Posted on October 25 2018
This entry is for any of your darling dears that aspire to be a model, brand ambassador, influencer, and collaborator with Heart of Haute.....and this lesson may apply to just about any brand, to be entirely honest!
I get messages every week from fabulous girls all around the world asking for free merchandise in exchange for photos and exposure. It's so very flattering to know that there are people in position to help my brand out- and we're thankful for that!
However, I can say, if I approved and fulfilled every single request, I wouldn't have any inventory to sell from. So I have to politely decline- as much as I wish I had the funds and the garments available to fuel your dream! I simply can't support every single request. Forgive me!!! Forgive us!!! It's nothing personal, really.
When I do make the decision to work with a blogger or influencer, I first ask them for a wish list of items- because I care that they get something they actually want from our line. From this list, I check to see what I have available in their size AND I have to consider the continuity of this item. What I mean by that is this- it is in the interest of my company to promote product that are in stock and relevant to the season. So when someone requests an item that is limited edition or low on inventory without a restock date in sight, I make the conscious decision not to fulfill the request.
So I've compiled a quick list of tips that may help you when contacting a brand about collaboration.
Tip #1: Don't expect everyone will want to work with you.
Why? A few reasons. It could be that your personal style or your feed doesn't cater to the brand's identity or customer base. Meaning, if you have a huge following of people that love hip hop- chances are, your followers wont understand my product and wont buy from me....and this is meant to be a collaborative effort that helps the both of us gain followers- and in our case- increase our customer base because of your stylish influence and efforts!
And if your feed is clearly a personal account with photos of your kids and what you ate for dinner last night. I'm sorry. Just. No.
If your feed is full of vintage-inspired fashion, hair styles, and fashion- I will take more time to explore your feed and interact with you!
Most of the time the number of followers you have is not the immediate deciding factor, it helps when you have a large following, but I am looking for people that put love into their work, photos and writing and engage with their followers.
And why else someone may decline your request can also boil down to the fact that they're already working with enough influencers or they don't wish to give out their product for free. Heart of Haute DOES see the importance in collaborations, though, and we work with gals we like!
Tip #2: Do your part of the 'collaboration'
Take the photos and make sure they're clear and flattering, of course. Make your post. You have to remember that part of the reason you requested a certain garment from us is because you want to portray a certain persona on social media- so please, make sure that people can see what you're wearing!
I had one girl take a photo with her cell phone in a mirror and call it good. That's not it, ya'll.
I've also had a few blogger/model/influencers ask for garments, accept them, and then never reciprocate with the post as promised. Sadly, I can't work with those people again because, in essence, they stole from my company.
Tip #3: TAG US!!!
Yes, in the wide abyss of social media and the painful algorithm of Instagram, it's so important to tag us appropriately! Because once you do, we'll find you much easier and repost and share your work....because that's what it's all about, right?
Tip #4 Remember to be Grateful and Polite
I don't mean to rub it in, but we do go through a lot of effort to design and develop the garments we send out at no cost to you. We've been building our brand name for over 13 years, so working with us will expose you to all of our fantastic and loyal followers. We look at working with bloggers/influencers the same as advertising. We know that it isn't guaranteed to gain sales or followers, so there is some risk involved on our end- especially when we're working with someone new.
I have, unfortunately, had bloggers complain about the items I did (or did not) send to them. To act entitled to something when it's being offered to you for free not only diminishes our relationship, it causes me to not want to work with you in the future.
So, when we offer something for free and ship it to you for free, and we get some really negative complaints back....good luck, I guess. I would certainly be more inclined to work with you if something didn't fit or the color is just wrong for your skin so long as you're patient and polite with us.
Tip #5 Jump in our Pool!!!
I mean, join our community. Come to our events if you're local- even if not to shop, just to socialize. Share our posts on facebook, talk about us on Instagram, tag us in posts if you already wear our line- we love photos and we often reblog! It's those people that are actual fans of our brand that make the best influencers of our brand... and we remember your name and notice you so that when you're ready to work with us we will be like "OMG WE LOVE YOU ALREADY!!!!"
And this is a true story with the majority of the gals we work with. They've become friends to our brand and to us personally.
And lastly....if you really just love our brand and you're not a model or have the intention of starting fashion specific IG feed, you can always consider becoming an Affiliate. By sharing a link on your facebook page, reviewing items or making a top 10 wishlist in your blog, you can earn 8% of any sale you help generate with us!
Take Care, Honeys!