We’ve worked with many different small shops over the years but it wasn’t until the last month or so that I realized that we aren’t really cut out for brand repping anymore. So, it’s time for us to move on.
I should start by saying that there are small shops that we absolutely love. The brands, the quality and most importantly, the shop owners themselves who are awesome people just trying to make a living doing something they love. Aside from the handful of shops that we just love too much to leave, we haven’t entered a brand rep search in a really long time. I was trying to cut back over the last year and only entered searches for the handful of shops that I have always wanted to work with. And while we were chosen for a couple of teams we applied for, those teams are actually the reason we are pulling back. Almost immediately, I felt like I had been hired as an employee… An employee that was getting paid in the form of a discount, while being required to make monthly purchases. The shop owners were demanding, condescending and unappreciative. There were times where they would ask us to share a sale and if we didn’t do it within the hour, we were reprimanded in front of the entire team and then told that we would be removed from the team if we weren’t going to follow their terms. So basically, I spent $40-$50 (money I really didn’t have to spare), spent time styling, taking and editing pictures, was required to be on-call to share sales immediately as they were posted (even on nights and weekends) PLUS I had to post pictures of my girls in their items at least once a week for 3 months. I dropped out of both teams during the first month and haven’t entered another search since.
With life happening (I mean, I am the mother of three girls who seem to get sick more often than not, a graphic designer and a small shop owner), I found myself with piles of things that needed to be photographed, going out on shoots in 95+ degree weather and changing the girls clothing 2-3 times a day, then spending an hour or so on editing. I was getting messages from shops that needed pics the day I received the items, some who asked if I could skip them ahead of the rest of the shops, some that required me to reshoot because they forgot to tell me that they needed a specific location or wanted their items styled a specific way… I was exhausted. And like most people, I joined the brand rep community because I wanted to help small shops to get awesome pictures and help them advertise. But I quickly found myself not loving it anymore. I realized that I was devoting hours of my day, taking time away from the things that actually generated income for my family, just to wind up struggling to pay my bills and trying to keep up with “purchase requirements”. And at the end of the day, I felt unappreciated, burnt out and tired of being thrown into drama regularly.
Oh yes, DRAMA! So much DRAMA. Like, if the brand rep world had a reality show, they would have no lack of footage and would need to run for an unlimited number of seasons to get it all in there. It’s seriously out of control. I mean, throw a handful of women into a room and there is bound to be some drama, but throw thousands of protective Mamas and shop owners into a FB group and YIKES! Look out. There are cliques, there are the shop owners that love to throw it in people’s faces that they sell more than newer or smaller shops and there is just constant ridiculous bickering that is almost always blown out of proportion by a bunch of people that should probably mind their own business but love drama too much to stay out of it. Oh and my favorite… SO MUCH ASSUMING instead of just asking questions and getting the truth. It’s gotten out of hand.
So, I’ve made the decision to start our transition from brand rep to social influencer/blogger. And while I’m sure there will still be drama, I will be focusing my time on building our brand and finding ways to make money while promoting companies, both big and small. I will continue to collab with small shops and will always support the small shops that I have fell in love with along our brand repping journey.
I’m not alone. I’ve seen so many posts lately about people “taking a break from repping”. Honestly, it’s a good thing for those that have been in the game for a while to pave the way for the next group. Maybe there just comes a time where we should all move on. We should be using this experience as a way to find our niche. What did you want to personally get out of brand repping? Do you want to pursue photography? Maybe you found a new love for blogging? What is the one thing you have found that you gravitate toward and is it something you want to focus on and possibly make an income from? Food? Fashion? I personally have found a love for writing and photography and will be focusing on trying to turn these passions into income vs. having a room FULL of clothing and accessories (discounted and free). If I spend my time doing something I love, while helping businesses AND make an income, then that will be my happy place. That is where I want to be. I’m incredibly grateful for those successful bloggers that have encouraged me, pointed me in the right direction and helped me to start living this new dream (Shout out to Amber) and I look forward to exploring all of the new opportunities ahead.
Do you think the brand rep community has changed? Has the drama deterred you from entering new searches? Comment below and let me know! Have a topic you want me to talk about? Email us! Make sure to follow us on Instagram @thesmallfashionista, our Facebook page, our brand new Twitter account and our new YouTube channel!