This is not a gossip column. Some of you may have thought that on first introduction to the title of this piece. Nope. If you’re looking for gossip, it isn’t here. But, I will say that I was recently appalled by some smut that was published by some blogger somewhere. I know, I’m very specific. The lack of specificity was intentional. You see, I don’t want to feed the offensive and disgusting smut additional traffic.
Here’s the skinny:
A couple of months ago a “blogger” wrote an article about why everyone should run out and become a brand rep for small businesses because of all of the free swag and clothing. The blog just went viral. Clearly everyone should take this freeloader’s advice and become a brand rep. Oh, and you should go buy a lottery ticket while you’re at it.
This blog left me, as both a small shop owner and the mother of two brand reps, along with countless others, FUMING. To even try to pass off the notion that brand reps are just given free swag, instead of earning it, is both misleading, and more accurately, a totally irresponsible portrayal of the "rep life".
Ok, so some of you are following me and inevitably, some of you are not. What is a brand rep?
Borne out of the small shop community (think Instagram/Etsy) is the opportunity to EARN clothing and/or a discount on clothing, in exchange for promotional and photography services. Let me simplify it.
You want to work in exchange for cute clothing. You apply for your child to become a brand rep for a brand that presumably you actually care about.
The owner of a small brand, a real person, who may or may not have a family to support, chooses you as a brand rep to help them promote their brand, get the word out about products, sales, promotions, and seeks photographs of the items that they created (with their own hands) to promote said items on social media platforms. Phew. A mouthful.
Do not make any mistake about the following notion - brand repping is work. It is hard work.
Imagine running after a toddler holding lemons while trying capture that perfect image of a lemonade outfit.
Traditionally, brand reps are the biggest supporters of shopping small. Their bank accounts are wiped out because they care so deeply about shopping small and supporting real makers, that they actually SPEND money, irrespective of their ability to earn clothing for free.
Wait, a minute. Hold the phone. Brand reps can get stuff for FREE and yet they CHOOSE to BUY stuff???
Yes. Yes, they do.
Brand reps are the real deal. They can make or break a brand. They are the lifeline of a small brand and are essential to help a brand grow. Small brand owners gladly take on reps because they know that what they receive in exchange is so valuable that the extra hours of work they endure is worth it.
Which brings me to my final point. Anyone who has the audacity to STEAL from hardworking makers, and to entice others to do the same, deserves to be ostracized by this community. You, poor soul, have TOTALLY missed the point of what it means to shop small.
If you want to read more about why being a Brand Rep is super cool, for the RIGHT REASONS, click here.
Remember, use #ishopsmallbecauseican to promote the small shop movement! Feel free to share, post, comment, all of the above. I love hearing back from my readers!