this topic makes me so happy!!!!!
i've had the absolute HONOR to work with some incredible brands since starting allie rose co. i often get asked how the opportunities came up, if i reached out to the brands or if they reached out to me, how deals work, and so much more. & one thing about me is i LOVE transparency on things like this. because i'm nosy. so this blog post was born :-)
the first brand i ever worked with was rollo. rollo is my tried & true thermal printer that i use to print packing slips & shipping labels and it's what i still use today! this was the first brand to reach out to me regarding a collaboration. since then i've worked with brands like adobe, intel, privy, pro world, press hall, got print, and so many more! let me explain to you how they all happened.
i'm always extremely nosy when seeing other people work with brands. it think it roots itself in a little bit of jealousy- i know that's bad, maybe i shouldn't be admitting this on here lol, but i think this is a common theme in social media - but also curiosity on how it all played out. i would be so happy for my other small business friends when they got a collab with super cool brands and always wanted to try it out myself. i really love content creation. not just for my business, but in my personal life i would looooove love love to be an 'influencer' (i hate that term but u get what i mean) and make content as a side hustle. so having a business and being able to promote products i love felt like the best of both worlds!! so i started creating content for brands on my own.
i realized that brands weren't reaching out with me to work together because i wasn't giving them examples of what i could do for them. a portfolio, if you will. on my tik tok, i was only posting products from my site and talking about my shop. once i started showing people business essentials and products i loved on social media, i realized brands started to notice. it took a while, and it didn't happen all at once, but slowly over time i got emails from companies. and i'm not saying this happens often. i am no alix earle. HOWEVER, every couple of months i will get a collaboration opportunity that makes me super excited :-)
what i'm saying is post as if you already work with that company. yes, it's free marketing for them and you should technically be compensated for it, but you might in the future so it is worth it to do it now! post unboxings, post reviews, talk about what you like or don't like about a product, walk us through your favorite products in your work setup. the options really are endless. & talk about it often! if you really love something, the more you talk about it, the more people will believe the hype and want it for themselves. & tag the brands in everything. make it casual. you don't need to bombard them with content when they don't even know you exist, but it's common for brands to see and comment or like your post, getting you on their radar.
take my under desk treadmill for example (disclaimer that i have never worked with the actual brand that makes the treadmill! i got it off amazon and make commission through my amazon storefront). i am literally obsessed with it. if you follow me on any social media accounts, you've probably seen me talk about it. but it's because it's seriously the best!!! i posted about it when i got it purely for fun and to encourage people to get it for themselves. i added it to my amazon storefront and ended up making over $2,000 from people buying it themselves. what!!!! easiest money ever. (this is also your sign to make an amazon storefront. it's the easiest most consistent stream of income). i posted videos about it before realizing i could make money from it. i just genuinely wanted everyone to get one. when you post about something consistently and show people your love for it, they become convinced to get it for themselves. and when brands see you promoting things you love, they want you to promote their products with the same amount of excitement.
this brings me to my next thought about working with brands. it's super important to only work with brands you actually like. i feel so strongly about this!!!! it's so easy to get sucked into working with a company simply for the cash grab, regardless of if you have ever even used their product. but if you promote something you don't genuinely enjoy, people can tell. for me personally, it makes me feel slimy and schemey (i have no clue if that is a word), and i take pride in my followers trusting my advice, so the thought of advising them to get products i wouldn't use myself outside of the collaboration feels wrong. you guys are my friends and i want to show you what i truly think is worth your hard earned money to spend on!! (cue this line) so please please please, test out products before agreeing to create content. it's more common to work with a company after you already have their product, but sometimes a company will reach out to you to send you a product you've never used before. it's okay to tell them you'd like to test the product out first because you want to give honest feedback to your following. for me personally, this is why i prefer to work with brands i already own items from!
soooooo how have collabs worked for me in the past? most all of the brands i've worked with have reached out to me through email or instagram DM. make sure your email is easy to find on your social media because i find email to be most common and official! i don't know exactly how i expected to be reached out to, but i always thought it was extensive and intimidating. most of the time it is literally one email! super casual.
so while most of the time opportunities happen organically through email, i have no shame admitting that i have reached out to companies in the past to work together. & i encourage people to do it! i think there's this shame and embarrassment behind it because you fear they'll say no or you'll look dumb if your email/DM goes unanswered. both have happened to me 😌 it's normal and shouldn't deter you from reaching out to other companies in the future. i literally emailed target once. who do i think i am? all of this is to say that if you love something enough or think you can add value to a company by promoting their product, TRY. try to get ahold of them. show them content you've made about it. ask if they have collaboration opportunities. ask for their marketing email. and if they say no, at least you're on their radar now.
take plufl for example! plufl is a human dog bed that i came across on instagram. they ended up being on shark tank and got pretty big, but i somehow found them before they blew up (this is like when you find a niche indy singer before they get big and you're the OG fan and hate when people claim to be big fans of them because no one can be a bigger fan than an OG). any who, i went out on a limb and DMed them on instagram after following them for a month or so. i know i said i prefer to work with brands that i already own products from, but this one was an exception and it felt right. i really felt like i could connect their product with my followers because i know a lot of my followers are fellow business owners that work from home. who wouldn't want to work from a plufl? not me, as i currently type this while laying in my plufl. so i explained that to them. i told them why i thought it could work, what kind of content i'd like to provide them, and what my followers are like. they were a startup at the time and had no experience working with influencers, so i wasn't expecting a response honestly. but ALAS! they got back to me. and we got on a phone call. and worked out some things. and they told me they would send me a plufl. and i got it and fell in love. and uploaded a video on tik tok. and it is now sitting at 3.4 million views. that is my most viewed tik tok to DATE. and it's thanks to a DM i almost didn't send.
JUST SEND THE DM.
your follower count doesn't matter as much as you think it does either!!!! this is a huge misconception. yes, more followers means more eyes on your posts, but a lot of companies would rather good content. they care about the quality of your work and your connection to your followers, not the amount of people seeing it. i've seen it myself even, working with influencers to promote ARC. the most successful coupon code i have is from someone with around 2,000 followers. and i've worked with influencers that have over 75,000! so don't think you aren't 'official' enough to make content for a company. quality > follower count!!
last thing before i end this because i didn't realize it is getting extremely long: it's important to reach BACK out to a company if you liked working with them. i applied to make tik toks for got print through a link they uploaded on an instagram story. it was super casual. they emailed me saying they were interested in working together and we got a contract signed and i uploaded my deliverables. it was a collab for one set of videos, but i loved the products and quality of their printing so much that i was like 'we should keep this going.' so i emailed them just yesterday saying that i enjoyed working with them and loved the products and asked if they had availability to continue a partnership. and they did! the person in charge of influencer marketing is probably so busy with so many influencers that your name could be unintentionally brushed under the rug. it's important to show your interest to land longer collabs!
after writing all of that i feel like i need to say that of course working with brands isn't something you must do as a business owner. it can help financially a ton if your business is in a slump, and it can also be so much fun. but i don't want someone who's reading this who's not interested in content creation outside of their own business think that it's a must. it's a personal preference that i happen to love!
PHEW. that was a lot of words. if you're still reading this, 1) i am so impressed by you and 2) thank you. i enjoy writing blog posts so much (way more than i anticipated!!!) so really - thank you so so much. if you have any more questions regarding brand deals and anything of the sort, feel free to DM me on instagram and i will do my best to answer your question or i can make a pt. 2 to this post!
love u so much,