Wednesday, 14 October 2020

WHY ARE BRANDS EXPLOITING COLLABORATORS?


All bloggers know the misconceptions of the general publics view on what blogging appears to be, they think it's all freebies, pretty pictures and doing pretty much nothing else to support the content they share. Yet they still follow a bunch of them on social media, so go figure. I can honestly say, in the 7+ years I've had a style blog, my 'freebies' can be counted on one hand. 

With that being said, I've received an abundance of message requests on Instagram and plenty of IG post comments (plus the odd email) claiming to be looking for brand collaborators; 'Hi DM @X for collab', 'Collab? DM us @X', 'Give us a DM for an agreement' and so on and so forth. At first I was flattered, I know these comments and messages get sent out right across the board of accounts, but I was thrilled that I stood out enough to be asked, my time had finally come, or so I thought. 

After months of ignoring the contact I was getting from these accounts, I finally started to message back to find out what they were offering; If I could get some cute new swimwear or some jewellery, then who was I to complain? Apparently I was well within my rights. It fast became apparent, after a few messages back and forth, that sure I could choose some bits from their website, but I'd have to pay $20 shipping to the UK (of which many people said they never received said items) and then I'd still have to share content of the items on my Instagram. So basically I have to pay you to promote your brand? Huh?

They were the half decent brands that actually let you get some items for 'free', most other brands want to offer you discount codes for 75% off any purchases and a discount code for your followers. Again, I still have to pay 25% of something I wouldn't normally buy and then promote it on my social media?

The idea of this sounds nice, you're getting offers that you wouldn't normally get if you weren't blogging or being an influencer (or micro influencer in my case), but how does exploiting these 'collaborators' make brands desirable to work with? I wouldn't want to buy anything from them now, let alone promote and collaborate with them. Yes, I do understand that freebies can't be thrown around willy nilly to all and sundry, and they have to be making a profit, but these terms and offers are, quite frankly, insulting. Please don't ask me to pay for something so I can promote your brand, what sort of exchange is that besides rude?

Our platforms are something we have built and grown ourselves, why would we jeopardise that for the sake of an unknown brand that wanted to use and exploit us as if they're the ones doing us a favour?

A few months ago I did a collaboration with Mapiful, they were so respectable, reasonable and my print (plus shipping) didn't cost me a penny, it just cost my time and effort to produce the print and share content on my Instagram feed and stories within a particular timeframe. This is what we expect, this is what we deserve. I didn't start this blog with the intention of gaining anything for free, and we don't have a right to it, but we have a right to be respected within our work.

As a community, we really need to be more transparent about this and start calling brands out, because others will think this is acceptable just because they get to share content branded as gifted. We get it, it makes you look like you're getting more work, but why should you have to pay for it? Would you pay to go to work? I don't think so.

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Shirt - Florence & Fred (Tesco)  //  Jeans - Topshop  //  Jacket - Primark (Old)  //  Shoes - Primark  // Bag - Next (similar)
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Have any of you guys had the same, or similar, experiences with this kind of collaboration proposals? Please share your stories and let's start talking about this more widely!

S xo

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