A little while back, I made some comments on my instagram about a make-up brand, specifically aimed at men, who had chosen a bunch of people I follow as their brand ambassadors. My comments were around their choice of people and their ‘lack’ of skills in the area, which was either met with laughter, with people calling me a hypocrite, or with people telling me I was jealous I don’t get brand deals.
The thing is, at least once a week, based on what I post on my instagram specifically, I end up with a brand in my DMs trying to sell me their products and asking to collaborate with them to increase their business. Sometimes I’ll reply and say no, other times, I just ignore them, and I have my reasons, which I’ll explain now.
You see, I have a set way of living. I have a lot of things I need, and often, a brand is reaching out to me to replace what I already have. In those cases, I usually say no, because I’m not going to lend my name, or suggest to my followers that the products they are trying to push are superior.
One brand in particular, always slid into my DMs whenever I’d post anything about the sustainable items I use from day to day. This can be the aluminium, double walled drinking bottles I have, or my reusable coffee cup, bamboo toothbrushes…there’s a lot I actually do use in a bid to cut out plastic or waste. This one brand, just kept on coming up, and I chose to finally respond to them.
Instead of the usual rejection, I told them I’d be interested in collaborating too, and set about sorting out the details. I was given a discount code to get 10% off my order and they tried to get me to pass this on to my followers immediately. I told them that until I had received the products and had time to use them, I wouldn’t do that, because again, I’m not going to lend my name or my ‘brand’ for them to profit off providing poor quality products.
The terms were agreed upon, I placed my order for two items that totalled $34 and immediately, I kinda felt ripped off, but I was willing to see how it went. From this ‘sustainable’ brand, I bought a reusable coffee maker, and a lunch bag; because I was hopeful that the two weeks before I was going away would be enough for the products to arrive and it would be cute, travelling with family using at least the lunch bag.
These two products, with a $34 price tag, took 5 weeks to arrive. Would I suggest shopping at a company and it taking them 5 weeks to get the products to me? No, not really. What’s more, is that this brand turned out to bit a little shady. The support e-mail didn’t work when I tried to contact them for an update on my order, and what’s more, both products arrived separately. Not only did they arrive separately, but this brand, which touted itself as being American, had sent both products from China.
What happens on products from China? Well, quite often, as with a lot of international post, you get a value for the product inside. Yeah, sometimes the product is listed as cheaper than it was to avoid excessive postage, but when both had arrived, I had apparently only spent $7 on two items. That means that the postage was $27 on these two items? Nah. Neither of them are that big. If I had waited for the lunch bag to arrive before the family trip, I’d have been able to fit in about two sandwiches and maybe two apples, it wasn’t worth it, nor as big as it was shown. The coffee maker, whilst cool in looks, was nothing particularly to shout out about.
The one time I accept a ‘brand deal’, it obviously hasn’t gone to plan. I’m trying to sort it out behind the scenes as it is a little bit of a scam. So ultimately, would I recommend ‘Voguist Reusables’ to any of my followers? No, I wouldn’t. Would I take on another brand deal? With an extreme amount of caution, yes.
The thing is, I am a small time blogger and social media user. My follower count hovers around 950 followers on Instagram, this blog doesn’t always get a ton of views, but I do try and grow my audience any which way I can without compromising my integrity. So, whilst I can say that the people the “make up for men” brand chose, clearly had never put on make-up and looked like the moon from Mighty Boosh; it was more of diluting a brand that is supposed to attract new clients because you can hardly tell they’re wearing make-up which they failed to do.
I try not to attach my name to things that have the potential of failing, or being poor quality, and that’s perhaps sometimes where I go wrong, but at the end of the day ‘Ted Burr’ has been my brand for nearly 8 years, and whilst I have been associated with things that haven’t worked out, they’ve always been of a quality I am often happy with. When I do disassociate, I always make that public knowledge so then anything that occurs following my departure, is not tied to me.
So for now, the only brand I will be working with is my own. The overall Burr brand is what I am happiest with, and is what I am trying to put out there as something cool and fun. Did I just say cool like an old man? Yeah, maybe I did, but it is what it is.
Update: I got a full refund for both items.