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Leila Fataar of SPIN AGENCY
Freitag, Nov. 26, 2010, 16:38 / Germany
Established in 2009, London based SPIN AGENCY blends traditional and digital communication methods to facilitate creative strategies, events, promotion and product placement. Recently working on campaigns for Ben Sherman Modern Classics, Farah and the Garbstore, dynamic founder Leila Fataar took some time out to talk to TribaSpace about her multidisciplinary creative agency and self-made success in the fashion business.
TribaSpace: How did you come to work in the fashion industry?
Leila Fataar: It’s funny, I do not come from a fashion background as all – in fact, I have a Bachelor of Science degree. I arrived in London from South Africa in 1995 with no contacts, no hair and literally £200. I quickly realised I couldn’t survive with that amount of money. I was on my way to visit The King’s Road and passed a hairdressing salon on Sloane Square. The reception desk was empty, and the phone was ringing, so I went in and spoke to the guy standing closest to the reception desk. Little did I know that I was talking to Anthony Mascolo, owner of TONI&GUY, explaining I could answer his phone. I’d never even heard of TONI&GUY, I just thought that if I worked there, I would meet some people and be able to have my head shaved regularly for free. He took me under his wing, gave me a receptionist job at his then newly opened TONI&GUY Academy, and one year later I moved into the PR department, working closely with him and his niece, Sacha Mascolo-Tarbuck.
I had never even heard of PR before I came to London. So my first experience was, thankfully, an international empire where I learnt skills I could take with me. After five years I decided to branch out into online marketing for the fashion industry on my own, knowing I had reached the top of where I could go at TONI&GUY – the internet was so new then I had to make it up as I went along. Through contacts and cold calling I found a few clients who were just designing their first websites and wanted to promote them. With a computer and a phone, I got to work, pushing these sites using forums and offline promotion to attract people to the sites. It worked!
What is the philosophy behind SPIN AGENCY?
After eight years as SPIN PUBLICITY I decided that a change was needed. In the last few years, we had focused mainly on traditional PR – in 2008, I felt that digital PR was becoming important again. The recession hit us hard, and I, personally, was crashing after running a fairly large company and having to find rent for a massive showroom. I had to change something.
So, I went to Asia for three months to see what was happening out there and on my return, I decided to streamline everything, get rid of the showroom and rebalance my services to introduce more digital orientated services such as community management (social networking), blogging, digital PR, marketing and basic website updating. Our philosophy has always been to constantly evolve to the changes in an ever-saturated global market. As an independent company, we are able to be flexible to any changes in the market place.
That’s a huge variety of services. How do you manage the diversity and what does it take to remain good at what you do?
Hard work. We are a proactive, not reactive company. We are precious about our clients’ image and how they are seen by their customers. We have to be forward thinking to properly represent our clients, so we are constantly on the look-out for new ways of publicity (both online and offline) and opportunities for our clients – this is usually in a variety of forms and media. We love it.
SPIN AGENCY was born from the foundations of an PR agency that utilised the web’s promotional potential early on; the company now actively communicates with clients and consumers using platforms such as blogging, microblogging, Facebook and Twitter. What changes have occurred with the development of social media?
Everything has changed. For us, the most important development has been direct access to our customers and being able to communicate directly with them, sending our messages as we want them to be seen. Building the amount of followers and fans has become as important as attaining press coverage for our brands. It allows us to be creative in how we do this too, which is really exciting.
What do you look for when choosing clients to represent?
Our clients must be open to suggestions as we are constantly looking for new ways to promote them. We would find it hard to work with someone that was blinkered and set in their ways. Things move so fast these days, that our clients, like ourselves need to be flexible and want to try different and new ways of promotion and PR.
Your client base spans Europe, the United States, Asia and Australia. How does your approach change when working internationally?
Our clients’ customers have similar interests in all territories. The difference is how you reach out to them. We love to travel and I have been so lucky to be able to travel to the creative capitals of the world regularly, always trying to learn something new and meet relevant influencers. This allows me to then bring this back to the company and especially my clients.
Are there new brands or events in particular that you’re excited to be representing?
All our brands are selected and hand chosen by us for different reasons. We could not work with a brand if we were not ‘excited’ by them, so there isn’t one in particular. I have worked with a variety of brands over the years from commercial brands like Firetrap, streetwear brands like Mishka, 10 Deep and Creative Recreation, high end accessory companies like Francesca Biasia, conceptual high fashion labels such as Makin Jan Ma and Jean Pierre Braganza, as well as cultural brands such a VICE and Scrawl Collective. All gave me experience and I have been lucky to work in all parts of my industry.
How has the street wear market evolved over the last few years?
I think the word 'streetwear' is a difficult one to define. It means so many things to so many people. I think there is a saturation of product out there at the moment – there is a lot of crap ’streetwear’ brands. It is hard for a brand to stand out these days, but product will always be king and at the moment there seems to be a focus on non mass market product, which works for me.
What are some of your personal business highlights?
Have had so many. Mainly when my clients see unexpected results and acknowledge them. We always strive for better results than expected and our job satisfaction is usually high. Travelling and meeting amazing people is always a highlight and I am always proud of working with my staff.
Your plans and your vision for the future?
Always to challenge ourselves to do better. And go on more holidays! Right now, I am eight months pregnant, so that is my biggest project to date. I’m excited for next year, when things will change again, because of my new role as a mother and business owner.
37 Soda Studios
268 Kingsland Road
E8 4DG, London
For enquiries contact Leila on leila(at)spin-agency.com, or via Facebook and Twitter
Melisa Gray-Ward | TribaSpace
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