When Taylor Swift announced her big tour, we just KNEW we had to create a collection for her concert. I mean, Swifties love sparkles, and we specialize in making sparkles, so it was a no-brainer. Little did we know that our whole store would transform into the Eras Collection.
Prior to her first show, we ordered a bunch of party tees and made a limited eras sequin crop and tinsel vest. We wanted to build a bigger collection, but in true small-business form, our attention got pulled elsewhere.
Then I received an Instagram DM that changed the course of the Swiftie Sparkles. A client of mine sent me a video of her and her ENTIRE krewe of backup dancers closing the opening night in tinsel jackets, the same tinsel jackets I have been making for 4 years.
Luckily, I already had a shoot scheduled and a few models coming in, so we made some content (yes, I even danced for one video) for Taylor Swift, and, well, as they say, the rest is Swiftie History.
One of the videos I made responding to a question about whether or not we made her jacket went viral, and we sold out of tinsel in less than 48 hours. To say the last few months of her tour has been a whirlwind is an understatement. Here are some things I've learned from being swept up in the Swiftie craze:
- Brand recognition is key: When people saw Taylor's jacket, they immediately thought of Fringe+Co. That's a testament to our strong brand recognition.
- Be ready to pivot: We introduced new colors for the jackets, renamed and repurposed designs, expanded our t-shirt collection, and created more content. We also explored other relevant products and positioned ourselves in the market to be an option for Swifties.
- Promote yourself relentlessly: As a small business owner. I try to remember: YOU ARE THE ONLY YOU CAN COUNT ON TO PROMOTE YOU. So do it well, and do it often.
- Stay true to your brand: You can’t be everything to everyone, but you can be everything to a small group of people who will buy the shit out of your stuff. While it's tempting to try to cater to everyone, it was important to me to stay focused on what we do best and offer a curated selection to a specific audience. With Swifties wanting everything Taylor wore on stage (leotards, beaded sets, a one- legged snake jumpsuit…) it would have been easy to say “yes” to everything. But, I knew our focus should be on what we already make really well and selling that.
- Embrace the unexpected: Even if it means stepping out of your comfort zone, take advantage of new opportunities that align with your brand. Don’t let fear stop you and be flexible. I DO NOT NORMALLY DANCE on Tik tok. But I saw the opportunity and knew I had to do it. We learned the dance… and the rest is tinsel history.
- Stay on track: Don't let a sudden craze derail your ongoing projects and plans. Keep moving forward and growing your business. You got this.
- Set clear expectations: Provide excellent customer service and communicate what's possible as a small business. For me, replying to specific Tik tok comments worked really well.
- Plan for the long-term: Understand that the craze won't last forever, and not every Swiftie will be a repeat customer. Don’t scale thinking that this is going to be the new normal. Grow responsibly. Don’t overinvest in this moment and assume the virality will last forever. It can tank your business in the long run.
Overall, the Swiftie craze has been an exciting whirlwind that has taught us a lot. As someone who is attracted to sparkly things, it’s important to remember not to always chase the new shiny opportunity. Being ourselves and staying true to our core business, while being open to new possibilities, worked well for us. As we continue to create fabulous, sparkling fashion, we'll cherish the memories and lessons learned from this incredible chapter in our journey.