The Assemblist Letter 05 - Brand Assembly Goes Back To School

Recently we had the opportunity to speak to a group of Graduate students at the Fashion Institute of Technology.

Pamela who is the FIT Graduate program head reached out with this opportunity after a meeting with Stephanie Solomon, the Fashion Director at Lord & Taylor. Stephanie suggested that she meet with us to learn more about our unique model and our love of helping emerging designers. In the past, this particular program has always been more tailored to featuring larger companies. So having a company like Brand Assembly, still in it's infancy stage while doing so much for emerging designers, would really add a fresh perspective to the mix. It was really a change of pace from what she had done before and we were excited to be a part of it!

The response to our presentation was positive. Students approached us after with more questions and Pamela even emailed to let us know a lot of students were interested in learning more. It was great for us because the student-base was so diverse (with graduates spanning across Asia, Europe and the United States) - and interestingly enough, a few audience members from Paris noted that Brand Assembly is so needed in Europe to cater to the market and it's many emerging designers.

Having a program like this really helps so much for the future (generation) of fashion. A lot of the students we spoke to come from diverse backgrounds. Either they are designers themselves or work for larger corporations in more focused roles. Regardless, they still asked interesting questions and were very intrigued with the logistics and operations side of things. 

No matter what a student's background is, there are a couple of main points that I hope were key takeaways for them. They include the following:

Growing Pains are Inevitable: 

We are a small company and when an audience member asked us a question, it was also a matter of saying, "Well we are going through growing pains also." It's not like we're two and a half years into this and we have it all set. We're still learning too.

There is a Market for Emerging talent (and creative thinkers):

For a lot of these designers and even the students listening to us, I don't know if they knew just how much goes into the back end of a brand to really get it out there. We spent most of our time speaking on the back-office element (compared to our trade-show and the Brand Assembly Square) since it is one of the hardest aspects of our business to understand. Speaking more to this and from personal experience, also knowing there are creative ways to create a role for yourself in this industry in general is so valuable. This FIT program in particular, really allows for a solid business degree in terms of applying that experience to more creative roles. This way of thinking is key to propelling the industry forward.

From our end, we also see contemporary fashion as a huge proponent in moving the industry forward as well. The idea of learning and the general interest from the fresh young talent getting ready to enter into the world, even beyond fashion, always offers a contemporary point of view. Their ability to take what they're learning and apply it to what they're doing on their own is amazing.

With this in mind, it was interesting to see the response to the deck we presented, which included a lot of our marketing material. From the red-haired model to other quirky elements, I believe it was really refreshing for the audience. A lot of the students also commented on how fun it was! It always go back to the same thing I always say: This should be fun. I hope that our conversation really showed our passion for Brand Assembly and that it inspired a creative spark with this new class of industry talent.

HILLARY FRANCE, CO-FOUNDER AND CEO OF BRAND ASSEMBLY