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For several years, I worked with a PR firm to promote a music event. They'd provide me with a set of VIP tickets, in exchange, I shared info about the event on social, sometimes hosted ticket giveaways, and shared my experience at the event on Instagram Stories and occasionally on other platforms. I had many people each year tell me they went because I shared info about it, or told me after seeing my Stories they want to go the next year. This year, I saw the event was announced and without being asked to, I shared info about the event on social, excited to attend again. The PR firm then reached out and asked if I'd do a series of shares in exchange for two GA tickets. I said I'd be happy to, I already did share and will do more, but could I get VIP tickets like I did previous years? I'd even share here in my Weekend Reads, host a giveaway, whatever they needed. I loved the firm, loved the event, and loved how VIP had non-porta potty bathrooms and a covered area where you could see the stage in case of strong sun or rain.
“I'm sorry but we're only giving VIP tickets to influencers with a minimum of 25,000 Instagram followers.”
But I regularly write about and share live music. I have a large following on my other platforms. I had fewer followers last year and got VIP tickets. We've been working together for years, you know I provide great content. Let's not even get into how I know several of the influencers you will likely give tickets to have bought followers. You can't make an exception?
I was mad. I was sad. I was frustrated. I hate to admit this interaction made me cry. GA is lovely, but why this year am I only GA worthy? I work so hard and I am dismissed because of one number on one platform. Maybe I'd buy two VIP tickets with the money I make from my blog, I'd show them. But would I? Seriously, what would that prove? Did I even want to go? Or did I just want to go so badly because I was denied?
The Universe (or a scheduled newsletter program) provided an answer in my inbox with notice that Brittany Hennessey, the woman behind the bestselling book INFLUENCER would be holding a brand-building workshop the same day as this music event. I bought a ticket right then and there.
This was the best decision. It pushed me out of the angry/jealous/vindictive mindspace. It had me busy the day of the event so I wasn't on Instagram looking to see who got the tickets instead of me. Instead of spending money on an event I wasn't 100% excited to attend, I used that money to improve my business. And I ended up benefitting even more from this decision.
I won't go into detail about this workshop because Brittany deserves to be paid for the knowledge that she drops in it. It's not a fancy polished conference with swag bags and branded workbooks; it's an honest, intimate session with Brittany, her expertise, and a dry erase board. She kept the workshop small so we could all ask personal questions and get personal responses and she could tailor the content to our needs. And that she did; I received more from this one-day workshop than I have for multi-day conferences or online courses costing four times as much. I left feeling so positive about this blogging career. And I left realizing I didn't get those tickets for a reason.
How will two VIP tickets to a music festival improve my career? I would spend a weekend away from my family, spending money, likely drinking and eating what I don't need or especially enjoy. I'll stay up too late and struggle the next day. I need to focus my time on things that bring me true joy or benefit my business. I need to keep this in mind for all opportunities I receive through this job. The time it takes for pitching and emailing back and forth, the occasional call, the proposals, the contracts… that is money. And if I take in all those hours, is what I received from a brand, whether it's two tickets or contracted money for a collaboration… is it worth it? As I shared in this post about how blogs make money, am I making as much per hour as I would as a barista?
So yeah, last Saturday ended up being pretty fantastic, even if it didn't include live music. And sometimes the universe, or a higher power, or your inbox can through you a big lesson at the perfect moment.
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Not a weekend read, but I tried a couple of pieces from the Atlantic-Pacific for Halogen collection at Nordstrom. I love Blair from Atlantic-Pacific, I've been following her since almost the beginning and find this to be one of the best influencer collabs out there. I ordered the faux leather pants in both brown and black, and this sweater in Brown Light Heather. I liked other pieces but these felt like the ones I'd get the most wear from. I am returning all three, but not due to quality. The sweater is thin and was too large, which caused the gold buttons to weigh down the top of the sweater and hang weird. I think this sweater would be great if more fitted and on a smaller-busted body. The pants are really good for faux leather. They're soft (a soft lining, but soft outside too), stretchy, and have a great fit. However, at 5'3″ the kick flare hit at the right place and hemming them would ruin the leg shape. But if you're considering this collection, the quality is quite good, comparable to typical Halogen quality. Have you tried the line? If there are any winners or items that need a warning, do share them in the comments!
What a terrifying read. Aja Newman went to the emergency room for shoulder pain. Her doctor was a superstar. What’s the worst that could happen? (The Cut)
Items regularly used in fashion, like hangers, buttons and plastic packaging wrap, are being replaced as the industry works to become more sustainable. A peek into the brands looking to reduce their plastic consumption and the companies creating plastic alternatives. (Vogue Business)
I stayed at a microhotel last summer (Moxy to be specific) when I went to NYC for a brand event. The room was so small, the chair and table were a folding style hanging on the wall because once open you couldn't get out the door. The bathroom was essentially a shower with a toilet at one end, the sink in the hallway to the door. No drawers, no closet, just hooks on the wall. Not the most romantic room, not great if you're planning to work or entertain in your room, and not the best if you're a larger person but a great concept for saving money and forcing you to experience the hotel and the world beyond it. I think it's a great idea especially for GenZ and early Millenial travelers. Needless to say, I found this piece on microhotels interesting. (Washington Post)
Trying to figure out what to wear for Halloween? Consider renting a costume or offering costumes you own for rent. This is such a cool concept! Right now most are in DC but they do have some offerings in other parts of the US. (Trove Costumes)
Are you watching The Politician on Netflix? We're in about six episodes. I didn't love the first episode but I've grown to look forward to what's coming next. The show is beautiful to look at, I love McAfee's suits, and I love the inclusive cast and sexual fluidity and how it's a given, not the plot. Speaking of McAfee's suits, this article interviews the show's costume designers (W Magazine) and this article is an interview with Laura Dreyfuss who plays McAfee (Marie Claire).
Nice to see a high-end designer offer a variety of calf sizes for her boots! (Fashionista)
Thrilled to see the decline of the It Bag. (Quartz)
“I don't know anyone else's plight. I can just say, for me, the minute that I stopped worrying about what other people thought, and stopped catering to the fears that are taught to you—the minute that I let all that shit go—that's when I started, like: Oh, that Chanel belt? I could wear that. That Chanel hat? I like it. I could pull that off.” Love seeing Pharrell on the cover of GQ's masculinity issue and adore this interview with him and the discussion of modern masculinity. (GQ)
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For Your Entertainment
I saw Jessie Reyez at the Firefly music festival and she totally blew me away. I didn't really know her beforehand, but her set turned me into a fan. I heard her song Far Away before the video… well the video made me a superfan. This is why I love music videos and sharing them along with the songs. They can be beautiful, tragic, uplifting, powerful, inspiring, and heartbreaking. At the end a link is shared; you can access it right here.
Huzzah to you for making lemon-aid out of them lemons. Queen Bey herself would be proud 🙂 Also, thanks for the heads up re the Atlantic-Pacific collab. I ordered Trunk Club from your link and have some of those pieces in there. I’ll let you know how I fare!
Alison Gary says
Awesome, do let me know!
Received my first Trunk Club and it had a few pieces from the Atlantic-Pacific collaboration — all excellent quality AND super cute. The overall Trunk Club experience was even better. It exceeded my expectations. While more expensive, I will never do another Stitch Fix. The pieces I received were carefully curated and amazing. I had a *very* hard time only keeping three items, even though I buy almost all of my clothes second-hand these days. Thank you for the great recommendation. I believe we even had the same stylist since we are both here in the DMV — Kelsey?
Alison Gary says
Yes Kelsey! She’s great and I am so glad you had such a wonderful experience!
Claire May says
Silly silly music event! Sounds like it all worked out for the best – better actually. I love that you asked for more than GA and pushed them hard for what you deserved. Their loss.
Alison Gary says
Thank you Claire!
Nicole K says
Aaargh! This world we’ve created is somewhat frightening, isn’t it? You are such a brave, intelligent and creative human being, your actual influence is making the my world a little better every time I read you or see a post! Wardrobe Oxygen 4 Evah!!!
Alison Gary says
Thank you so much Nicole!
Non-influencer here. You’ve inspired me to clean up my Instagram feed. I had followed people because they followed me, though most would quickly unfollow. I didn’t realize they were doing it to game the system when I first started using Instagram. I am now unfollowing a lot of the accounts because it’s not fair to people like you who gain followers honestly. And I don’t want to give my energy to those who don’t play fair. Though Instagram may be cracking down on this type of thing. I am currently unable to make any new changes to my Insta because I unfollowed too many accounts. Oops!
Alison Gary says
Oh no, they punished you for doing the right thing? Silly Instagram! But I am so glad. I hate that follow/unfollow crap it’s so rude. I do sometimes follow people and then after a week or so realize it’s not a good fit but never to try to game the system and get more followers. I’m so glad you figured it out!
I emailed Instagram and got it sorted out. But the process was eye opening. Pretty sure I never voluntarily followed a Russian language dentist or a personal injury lawyer in Barbados! I had stopped using Instagram for a while because my feed was so cluttered and now I can see the content I want, including yours! Much better.
Glad to see the “it” bag fade.
Years ago I had a Coach bag that I saved several months to buy, and the first week I carried it someone mugged me on the Metro. That was the end of name bags for me. I might have a buttery leather wallet or a cute name-brand crossbody, but my everyday bag is a big nylon tote that won’t attract attention.
Alison Gary says
Oh no that’s awful! I have been anti-It Bags since I had a bag I saved up for and a bottle of breast milk I pumped at work busted open inside it. I realized my life is too messy for a bag I need to baby more than my baby!
Kirsten Keim-Shendge says
I feel your frustration – on a slightly different level. The organization I supply blog content for has started to use younger influencers (with larger Instagram followings). They promote them differently and more aggressively than they do with my content. My impressions on their Facebook page are still considerably higher, since I feel their Facebook followers skew older than their Instagram audience. I’m struggling to stay relevant and produce content for my thrifty fashion for passion (while having a full time job, busy kids, etc). You’re such an inspiration for going out on your own and forging your own blog path. I still want to cling to the security of working for someone else and have let my own blog languish in oblivion. I keep saying “someday” I’ll make an effort to revive it. You made the right choice for spending your time and seeing Brittany.
Alison Gary says
I think brands are slowly realizing that they’re racing to attach to social media trends without realizing the trends aren’t right for their audience. I started seeing it this summer, brands that would completely ignore me because I am too old, too large, too small of an Instagram following, etc. start to pay attention because I have an engaged and trusting audience and won’t promote just any product or brand. I hope that organization gets their act together and realize each channel is a different audience and needs different content to support it. Facebook skews older in general than Instagram, and they are more likely to respond to calls to action and great article titles. Good luck!