When to Say When?

I refused a thousand dollars.

I was recently offered $1,000 for a series of sponsored posts, some social media promotion, a giveaway. Not a horrible brand, but a brand that I don’t own or plan to ever own, a brand that doesn’t fit with Wardrobe Oxygen.

A thousand dollars is a lot of money. It’s a major game-changing sum. It was really hard to say no, but sponsorship is such a slippery slope. I could have said yes, done the posts, done the promotion, taken the money but then what next? When have you gone so far as to truly selling your soul? I know I said I did for the haircut, but that was me being emotional over the realization of how far I had gone. I always need to remember, my blog is an extension of me.

Whether it is a part-time hobby or a full-time profession, a blog is your digital business card, diary, photo album, government background check, resume, scrapbook, and coffee date with your best friend all rolled into one.

Some people have made blogging sponsorships and paid giveaways their job, and to me that’s a different story. Go to Prizey and you’ll find tons of folks who have chosen to make a living with these sorts of opportunities. Thing is, they aren’t trying to pretend as though they care about the brands or their readers, they’re not branding themselves along with the paid reviews. However for personal style bloggers, our business is us. We are what we are essentially selling on our blogs.

When does one stop? How much money does one have to throw at someone to get them to change their values? When does one distance themselves so much from their blog that they don’t blink at a strange partnership if it has a nice price?

I’m glad the brand didn’t offer more, because it would have been even harder to say no. Probably by writing this, I’ll receive fewer offers and that actually makes me happy. There’s too much temptation in the blogosphere to sell your soul.

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  • http://birdybegins.blogspot.co.uk/ Eleanorjane

    Wow, go you! You deserve a chocolate sundae (or a nice pair of earrings or whatever equivalent works for you).

  • kitterlee

    I’m loving this theme: “be true to yourself”, which starts with “know yourself”. I personally love reading your blog because I enjoy your authentic, funny voice and your ideas and advice. I so appreciate that you take so much time to do this service for us. I’m really happy for you, that you’ve had this realization. I hope it brings you peace as well as further satisfaction in doing what you enjoy… in the way you truly enjoy it.

    And… though you turned down this $1000… I bet another offer will come your way that will be a great match for you and the blog. There’s nothing wrong with collecting money for something when it’s truly the right fit. You deserve it!

  • Tutti

    I like you. And your message.

  • Angela

    Ditto what kitterlee said. I like that you are honest.

    It must have been hard to stay true but I think a match will come along that does work
    Happy Easter

  • http://twitter.com/CircleCityStyle Leah B.

    Kind of makes me glad I slacked off blogging for a while, only get about 200 pageviews a day, and haven’t monetized anything. That may or may not be a “yet.” There are just a LOT of ethical conundrums there. It looks to be a relatively passive source of income though, and every little cent helps, so it’s a big temptation. Just so you know, I admire you in your honesty, your message to be true to oneself, and above all, your going public with these struggles. Reminds me of a column I wrote as a student journalist, after going to a student-health conference that was entirely sponsored by Trojan. I was happy for the loot bag, the free swanky hotel stay, free flight, and schmoozing with Dr. Drew, but I was totally upfront with my readers about the whole thing. We’ve gotta always remember, not everybody is going to be so honest or so caring about their paid posts’ effects on their readers.

    Thanks.

  • Daena

    Good for you for sticking to your guns! I am turned off by almost all monetized blogs for this reason. I used to have a fashion blog and received multiple offers for c/o products and sponsorships, but I turned every single one down. When a blogger’s goal is to present “average person style,: but then they have entirely free ensembles and a lifestyle that’s supported by Vaseline, I can no longer relate and lose interest. However, damn, $1,000 is a lot of money!

  • http://awfullychipper.blogspot.com/ Maud

    Great post, great message.

  • Lorena Lorena

    This shows tru character. 1000 bucks smells like a nice leather bag.

  • Kris

    Turning down $1,000 had to be difficult. Congratulations for making such a hard choice. I applaud your ethics and I am sure you could have used the extra cash. When you do endorse a product, website, etc. I will certainly listen to your comments based on this decision.

  • Karina Russell

    I totally agree. I was contacted by the casting director for a spot on a show on a major network. The philosophy of the show went against my values and I couldn’t participate. Good for you for sticking to your values! The right thing will come along soon enough.

  • http://hemsforher.com/ Hems for Her, a.k.a. Katie

    Thanks for sharing and being honest… and respectful. It’s been crazy around these blogging parts the past few days!

  • Jo H.

    It’s not really about the amount of money, is it – it’s whether it squares with your conscience or not.

  • eds_77845

    I’ve quit reading a number of blogs when they became one long commercial. That is certainly an option for a blogger, but it does really take away from how genuine a blog feels. Thank you for what you write…I’ve got quite a few years on you, but your attitude toward style and integrity is truly timeless.

  • http://www.wardrobeoxygen.com/ Allie at Wardrobe Oxygen

    Very true. Karl suggested I title this Indecent Proposal but I think that’s unfair to the brand. Maybe this brand is a perfect fit for someone else and that blogger will be thrilled at such a perfect opportunity to get paid to promote a brand he or she already loves. I guess I am saddened by all these opportunities that take bloggers, many who do it as a job or to support their families, and force them to decide between paying the mortgage or having a clear conscience. And then seeing big bloggers not have an issue making strange partnerships and having newer bloggers think that’s okay and the norm.

  • http://www.wardrobeoxygen.com/ Allie at Wardrobe Oxygen

    And good for you too, Karina!!

  • http://www.wardrobeoxygen.com/ Allie at Wardrobe Oxygen

    $1000 bucks smells like preschool for Emerson or paying off debt too, but I just couldn’t justify it.

  • http://www.wardrobeoxygen.com/ Allie at Wardrobe Oxygen

    I hope the advertisers realize this, because these sponsored posts are coming fast and furious. Brands see bloggers as cheap advertising and I think take advantage of new bloggers who don’t realize the ramifications of taking money for anything and making poor partnerships. All it does is make the brand look bad and the blogger look bad. It’s not to say I won’t do sponsored content in the future, but it will make sense and be a brand I would be proud to stand with.

  • Val

    Good for you! You rock! Here’s hoping this good karma translates to $1,000 partnership from Ann Taylor…win win for everybody!

  • http://www.knosmo.com/ Kelly O

    I actually mentioned you in a discussion about another blogger who kind of went off the rails about advertising. I like that you talked to us about the haircut, and that you share these things with us. It’s not because I “expect” it from you, because I have a little one and I know how far $1,000 would go toward preschool or summer things for her or whatever.

    But it just makes me respect you. And because I respect you, I read your posts a little more closely, because I know you’re not just trying to sell us something, or toss in a reference to Fruity Drink of the Week or Stuff It’s Pretty Clear You’d Never Actually Wear, Inc. just for the extra cash. It has to be tempting, but you’ve expressed my feelings on the subject pretty well.

    I guess what I’m trying to say is thank you. Thank you for treating us like adults, for sharing your thoughts on this, and for fighting the good fight for real women in real clothes going about our real lives.

  • http://www.commecoco.com/ J. Jehanne

    I love this post and agree. I recently said no to 2 offers because they were not a right fit for me. You have to be picky and Im glad you did :)

  • http://www.getfiercestyle.com/ Margaret McGriff

    Good for you! If it was me when I first started out I honestly would’ve taken it because I wouldn’t have known any better. Now the key to long term success is being and staying true to yourself. By turning this down you left room for a bigger and better opportunity to find you!

  • http://www.facebook.com/heather.fonseca Heather Fonseca

    I feel your pain! When I had a lot of freelance workout was easy to turn away the less interesting blog sponsors, but now that I need the money? It’s really hard, and I’m not getting anything near $1000. But if I did I don’t know that I’d have the strength to say no.

  • MamaCheshire

    ^^^^^ THIS.