I’ve come to conclude that the best meetings are the ones in which you leave having far superior knowledge to what you did upon walking in. The things I learnt thanks to my meeting with the director of Showroom 22, Murray Bevan, lead to me leaving the meeting with an even more open mind, greater knowledge of this industry and the society we live in as well as a head packed full of ideas. I would say that hour long chat resulted in higher excitement than that which was present during my highly anticipated meet up with the famous Showroom 22 pup Mary-Lou (@himarylou). From meeting with Murray I picked up 5 key things – lessons if you will, and before delving into discussing the stylish establishment that is Showroom 22, I thought I would share them.
1. Why zig when you could zag
2. Fashion is forever changing and you have to stay on you toes, be prepared and eager for change
3. Always question everything, e.g. why is my brand special
4. The power of influence
5. The image of Santa Claus was created by Coca Cola (yes I was just as shocked)
Take what you will from these 5 points, but the fact I gained an understanding of all these merely from an hour sat in a cafe kinda shows you what an influence Murray is. So for those who don’t know who or what Showroom 22 is ~ you need to get yourself on the band wagon. Launched back in 2002, they were New Zealand’s first showroom and PR company, over the years they have established a strong position in this industry and an international name for themselves working with fashion labels and publications all over the world ~ including all our kiwi favourites of course.
And what would a feature be without an interview? Lucky you, get to find out a whole lot more about this funky showroom and PR company, I got to send through a whole bunch of questions to Murray so be sure to have a read.
What is Showroom 22?
Showroom 22 is a dedicated PR, events and marketing agency for fashion brands and brands that exist in the fashion space – beauty, wine, restaurants, galleries, cafes, boutique hotels, luxury cars.
What inspired/motivated you to establish it?
I was lucky enough to work for Karen Walker for 2 years as her P.A. back in 1999-2001. Karens network of agencies all over the world ignited an idea in my mind that we could and should have a dedicated fashion agency in New Zealand, and from there I made it happen.
What do you think makes a successful brand?
It all comes down to a good idea. A friend of mine always asks “if your label disappeared tomorrow, what would people miss about it?”. A successful brand has layers to their story that their fans would genuinely miss if they were gone.
Who are your favourite New Zealand designers/brands and why?
Right now my favourites are Karen Walker, Twenty-Seven Names, Kathryn Wilson, Harman Grubisa, Barkers, Wynn Hamlyn and I Love Ugly. They’ve all carved out a unique path for themselves and they have genuinely devoted fans who love what they do. Brands like this have become idolised in New Zealand so it’s refreshing that now we have a local industry that’s inspired by its own, rather than young designers always looking off shore to see how its done.
What makes Showroom 22 special?
Our relationships with designers and the media. We would be nothing if we didn’t know and understand the media and how they work. Also our Showroom dog Mary-Lou gives us an edge.
What has been a real standout moment through your career?
Starting the Marr Factory phenomenon in 2005 with Stephen Marr and Lucy Vincent was a highlight. Also helping bring Topshop to the country in various levels – first online, then via wholesale, then as stand-alone retail – has been a special journey for me and Showroom 22.
If you were to change something about the fashion industry right now, what would it be?
More confidence to do what you believe in, and more people speaking their mind with real, valid and educated opinions. I think parts of our industry lack the guts to critique their peers openly. Only through this constant discussion and refinement will we improve.
What goes on in a day in the life of Murray Bevan?
Wife. E-mails. Tea. Instagram. E-mails. Phone calls. Walking the dog. Driving my car. E-mails. Meetings. Lunch. Coffee. E-mails. Instagram. Facebook. Wife. Writing proposals for jobs and events. E-mails. Organising events. Booking advertising. Overseeing marketing budgets. E-mails. Coffee. Meetings. Answering questions. Saying yes. Saying no (a lot). Making people happy.
What do you think of sonderingg.com?
I like it. Photos are good. It has a young energy about it which I like. More people should be brave and get their work out there like you have.
All images from Showroom 22 archives