The Power of the Pull Letter
So, your collection is finally complete. You have incredible photos- all beautifully compiled on your website. The word gets out and before you know it, stylists are wanting to pull your clothes for editorial shoots. It’s a euphoric feeling. You want the exposure, but how will your products remain protected once they’re in the stylist’s hand? How can you even guarantee you’ll receive them back? This is where a concise, yet powerful legal document called the ‘pull letter’ becomes necessary.
But what exactly is a pull letter?
A pull letter, more formally known as a “Letter of Responsibility,” is a contract that legitimizes the relationship between the designer (owner) and the stylist (borrower). It outlines what the borrowed items will be used for, states how long they’ll be borrowed, and allocates financial responsibility to the borrower in the event of loss, damage, or theft.
What does a pull letter consist of?
- Names and roles of parties involved (stylist, model, photographer, designer, publication, and creative director).
- Date, time, and location of the photoshoot (sometimes theme & concept as well). The theme and concept is pertinent information as it provides insight into how your pieces will be represented. This can help you determine whether the items will be represented in a way that helps reflect your brand.
- Detailed itemized list of leased samples/merchandise including the retail price value and current condition. You want the return process to go as smoothly as possible so take thorough notes on your items before lending them out.
- Credit Rights. Not only are you protecting your property– you are establishing your right for editorial credit wherever your items are published or posted. This clause should also grant you the right to share on your social media platforms.
- When the items will be returned to the owner (designer) including date and time.
- Responsibility. Most importantly- the name AND signature of the person taking financial responsibility for possible loss, damage, or theft. This clause varies depending on the complexity of the shoot and the status of the designer and the publication involved. Some designers ask for a deposit upfront to cover minor damages or dry-cleaning. Some designers simply allot space for credit card info on the document in case recourse becomes necessary.
- As a start-up designer, there’s a possibility that you may have to absorb the damages that occur. There’s a balance of being firm and lenient when you’re still trying to get your name out-especially if a major publication is involved. When we work with our clients, we suggest that this clause clearly defines what kind of damages/costs you’d expect the borrower to account for.
As you grow and make connections, it’s important to be friendly and cordial but equally as important to clear your bases before any problems arise.
The more you grow and expand as a designer, the more press opportunities will come your way. But remember that this is business. Any borrower’s refusal to sign a pull letter is a red flag and should cause you to question both they and the project’s legitimacy. And we’d suggest you hang on to your designs until another, more professional opportunity rolls around!
If you need help styling your own photoshoot, check out our “Style My Line” package and set up a consultation. And don’t forget to download our FREE Pull Letter Template if stylists are already knocking at your door. 🙂
If you’d like specialized advice for your line, contact us here to book a Discovery Call!
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