Monday, January 2, 2017

Learned Lesson and why I Blog

I posted this photo on Instagram a couple of weeks ago, and finally decided to share my back story. I almost didn't post this. I have worked with so many amazing small shops, and 98% of them are truly the best. This experience has been few and far between, but I thought it was important to share. I have re written this 10 times because I don't want to sound like I'm complaining or being negative, but I did want to share a little story of why I blog.

I started blogging 4 years ago, but really focused on it this last year and was able to grow my Instagram from 200 to over 2,000 followers. BUT to me, followers is just a number, especially with so many bloggers and influencers purchasing followers these days.  I don't do this to gain followers or be a walking advertisement, I just genuinely love blogging. The shops I collaborate with mean something to me... we've formed relationships, my family still purchases from these small shops even though we've been given free product to promote or try out, we receive beautiful, handwritten notes with our orders and we have real conversations.

I don't blog to get free stuff. I don't "shop small" so I can tag 20 shops in my photo to potentially be noticed or reposted. I don't say yes to every company that contacts me. I don't reach out to companies that I've never heard of or don't already follow along with. Here is why....

Recently, I had a shop reach out to me over the summer. They asked if they could send some clothing items for Eloise in return for some photos, a blog post and a giveaway. They were also asking how collabs usually work because they've never done one before. I shared too much,  hindsight is always 20/20, but I shared what I usually do with my collabs and she was so excited. She asked Eloise's size and said the box would ship the next day. Well,  each week I was checking in and started to feel really self conscious about how much I was bothering her, especially because this product was free. She kept telling me she's swamped but she would send it by Friday, or tomorrow, and it eventually turned into us rescheduling to mid December.  Then she blocked me. And then I started seeing other bloggers, that I really love and have connected with, start sharing photos and hosting giveaways with this shop. These other bloggers have 1,000s of more followers than me, so I guess that makes sense for the shop to go with another person. But what really bothers me is that she took my exact plan for our collab and used it with so many other people. That's stealing. I think this could have been avoided if this shop had a plan before she reached out to me. If she had a criteria that she wanted to work with a blogger with 10k + followers, then that's fine. But have a plan first before you steal somebody else's work.

I posted about this situation on Instagram the other day and it opened some doors. I had some small shops tell me that they've sent free product to bloggers that don't even get photos in return and because of that, they are hesitant to even do collabs anymore (which ruins it for the rest of us who are honest and genuinely love doing this.)

I just wanted to give a little PSA to both small shops and bloggers: know who you are supporting before you support. 

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