Last week I shared the first part of Partnering with a Boutique, which you can read here. This week I will be adding to that process with the information below.
After you have decided to partner with a boutique and taken the first steps, which is to do your research, ask your seniors about what boutiques they love and visit those boutiques, its time to take that research and put it to good use.
Start Shopping – I know in the last post I mentioned visit the boutiques. That step is intended for you to check out the possible boutiques and see if they fit with your brand. Start Shopping is for you to start visiting that boutique several times to make a presence at that boutique prior to asking them to partner. Rather than being just a stranger that pops in and immediately asks for something, why not take time to frequent the boutique so you face is recognizable? Kind of like courting or dating the boutique! I feel like this starts a rapport with the boutique and others you to begin a relationship with them, making it easier to make a connection in order to partner up with them
Set Up a Meeting – After you have decided on a boutique that you wish to partner with, visited that boutique to make sure they fit in with your brand, and done a little shopping to further create a possible relationship with that boutique, its time to set up a meeting.
When I first approached the boutique that I work with, I did all the steps I have mentioned. On one of my visits to the store, I asked one of the employees who I would speak to if I wanted to talk to someone about photographing and working with them on future projects. This gave me the info I needed to make sure I contacted the correct person, plus it put a little bug in their ear that I might be contacting them. I also had a persons’ name to refer to in my contact email to the manager, as I mentioned that employee that gave me the manager’s name.
Setting up a meeting can be done either in person if you know the manager will be in the store when you drop by or via email. I chose email because I knew from my research that the store owner wasn’t in the store as often so I knew I could get her via email. I drafted an email that introduced myself, explaining I was a local photographer, mentioned that I got her name and email from her employee and said that I would love to meet with her about the possibility of working together. I explained that I specialized in high school seniors and that one of the first questions that my clients ask is what to wear. I said that I would love to have a specific boutique to send my clients to where they could get help picking out clothing for their photo shoots. I mentioned that I would love to meet with them to discuss the possibility of partnering and made sure to include photos from my portfolio and links to my website.
No matter how you choose to reach out, either by email or in-person, be sure to mention how you can help them instead of making it all about you. Because I mentioned that what to wear is a major concern for all my clients and offering to refer them to each and every senior, really captured their interest.
Prepare for the Meeting – After you have a meeting set up, its time to prepare for the meeting. The worst thing you could do is just show up and hope that your dazzling personality will get you the partnership!
So what can you do to prepare?? Create a presentation to showcase your work and have a list of ideas of how partnering can help the boutique. Again, make sure to point out how partnering with you can help them.
I created a presentation in Keynote and used my ipad to showcase that presentation. It wasn’t super formal but rather an organized way to showcase my work and then give them ideas of what I thought could help showcase their business with my clients. In addition to a slideshow of my portfolio work, I had a list of things such as hosting Senior Night at the boutique to bring in my clients to their store. I also asked them if they would be interested in giving me a stack of coupons to add to each senior client’s welcome folder, giving them a discount so they can get great clothes for their senior session. And third, I mentioned doing a photo shoot with clothing from their boutique for my 2015 Spokesmodel Shoot and would give them the photos so they could use them on their website, facebook and social media.
There are many things you can work with a boutique on. I suggest picking out your top three to discuss during your first meeting. As you continue the relationship with the boutique, you can offer to do some of the other ideas you have. Possibilities include fashion blog posts on your blog featuring clothing from the boutique to give your senior clients suggestions on what to wear, photo shoots each season and even a look book for the boutique, and many other options.
Work with your boutique and brainstorm together on things you can do together. Nurture your relationship and keep it growing so you can continue to work with the boutique to benefit both your business and theirs.