How I Work With Brands

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River Island Dress (EU link) (US link)
Similar Bag // Similar Earrings

 

Happy Monday everyone! Now that my video schedule has changed up a little, it means that every now and again, I can start the week off here with a chatty post. Still one of my favourite things to do after all these years & all the changes that have come along in the world of blogging. Nothing beats a proper chat with you.

As you might know, we were away in Mexico last week. We had such a fun time & were still able to work as normal and shoot some cool stuff for you. I work with a number of brands on an ambassador basis (more about this soon) and I really really love & strive to constantly create exciting and different content – both for me & for them – and I just knew Tulum would make an amazing backdrop for some of this months collaborations. Have you seen my Tulum post HERE? I still can’t get over how beautiful of a place it is.

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On our last morning right before breakfast, we shot this River Island White Dress that I was wearing at our stunning hotel and I just love how the shots came out. I always say, when I love my outfit, it’s SO easy to shoot it. I always look the most relaxed. Plus there’s something so calming about being barefoot on the sand. It really is the PERFECT Summer dress. I’d been saving it for a trip and I already can’t wait to wear it more & more back here in New York now. I’m usually between a size UK 6-8 and went for a 6 in this one and it fits perfectly. Such an easy style, so comfy and so versatile. I couldn’t recommend it enough!

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While I was away, I totally forget what it was that triggered it, but I really started thinking about how bloggers (and me personally) work with brands. I’ll be the first to say, it’s my job and I’m the most grateful person out there for all the amazing opportunities that come my way, but it has to be said…..the whole situation has gone slightly CRAZY.

I need to have a chat with you about it.

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As I mentioned, I work on an ambassadorship basis with brands such as River Island, CLUSE & Bperfect – to name a few. What this means is that I sign a contract with them (e.g. 3 months, 6 months, 1 year) where I create specific content for them each month and (not with all contracts, but more often than not) refrain from promoting competing brands during that time. So for example, instead of me using one particular hair/tan/mascara brand today and promoting it to you and then another hair/tan/mascara brand next week and promoting that to you aswell…I’ve chosen a brand I love and committed to a long term relationship with them. Of course, sometimes things change and maybe there may be a need to change to a different type of product at some stage but when you’re a brand ambassador at a certain time, you’re committed and I love this.  This means that sometimes I might miss out on jobs with other brands but I made a conscious decision about a year ago that this is the way I wanted Retro Flame to go and I’ve never looked back since. Because I don’t know about you, but I’m sick of the Bullsh*t. (Excuse my French ;))

I’m sick of seeing bloggers & influencers sell out and I sure as hell didn’t ever want to be one of them.

My goal was to find brands I love and convince them to to work with me. That’s basically it with me. I’m very persistent, haha! When I love a brand, I’ll do everything in my power to try to work together because then I know it’s an authentic partnership. If they agree, I’m over the moon and so excited because I know we’ll do great things together.

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But of course, there are brands that come to us and there are one-off jobs we are offered here and there but THIS is where you have to be careful. These are the jobs, if not chosen right, are deadly to the long-term growth of your brand/blog/instagram…whatever you’re posting on. This is the part people forget. They see the dollar sign and forget that the people who follow us always see through everything in the end. If you’re a newer blogger starting out, always always keep this in mind. I promise it pays off. Nowadays, if I do say yes to a one-off job, I HAVE to know I would want it to turn into a longer term partnership. When I know that I’d happily work with this brand for months on end, I know it’s a right fit. That’s my rule…..(& then I keep persisting, haha!).

Personally, when I see someone promote something online that I KNOW is just for money – I hit the unfollow button without even thinking. Likewise when I see brands working with people that are so so wrong for them. Being honest, this sometimes drives me even more crazy.

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Just like all of you, I have bills to pay. New York is far from cheap & I pay a full-time employee here. But this doesn’t mean I can turn into a sell out and promote products to you that I don’t care about. And you know what, it sounds so obvious. Why would anyone do this anyway!? But trust me when I say, I see it before my eyes every single day.

It’s such a shame.

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So I guess what I’m trying to say is that if you’re a blogger, ALWAYS think big picture. Make smart choices and don’t disrespect the people that have chosen to follow you, all for a paycheck. If you’re a brand, please please please only work with people who suit your brand. Do your research & make wise choices. And if you’re a consumer/follower/reader…be SO fussy about who you follow. Always.

Nothing makes me more excited and proud than when one of you send me a picture wearing a dress I told you about or you tell me that you’ve used a discount code I shared and love your purchase. That’s what it’s all about. I’m so proud because I know I’ve promoted something to you that I love.

My Mom buys some of the things I recommend so you KNOW I can be trusted, haha!

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And just to finish off, for every blogger/instagrammer/youtuber out there that is doing things the shady way, there is another one doing themselves so proud. I’d be here all day listing the people I admire in this industry for sticking to their guns and always producing content/collaborations that are such a perfect fit, but for now let me share a few that you might want to follow along too:

Tar Mar
Emma Hill
Jess Ann Kirby
Happily Grey
Ashley Brooke
Brooklyn Blonde
Julia Engel
Lydia Elise Millen
Victoria from In The Frow
Karenbritchick

I’ve definitely forgotten a few and there are so many more I could add in here, but these are some amazing ones for now. These are the girls that keep my faith in the industry.

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This ended up being a longer chat than I expected (what’s new, haha!), but it’s important to chat about these things that so many of us are thinking/wondering about. I hope you enjoyed the read and definitely let me know if you like the dress?

I’ll be back with a brand new video tomorrow so I’ll see you then :)

Erika x

*Thank you so much to River Island for partnering on this post.


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  1. Sheila

    25 June

    Couldn’t agree more. I’m so picky about who I follow and it’s such a shame to see bloggers and content creators selling out, especially when you love their content, but I just don’t want to see those posts in my feed.

    xx Sheila

    https://www.sheilahoneill.com/

  2. I am a new blogger & this post is so inspiring to see that even when you are a huge success you are still being true to yourself and what you love. So lovely to read and I absolutely adore your white dress x

  3. Lucy

    25 June

    Thank you so much for writing this post! It is so encouraging to hear this is an industry so saturated with fake. You are one of my favorite people to follow because you are authentic and real! I can tell you have a vision and goals for your brand. Whenever I see a post or watch your Insta story or come to your site, I know it’s going to be worth the time. Thank you for doing what you do! You’re inspiring.

  4. Meghan

    25 June

    LOVE what you said here & couldn’t agree more. I do a lot of beauty posts and ask that I get to try the product in advance and you’d be amazed how many brands want to contract you and have you turn around content so quickly – before you’ve even tried the product! NOPE, bye! Also totally agree on so many of the bloggers you listed. Jess Ann, Mary & Helena all do it so well.

  5. Marita

    26 June

    OMG beautiful pictures :D i want go there too :D

  6. Shloka

    26 June

    I totally respect how you’ve opened up about this! I think authenticity and trust is so key in what we do and it’s so important that we genuinely believe in the products that we tell our audiences about!

    x
    Shloka
    http://www.thesilksneaker.com

  7. Christina

    26 June

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts around this! I couldn’t agree more. I’m a smaller blogger/YouTuber and not at the stage where I work with brands, but I so appreciate a big creator like yourself being so true to your brand. Thank you for that!

  8. Emer

    27 June

    THIS is why you’re one of my absolute favourite bloggers Erika. You have such an elegance about you and I love how honest and up front you are. It’s disheartening to see so many bloggers/influencers giving the whole community a bad name with their dishonesty, but as you said, for every shady blogger, there’s one doing themselves proud.
    Emer x

  9. Huong

    30 June

    Erika, I’ve followed you for a while on Instagram, but came to your blog looking for one of your outfits to find this post. Thank YOU so much for writing about this topic. I started taking my blogging seriously this last year and a half after not believing in myself for the last decade and EVERY SINGLE WORD you said is sooo true! As a small blogger, I have stuck to my ethics since day one because of the standards I’ve set for my brand and the respect I have for my small following. It’s hard not to “take a short cut” as we all have bills to pay, but I just lose all respect for other bloggers who just “shill” something that’s way off brand for them. It’s so disrespectful to their followers who are essentially their customers, you know?

    I absolutely LOVE Lydia and am so happy you think you conducts herself professionally from a genuine heart. I believe the same about her and it’s why I have no problem supporting her and the collaborations she does because she really is the real deal. I can’t wait to check out the others on your list too! Thank you so much for sharing your heart! I hope brands see that there are genuine bloggers out there who want to partner and create real and fun content for them!

    And yes, I love your dress! I’m a white/linen dress addict right now! xo

    She Sweats Diamonds

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