Thursday, September 24, 2015

Life Lessons: Don't Work for Free

*The following applies to blogging and online written content, volunteering experience is invaluable as long as you gain new skills

Occasionally, as a blogger, I get approached by companies to join their next social media campaign. The punchline is, they want me to work for free. Normally these companies ask you to create an outfit or moodboard inspired by their product and with links to their site, and yet, they have very little to do with fashion, yet they see personal style and outfits as an untapped energy source. In return, they promise to share ‘their favourite outfits’ across various social media streams, which should translate into more exposure for your site, or in the case of a developing brand, your product. But from the outset, they’ve told you they are under no obligation to give you exposure as payment for your work; however, the implication is that there are hundreds of others who are vying for the same opportunity. If they’ve provided a hashtag for their campaign then you can at least check out if they have followed through and the sorts of bloggers who participated in past campaigns.

In my personal experience, being a participant has never translated into more views for my blog and the post itself is visited less than say a normal outfit or moodboard post. It is much better to contact the creatives in your local city, go to events, go out and meet people, ask if they have your permission to photograph either their store, or booth if it’s an exhibition and always collect a business card. When it comes to writing, you can then email them in advance and show them what you’ve done. It’s also very obvious when a brand collaboration doesn’t fit well and when someone has sold-out. If you do want to make your blog a commercial venture, pick your opportunities very carefully and above all, VALUE YOUR TIME. DO NOT WORK FOR FREE- whatever crazy promises they make you. It does not translate into paid work later down the track, the same brand will take advantage of your good nature months later. Ultimately, you are devaluing your work and time by saying you can afford to work for free. This is not a sustainable business model, and you can't feed yourself, cloth yourself or pay your rent in Instagram likes. 

1- Gisele for Chanel, 2- Hayett McCarthy in “Twin Souls” for Modern Weekly China SS 15, photographed by Janneke Van der Hagen. 3- Alana Champion Shot By Daria Kobayashi Ritch. 4- Teen Venus, Awol Erizku, 2013. 5- unknown. 6- Photo by Mehdi Lacoste. 7, 8 & 9- Samantha Pleet SS16 by Amber Mahoney. 10- Opening Ceremony spring 2016. 11- via. 12- Oyster Originals Celeste Tesoriero For The International Woolmark Prize Shot By Ryan Brabazon. 13- magdalena at Kenzo FW11, backstage.


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