The Stories Behind The Knits
Posted: Jul 10 2020
The Mindy Project Project (part 1 of 3)
As a small business owner, there are often decisions we have to make that can shape the direction of our business. I always have the best of hopes and intentions that I will make the right choices to grow my business, but I’ll be honest that I don’t always know what the right decisions are.
Somehow I ended up on an email list for people wanting to “Make It In Fashion.” They announced a Los Angeles event for November 2014 that had several panels for the fashion styling industry. Styling is definitely not for me (unless you call pajamas fashion!), but I noticed that there was a costume designer panel. The panel had Soyon An (So You Think You Can Dance), Mandi Line (Pretty Little Liars), Jill Ohanneson (Revenge), and Salvador Perez (The Mindy Project) on it. I think the event was around $350 to attend and wasn’t too far from home. At the time, I didn’t have a lot of money in the business bank account, so $350 was a big expense. I decided to bite the bullet and charge my card, but I told myself one thing – I have to get my business card into each of their hands.
Another panel that gave me lots of nuggets of knowledge.
I am not as extraverted as I used to be. I wish I was, but it takes a lot of energy and motivation to really put myself into a situation where I have to network and promote myself. Paying a chunk of money to pass out four business cards was not a trivial task, but I was determined to make my business successful and so I was going to do what I needed to do.
After doing my research on each of the costume designers, the day came and I woke up early and headed over to the hotel where the event was happening. I sat through a few other panels that didn’t have anything to do with my business goals, but I still found nuggets of knowledge from all the professionals that they interviewed. Soaking up advice and input from anyone that has made it in their respective businesses is never a waste of time!
Amazing roundtable with some crazy talented people
Loved every minute of this interview!
The costume designer panel was interesting and all four panelists were really helpful in sharing from their years of experience. When the panel was over, I made my way over and waited my turn to say hello, introduce myself, and give them a business card. I was respectful of their time and had practiced my elevator pitch carefully. My introduction to each of them was brief, but I had done what I set out for and put my business card into each of their hands.
My conversation with Salvador Perez was brief, but he seemed the most interested in talking further because he said he had some ideas for some pieces for The Mindy Project. He graciously took my card and was very kind (and stylish!).
I felt like the money I had spent was worth it and even if nothing came from the event, I did my best to make it worth it. I also knew that this introduction was only the beginning. I had been a music publicist for about 5 years in – what I call – a “previous life.” I had a pretty good understanding of how to properly follow up and then gently nudge the journalist (or in this case – the costume designer) into moving to the next steps towards working together.
I sent each costume designer an email the day after the event thanking them for giving their time to share their knowledge with the upcoming generation of designers and mentioned that I was available at any time to discuss any knitted needs they might have.
In March of 2015, Mandi Line and I connected over Instagram. She was the first costume designer I shipped some pieces to. Meeting her at the event was very memorable. She is amazing and tall and stunning and her tattoos are works of art. After some brief email exchanges, she was kind enough to let me send over some KnitsyKnits pieces for her Pretty Little Liars ladies. Her willingness to post about me and promote my brand was really amazing and it was remarkable how just one or two posts really helped launch my brand into the minds of other costume designers. (Her love of cats makes me love her even more!)
Mandi Line with Sasha Pieterse (Alison DeLaurentis) rocking some KnitsyKnits!
Shay Mitchell (Emily Fields) with Mandi Line each wearing KnitsyKnits cowls.
I didn’t receive any response from the other three costume designers, which wasn’t a surprise. These are busy people and I knew that if they needed me, I would hear from them.
But one thing I learned from my years as a music publicist, it was to not be forgotten. I put in my calendar to follow up about three months later. And when the time came, I did.
Three months later I sent another follow up.
It was now about November 2015 and I sent one more email. Sal responded immediately and asked when I could come to Burbank to talk. We scheduled a time for me to come by the Edith Head Costume Department Building and now the excitement (and a little pressure) was on!