The Fashion Arch: Branding the Caribbean Way

Ain Earle Founder and Lead Consultant of The Fashion Arch. Photo Credit: Marlon James

You probably think you’re doing a good job at this branding stuff.  You’re posting your products and awesome pics of your clients.

But are you really communicating your product and brand effectively?  A brand is the way you present and market your talents, services, products and value to the professional world. It will vary based on your personality, strengths, life experiences, worldview and skills. As tempting as it may be to copy and paste someone else’s brand (especially a successful one), personal branding must be individualized to be effective. Welcome Ain Earle founder and Lead Consultant of Trinidadian based brand consulting agency; The Fashion Arch. Today on Island Muse, Earle talks branding within the Caribbean context, why brands should consider hiring a brand consultant, and much more;

What inspired you to create The Fashion Arch?
After coordinating local fashion markets, I saw a need or a gap in the business and marketing of fashion brands in Trinidad and the Caribbean. These fashion brands were awesome at creating their products but fell short with processes and strategy to properly run and sustain their business, so I decided to be that connection/link (the Arch) between the creatives and their consumers/world.

Why should brands consider hiring a brand consultant?
To help them achieve their goals and objectives, to better understand the market they are in; assist with operational goals; bring their passion to profit through strategy- offering awareness, increased business relationships and collaborations as well as increased sales agreements; really just letting creatives create and we handle the rest!

How does your agency work to craft brands?
We work one on one with brands, creating individual strategies based on their product, needs, objective and budget. We start discussions on how long they have been in business, the type of product they create, their perceived markets, where they see their brands and where they envision their brand in 3-5 years; we develop a monthly strategy and do bi-monthly follow-up and evaluation to ensure results are achieved, tweak what needs fixing and add-on where necessary.

What does brand strategy involve?
Market research; defining goals and objectives; defining target markets (for both sales and awareness); communication strategy, brand message; social media and online strategy; production and retailer research.

Who are some of the clients you represent?
Currently – SMWarner, Shop by Jahna, Designs by Regal, Synovia’s Fashion, Dominic Hutch, Nude Designs. In the past – Loud by Afiya, Bene Caribe, Peta Odini, Ricky Bhowram, Delia Alleyne, Zaveza etc.

What ideas and trends are you incorporating into your marketing campaigns for 2017?
Logo placement on photos; demonstrating and creating value; greater engagement – posing questions, leaving comments, tagging supporters or people we want to see in or collaborating with the brand; unconventional photos and products; shop now/call to actions; resonating with the customer in mind- making whichever brand a lifestyle/story; adding quotes to photos; sharing more information on process and product – consumers want to be and are more informed.  Use of video – FB Live/IG Live, IG Stories; tips on how to wear/how to use.

In your experience what types of branding/marketing campaigns resonate the most with Trinidadians and to a larger extent the Caribbean population?
Quality, colourful, bright  photos; designers sharing their stories, passions, struggle; quotes/tips (people love free advice!); behind the scenes of production and photoshoots, videos!

What do you hope for in the future of branding/marketing in the Caribbean?
We have a unique product, the Caribbean brand should become more cohesive and celebrated, we ought to stay true to our roots, tell our story and show the world what we have to offer, don’t try to compare or mimic – stay authentic/diverse, and strive to be relative and unapologetic about our style and culture. I’d also like to see more events that promote and highlight Caribbean fashion brands and invite local buyers to participate.

Connect with The Fashion Arch
IG: @thefashionarchtt
FB: The Fashion Arch
Twitter: @thefashionarch

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