Member's Newsletter August 2011 

Contact the Board
Tel: 843 696 2688

Rosanna Krekel
Regional Director

Anna Lassiter

Sarah Digangi

Marshall Simon
Membership Director

Katie Kern
Public Relations Director

Robert Butt
Advertising Director

Natasha Shamdasani Madan
Technology Director

Linda Burnside
Co-Program Director

Michael Mitchell
Co-Program Director

In this Issue
Letter from the Regional Director
FGI in the News
Septermber 26th, 2011 - "Turn Back Time" First-Ever National Beauty Forum
FGI Member Profile
Trend Alert
Get Involved With FGI

Regional Director's Note
Dear FGI Members,

Happy August to everyone! I hope you are all enjoying the summer, longer days on sunshine and some time off work.

We have been buisily working on a first-ever for Charleston - a national beauty forum which will host speakers from some of the best beauty companies in the world and some of our local expert physicians who specialize in wellness. The event will be hosted by celebrated editor, Jane Larkworthy from W Magazine, with a portion of the proceeds benefiting "I Will Reflect" Melanoma Awareness and Prevention Initiative. For details, see our September Beauty Event.
Rosanna Krekel Image

We are also working on strategic media partnerships that will benefit our organization, our members and of course, our city. More details will be shared on this as they unfold. And, speaking of media, an advertising campaign is being developed by our Advertising Director, Robert Butt, for print and social media. We will begin location scouting in August and hope to break the campaign in the 4th quarter of this year.

Speaking of 4th quarter, we will be sharing details in the next month of our first-ever retail event that will be a state-of-the-industry hosted in December. The event will focus on what is working at retail and driving consumer purchase. We cover a bit of this in the trend section of our newsletter. See the "F-Factor" trend alert section.

We profile the wonderful story of Julie Wheat and Cavortress as her company continues to grow and get ready for national retail sell-in. See FGI Member Profile Section.

Finally we are finding out from our members what their needs are as we get ready to set up goals and direction for 2012. We have already changed the newsletter based on your input. Let me know what you think. Feel free to email me at: or you can reach me at (843) 696-2688
Fashionably yours,

Rosanna Krekel

September 26th, 2011 - "Turn Back Time" First Ever National Beauty Forum

On Monday, September 26, 2011, The Fashion Group International ® of Charleston, Inc. will host its first beauty event and a first-ever for Charleston. The event, called “Turn Back Time” will be held at The Spa at Charleston Place, in the Charleston Place Hotel. The evening will begin at 6:00 p.m. with a cocktail hour, followed by a panel discussion with experts in the fields of beauty, skin care, hair care and nutrition. It will be moderated by celebrated Beauty Director of W Magazine, Ms. Jane Larkworthy.

The other experts on the panel include: Peter Lichtenthal, President of Bumble & Bumble; Dr. Ann Kulze–Physician, Wellness Expert and Author; Howard Kaminsky–Co-Founder, B. Kamins Laboratories; and Dr. McLean Sheperd–Founder, McLean Integrative Dermatology.

Tickets are: $45 for Fashion Group Members and $65 for Non-Members. You can purchase tickets today by logging on to: The event ID is #188606.

You should have received the invitation to the "Turn Back Time" event in your inbox already. Be sure to order your tickets today! 

To see the press release, feel free to log onto any of these links as coverage for the event has begun:

FGI Member Profile - Julie Wheat, Cavortress


Julie Wheat is most recently known in the fashion industry as the owner and founder of Cavortress, a swim and resort clothing line based in Charleston, SC, accompanied by an extensive vintage collection that focuses on fall and winter fashion.

A native Great Laker and Buffalo gal, Julie moved to Charleston via Las Vegas 8 years ago. Her first foray into the design world found her reviving a 100 year old business, Friend Manufacturing, to become the leading company of its kind nationally.  She went on to teach graphic design and video game psychology in Las Vegas for 4 years, before deserting the desert - and design - for Educational Administration. She served the Charleston County School District as a certified Superintendent of Schools for 5 years, then was recruited to consult for more than 30 of the nation’s largest school districts on IT and communications. Last summer, Julie was appointed adjunct professor at the Art Institute of Charleston teaching subjects that channel her experience in design and technology administration. However, design remained Julie’s passion.

2011 has been a busy year for Julie’s label, Cavortress. Pieces from the collection were featured in the advertising campaign and the iPhone app avatar for the inaugural SXSW’s STYLE X event; presented at Charleston Fashion Week, and The Spa at Charleston Place during their annual ‘I Will Reflect’ campaign event. And the press has taken notice of the line’s success, with pieces appearing on the front page of Austin, TX’s Statesman, celebrated in the Huffington Post, Zink Magazine, Charleston Art Magazine, Charleston City Paper Summer Guide, Oblique Magazine and at Film Meets Fashion. Julie was also asked to speak alongside Stylecaster's CEO, Ari Goldberg, and By George’s owner, Matthew Culmo on the nature of style as personally relevant to the fashion business. 

Cavortress will soon be presenting the 2012 collection during the Miami Swim market event, and at a Tortoise and Blonde event in South Beach. Julie is excited to offer their first line according to the Swim/Resort industry’s market calendar. The 2012 collection offers five style groups: the Great Laker, Permanent Snowbird, Poolside Princess, New Englander, and the Hollywood Heroine, accommodating the various types of bathing beauties and offering simplified merchandising for buyers. All the impetuously darling and easy-to-wear pieces are manufactured in the US, with the swimwear fabric and hardware made in Italy, and the prints are designed by Julie herself. Both the prints and designs nod to vintage with a modern silhouette, bringing the best from the past and making it relevant to the present, suiting women aged 18 to over 45. Pieces are offered at affordable retail prices ranging from $100-$225.

Cavortress is currently seeking models for the 2012 advertising campaign to be photographed later this summer and is open to model recommendations that FGI members may have. The company is also interested in any retailers suitable to carry the line and welcomes introductions from FGI members. Cavortress will extend a 30% discount on the collection for FGI members when it is available online late February 2012. Stay tuned!

Julie can be contacted at or 843 557 4082. The collection can be seen at

Trend Alert - "The F Factor" or How Friends, Fans and Followers Influence Customer's Purchasing Decisions

We have heard and read about consumers tap into their network of friends, fans and followers to learn about products, discuss them and purchase them. More and more sophisticated technologies are allowing your customers to choose the best products and services in a more efficient and relevant way than before. Here are some examples of the power of this F-Factor and why it should be a continued focus for your brand:

  • Facebook has over 500 million active users who spend over 700 billion minutes a month on the site.
  • Groupon uses referrals from friends and colleagues to drive sales of over 40 million deals since it launched in 2008.
  • Sites like “Polyvore” tag themselves as ‘a tastemaker community’, where users can clip products from around the web and compile them into virtual looks or sets which can be shared across social networks. Celebrity sets are also part of this network.
  • GiftFinder app logs into Facebook and allows people to find gifts for friends based on information on their profile pages. The conversion rate here is 60%.
  • Amazon launched a feature that goes through a user’s social network and bases recommendations and gift suggestions from information found on his/her profile.
  • 81% of US consumers go online to do additional research, with 55% looking for user reviews and 10% soliciting advice from their social networks. The number is higher in the 25-34 age group (23%).
  • 31% of Twitter users ask their followers for opinions about products and services.
  • My Shopanion and Scandit are iPhone apps that let consumers to scan items while shopping to see online reviews and get instant feedback on Facebook and Twitter.
  • The Tweet Mirror allows customers to send snaps of themselves to friends and followers directly from the fitting room.
  • Shop With Your Friends is a startup company that has developed a tool enabling consumers to shop online together in real-time.

What does this mean for your business? As this phenomenon grows into consumption, your brand must be liked in order to succeed. You must offer superior performance. Your customers have to ultimately choose and want your brand.

There will be further discussion on this topic at our December event which will be a “State-Of-The-Industry” in retail, the brands and stores that are working and why.
Get Involved with FGI
FGI is looking for the following people to help us on a volunteer basis:
  • FGI Photographer
  • FGI Videographer
  • Regional Director's Assistant

Each month we will profile what each of the teams is working on so you can decide if your talents best fit here and you would like to become more involved on this committee.

Technical Committee

The technical committee takes care of all FGI of Charleston's web, new media, email and other technical needs. Responsibilities include: maintaining the website, including conceptualizing and refining the web strategy, writing copy and handling regular updates, and graphic design and template creation for web elements; setting up and maintaining new media platforms; designing, researching, collating, writing and maintaining the monthly members' newsletter, and maintaining email marketing, and more. This committee liaises closely with all other FGI committees to ensure communications for the FGI brand is consistent across all platforms, including the programming committee on items such as maintaining event listings and ticket purchases; it also works with the membership committee to ensure the members' database is updated.

If you are interested in volunteering on this committee or for any of the other positions above, please contact us at



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