In 2018, I want to share more of my experiences because I know that when I was starting out, that’s what I wanted to read the most. So I’m kicking off the new year with a Q&A that I did recently for The Fashion Monitor. Here you’ll find my tips on how to deal with brands and agencies when conducting collaborations. If there are more topics that you would like me to cover, please leave me some comments and I will try to answer them on the blog as well.
I’ve had good and bad experiences working with brands, I’ve gotten stuck not knowing how to value what I’m doing and I’ve experimented with different agency representatives – there’s a lot of experiences that we’ve all had that we can share and help each other. So hopefully you guys can start a conversation in the comments at the bottom of this blog and share your experiences so newer bloggers can avoid having to learn everything the hard way!
Thank you so much again for reading guys! Here’s the interview, fresh from The Fashion Monitor!
1. Have you had any bad agency/brand collaboration experiences and if so, what have you learnt from them? Or has the experience highlighted any do’s and don’ts for future potential collaborators.
I think every blogger has. Dealing with these situations is all part of the learning curve, and there are going to be a few advertisers and agencies who you just don’t see eye to eye with.
When it’s just you versus the world, you have to listen to your gut! When you don’t have a good feeling about taking a job but you do it anyway, it often comes back to haunt you – whether that’s poor feedback from your audience or an advertiser who won’t pay, or just an individual who makes life difficult because that’s the way they’re programmed.
I have learnt that open communication is everything. I always ensure there is a clear brief and contract now because it makes everyone accountable. I often have brands requesting far more than what we have agreed to do, but all of that can be avoided when everything spelled out and signed in an agreement.
2. What’s the secret to collaboration success?
When the stars align and you are approached by a brand that you really love and respect, of course it makes collaboration successful because your audience will naturally and effortlessly be attracted to how you style your work – that’s when the real magic happens. Then there is another tier whereby the brand might not be the ‘perfect fit,’ but you can still draw on your creativity to create a great outcome. These two types of situation are easy to make a success out of.
I would suggest that influencers define these two categories and try their best not to take on work where they know that, even if they put a lot of effort into styling, the creative is going to stick out as being a departure from the norm.
And like so many other things in business, it’s all about relationships and personalities. There are brands I have worked with where you just know the positivity stems from the top and everyone is progressive and supportive – these attitudes drive success for both the brand and the influencer.
3. How do you ensure the right balance between creative and commercial?
This is definitely more art than science. And part of that art is creating a base of comfort that means you can get through the quiet times where you’re refusing work that doesn’t fit with your brand. I was brought up in a poor country where very, very few people have the ability to say that money isn’t important. There’s no social safety net in Thailand, so continually finding ways to make money is a way of life there.
I completed two degrees and worked full time for 10 years before I began blogging fulltime, and that means that I have the professional comfort to take the right risks in order to protect my brand.
It also helps to have some really honest people around you. Your mind will play tricks on you, “Oh maybe I could shoot this and it wouldn’t be so bad.” I’m very honest and direct with my close friends and family, and in return they are to as well!
4. What do you think is the future for influencer collaborations?
One thing that brands and influencers have to accept and roll with is that they don’t own the platforms where they appear, and I think a lot of the future of this type of work rests with those platforms. Fashion e-commerce is a huge business, the annual global spend is in the hundreds of billions of dollars. The platforms are going to want to capture more of that spend and therefore I think there will be better tools, more transparency around statistics and some larger percentages taken from advertisers and influencers from the platforms themselves.
But I think this is a great thing – there are a lot of robots and tactics and trickery that really cloud the true ‘influence of an influencer’ for brands wishing to allocate budgets, and I’d love to see the process for advertisers/agencies and influencers occur more on the platforms where I’m publishing my creative.
5. How do you work with brands/agencies to achieve your collaboration goal?
This is simple. We agree on exactly what the deliverables are, we sign an agreement, and then I deliver! And I like to keep things small – no big open date ranges etc. when locking in work. Because the longer people have to work through a campaign, the longer they have to change their minds and alter the brief.
6. What made you decide to start blogging?
I LOVE shopping and fashion. I know that sounds like a given for most girls, but I really am hooked – I get a huge buzz from exploring new trends and pairing outfits etc.
I used to come home and just get online and start browsing through the latest fashion trends and purchasing them for my own wardrobe, until one day my husband said to me, “Since you shop so much, you might as well post some photos of your outfits on Instagram.”
Initially I thought that was such a crazy idea – why would anyone follow me?! But I did it anyway. It was my creative outlet from my dental job at the time, and here we are today!
7. Is there anything in the influencer community that annoys you?
Not really, by in large I have a very supportive network of influencer friends and contacts. Obviously you come across the odd negative comment now and then, but that mostly comes from influencers who deep down are struggling to find their own way.
It is an extremely crowded space with a lot of people doing the same thing. It can get very competitive! But I think there’s enough space for everyone. This is why I always tell people to try to stay true to yourself and not try to copy anyone else – if you can do this and remain focused on yourself and not others, you won’t get trapped in a negative state because you’ll be setting and meeting your own expectations.
8. Tell us something about you we don’t know
I have a computing and dental degree! Yup, and now I’m a full-time fashion and lifestyle blogger! I also love teeth. So If i stare at your teeth, don’t be scared – I’m just quietly judging you… Hahaha, just kidding!
9. How do you switch off?
My husband and I have a rule of no tech in the bedroom. It allows me to really switch off and not have a phone trying to get my attention. We also meditate every morning and every night. It’s been the best thing I’ve ever done for my head.
Also once a year, we go on a strictly non-instagram holiday where I just switch off! I’m Thai, so we usually just go and hibernate in Chiang Mai, a town in the north of Thailand where I ride my push bike around with no makeup on and be a normal person!!!
10. What is your PR pet peeve?
Hmmmm. Probably when I tell someone not to send me any gifts, they send them anyway, then they start emailing me to ask me when I might post something. That drives me a little nuts. But mostly I deal with really nice PR people and go for nice teas and brunches and we get along famously x
11. What has been your career highlight so far?
I think I have created an amazing Instagram community and I can truly call them all my friends. I’m able to travel anywhere and meet up with someone from that country. This is unique to a world where you connect and share with thousands of people across the globe, and I feel really lucky to be a part of that.
Also, I placed fourth in the 2017 Australian Top 50 Influencer Awards. Obviously in this industry its most important to be proud of your work, but when others show some appreciation like this now and then, it does feel really nice.
12. What would say is the hardest thing about being a blogger?
Easy question. Shooting in Winter!!! Oh my god. I never had to deal with this before I moved to London, because Sydney’s winter is so mild. Trying to change and shoot when it’s literally at freezing temperature outside is not fun. Oh and trying to look cute and happy at at the same time is borderline impossible.
13. Where do you see yourself in 5 years’ time?
I hope to continue blogging and sharing my life with my audience and hopefully running a denim shorts label of my own!
14. If you weren’t a blogger what would you be?
I would still be a dental hygienist and still be cleaning people’s teeth! Which I also love. I do miss seeing my patients!
15. The one social network you couldn’t live without?
You know it! Instagram!!!
Thank you so much for reading guys! I really appreciate your time. Please leave any questions or thoughts. I would love to hear from you. xxx
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