid because the GC he is working for isn’t getting paid. We have talkeda about starting a business in Akron, Ohio where one aspect is new construction, second is flipping homes, and a third is rentals.

  39. Matthew says:

    My wife could use a new computer for school, so she’d be getting a netbook with the gift card.

    If, for some reason, she managed to talk me out of it then I’d be getting a new suit to help with the upcoming interviews as I search for a new job.

  40. Richard Grogean says:

    I would give the $250 to organizations that take care of the poor in our US.

  41. Zaynab says:

    Hi James,
    Thanks for another great article. I liked that you looked at an unconventional business of fashion design and gave a insight on how you can apply the same methods done to promote Fashion Week to your own business.

  42. Stuart says:

    I would spend half on good web software, already identified, and the other half on marketing my new business! Cheers!

  43. ELI PASCHAL says:

    I will use the 250 dollars gift to host a website for my trading business. I made my first order of mini speakers today and am excited. I can’t wait to get the shipment and straight into marketing I go.

  44. Susan Higgins says:

    I always look forward to your insights. $250 would get me a lot of things at the dollar store. Paper goods, cleaning products. I don’t want to waste money anymore on name brand of these items from the supermarket. When I have money in the bank, my creative mind seems to flourish and I can sleep at night.

  45. Janise says:

    Wow fashion and business have a lot in common.
    I would use the $250 to cover the expenses for the blog I want to create.

    Thanks James.

  46. Jaci says:

    I would use it to give away free gifts to community members that came to tour my new glass studio and gallery to help build business.

  47. George says:

    Apparently I should use the $250 to buy some Rachel Zoe designs!

  48. Maria Mhoon says:

    If I were to win the American Express gift card I would use it to buy materials to make unique creative gifts for an upcoming Fashion Week event.
    I normally find inexpensive gifts and place them inside of gift baskets and give them to family. The baskets look so beautiful that they want to know where I bought it. When I tell them I made it they have a hard time believing it. I enjoy making people smile because I have been hurt so deeply by my own family I often forget to smile.

  49. Adrianne says:

    Great ideas!

    I would use the $250 credit card for my Chinese herbs inventory. I have been wanting to invest in a Chinese herbal pharmacy for months and this would give me the push needed.

  50. Lisa says:

    With the $250.00 I will have a spa, massage and acupuncture treatment. I will also gift a portion to a single woman and her child.

  51. Celeste says:

    Enjoyed the article! I would spend the $250 to purchase 2 greyhound bus tickets to visit my 80yr old Dad and help him buy the iPad he wants and then spend a few days showing him how to use it to visit his favorite online realtors and my website. :-)

  52. BEE says:

    I would use the $250 for a Internet Marketing business.
    $7 for GoDaddy domain registration
    $6 for HostGator hosting service
    $5 for someone at Fiverr to help me with SEO
    $5 again at Fiverr for someone to help with writing
    $29 for SubmitEaze product
    $25 at Lynda to help me learn Adobe products
    $20 for Video Effects so I can make YouTube look cool
    $29 for Joe Comm’s Adsense ebook

    And if there’s still money left, I’ll buy SBI’s easy website making software or just keep paying for more services.

    I hope I win so I can come back to show everyone how I got $250 as capital from Passive Panda and become a successful internet millionaire. :-)

  53. Chris says:

    Great article! Really like your insights. I would use the money for materials for a roof repair on my house.

  54. Richard says:

    Great post James! I love that ability to see parallel stories in seemingly completely different environments. It also makes me wonder, how much free good advice and knowledge we absorb before we actually take the steps to chase what we want. No reason not to. Best – ®

  55. Love these articles. Just joined last week as a way to get creative for finding ways to make some extra money while working towards the completion of my doctorate in marketing.

    If I received the $250 AmEx gift card, I would use it for compensating my online participants on Mechanical Turk, which I am using for my research going towards the completion of my dissertation!

  56. Pat C says:

    Great article! Thanks once again for an informative and inspirational message. I would use the $250 to help build my business, which is all about helping couples stay in committed relationships.
    Thanks again.

  57. Laree' says:

    I love this article!

    My favorite piece of advice you gave is this…”If you’re launching a business or a product of some type, then consider how you can make it something for people to look forward to. It doesn’t have to be an event in the physical world (although that would be great). Just give people something to point to and say, “I want to be there for that.”

    I am in love with productions, production management and project management so that quote really spoke to me. I in fact am building my own business around supporting productions.

    If I had the 250.00 I would put towards my business phone, A-weber account and website that is constantly being turned off due to lack of payment as I build my business which is production management and marketing for creative businesses.

  58. I totally agree with small steps! Small steps are crucial for business, your life, your body. You would not start with diplomatic negotiations before learn the history. You would not race your own car on a race track before lessons and practice. You would not held a presentation before dry practice. Small steps apply especially to business – great article from not an every day perspective!

  59. Daveney says:

    Love this article. I am lucky to have read it. I would spend the $250 American Express Card to start my Vintage Boutique. I have been holding off registering the business due to fear and finance. This article made me believe in myself again. Thank you.



  60. I would use the money to upgrade my website. Right now I only have one page, but with $250 I could expand.

  61. Kay Gullens says:

    hmmm…I would use idea #7 and give this prize away for my product launch.

    Thanks for the opportunity!

  62. Sylvia says:

    I would use the $250 AMEX gift card to help throw a launch party for my first online product!

  63. Sirita says:

    Thank you for the timely tips on MKT. I have been consulting on a rebranding and company relaunch for another organization and I can a lot of this information.

    In terms of the AMEX giftcard I’d get new head shots or a baaaad pair of boots.

  64. Great ideas that you gleaned from fashion week. I would really like to upgrade my camera and get some new lenses. $250 would be a start for that savings account.

  65. Aimee Burton says:

    Love the article! I am moving cities, so would most definitely stage a welcome to Wellington party!

  66. Heather says:

    Great article. Like most of the others on here, I’d use it toward some needed supplies for my start-up.

  67. Tiago says:

    I would use the 250$ to go to a spa! I need to relax, urgently!

  68. I’ve definitely becoming hooked on Passive Panda! Great article – I would put $250 towards upgrading my workstation – it definitely needs it!

  69. Mary says:

    I’d spend it on my 3 rescue dogs!

  70. I would use the $250 to buy a silhouette cameo machine. It’s like the cricut but even better because you can cut your own designs with it. I’d cut stencils and use it to paint my designs on shirts, bags, bracelets, etc. It’d be an integral part of making my products.

    I’ve been implementing these tips in my start up, The Honest to God Truth and I’ve benefited from the tips about working towards an eventand sharing my progress. Looking forward to implementing more of these. Thanks for your articles, I’ve learned a lot from them. :)

  71. Lori Constein says:

    I would love to invest it in my craft business I am just starting :)

  72. Izzy says:

    I just got married and we need to buy a closet for our new home, so will use it for that!

  73. Christopher says:

    I would use the money to put capital in my business so I can get if off the ground.

  74. Anne says:

    Rachel Zoe is an amazing businesswoman. I had the pleasure of meeting her last year and her driven talent is definitely inspiring. Marketing matters and I wound up buying one of her dress, which I absolutely love.

  75. Jake says:

    Interesting information here, James – Thanks for the post!

  76. Donna says:

    Bravissimo James…

    Once again you and your team have done an excellent job on what most other businesses seem to overlook…SIMPLICITY!

    What good is any information you obtain if it seems too deep for you to understand…your expertise is RED-Crayon simplicity and that’s what makes it so extra-ordinary!

    I LOVE it!

    As far as the $250.00 from AMEX…well I’d just ask GOD what he wants me to do with it…then I KNOW it would be the Right investment and bless somebody!

    Continued SUCCESS…well done again!

  77. Tom Olofsson says:

    Fashion Week is a hotbed of marketing ideas. Thanks for helping decipher the hidden marketing messages.

  78. Vivek says:

    an interesting article Passive Panda !

    Especially the part where you mention about sharing your ideas with the world, so true. I see many of my friends who write great poems and articles, i constantly say them you write so well but why don’t you publish them. Many of them think that they are not good enough to be published and some are too lazy to give it a try.

    I say the if you never try,you will never know!

    With the $250, i would like to buy some books.

    All the best and keep writing interesting stuff.

  79. oski munoz says:

    Im a Glass Bottle Artisan from Chile, and I would love to get a device from the states that helps me with the bottle polishing :) !!

    Have a nice day you all :)

  80. Linda Aronsohn says:

    Wow – $250 to decide about???? I would take it to a great shoe store and get some COMFORTABLE and great looking shoes (yes there is such a thing) for the Fall and Winter season. Love this website – lots of great info!

  81. Vee says:

    I love Passive Panda!!! I am a marketer…and love to always hear different ideas and suggestions that could be applied to my life and career.

    Well….$250!!!! I could do tons of things with that….buy groceries, put in the savings to start up a business….but I’ll be real..lol…money win is a treat in this world especially if you are a mom with four boys…so guess what? I would treat myself to what most women want…”shoes”. If I’m lucky that $250 may go towards some Rachael Zoe shoes because she’s got some pretty awesome heels and boots!!! ;)

  82. Joy says:

    Thank you for your generous spirit! I would use the $250 toward a plane ticket to go to upstate NY to attend a convention I have been invited to. It is the place where my current venture began a few years ago…and would be a full circle moment of affirmation of living my heart whispers.

  83. David says:

    Great article! God Bless

    If i got a free $250 gift card, I would spend it on watching your remora method video! I wish i could buy a 108×108 burger& split it among my friends to beat our previous high school’s record of eating a 107 x 107 burger. But that seems too ambitious & idealistic to spend money on. I would probably spend it on building new software with my friend.

    I wish you added a video section on the website. Then we can experience the fashion show and listen to interviews & stories of other people’s success in entrepreneurship. Just like you post pictures of your travels on fb & twitter, i would love to see a video of your travels as well.

    Once again thank you for your hard work in enriching other people’s lives.

  84. Pam says:

    I would use it for FUN!! Like a kayak trip or skydiving or ziplining!!

    Between a regular job and starting a biz I want to enjoy some time off!

    Pick me Pick me :-)

  85. Erin Griggs says:

    I especially like Tip #3 About Launches! I am redesigning my website and changing some facets of my business and brand, and plan a re-launch.

    Now, I am an editor, copy editor and writer so I would use the $250 towards the $385 registration fee at a big, important professional conference in my town! (No travel or hotel costs—how serendipitous is that?!)

    It would be a HUGE opportunity to network with some big names in one of the book genres I prefer to work on — editors, agents, authors, prospective authors.

    I desperately want to — NEED TO — go, but things like car and computer repairs, and plane tickets for my son to visit (lives on East Coast, we’re in Midwest) make my saving plan for it almost a pipe dream…

  86. Sheila says:

    What a unique opportunity to go to Fashion Week! If I won the $250 I would spend it on paying bills…not very exciting, but necessary!

  87. I would spend the 250$ on some books for my study program-Innovation and Entrepreneurship and the rest for a nice dinner in a fancy restaurant.

  88. Betsy Talbot says:

    Love #4, James. Events and deadlines are what push us to get things done.

    I’d use the $250 to meet some of my online mentors in person. Take a train/plane to the city they live for a coffee/beer/lunch and a live conversation. (Hey, I’m gonna do it anyway when we get to the US next month – but it would be cool to have it funded!)

  89. Nancy says:

    With $250, I would buy birthday gifts for my twins who would be 3 yrs on November 21st, including other unfortunate kids of the same age. Just to brighten their faces.

  90. Livivua c says:

    I would pay for web hosting , Internet, and cell phone

  91. Jacki says:

    I would take the $250 from Amex and go on that backpacking trip to Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia that I’ve always wanted to go!

  92. Brad says:

    The $250 AMEX gift card would be a great start to purchasing the permits for my start up !

  93. Christele says:

    Hi James,
    Love the tie-in with fashion week, and I was encouraged by the first point: I’m a personal chef and find that my best customers are those who already enjoy cooking and eating at home, but can’t always find the time to do it themselves.

    If I win, I will use the Amex gift card toward some kitchen gadgets I’ve had my eye on! Thanks for the good insights.

  94. Anthony says:

    Great article! I especially took note of the point of bringing like minds together, so simple yet so powerful!
    If I had the extra $250, I would buy an upgraded video editing tool for my videos.
    Thanks for all of the great hints!

  95. Antonio says:

    I would use the $250 to redesign my website. Thank you for the articule :-)

  96. Amy says:

    Great article – I can apply some of these concepts to my business as a Russian to English translator! I would spend $250 on travel to the ATA Annual Conference (the “Fashion Week” of the translation world).

  97. I would use the $250 for our website! And maybe some lunch!

  98. Peachfront says:

    I will buy a hoity toity cage, toys, sleep tent, and other goodies for my little rescue birdlet. I guess some people would say she is spoiled already, but she is sweet but a little bit timid after her experience of being lost during Hurricane Isaac. Have not been able to find out who lost her so eventually I want to set her up in style.

  99. I would use the $250 to redesign our website, as well as help in social media endeavors!

  100. Bob says:

    That’s a no brainer. Oct 2nd is my birthday and I’d buy myself a present: The Remora Method

  101. Nathan Bost says:

    Thanks for the great suggestions. Definitely keeping them in mind as we work on a new venture.

    I would use the $250 for a Kindle Paperwhite and case (any remaining funds used for books). My old Kindle will pass on to my sister.


  102. Mrinalini says:

    Entry #2 – Take my friends out for a kickass dinner!

  103. Kathleen says:

    If I win I would reinvest it in my educational toy business.

  104. Dominic says:

    I’d use it for a last-minute getaway with my wife, an event that rarely happens given the hectic schedule of this entrepreneur!

  105. Karen says:

    I would use the money to pay for further education related to my business.

  106. Thanks again for such great business tips. I would use the $250.00 to purchase a blood sugar machine and strips to start a small roadside screening business( to benefit diabetics in my home town)


  107. Brenda says:

    I love reading your articles! They have such great tips. Hoping to put every tip I have learned to use in the very near future. Trying to get a start up off the ground!

    If I received the $250 gift, I would use it to design my website and if there was anything left over, put it toward the purchase of a new camera.

    Appreciate you and all that you do!

  108. Joan says:

    That was great advice. I hate marketing so any tips are appreciated.

  109. Jason says:

    Great article but also love the entire Passive Panda site overall. Just great information that’s very inspiring. I’d put the $250 towards an iPad for my wife. She’s been wanting one for a while and we’ve been saving up for it.

  110. Sharon says:

    My son is in college. I would give him the $250 to use towards school.

  111. Michele Moore says:

    Great article! Who would have ever put models and (serious) marketing ideas together?? Passive Panda – that’s who!!

    What would I do with a $250 windfall? Probably hire a new web developer to fix all the problems with the site I have been trying to build for my new business! If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right…


  112. Hey, Thanks for $250 Giveaway.

    I would be happy to buy Samsung S3.


  113. Vi says:

    Hi James!

    Those were great tips! My favorite was #5 “Rigid thinking benefits no one.” It’s absolutely true and those definitely wanting to do something should go for it whether they succeed or fail. I shifted my thinking and started pushing myself to go for what I wanted. In the end, you’ll always gain something because you learned from those experiences.

    As for $250, I’d probably finally treat myself to some video games or clothes. :)

  114. If I won, I would probably buy the new iPhone :)

  115. I would use the $250 for some much-needed office furniture. Though it may not buy much, it will buy me something to sit on with some left over! Thanks for this contest. I’m only entering once – if it is fate for me to win, then this should be sufficient.

  116. JM Tierno says:

    Thank you for info James. After feeling like I’ve been at webinar bootcamp this week you come in and calm the energy so I can think clearly again. I would like to use the $250 to help market my ebooks that I’ve writing and maybe use some of it to create a website as well.

  117. Andrew says:

    I would throw a party and make it rain with James all night oh yeeeeee

  118. Edvige Meardi says:

    Really intersting article! I’d use the $ 250 for a training course on social media marketing.

  119. Kevin Mzansi says:

    Massage! Have not had one in 3 years…
    The article is packed with good entrepreneurial insights – thanks for sharing!

  120. Leisa LaDell says:

    I would use the $250 for a cool design, some printed material (for in-person presentations), and business cards for a new consulting service I am offering called: Streamline Your Digital Life.

  121. Keith says:


    Another great article, when I read these I find myself following your path and then when it’s over i think “So obvious”. Thanks for taking the time to figure out the lessons in your everyday life and share them with us. It’s a skill that not everyone has, but it keeps me reading your articles.


  122. FNO, Fashion Week, and more center on the idea of launching products and pushing forward society. Rachel does this like any great designer because they build products that scale and embrace failure. Fashion is meant for trend-setters. When the masses get involved, it becomes too trendy.

  123. Thanks for your great tips! Started thinking about a launch event.. Again the money would go for our website!

  124. Mohul says:

    Awesome marketing ideas! if I won this $250 gift voucher, I will use it to buy a tablet.. so that I can read Passive Panda everytime!!

  125. thefrancofly says:

    I would put the money towards the creation of my professional website! And maybe on some fancy fancy drawing paper.

  126. I would use the $250 to redesign our website!

  127. Hope to win! Will use the prize for our website!

  128. JM Tierno says:

    #2 I would use the money to also take a social marketing media course or pay for a years web hosting.

  129. Laurel says:

    I see I’m a bit late in the game. Great article, between! I’d put 250$ towards producing the video for our kickstarter campaign.

  130. Jane says:

    I would use the $250 to spoil my mom. Take her out to dinner and book a massage for her. She deserves much needed rest. Whatever left over I will purchase the Remora method as well.

  131. Crosby says:

    Fashion Week actually happens twice a year – Fall/Winter shows and Spring/Summer – would use the gift card toward a trip to New York to visit with my favorite fashion entrepreneurs – it’s been too long!

  132. Danny says:

    Thanks for the great tips! Definitely some stuff here I hadn’t thought about!

  133. Hugh Harris says:

    Always enjoy your articles. If I won the $250, I would use it toward advertising for customers for my business.

  134. I would like to use the $250 to help redesign our website!!

  135. Steve says:

    Great article. Even though many of us are not in a field even remotely connected to fashion, there are many great lessons here. Zoe has also parlayed her success into a tv show which has increased her popularity and simultaneously launched other careers. Keep up your good work James.

  136. Okay we really would love this for our website! Can’t wait til 3 pm!

  137. Luis says:

    I would use the $250 to buy a new laptop.

  138. I would use the gift card to purchase specific size(14″ x 18″) canvases, paints and brushes to create art depicting Florida scenery from a 66 day tour through Florida cities. After having visited ranches[private properties]..as a part of creating educational visiual, books, and dvds for use in schools, etc….

  139. Pam says:

    I’d love to win that and get me a lovely pair of shoes! Oops! here I go again.

  140. Parvinder says:

    Great article. It’s very energetic and inspirational.Oh I’m so sorry for $ 250, I’m late. Never mind, next time.

  141. CBhushan says:

    Hello dear friend,I would use the money to put capital in my business so I can get if off the ground.

  142. falcon says:

    Hi James, very nice insight indeed.

  143. Elaine says:

    When I first saw the title of this article, I thought “fashion has no relation with what I do.” Then I read it again and clicked the link. You are so right! The lessons are surprising and very insightful, especially the first one for me. Thanks for giving me a new perspective.

  144. Rick Lucas says:

    Great piece. I live in small-town (rural) America & I want to start a small business; but, I’m having trouble discovering a “niche”. Aren’t there pros I can hire for that? Any suggestions?

    Any input appreciated.


    Rick L.

  145. Jose Ramallo says:

    Thank you James. I an new to your page, but I think is refreshing. I need it, because I made the desicion to make money over the internet. I ‘m basically strugling to find what to do, but I’ll get there. I lived in Venezuela, although I am originally from Spain. Ilived in the States for many years. I’d probably start my web pages for the Latinamerican market, so I can then spread them to the rest of the world. I’d would really appreciate all the help you can give me. Thank you again.

  146. Alison R says:

    Thank you for the article! I would like to note however that Fashion Week is a biannual event however with the New York shows presenting collections each February and September.


  147. Stuart says:

    That was brilliant, I haven’t reflected on Fashion Week like that. Amazing.

  148. Lawrence says:

    I would take my friends out to dinner and a show.

  149. Polkaroo – I missed it!

  150. Hi James – I am brand new to your blog, but I love the info you have! Great tips!

  151. Pam says:

    Dreaming big and starting small is a great way to go. This is how most people fail because most people start big and dream big all in one.


  152. Nidhi says:

    Good job and I’d give my brother a little start up help with her new business.

  153. HT Lee says:

    I guess if we’re open for surprises, there’s no telling how much we can learn and gain. Great ideas there for businesses, James!

  154. Daniel says:

    Thanks for the great tips! oh I’m so sorry for $ 250, I’m late. Never mind, next time.:)

  155. Mate says:

    Interesting post Holiday shopping, here I come!

  156. Cameron says:

    Great article! I especially took note of the point of bringing like minds together, so simple yet so powerful!

  157. Ben says:

    Fashion have long been at the forefront of marketing but this is a completely new take. Great tips for anyone with any interest or need for marketing.

  158. Vivek says:

    Hi James,
    It was really very shocking for me that Fashion Week Can Teach You About Marketing Your Business but its really nice explanation to learn about Business marketing by fashion week. thanks for sharing this wonderful article

  159. Kristjan says:

    It is hard for me to believe that it was all written by a human being. Reading this article I thought it was written by some ancient god of business.
    Thank You Very Much!

  160. Santosh says:

    Hi James
    Important Masses. Thanks for this post. I am actually in the process the last couple weeks trying to find my place in the G+ world and not a lot of engagement so far, but I think just like all the others, being consistent will pay off and I LOVE the platform. The iPhone app is awesome too.

  161. Daniel says:

    An essential part of building a highly profitable Internet network marketing business is to segment your list (i.e. leads) so that.

  162. christina says:

    Great article, James. You are observant and insightful in your assessment.

    I, too, am not a target customer for a luxury hotel. However, I will be attending the NAMS9 conference (Niche Affiliate Marketing System) in Atlanta in February. A free

  163. Daniel says:

    I would like to stay at a Starwood hotel because I need some vacations desperately! As you said, I need to take care of myself first! I fell I can’t give much more of me right now, I need a pause!

  164. Tanya says:

    As always, excellent article! and you’re write always awesome post. Which People will benefit from using the pieces of wisdom in this article!

  165. Fantastic article , I love the bit about the gift bags,
    Most people would think its free what are you complaining about ? and they are right but in the case of a high cost luxury event full of people whose lives revolve around the world of luxury goods in a fickle industry there are certain expectations to be met when the guests leave the party on a high and are handed a gift bag they feel spoilt and will talk about it for day’s afterwards
    if they then open the bag and it’s a bit poor or has had no thought put in to it
    it adds a little bit of negativity to the event which will everyone will hear about as the contents of the bags are printed in the social columns of all the fashion magazines and the whole fashion and media industry will be talking about the event for weeks after
    . It may be a little thing a free gift at the end of a launch party but it is still important, one day a designer will come along with a great show , party and a great gift bag .

  166. christina says:

    This is a great enlightening post, thank you! I don’t have a ton of accounts but buffer and those are helpful.

  167. Kris Stuart says:

    She showed in the Lincoln Center tents to the fashion press and and then again, with an additional 10 looks, for a select group of American Express cardholders who had paid as much as $250 for the experience.

  168. There are fashion shows in other design meccas of the world — Paris and Milan come to mind — but New York Fashion Week was the world’s first organized fashion week. It was started in 1943, actually intended to pull attention away from Paris during World War II; fashion industry insiders in the United States were not able to travel to France because of the Occupation (which was presumably one of the lesser worries of Parisians at the time) Since then, the New York Fashion Week has grown in popularity. Today it is one of the major fall events in NYC, and this is the city with a LOT of major fall events already (the US Open in Queens, Halloween festivities, Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade , etc). It’s officially called the Mercedes Benz Fashion Week now, since the luxury car company became an official sponsor of the event in 2009 — but on the ground it’ll always be called New York Fashion Week.

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