Three Salt Lake City fashion creatives discuss the impact of social media marketing

Story and photos by BRITT BROOKS

A swipe, a like, a comment, a follow.

To get a look at marketing in the 21st century, go no further than your smartphone. Today you can look at any online platform and find a person, product, or brand that sparks your interest. But the businesses that perhaps utilize social media the most are those in the fashion industry.

Whether it’s celebrity-sponsored posts, live streams of runway shows, or notifications for product drops, fashion can be an immersive experience now more than ever. The elite fashion gods such as Gucci, Versace, Chanel and Balenciaga all have millions of followers on social media. But what about the startups?

Three up-and-comers in Salt Lake City’s fashion industry gave insight to their experiences with social media. The impact can be positive or negative depending on how active users are with the content presented to them.

Sydni Zaugg sat in a window seat at Salt Lake Coffee Break, her platinum blond bob stood out against head to toe black clothing and silver jewelry. Zaugg, 19, is a college student who attended the International Fashion Academy (IFA) in Paris in 2017. The program spanned three weeks and allowed her to attend Paris’ spring Fashion Week in early March.

Zaugg said she wouldn’t have even known about the opportunity had it not been for Instagram. After following IFA professor and trend specialist Agus Catteno on Instagram, Zaugg realized her wish to be educated about fashion in France was a possibility.

Zaugg direct messaged (DM’d) Catteno and asked questions about her job at IFA and  the opportunities for classes. Without her connection to Catteno, Zaugg wouldn’t have had a welcoming person to show her the ropes, and probably wouldn’t have gone to Paris for classes in the first place.

Parisian fashion influenced Zaugg’s personal style. And it serves as her template for advising others as she pursues a career as a stylist and photographer in Utah.

Social media give Zaugg a platform to share her availability for styling sessions and examples of her work such as dark, moody and romantic photoshoots with friends and models. But as with everything, it isn’t perfect. Zaugg mentioned the downside of pursuing likes and comments: a loss of creativity.

Avant garde clothing still graces the runways, but Zaugg has noticed brands moving toward more streamlined, minimalistic styles. This can be attributed to regular trend cycles. But Zaugg sees it as a reflection of the heavy use of social media marketing. Current fashion can be more about who you are, not what you wear. Big entertainment names like Kardashian and Hadid can be more influential than the brands themselves.

The integrity of the fashion industry can quickly fall victim to the whims of celebrities and influencers. Copycats are bad for any creative-based industry. To combat this ever-present sameness, Zaugg has a perfect mantra: “Clothes should give you confidence to express yourself how you want to, not how everyone else dresses.”

Someone curating new and wearable pieces for women is Madison Martellaro. A 21-year-old senior at the University of Utah, Martellaro has already started a company. In April 2017, she began working on her online clothing store, Fleur Fashion Boutique. She can be seen wearing multiple pieces from her boutique’s line including jeans, bomber jackets and everyday T shirts.

Martellaro came into the fashion industry alone, with virtually no connections. After months of research and hard work, she was able to start her business and advertise through social media to grow a following before the boutique launched on Nov. 9. She credits her online following of nearly 1,000 people to creating brand awareness before items were even available for purchase.

To get a good idea of what her customers actually want, Martellaro used polling features on social media. Polls and comments influenced the way the boutique website looks and functions. For example, followers wanted to know the models’ sizes and dimensions as well as see the clothing from multiple angles. These are two details about Fleur Fashion Boutique that came directly from future customers’ wish lists.

During her first photoshoot, Martellaro held a livestream. The feature on Instagram enabled her to connect even more with her future consumers. “I want to show people really what goes behind a business,” she said. In a world where new competition crops up every day, a behind-the-scenes connection with followers is priceless.

Martellaro takes a lot of pride in curating pieces that women of all sizes can wear and personalize. One of her biggest goals is to sell clothes that can be worn day to night, and look glamorous no matter the occasion.

Packaging is an important part of her brand’s final presentation and delivery. For a cohesive image, all clothing and accessories come wrapped in tissue paper with the greeting “Hello Beautiful” in bold font on the outside. Fleur Fashion Boutique encourages its recipients to take selfies with their deliveries, creating a wider community of people that talk about the products.

“That was the biggest thing for me,” Martellaro said, “making sure women felt empowered and special.”

Keeping a cohesive and unique image is one of the top priorities for Davis Hong. A polished and composed 24-year-old, Hong graduated from Salt Lake Community College with a design degree. Sitting in a wrap-around black coat of his own design, Hong said he likes to wear his own creations.

Recently rebranded under its new name, BYSHAO has been in the works for over two years, and is set to launch in 2018. Hong has made huge strides toward creating his ideal company and style.

Sustainable, ethically sourced materials are of utmost importance for BYSHAO. Only natural fiber fabrics like cotton and linen blends are used in the designs. To avoid creating more waste on our planet, Hong prefers working plant-to-piece with certified organic materials, and avoids polyester. Natural textiles and humane working conditions are the core of his passion for sustainable clothing, and it’s something he’s sticking to.

The pieces of BYSHAO are best described in Hong’s own words as minimalistic, gender-neutral and timeless. Specializing in overcoats and tops, BYSHAO is both modern and classic with structured silhouettes and neutral colors.

Participating at the 2017 Art Meets Fashion show in Salt Lake City, Hong’s brand was one of the five main shows. Events like this help secure a following that he hopes will subscribe to BYSHAO’s e-newsletter. Emails are more of a personal connection with consumers, directly informing them about lookbooks and future sale dates. A great way to foster a connection that leads to loyal customers is to start on platforms like Instagram and Twitter.

As Hong’s demographic isn’t necessarily in Salt Lake City, he finds it important to get to know his followers through social media. He mentioned his use of geo tags, event announcements, stories and live videos to view people from the other side of the planet. “You can basically be right there and see the people there as well,” Hong said.

Networking locally and internationally has furthered Hong’s knowledge and increased the presence of his brand. Social media form connections that wouldn’t otherwise be possible. He’s found photographers, models and hair and makeup professionals to work on photo shoots and runway shows.

The internet is a fantastic way for startup businesses to get their name into the hands of others. “Social media is very much an open portfolio,” Hong said. The ability to view others’ work passively before making real-life connections is something new to the world. This can acutely affect professional creatives, as a lot of their work can be judged from a 5-inch screen.

Without social media tools, Hong would have had a much harder time making local and international connections in the fashion industry. It’s unlikely that Martellaro would be the owner of a business she built from scratch at such a young age. And Zaugg never would have known about the opportunity to study fashion in Paris, or launch her career as a stylist.

Connecting with customers, mentors and possible collaborators — no matter where they are in the world — is perhaps one of the greatest online inventions of all.

NPR Pledge Drive Drastically Affected by the Economy

By: Callie Mendenhall

How the economy is doing affects most everything in the United States and the National Public Radio (NPR) pledge drive is no exception. When the economy is in a recession so is the pledge drive by affecting it through listener and corporate support.

A pledge drive is an extended period of fundraising activities for public broadcasting stations to increase contributors for their station. Pledge drives are used so the station can receive the majority of their funding. Local NPR stations are known for their enthusiastic and persuasive pledge drives, but pledge drives funding can quickly dwindle when the economy is in a downfall, as any NPR employee knows.

“The pledge drive is an event we have where listeners and companies give back to the station for what we do for them all year. Listeners and companies donate money and or gifts to the station to insure we can pay for everything because it is where we receive most of our funding.”  Said Rebecca McInroy, Producer for KUT— local Austin, Texas NPR station.

Other funding “..come from foundations, and business support, what we call program underwriting,” According to John Greene, General Manager of KUER.

The NPR pledge drives are a “special time when I feel good about giving money to the station that I absolutely love to listen to on my way to work.” Said avid KUER listener, James Meisinger.

Although many NPR listeners feel that they should give back during the pledge drives, it’s hard when the economy isn’t booming which causes the pledge drive to be drastically affected.

Tristin Tabish, Program Director of KUER, said, “Our fund drives are affected by the economy in two major ways: listener and corporate support. The economy affects the pledge drive as it affects every other aspect of society – consumers have to make priorities about their purchases. Philanthropy tends to be an area that is perceived as a “luxury” and so people will either give less to their favorite charities, focus on a single organization or choose not to contribute at all.”

Pledge drives may be perceived as luxuries as Tabish vocalized, but that doesn’t mean that the NPR stations reduce the need for funding when the economy is down. NPR stations need more money every year due to the increase in living prices which means that stations can’t afford to lose any funding no matter how bad the economy may be doing.

According to Tabish, instead of lowering their pledge drive goal they instead, “..have to work harder at being consistent with our message, and tell our listeners exactly why we need their support and where their contributions are going. We try to connect with our most loyal donors to give what they can, so we send e-solicitations and direct mail to give them as many opportunities as they can to give.”

NPR pledge drives are no different than any other aspect of life. It’s a simple fact, when the economy is low so is the funding that stations receive during their pledge drives.

Students Gain a Glimpse into the State of the US Economy

Story by Sean Gustafson

“There is no way out of this crisis,” Floyd Norris told students at the University of Utah on Oct. 26, 2011, when talking about the current condition of the United States’ economy; clarifying his statement Norris, the chief financial columnist for the New York Times, continued by stating, “at least not simply.”

Norris began his lecture by comparing the current U.S. economy with previous economic hard times and some of the lessons that have came about from those time periods.

“One of the things I [have] learned [in school] was that it was never really consented what caused the Great Depression.”  Norris continued with because there wasn’t that consensus, it played a major role for what has been going wrong recently.

Norris continued because there wasn’t this consensus on what lead to the Great Depression and later recessions, people didn’t understand the economy. People would continue to spend more than they could afford, banks made poor loans choices and all together people were and still are ignorant to financial matters.

Expanding on this, Norris added, “A lot of the suffering we are undergoing now… was brought about by people who bought homes they should have never purchased and paid more than they could have afford.” People, not understanding beyond the basics of finances and debt, foolishly feel victims to the plague of credit-debt that still haunts many today.

When asked for further clarification on these matters, Norris responded with “I think people assume… a well operating economic and financial system; and if you assume it you won’t pay any attention to it.”

Another point Norris spoke about was that “when credit is easy, it’s a lot of fun.”
Expanding on that statement, student Laurie Carlson said, “If you don’t have credit than you can’t get anywhere.” Carlson continued by expressing with good credit one can buy the houses they want, get their dream car, and receive better loan rates.

When asked about whether or not they understood the topics discussed at the lecture, a lot of the students attending had expressed they had known either very little about finance and the economy or nothing at all beforehand. “I didn’t understand a lot of the technical terms.” said student Halley Hamman.

Despite the swimming in this sea of confusion, there were students who still found the lecture benefitting. Some students took this event as an eye-opening opportunity, such as student Marquis Newman, who expressed because he had a hard time following the lecture he believed he “should learn more about finances.”

Neela Pack, the Student Body President for the University of Utah, said that she felt the lecture was “supper successful.” It got student to think on matters that they wouldn’t normally think about. Pack added that the students were lucky to have such an “esteemed and well respected journalist” talking on such matters.

At the conclusion of the lecture Norris, expressed his optimism for the future when he stated that he believed the economy “will come around.” Norris exclaimed that there were problems before, and there will continue to be problems.

After illustrating the example of Steve Jobs and all he has done, Norris concluded, “this [market of ours] is an amazing system to produce stories like that.”   [539]

Floyd Norris Can Save the Economy

Story by Marquis Newman

On Wednesday, Oct. 26, Floyd Norris, the chief financial correspondent for The New York Times, discussed that concessions, such as another stimulus and extending low interest rates on mortgages, need to be done to help the U.S. economy.  These concessions could help get the U.S. economy out of flux.

In the midst of a presidential election, Republicans and Democrats are debating and arguing about the economy, whose fault it is that the U.S. economy is bad and what can be done to fix the economy. Norris has many valid points on the subject and joked that maybe President Barack Obama and U.S. Rep. Eric Cantor should read one or two of his columns.

Many Republicans believe that a stimulus does not work. “There are a lot of references to Obama’s failed stimulus plan,” said Norris. He joked that the national government not trying another round of stimulus is similar to a student who studies for a test, but does poorly and says “Well there is obviously no point in studying.” Norris said the government should try another stimulus and maybe it could be a short term alternative, until politicians can figure out a long term solution.

Extending the benefits of low interest rates on mortgages is something that Norris said he believes will benefit the economy and will help people who really need the low interest rates.

“Many people can’t refinance,” according to Norris, who argued that letting somebody re-borrow money at a lower interest rate does not increase the credit risk, but might actually let people pay the debts they owe when they wouldn’t have been able to before.

“Credit gets you places,” said Laurie Carlson, a student at the University of Utah who attended the event. If decreasing the requirements to get a lower interest rate on a mortgage doesn’t increase risk and helps out the homeowner’s credit, then banks should look to initiate this.

There are many people to blame for America’s financial crisis.

“We used to take for granted that the government should try to improve the economy and that there were things it could do,” said Norris. The Great Depression, which the recent recession has often been compared to, is used as the model for how to get out of a depression. Economists learned a great deal about how to get out of a recession during that time, but according to Norris, “I think the fact that we never reached a consensus on that [how the Great Depression started], is what went wrong recently.”

Many of the guests who attended the talk believed that Norris’s ideas were excellent and wondered why some of them haven’t already been implemented.

“I wish he could make a bigger difference” said Lauron Bailey, a guest of the event. Another student who was at the event, Sean Gustafson said “He got me to think….this was definitely something that could spark.”

The event ended with Norris answering questions from curious attendees and giving advice to struggling homeowners and job seekers. As some of Norris’s views gain popularity around the financial community, maybe eyes at the nation’s capital will begin to take notice of some of the ideas that Norris has.

New York Times’ Chief Financial Correspondent Feels the Government Needs To Step In

Story by Makaylee Pettit
Floyd Norris, New York Times’ chief financial correspondent said that the government is following 1920s secretary of state Andrew Mellon’s philosophy. Because of this the government is backing away from the economy’s problems instead of trying to fix them.

Norris said during the Great Depression in 1929, Mellon’s advice was, “The government should keep its hands off and let things work out by themselves.”  The solution was to, “liquidate labor, liquidate stocks, liquidate the farmers and liquidate real-estate.” He thought this would make people work harder and live a more moral life.

In Mellon’s eyes it was a persons own fault if they were wiped out by the depression, explained Norris as he spoke at the University of Utah in October about what’s wrong with the economy.

University of Utah student Stephen Blomquist said he agreed with Mellon’s advice. He said, “I think that capitalism and the free market is what made America what it is today, and that the government should not get involved and just allow the market to play out.”

Presidential candidate Herman Cain has similar views. He recently said, “Don’t blame Wall Street, don’t blame the big banks, if you don’t have a job and you’re not rich blame yourself.”  Norris said, “That attitude that it is the fault of the poor that they are poor has never gone away completely, even through poverty programs and the creation of the unemployment service.”

Utah Valley University student Krista Shipp does not agree with Cain’s statement. She said, “[The government] can’t blame anyone but themselves. So I think it’s their fault.” She feels they should be responsible for cleaning up the mess.

Norris said that while many still have the belief that if the government can get their own spending under control it will restore confidence in the rest of the nation, the Mellon view has caused the willingness of the government to pull away from trying to deal with problems. We used to take for granted that the government should try and improve the economy.

Norris said, “There are signs that at least some governments are backing away from the Mellon philosophy, and the idea of letting things work themselves out.” But on the contrary, “We really don’t have a lot of faith in government right now. That lack of faith may have been earned.”

According to Norris only 10 percent of people in the United States that think the government can always be trusted, or at least trusted most of the time. When asked about her trust in the government, University of Utah student Laurie Carlson said, “I trust our government, not a ton I don’t think, but I do trust them.”

Norris said, “Part of the problem is the government is focusing on what they thought they learned from the Great Depression. His theory is, “Knowing what they did wrong is not the same thing as knowing what would have happened if they had tried something else.” He, like Shipp, said the government needs to find a solution, but there is a stumbling block with only 10 percent of the nation trusting them.

Economic expert speaks to University of Utah students

Story by Chris Washington

The economic recession is something that many Americans felt very close to home. However, very few really understand what caused it and what can fix it. Floyd Norris is one of those people.

Norris is the chief financial correspondent for the New York Times. He has a wealth of knowledge regarding economics as a whole and particularly the current state of the economy. The economic situation is more to him than just a bunch of graphs and numbers; it is something that has affected millions of Americans directly.

“I love this country”, said Norris, “I’m proud to pay taxes and wouldn’t mind paying more if it helped us get out of this crisis.”

Economists tend to try to let things work themselves out regarding the economy. However, Norris believes that it is time to start taking action in order to fix what is happening in our economy. According to Norris, despite many people believing that the recession ended in 2010, it is actually still going on.

“People saw the light at the end of the tunnel, but were wrong.” explained Norris.

In Norris’ opinion it is both the American people’s and the banks’ fault for the economic crisis. He believes that a lot of the suffering that is affecting American lives, was brought on by people buying houses that they cannot afford. Many people borrow these great sums of money that they can’t pay back. The banks are partially responsible for this because they enable these people to make these decisions even though it wasn’t always expected to work out.

Many people believe that the crisis could have been avoided. Steven Blomquist, a University of Utah student, agreed.

“Regarding our economy, you can’t expect to go up forever and keep prospering more and more, eventually you will peak and then you begin to spiral downward, which is the phase we are in right now,” he said.

Norris said that people could see the recession coming in 2006 and 2007. When Americans can borrow a lot of money and credit is easy to come by, the country grows a lot like it did in the 1920s. However, much like The Great Depression, there is a price to pay after such a large amount of growth. Norris thinks that if economists would have paid more attention during America’s most recent episode of economic growth, that this could have been predicted and possibly prevented.

Norris understands the power of money and the importance of a good economy. When speaking about a past treasury secretary, Norris stated that in all actuality three presidents served under him. Although that is an exaggeration it is an example of just how important and how powerful the people who control and understand American money can be.

“Money makes the world go ‘round, if you don’t have it you really stand no chance.” said Rachel Thomas, a student and cheerleader for the University of Utah.

Although the economic situation American’s are in is something that cannot be mapped out perfectly, people like Floyd Norris exemplify the importance of a good base of knowledge and how being aware can empower Americans.

Floyd Norris Speaks to University of Utah Students about the Great Depression II

Story by Rachel Thomas

Floyd Norris, the New York Times chief financial correspondent, spoke to a group of University of Utah students on November 3, 2011 about the economy and ways to recover it.
Floyd Norris likened today’s economy to the economy during the Great Depression.
Norris said, “There was never really a consensus about what caused the great depression it didn’t seem right that the world should dive into a depression, and this is critical on what has gone wrong recently”
If the authorities had known what to do a lot of unnecessary suffering could have been avoided. A lot of the suffering that is affecting American lives was brought on by people buying houses they couldn’t afford and borrowing money they couldn’t pay back because they didn’t have the money to pay back, according to Norris’s speech.
Banks are also partly to blame for people purchasing houses they can’t afford. The government should have intervened before the foreclosures happened. In Norris’s column, “Time to Say It: Double Dip Recession May Be Happening,” in the New York Times, he refers to the current times as the Great Depression II. He reasons that this new era is considered a depression, because of the commonalities in the economy during both times. In each case the first recession was caused in large part by a sudden withdrawal of credit from the economy. The recovery came when credit conditions recovered.
“The unavailability of credit caused a decline in world trade volumes of a magnitude not seen since the Great Depression, and nearly every economy went into recession,” Norris said.
However, Norris believes there is a solution to the plummeting economy. He says the U.S. economy is showing the same signs it did when on the rebound from the past two recessions. Most politicians are embarrassed by the current disaster which is why they continue their negativity towards the steadily increasing economy.
During his lecture, Norris said, “Take seven years from when the economy blew up to have it fixed.”
Norris said he believes that informing students in college is important, because they are the next generation to be affected by the economy.
Norris said, “College aged students are going to be getting jobs and getting interviewed and they need jobs to be available. People assume that it is a well operating financial system, but when you assume then you stop paying attention to it. If you can still find a career then it doesn’t really affect you.” In today’s economy finding a well paying job isn’t that easy, so most people will run in to dilemmas because of the financial instability in America.
Chris Washington, who’s an Intro to News Writing student and attended the lecture, said, “I think becoming informed about the economy at an earlier age can help make a change, a smoother recovery for the future, and possibly push students to attend college so they have a greater chance at getting a stable job.”
When asked on his final thoughts about Norris’s lecture Steven Blomquist, a University of Utah student, said, “It was very informative and interesting to be able to hear his perspective on what is going on in the economy.”