Sarah Shaw on How to Gain Celebrity Endorsements

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Sarah Shaw is a single mom of two who has spent her career dressing, collaborating and selling fabulous handbags to the most famous people in the world. Her secret?

“I never take no for an answer.” This doggedness has created a resume full of celebrity endorsements for her creations: Two early costume businesses did huge manufacturing jobs for the movies like Wind TalkersMatrix 2&3Out of Sight and The Postman. Her signature handbag company, Sarah Shaw Handbags, was available in Nordstrom, Sak’s 5th Ave, Barney’s NY, Bergdorf Goodman, Anthropologie, Fred Segal and 1,200 other boutiques across the United States. It grew to a multiple eight-figure business thanks to press in magazines like ELLEINStyle, the “O” List and Marie Claire, being on Access Hollywood, as well as being worn by celebs like Jennifer Aniston, Oprah, Cameron Diaz, Julia Roberts, Sarah Jessica Parker, Hallee Berry and 70 others. Shaw's efforts landed her bags in the movies Oceans’ 11Legally Blonde and America’s Sweethearts, and on TV shows Friends and Will & Grace.

Sarah Shaw has gotten her handbags in the hands of more than 70 celebrities. Every time her purses were featured being held by a famous woman, sales skyrocketed, she says. "There are so many benefits to getting your product photographed in the hands of a celebrity," Shaw says. "The media is much more likely to be interested in your brand if you have celebs behind you."

Today, Shaw teaches her secrets and strategies for launching and growing a brand through her consulting business — which offers a special vertical on connecting with celebrities. You can also hear some of these tips from her star-studded podcast, Get a Street Smart MBA, which has featured Venus Williams, Daymond John, Barbara Corcoran, Marcus Lemonis, Rebecca Minkoff, Authors Ryan Blair and James Alutcher, and designer Bill Blass.

Shaw's tips for getting your product in celebrity hands:

Research your favorite celebrities! Try to find out as much as you can about the celebrity you are choosing. If they have children or a new baby, that is an easy way to get to connect with them them. Are they a handbag fanatic, love bold color shirts, wear sunglasses everywhere, or love blingy jewelry? Perhaps you see photos of them wearing pink all the time and you can create something in their favorite color. It is important to try to relate to them in some way if possible. They get tons of free stuff sent to them all the time and you want to find a way to make your product stand out. Remember: Celebs are people, too!

To find the celebrity contact information, check out http://www.contactanycelebrity.com for all the 411 you need, for a monthly fee. This website gives you the contact information to every famous person you can think of. Once you have the contact info, draft a friendly letter asking if you can send the gift to the celebrity.

Become BFFs with the Gatekeepers. Making friends with the assistant or gatekeeper is key to celebrity connections. A good ideas to make quick BFF is to offer the gatekeeper a gift too. If you make T-shirts, then ask what size they wear and offer to send them one. If they are the wrong sex or style for your product, ask if they want to give it as a gift to a friend or family member. Any extra effort could result in $50,000 sales in the event your target celeb is photographed wearing your shirt!

Make sure your product is beautifully wrapped, with a personal note. Don’t you love getting a carefully wrapped and fancy looking gift? Celebs do too, so make yours stand out. Include a personal note about why you think the star would like the gift. Remember: Celebs are people, too!

Send your package via FedEx. People in the movie business will more likely open a FedEx package due to the perceived value… don’t ask me why….it just is. If you don’t want your box gathering dust in the corner of the mail run, spend on this premium expense.

Follow up with the gatekeepers to see if it was liked — then pounce. If your product is loved, consider flooding the market with tons of the item. Think about sending the same item to other celebrities to create an instant trend. The media adores trends and loves writing about them — which translates into making it easy for them to write about you, too.

Focus on the hottest celebs. One of the fastest ways to get your product seen is to find the most popular celebrities each month. Magazines tend to find their “favorites” and then stalk them. The important thing is to act quickly. Celebs are often hot for a short time and you need to strike while they are photographed a lot. This is no time to be timid. Once you find their contact information, get in touch with their gatekeepers and send them a gift as quickly as possible.

Weeklies like People and Us Weekly are the No. 1 way to find the “hot” celebrities most of the year. Follow the movie openings, and focus on those that become hits. And don’t forget the Emmy and Oscar winners, Golden Globes, and SAG winners. Do an online search of the winners after each show and then decide which one(s) will be attractive to your target market and go after them. They will be basking in the limelight for a short period so move quickly.

Amplify any positive reception. If you are lucky enough to get a photo, or a thank you note from the celebrity, post it immediately on your website and all social media outlets. Share it with other gatekeepers, the media and in your newsletter. And don’t forget to impress your customers and clients!

Original article: www.Forbes.com

Written by: Emma Johnson

InsightsShana Grossman