Laura Barrera of Gig Miami: “Brick and mortar or long term leases are no longer our reality”

The online world and e-commerce are changing the rules of the game in the fashion industry. Brick and mortar or long term leases are no longer our reality. Pop up stores in combo with online experiences are now the present and future of the fashion industry. As part of our series about the 5 things […]

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The online world and e-commerce are changing the rules of the game in the fashion industry. Brick and mortar or long term leases are no longer our reality. Pop up stores in combo with online experiences are now the present and future of the fashion industry.

As part of our series about the 5 things you need to succeed in the fashion industry, I had the pleasure of interviewing Laura Barrera. Laura is highly respected in the fashion industry and sought after by the most elite fashion brands. Her experience in graphic design and art direction comes with years of experience working both in Europe and the States which resulted in her being the recipient of the notable gold medal from the International Design Awards.

As a result, she has worked with some of the biggest names in fashion including Carolina Herrera and more recently having started her own company, Gig Miami. Here, she has already won a devoted client list for her branding and creative services. Some of the companies and brands that Gig Miami has already worked with include Alexis, Carolina K, Eberjey, Devon Swimwear, Michelle Lopriore, and many more. Laura’s refined approach to design has been honed over a decade of experience in corporate luxury and fashion brands. Her understanding of the market, as well as her elevated sense of design and style, allows her to create the brand experience that will raise your business to its highest potential.

Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

Starting in my home country, Spain, my determination early on was to learn about the fashion industry and be entrepreneurial. This dive led me to work with Internationally recognized brands like Zara and Carolina Herrera where I began to learn the business. In doing so I got the opportunity to work with renowned photographers, designers, and direct production shoots for fashion campaigns that helped my hands-on learning experience.

Understanding how to promote such brands in a saturated market, connecting with their ideal customers, and generating digital business to sell online was incredibly gratifying and eventually motivated me to start my own fashion-focused studio, Gig Miami.

In doing so I recently partnered with The Fashion Lab NYC that selected me to educate a database of 5000 stores in the US to help them learn how to promote their fashion business online. I further continue to teach both large and growing fashion brands how to create successful campaigns and how to promote their stories, especially during our recent economic shutdown so they may be able to survive purely in an online market.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started?

13 years of building fashion brands internationally. I have a lot of stories, wow, its difficult to choose one. This should be an exciting one: While Art directing a campaign in Miami I had the opportunity to fly to New York City for this all-in-one day campaign for a certain High-end luxury fashion brand. From Photoshoot, Art Direction, and Editing, a final goal of having the look-books ready in less than 20 hours was the goal. The campaign was looking incredible with the work we did that day but all the effort would be in vain if we don’t find a good printer in the last hours of our work. Here we were searching online, calling other friends and designers, seeing if anyone could help us. Fashion brands need really High-Quality materials, almost impossible to get in less than 5 hours and there I was in the middle of the night searching until I found this small printing store in the Garment District, I immediately contacted this person and we both agreed to meet in his print store at 5 Am in the morning to get the canvas and high-quality print look-books ready for the presentation by 9 AM. I didn’t know anything about this person or if he would be true to his word or not and all I had was faith. I didn’t know for certain if he would even show up at 5 AM. As I finished the editing process of the campaign at 2 AM, I hardly slept and there I was at 5 AM at his location. Sure enough, he was there, up and running already, and the sensation of relief set in when I saw the result of the first look book come right out of the print press, it was precious. This was the quickest fashion campaign launched in less than 20 hours.

Another good memory is from a fashion show in NYC, it’s like magic when the lights turn on and the music started. That is real Fashion. I was invited to one of the trendiest fashion shows — Mercedes Benz Fashion Week, I was entertained seeing everybody, and as I was standing talking to colleagues in the industry. Amidst the chaos and beauty while mingling I noticed just 1 min before the show started that I wasn’t in my correct row. The lights suddenly turn off and just before the music started and the first model began walking, I had no choice but to sit on top of a stranger…who was casually the Director and Chief of the fashion brand.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

I studied Advertising and PR, so when I first began in fashion I was not aware of the fashion trends and designers, so my first boss in CH Carolina Herrera asked me to bring one bag from three bags to a table. Today I know which one is the ‘Celine Trio’ but at that moment I had no idea about Celine..or which bags are part of her collections. So I picked the wrong one and everybody in that meeting looked at me you not know which one is the Trio Bag? So I decided to buy books and magazines and learn everything about the most important fashion designers and trends at that moment so that didn’t happen to me again. I became a master in trends after 13 years in fashion and I love talking about the best fashion campaigns, best photographers, designers, models, and having the opportunity to work with some of the most important ones it was a blessing.

What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

I launched my boutique creative agency Gig Miami certain of my commitment to working with like-minded entrepreneurs and brands. Seeing the reality of the fashion industry, led me to work with ethical and sustainable brands in fashion as well as in Wellness. In providing services in branding, web design, and digital marketing I’ve seen an artful and holistic approach I am able to create that I have not seen in any other company, and owe it all to being true to my heart. This was created not only to be visually appealing and successful but conscious!

Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?

Fashion Corporate brands are always seeking young creative artists and designers. Designers usually stay 1–3 years in the same position before burning out or asking for a change. So enjoy the experience, learn as much as you can, and be creative. Most definitely meet people and see where your similarities and heart are. Having impeccable social skills + talent is the key to staying in the industry for a very long time.

How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?

Helping connect conscious brands. From small to medium forward-thinking businesses like mine, I think connecting them with their ideal audience has been the greatest reward in moving this planet forward. I want my clients to have the same opportunities in the US market as the big brands do, and we can do that through smart branding and marketing techniques.

Do you have a favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share a story of how that was relevant to you in your life?

To be successful, those whose mission, vision & values are aligned with their online brand do best. If you are true to your values as a brand and/or individual, follow your gut and work hard, and there you will be in the life of your dreams.

Do you see any fascinating developments emerging over the next few years in the fashion industry that you are excited about? Can you tell us about that?

The online world and e-commerce are changing the rules of the game in the fashion industry. Brick and mortar or long term leases are no longer our reality. Pop up stores in combo with online experiences are now the present and future of the fashion industry.

I love digital technology and the online shopping experience is incredible and allows anyone a shot. I will be keeping an eye out for the next upcoming trends in fashion online and the new fashion campaigns. Also, the sustainability factor and slow fashion is coming together nicely so very interested to see the evolution of digital sales across new social media platforms.

What are your “Top 5 Things Needed to Succeed in the Fashion Industry”. Please share a story or example for each.

– Talent and creativity

– Relationships and social skills

– Style and fashion trend knowledge

– Hard-working and enthusiastic

– Determination

Every industry constantly evolves and seeks improvement. How do you think the fashion industry can improve itself? Can you give an example?

Sustainability, natural fabrics, no plastic, slow production. Designers should do 2 collections per year maximum instead of the common, 4 collections. Limit the sales and promotions, and produce locally. An absolute no should be the burning or destruction of merchandise.

You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

Connecting people interested in the fashion industry to provide them with some knowledge to succeed in a saturated market.

How can our readers follow you on social media?

I am starting to provide educational content and direction at @gigmiami for those interested in design, and how to take your brand to the next level.

This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!

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