Guest Blog: Special Topics in Calamity Business by Jennifer Perkins – Look Books

For Special Topics in Calamity Business, Jennifer Perkins of Naughty Secretary Club is continuing her two-part indie business series by sharing a Look Book how-to. Be sure to check out Jennifer’s new book, The Naughty Secretary Club: The Working Girls Guide to Handmade Jewelry, which is now available for sale at Amazon.com. 

by guest contributor Jennifer Perkins

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How to get editorial coverage for your work is a hot and burning question on the minds of many crafters, artists and designers.  One tried and true method is with a look book.  To some the look book is a mythical and intimidating thing.  A task that seems too daunting to undertake or one that keeps getting put on the back burner.  However, marketing is an aspect of business that should be as front and center as your amazing product if you want to succeed and not blend in with the rest.  One of the best things you can do for your business is garner as much editorial coverage as you possibly can, this puts your product in front of tons of new possible customers.  In order for magazines to know you exist, you first need to get a copy of your look book into their hot little hands.

I had someone design my look book for me as graphic design is not my long suit.  The pamphlet is printed in color on 4 sheets of glossy paper front and back.  I had them done at an office store where they also folded and stapled the paper so that they looked like little books when they were returned to me.

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Most importantly with a look book you want to showcase what it is you do, in my case it is jewelry.  This is the cover and the back page. I wanted my logo big and lots of jewelry. I also wanted my name. Lots of people go by a company name, but no one knows their real name. When I write an article as Jennifer Perkins, I would like for that to be synonymous with and just as familiar as Naughty Secretary Club. I feel like people are doing themselves a disservice when they hide their name. Sure your brand name takes precedence, but people want to know there is a real person behind that brand too.

The back cover of the look book is an ad for my new book The Naughty Secretary Club: The Working Girls Guide to Handmade Jewelry. Save the back cover for something exciting you are working on, in my case it was a book but you it may be a new line you are working.

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The next page in my press kit is my bio and my contact information. Some magazines will just want to use my jewelry for a photo shoot and others might be interested in writing an article about me. I want to be sure the press kit has both. This is pretty much the same bio that is on my website.  Also if you are like me and make one-of-a-kind things don’t fret that your stock in constantly changing.  Your look book gives an editor an idea about your work, it is not a catalog.  I have never had an editor call and say I would like to pull the necklace on page 4.  They call because they know my style and think I would work for a shoot.  For instance I just did several pieces for Cosmo Girl on a story with a Doll House theme.  My guess is the editor remembered my kitschy style and thought I would be able to whip up something perfect for the shoot!

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Who doesn’t love bullet points? When it comes to busy magazine editors they all do.  These bullets let editors know a few fun facts about Naughty Secretary Club: I’m an Austin Craft Mafia member, I host Craft Lab, the books I have projects in and more. Just quickie highlights. Most importantly there is more jewelry on the page.

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Editors like to see what kinds of press coverage you have received. As the saying goes: No one reads your press, they weigh it. These are a few of the mastheads of magazines I am most proud of. The second page are a few tear sheets of where I have been featured. This page gives editors an idea of how your work has been previously featured and how they might work with you. Again there are more jewelry pictures sprinkled around the page.   If you don’t have a ton of press yet, don’t worry about skipping this page in your look book.

The next step is getting your new and exciting press kit to the magazine editors.  I often retell the story of how I manage to get my jewelry featured in Seventeen magazine month after month.  I have been really lucky that with almost all the press I have received stylists and reporters have always emailed me to pull jewelry for shoots or do stories. Seventeen is the one magazine that I sent an unsolicited copy of my look book and jewelry samples to. I thought “ya know my jewelry is in all these other magazines geared at teens, why has Seventeen never asked to pull jewelry?” and the logical answer was of course because they didn’t know who the hell I was. I set out to change that. I went down to the book store picked myself up a copy of Seventeen looked up the name of their accessories editor and wrote it down on a piece of scrap paper along with the magazines mailing address. It cost me under $10 to send them a copy of my look book, a sample of my jewelry and a nice little letter explaining who I was and why they might just like my baubles.  My little plan worked because I got my jewelry into the hands of the accessories editor and we have had a great working relationship ever since.

You could do the same thing with any magazine you think might enjoy your work.  Look at the masthead, find the appropriate editor and send them your look book and press kit.  What’s the worst thing that could happen, no one responds.  The best thing that could happen is you could end up on the cover of your favorite magazine and with a ton of orders in your Inbox! Mastheads.com is a good resource for masthead info.

Well, that’s it in a nutshell, now you are ready to create your look book and get it into the hands of editors.  Good luck and have fun!

About the Contributor: Jennifer Perkins can see decorative possibilities in almost anything. If it can be drilled, painted, glued, or bent, she will make it into a piece of jewelry. You can shop her line of one of-a-kind revamped vintage pieces at  her online shopping site Naughty Secretary Club. Plus, she’s been featured on HGTV’s Crafters Coast to Coast (now That’s Clever) and is a co-host of Stylelicious with her buddies from the Austin Craft Mafia of which she is a founding member. And now, you can read her new book, The Naughty Secretary Club: The Working Girls Guide to Handmade Jewelry. It’s available for sale at Amazon.com.

4 comments

  1. I LOVED your article and layout. I am trying to create a Lookbook to use for PR mailings and to help me make contact with local boutiques to carry my products….I think it is very important to show your picture and be unique! Great job!

  2. Great article! One note, though: Mastheads.com redirects to AirJesus.com, which is at first glance not a masthead resource site – I think Mastheads.org is what you’re looking for. 🙂

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