When it comes to getting your fashion start-up off the ground, celebrities can be a great resource for getting your brand’s name out there. Unfortunately, it’s not as easy as picking up the phone and pitching your brand to the celebrity; if it were, everybody would do it.
More often, you’ll need to navigate the people who tend to work most closely with the celebrity: representatives and stylists. Knowing how to approach a celebrity representative (and which one to approach) is a crucial part of getting that celebrity to help boost your brand.
Working With Celebrity Representatives
Depending on how popular the celebrity is, the size of their team may vary – it’s not uncommon for celebrities with a major public profile to have five or even ten people all managing different aspects of their client’s career. Someone with multiple careers (like Selena Gomez, for example) likely has one set of representatives for each.
In most cases, though, a celebrity will have an agent, a manager, and a publicist. Each role requires a different focus, which means that you’ll have to tailor your approach according to what’s most important to that specific role.
In a nutshell, agents are responsible for finding work for their clients, whether that work comes in the form of social media, film or TV roles, live gigs or, in your case, endorsement deals. Agents are also responsible for handling the business end of any jobs their clients get; specifically, negotiating the contract.
Compared to managers and publicists, agents can be easier to deal with: you don’t need to convince them that your brand is a good fit for their client’s image because an agent’s role is strictly to keep their clients in business and making money. As a business owner offering a celebrity an endorsement opportunity, you stand a good chance of getting a “Yes” if you go through their agent – at the end of the day, what’s most important to the agent is that their client continues to make money, since agents take a percentage of each deal their client makes.
A manager’s job is to provide career guidance and advice, and managers are much more likely to look at the long-term implications to their client’s brand when it comes to deciding whether or not they should accept an offer. Managers will consider whether their client’s participation in a project is going to have a negative impact on their brand in the future. Unlike agents, though, managers aren’t paid on a per-deal basis – they take a percentage of their client’s total income, which means they can be more selective when it comes to approving a potential endorsement deal.
That means that managers can either make or break a potential deal with a celebrity; in fact, managers can best be described as the CEOs of their clients’ businesses, which is why you’ll need their buy-in on any potential partnership with their client.
A publicist’s responsibilities can include arranging interviews or public appearances, crafting press releases, or managing social media accounts. Publicists are also great contacts when you’re sending out free promotional products, as they’re typically very receptive to receiving free promotions.
How To Improve Your Chances
The roles of each representative are varied, which means you have to frame the opportunity differently depending on what’s most important to the person you’re contacting. With agents, it’s pretty straightforward: a potential deal with your brand will make their client (and the agent themselves) money.
With managers, you’ll need to demonstrate how you know their client is the ideal fit (on both sides) for a potential partnership. By doing your research beforehand on the celebrities you want representing your business or product, you’ll be able to convince their manager that not only is this deal great for you as the business owner, but it’s also great for their client’s long-term public image and brand.
And with publicists, you’ll need to outline how a partnership with your brand will provide a boost to their client’s public profile. Since publicists typically have large client lists, if you can get through to a publicist and get them thinking highly of you, you can also leverage their client list to establish additional business relationships with the other celebrities they represent.
Working With Stylists
You might not think of stylists as the people to contact with potential business opportunities, but for fashion start-ups, having a celebrity’s stylist vouch for your brand can tremendously increase your odds of getting a celebrity partnership. After all, who’s more qualified to assess whether there’s a good fit between your brand and a celebrity than their stylist?
Stylists and publicists are also great options if you don’t have the cash for an official endorsement deal but want to give the celebrity some free product in the hopes that they’ll wear it in public or talk about it on social media. Celebrities are more likely to trust their stylist’s recommendations, so if the stylist likes your product, they’ll try their best to make sure their client wears it in public.
Identifying a celebrity’s stylist is fairly easy; once you’ve figured out who the stylist is, you won’t need to pitch them as much on the business opportunity or the benefits to their client’s public image. In fact, your product will be all the pitch you need – if the stylist can see their client wearing it, then you’ve got a great shot at your product ending up in a celebrity’s hands.
The route you take depends on the kind of partnership you want, so it’s important to understand what’s most important to each representative and how you should pitch them. Now that you have a clearer idea of how each member of a celebrity’s team works, you’ll be able to maximize your odds of success when you reach out.