Teara recently hit me up on Snapchat, and asked, “Hey, I was featured four times last week on Express. Express is all I have been wearing for the past 6 years. I would love to partner with Express and be a brand ambassador for them one day. I shop at Express once a week and keep up with the trends and what’s new. I also send pictures through Instagram so I can be featured. It’s my favorite store and I want to get closer to them. I will never give it up because I love it that much. Any advice?”
I sure do! I believe I wrote about this in The Bomb Life, so will include an excerpt from Chapter 6: The Business of Blogging, “In 2013, I got my first ambassadorship with Toyota and my first ambassadorship check. A light went on in my head; I was determined to get as many ambassadorships as I could handle. I got on my dry erase board and wrote down a list of ideal brands. The brands I targeted were simply the brands I used on a daily basis, the brands that I used anyway. Why not get paid to endorse them?”
“My list included Ciroc, Fiji Water, a private jet company, and a few beauty brands. Though not all panned out, many did. By 2015, I was an ambassador for Colgate, Dark and Lovely, Toyota, Ciroc, Palm Breeze, Dominion Charter Jets, and Curel. Each of those deals netted me several thousand dollars each.”
“Though most times brands come to you as they already have someone in mind they want to work with, pitching yourself doesn’t hurt, either. I’ll go ahead and say that I love Net-a-Porter. It is my favorite site because it has authentic luxury goods, the customer service is fantastic, and if you’re last minute (read me) you can get a fabulous outfit the same day! They stock Alaia, Fendi, Givenchy, Tom Ford, Balmain, the list goes on. I have been shopping with them for years and never asking for anything in return. But one day someone from their marketing department got in touch with me, asking me to promote a new project. I had a TV appearance coming up, and had my eye on a very expensive blazer from their store. After sending an email describing what I was going to do, they offered to send me the item, and I became a brand ambassador. Though Fashion Bomb enjoys millions of readers and viewers, the marketing executive undoubtedly saw just how much I shop at the store. Already being a brand fan and being willing to advocate for them without payment is a great step towards getting paid.”
“Also, know that many times, cash payments aren’t necessary. I always look at opportunities as such: Is it going to service my bottom line or my image? If the answer is yes to either, I move forward. ”
“When you have finished a campaign with a brand, it’s not good enough to work with them just one time. You want to work with them for years and secure an ambassadorship check every year for consecutive years. So, do your best work. Interact with the people who hired you. Give them absolutely everything they want. Throw in a little extra. When you’re done with the campaign, send them a summary of how everything worked out. Offer and give as much information as possible. Go over and above.”
“The industry is small and people talk. I once worked with a brand that gave me a nice sized check, which was great, but the people in charge of the brand were super annoying. Instead of allowing me to make something organic that would work the best with readers, they wanted me to participate in a glorified commercial. Not all brands get it, and they don’t want your creativity to flow. That’s ok when they are writing the checks; you also have the right of refusal! I’ll be honest, I gave them attitude. I thought they were too demanding and out of touch. And they never worked with me again. Don’t do this to yourself.”
“Be easy to work with, but also try to go out and find new opportunities. If a brand you want to work with is having an event, go. Show your face. Meet up with whoever is in charge of marketing. Smile. Get their card. Report on the event.”
“It doesn’t always work out. I went to an event for a Chinese watch brand that was looking to expand into the US market. I loved the product and wore it all the time. I contacted their PR, going so far as to call the person in charge. They were slightly receptive for a bit, but decided to ultimately pass on having me as an ambassador. It happens.”
“If you want ambassadorships, it is going to be a constant search for new opportunities. Networking is key. Take time to have those dinners and lunches. A lot of times, brands will want to work with you because they like you and you meld with their brand identity. Go to parties with people, make time for coffee. There are humans behind every brand. Get to know them, and take a genuine interest in them.”
You can read more in The Bomb Life!
And Teara, I’d add that if you want to be an ambassador, find out the contact information for the person in charge of marketing and email or call them. Prepare a deck (also known as a multipage presentation) that shows who you are, what you do, your reach, and your ideas for how you can work with the brand (see Fashion Bomb Daily’s advertising page for ideas).
Figure out what exactly you want from an ambassadorship. Do you want free clothes? Or to be paid to promote their items. Get a clear ‘ask’ together i.e. what it is you want from a brand, and then determine what you are willing to give in exchange.
I think a lot of time millenials might not realize the importance of formal communication. When you send a Snapchat, DM or tag someone in a picture, that is not as effective as taking time to put together a presentation, setting up a time to chat, or arranging for a meet up in person. If you want to go into business with a brand, treat it like a business. You are not approaching a brand as a fan, you’d like to build a partnership with them.
In your presentation, include a slide on who you are, another slide on your social media numbers and reach, another page on the many outfits you’ve worn from the brand, and then propose pricing and what the brand would receive in exchange for their investment in you.
This has gotten long, but last thing: I’m not familiar with Express and don’t know if they have ambassadorships! If they don’t have ambassadorships already, it is possible that they could create something special for you; but maybe they don’t have ambassadors as part of their marketing plan. I think you can hone in on what is is you want from Express: Do you want them to give you a year’s supply of clothing? Do you want them to feature you on their social media channels? Work out what you’d like them to do for you first, then approach them with a compelling presentation!
Also know that sometimes you can create a thorough, pointed presentation for a brand, and they might just not be interested. I’ve worked with a lot of brands, yes, but I’ve also spent time and energy on a presentation that didn’t result in business. It’s ok! Keep trying!
I love Palmer’s Cocoa Butter. It is all I use, but they haven’t responded to any of my requests for sponsorship (or even product!). But when Curel came knocking, I decided to give the brand a try and I love it! Be open to opportunities that come to you also. Be flexible, and ultimately work with brands that want to work with you!
Some brands won’t see you as their ideal covergirl, as much as you rock their clothes or products with confidence! And maybe they never will.
If you keep trying and they can’t see how BOMB you are, then keep it moving and find a brand who will.
Hope that was helpful!
Love + Light,