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For Ceri of Heathcote Communications, a career in fashion marketing was just a click away. By Gabrielle of Haute in the Heartland

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ashion marketing is a niche market. It’s so specialized, in fact, that once upon a time designers, retailers and the like had to travel to a fashion hub to find such an agency. Reaching the correct audience for a specific shoe, handbag or anything else is an art form worthy of a plane ticket. But as online social media becomes an increasingly important aspect of a company’s marketing plan, especially in the highly social fashion industry, a fashion marketing firm can be anywhere. Like, say, a small British town just outside London. That’s how Ceri Heathcote was able to start her own fashion marketing business, Heathcote Communications, without leaving her hometown of Bath, United Kingdom, or even her house for that matter. For a little over a year, Heathcote has been running the business from a home office, employing only three freelancers. All via e-commute, the stylish quartet builds and maintains clients’ web content and blogs.

I have to listen very carefully to who my clients’ customers are.

While Heathcote has always been interested in fashion, she didn’t always work near it. She was an operations manager for a management training and executive coaching company when she started her first fashion website, Designer High Street, during maternity leave in 2007. That led to her blog, Style Eyes, and eventually to a contract writing for a price comparison website. She never returned to her “day job,” and by the end of 2008, Heathcote Communications was born.

Attracting clients

Heathcote began attracting clients by bidding for freelance marketing jobs on sites like peopleperhour.com and sending newsletters to businesses she thought would be interested, but notes that many clients found

her through her company’s website and her blog. Now working with companies in the UK, United States and Australia, her clients are mainly online fashion retailers. Having never set foot in the US aside from a layover en route to Belize, Heathcote admits that properly gauging her clients’ aesthetic and client base is one of her challenges. “I have to listen very carefully to who [my clients’] customers are. Some have a slightly older mar- Heathcote at work, a ket, so I offer more style tips than cut- Posh-swaps.com bag. ting edge fashion. I also have to base the writing around the products they sell.”

Carving a space

For anyone else looking to carve out a space this niche market, Heathcote suggests loading up on blogging and online marketing experience by volunteering for a charity or fashion-related company. Sending a regular newsletter, she said, is also key in building a database of clients. “Your business will mainly be online, but remember to network offline too. Attend lots of fashion events,” she said.

Visit Ceri’s site, Heathcote Communications, and follow @HeathcoteComm on Twitter. www.StyleSampleMag.com

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