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Dressed in chic black pumps, a fitted, knee-length skirt and a soft, gray T-shirt accessorized with a long beaded necklace and a thick rhinestone bracelet, Dalit Langosky looks like she just stepped out of the latest Vogue. Originally an accessories photographer, in recent years she has created a new field for herself that combines her knowledge of fashion with marketing techniques.
In what she terms style marketing, Langosky takes a fresh approach to sales by combining atypical elements that speak to the buyer's emotions rather than strict practicality. "You don't even necessarily need to see the product," she says, pushing a pair of hot pink Moschino glasses onto her cropped, blonde hair.
She points to a recent example of a kitchen showroom she designed for Efetti and Ziv. Rather than the traditional fruit bowls and coffee mugs, Langosky accented the kitchen with three hot pink stiletto shoes and an enlarged photograph of a silver spoon. For the preliminary presentation, she put together a short video clip with Italian music showing a series of images: a close-up of an eye with superhumanly long lashes, a model with bright red lips and an old-fashioned scarf covering her hair, a pair of full, fuchsia lips, a black-and-white photograph of friends sipping espresso in an Italian cafÃ© with "la dolce vita" written across it, two smiling riders on a Vespa, shining lipstick cases, bright stiletto-heeled shoes and, at last, a photograph of the kitchen itself.
Langosky, who studied in New York and Florence and then worked in Italy for six years before returning home, says that her connection to Italy helped her with this project. The showroom is a collaboration between the Italian designer Effeti and the Israeli designer Ziv.
The sequence of images, all of which save the last have nothing to do with kitchen cabinets, refrigerators, countertops or sinks, creates a feeling of chic nostalgia. According to Langosky's approach, while the end product is important for sales, the emotion evoked by that product is an essential part of the buying experience. "I am trying to create the desire to buy. The kitchen showroom looks like a fashion or design store, but beyond the feeling inspired by the colors, the objects, the photographs, and the style, you also see the product."
The salespeople wear uniforms (designed by Langosky) that are supposed to complement the underlying emotional message of the scene.
Style marketing centers on understanding how to make people feel good about buying, which in itself is nothing new. It's the prime definition of marketing. Langosky's innovation is her ability to use fashion, photography and design to combine those elements in a unique way that will entice buyers.
"I had a lot of experience as a photographer, but in 1994, I went to Boston with my family for two years and took a multimedia course that integrated computer programs and new technology with what I already knew," she says. "I went mad. There are so many endless possibilities and applications."
After all, as she points out, you take a photograph and then the process ends. The magazine is thrown out or the photograph is put on the wall and the creative process of the photographer is finished. But for photographers who can utilize new printing techniques and available materials, the world of photography suddenly widens.
Using the same personalization approach that Langosky takes with style marketing, she came up with an original idea for gifts. Langosky prints images chosen by each client onto small wooden cards, which she calls memory boxes. "People can choose to include only photographs, or they can have newspaper headlines printed or drawings or designs that are special to them. The images that are most meaningful for them and most relevant to the feeling that they are trying to create when they give this gift is what should be used."
The small, wooden cards, which vary in size and shape, are then carefully placed into individual squares in the memory box and enclosed with a transparent glass lid. The concept resembles a photo album, which we use to remember special people, vacations or events, but the wooden slats present the images in an entirely new, creative way.
"This is a way for photographs to speak to people through artistic photography," says Langosky. "You look at the images differently because they are each printed on an individual piece of wood."
For a former client who came on a visit, for example, Langosky printed images from their Dead Sea trip on the wooden cards and then placed a box of salt in one square to remind them of their excursion.
In addition to the gift boxes, she prints photographs on chocolate and clothing. One of her recent creations is a baby gift box, within which each square holds something different: a tiny bodysuit imprinted with the baby's name, a pair of socks, a hat and a set of wooden slabs with pictures of the new arrival are some of the options.
To expose more potential clients to her personalized gifts, Langosky put gift stands with multiple drawers within stores across Israel. Each stand displays some of her imprinted clothing, jewelry and accessories as well as a model memory box. This allows people to look at samples and then place a personalized order. Customers can also make orders on-line, and the gifts range in price from NIS 150 to NIS 1,500.
"Each one of these memory boxes is different. They vary in size and shape, and they are incredibly personal gifts," says Langosky. "They bring new life to photography and help people transmit their personal feelings and special memories to materials."