noun: influence; plural noun: influences
verb: influence; 3rd person present: influences; past tense: influenced; past
Buckle up babes, this is a self help post.
I don't travel. I don't go to events. I live in a rural area (middle of nowhere, NC) and have less than 7,000 IG followers.It took me almost 2 years to get that many followers too. Kind of strenuous process in growing my instagram following, but I don't regret it. My dm's and email stay lit with collaboration requests. I haven't asked the companies, but I get a lot of feedback .These are some things that companies value:
1.Free unsolicited love- don't just expect companies to just throw things at you because you have a lot of followers. Followers don't equate to influence.If you buy something and you love it, tell your followers.Engage them if they have questions about it.Do an honest review of the product and tag the company.That one shoutout can put you on their radar.Follow them and interact with them. Build business relationships by keeping in touch. There are people behind companies (especially small businesses) too and they like to know their business is valued for more than someone wanting a free product .Reach out to them and ask if they would consider working with you.Every opportunity doesn't fall in your lap.I have followed companies and interacted with them for about 6 months to a year and then received an opportunity to work together. So it will not always be an overnight process, but just know the worst you can hear is a 'no' (which can always mean 'not right now').You can't win them all...when you want want them.
2.Be Yourself and know your brand- Like I said, I get a lot of requests.I don't agree to all of them because they don't fit what I do or I'm not into the product.Saying yes to everything and every collab has the possibility of tarnishing your brand by cheapening the value to other companies who may fit your target niche.I had an offer for a coffee to lose weight, but I don't drink coffee so I declined.I don't care if there is money involved, if its not something I would use I'm not going to mislead my followers into thinking I do. Alot of things I hear are how my personal style is unique and is like nothing else they have seen. Never lose your style or self emulating others to get where they are.You have to know that what YOU bring to the table is unique and enough.You also never know how someone truly got where they are anyway. Personally I love working with small business owners because I am all for entrepreneurship and getting new names and new creativity out there.You know I will cheerlead extra hard for my women and my black people! *fist and breasts up.
3.Take pride in your collaborations-when I get a collaboration, I take it very seriously. I want to make sure the piece gets the most exposure and that I put together a look that makes my followers want the piece as well. I try to have a turn around time of at least two weeks once the item is received. If longer , I do try to let the company know so they don't think I am just scamming for clothes. The only reason it takes me longer is because of weather or me being a perfectionist making sure the piece gets its full shine when I put a look together. It's more than free stuff .It is representing a brand and increasing the value of your own so I never take that lightly. Potential collaborative opportunities/companies take notice of how well you work other brands and may be the determining factor in them wanting to work with you. This also helps in a continual collaboration as well. Don't eff up royally, be professional , get great detailed shots, be yourself and you will be fine.
Today's look is the result of a recent and past collab.You may remember this skirt from the For the Birds post last year and if you don't tsk tsk (for shame).It is from Incantare Boutique and is definitely a statement skirt. From its grid infused striped pattern, tie bow at waist , high-low detail, and its flowing train that follows me as I dramatically exit the room justifies any fab lady buying this skirt. I have had many collabs with this brand and it all started with me coming across them one day on the gram. I was so intimidated by the fact that they had such nice pictures I told myself there was no way I would reach out. As I was stalking their page the owner reached out to me *squeals and the rest is history. The owner Terri has encouraged me so much and is one of the reasons I now am confident when reaching out to brands. I owe her so much, muah! Lemme stop, I feel my tear ducts filling up.
My pink and black sweatshirt is the result of a new collab with a designer who creates custom pieces. We have been following each other for almost a year and she caught my eye with the creative children's pieces she created so she captured my interest. We would chat now and then because I like to chat and I admired her work immensely. She then started doing more custom pieces geared towards women and of course I was drooling daily on her page. As luck or the fashion gods would have it she would reach out wanting to work together. I almost responded with a "hell yea girl!", but I had to play to cool because I didn't want to scare her off. The designer's name is Ticarmo, don't you love have that name rolls off the tongue? She sent me this black crop 'custom' sweatshirt with contrasting pink ribbon lace-up details on the sleeve. I had a few sleepless nights trying to think of how to style it and it suddenly came to me. I would play up the pink and add some pattern and texture to the look without overshadowing the top.She is currently building her site so for now follow her on IG to see her latest creations and buy directly @her_ticarmo or her custom page @cut_raw_by_ticarmo.
I got my Karlito keychain over 2 years ago on Ebay but I found a similar one to shop on Etsy here.I figured yall would ask about it.I know I would lol. My fave look always include a thrifted item. Whether nostalgia or sheer individuality not found in fast fashion, thrifting provides a great way to budget and stand out. I lucked up on this mini Kate Spade at my local thrift honey-hole for $3.I have also found a Louis Vuitton speedy there as well. My shoes I scammed for $10 on Shoedazzle a few years ago .I was switching emails every week for that $10 introductory price,didn't we all though?
4.Know your worth and be able to justify it (monetizing)-there are a few ways to monetize which include affiliate programs which require certain qualifications like a '.com' and a certain amount of site visitors and followers. You can still get paid without that or while you build to that level. When a company reaches out, you can let them know you charge a fee upfront. Don't pull a number out of your butt without being able to justify it,dont.do.that. For example if you have a nice following and high engagement, you can state "I do charge a promotional fee that includes a full review, small bio, links on all platforms" etc. They can either say no or yes or but you can increase you chances if you let them know them know your fee is negotiable.It's really just that easy.Like previously mentioned the worst you can hear is a no.Use that to fuel you to work harder , do your research on the company and see if you fit what they are looking for.Above all, don't get discouraged.There is a company that will value you.
Well, that's that! That is all there is to it, well for me. Trust me, these steps aren't hard and I can't imagine a case where being persistent in these steps won't pay off eventually. I jumped in this blogging thing without a lot of insight from others so learning along the way is all I really have. Sharing is caring and I care about helping others achieve success. I care about you guys *hugs.
Can you guess the style maven who inspired this look?
So did anyone guess who my fashion inspiration was today? If you guessed Shiona Turini ,you right yo! Shiona has made her mark in the fashion world.She is a stylist, consultant, free-lance creative director, and contributing editor to The Cut.Yes girl! She is also homies with the one and only Mrs Seat at the Table, Solange and has made her waves through the fashion industry working for the likes of Yves Saint Lauren, W, and Cosmopolitan. She also *wait for it worked on the iconic "Formation" video *sreams and whips my weave.Read more about her fashion trailblazing career here and follow her on IG @shionat if you aren't already!
Did I mention she is an island girl too? *swoons and dutty whines
That's Just Me!
I love fashion, the outdoors, and things on sale.