When launching and running your own small business, what do you think is the most important element for success? Is it having a great product? Ideally, yes. Is it having clever marketing skills or genius business acumen? Sure, these help.
Ask Carey Reddick,II, Owner and Chief Designer of Above-Time, Inc, the San Diego-based accessories brand company.
He will tell you the most important aspect to growing a small business is knowing and executing the art of relationship-building.
A born communicator and all-around people-person, Reddick’s easy conversational style is what makes him successful today, not only in Above-Time, but in his other careers in marketing and real estate as well.
“Connecting with people on a personal level is ‘communication 101’,” says Reddick. “Taking an interest and simply saying hello to a stranger comes easily for me.”
While at NYFW last February, Reddick and his crew dedicated a few moments to personally meet and thank the producers of the nine runway shows they attended.
As a result of Reddick’s conversation after a show, Angel Brown, Public Relations rep for FTL Moda recognized Above-Time as an up and coming west-coast accessories brand. Reddick continued to reach out and felt they could work together. Within a few weeks, he got the call to come back to NYC in April to shoot photos of the current and new handbags.
If you are not a fashionista, you may not recognize FTL Moda for the influencer of fashion they are. The New York company specializes in “areas of Fashion Show production, showroom representation and editorials for high fashion magazines.”
Their mid-town Manhattan showroom, in the heart of the New York’s fabled fashion district, collaborates with a few “small fashion brands” such as Max Mara, Prada and Gucci. They also focus on smaller European brands, and of course just reached out to Above-Time. FTL Moda also houses showrooms in Milan and Berlin.
“When we entered FTL Moda’s Manhattan showroom, I felt like I walked into the movie ‘The Devil Wears Prada’,” said Reddick. “Camera crews were directing Victoria’s Secret models, elegant hors’ douvres and beverages were available, and there was just this great energy!”
Reddick told FTL Moda Producer Brown, “I’m here for a purpose; I know Above-Time has what it takes.”
This direct approach to communication is the hallmark for his success.
Reddick now serves as FTL Moda’s West coast PR rep in which he will connect influencers to their services.
When Fashion Week kicks off in September, Above-Time will have its own New York VIP suite courtesy of FTL Moda. All items, including Above-Time bow-ties and handbags, will be used by producers and stylists from fashion magazines like Vogue and Marie-Claire for photo shoots and runway shows.
Another producer in particular, was so impressed with Reddick’s style, that she crafted a connection that has led to another amazing deal for Above-Time, in the form of a personal invitation to London Fashion Week in September.
“After the second runway show, I spoke with Sophie, Producer of Oxford Fashion Studio, who asked me if I needed anything. We started talking and I thought I heard her ask if we wanted to attend London Fashion Week,” said Reddick. “I was incredulous that we just got invited to London, thinking some of the champagne had caught up with me!”
Similar to FTL Moda, Oxford Fashion Studio is one of Europe’s most dynamic and diverse event production companies.
Not only did Above-Time get this rare invitation, but Oxford (OFS) is hosting them. “This means we provide the ties and handbags, but they cast the models, arrange interviews, sponsor food and beverages and basically arrange the whole show,” Reddick revealed!
Fashion Week runs the month of September, with New York kicking off the runway shows. In Europe, fashion week continues in London, Paris, then culminates in Milan, Italy.
After New York, Reddick and team will take a deep breath, then travel to Milan.
Who knew these initial conversations could lead to this early success? “Marketing my own brand, one that I’m passionate about, was as simple as being able to connect with these producers,” Carey said. “Our bow-ties, handbags and new products speak for themselves!”
“We still have a lot to do in the upcoming months,” said Reddick. “In addition to fashion week the month of September, we are preparing the summer launch of our rash guard, designed by Prone Paddleboarder, Jasmine Stiles.”
Below is a YouTube video of Reddick and the Above-Time crew building those relationships, showing a rare glimpse into behind-the-scenes of the fashion world! Is Carey Reddick a natural or what?
Stay tuned for more from Above-Time!
All images were provided by Above-Time staff and post-edited for purposes of this article.
Although this is a sponsored post, the intent of this article is not to sell a product, but to focus attention and awareness on the growth and evolution of the Above-Time brand. Opinions are my own.
Thanks for reading!
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