You’ve read about them. You’ve seen them all over instagram and you are ready to dive in and get your child into the brand repping world.  Only problem is, you have no idea where to start.

A brand rep represents a brand (small or large).  Depending on the agreement, a brand rep is provided free or discounted items in exchange for photos and social media promotion.  If you heard that this is a way to get free stuff for your kids, you heard wrong.  Brand repping is an exchange. You are providing your time and services in exchange for items.  There is nothing easy or free about it.  Check out more about that here.

So you’re ready to dive in and become a brand rep?  Here are some ways to get started:

First and foremost, you need to have an instagram account.  Most will create a dedicated account for brand repping purposes.  This account should be public (though some shops are ok with private accounts, most prefer public so you are reaching a larger audience).  Choose a name that’s fun, that people will remember, that also represents your family or your child(ren) at the same time.

Seek out and follow brand reps that stand out to you.  Make sure to interact with them on their feeds by liking and commenting on their posts. Don’t be afraid to ask questions.  We all started at the same 0 followers and most people are more than happy to give advice or lead you in the right direction! Pay attention to their photography style, how they post and figure out how you want your feed to be organized.  Use the best as inspiration but find your own style at the same time.

Small shops want to know that you are a small shop supporter and not just a person looking for freebies.  Follow those that best fit your style and interact!  Liking and commenting on a shop’s posts is the best way to get noticed.  Start off by purchasing a few pieces and taking pictures.  Tag the shops in all of your pics and caption what you love about them.  This will show that shop what you can offer and show other shops what you are capable of.

Once you have a good representation of photos up on your feed, start entering searches.  I recommend no more than 3 at a time (delete the post after the teams are announced).  You don’t want to fill your feed with brand rep searches.  Your feed should be more about you and your style.   Make sure to read and follow all rules. Each search is different and shops want people who can follow directions. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t get chosen right away.  Most shops are looking for something specific.   If you really love the shop check out what their current reps look like and how they photograph and style their kids.  Show them, through pictures, that you can meet their needs when you enter next time! Don’t give up! It took us three tries before we got to work with one of our favorite shops.  We’ve been working with that shop now for almost a year. Anything is possible if you work for it!

Photography matters!  While you don’t have to have a fancy camera, you do need to have beautiful images.  As a brand rep, it’s your job to capture the item you are repping, in it’s best light…. and lighting is KEY!  Natural lighting is best so no flashes.  We like to take pics in the early evening when the sun isn’t super bright.  Shade is also great!  If you’re little one is squinting because of the sun, it won’t make a great pic, and they are probably not comfortable.  Find a fun spot that they can be themselves and snap away!  Be aware of your surroundings.  Clean, uncluttered backgrounds are best.  The product you are promoting should be the focus of the image.   Make sure that the image isn’t blurry and is beautiful and bright!  Also, make sure the color of the product is as close to real life as possible (one of the reasons most reps don’t use filters on their photos).  Editing software/apps are great too!  You can read more about how I edit my photos with my phone here.

Most importantly, make it fun for your kids.  Bring out the bubbles, play a song and have them dance, take them someplace new… don’t stand them in front of a wall and tell them to smile.  The best photos are genuine photos.  It will be so much easier for you if they are having a blast and you are just capturing their good time.  Just make sure you can see the item that you are promoting.  And if they aren’t in the mood, don’t force them. It’s ok to try again.  Sometimes some food and a nap do wonders!

Join brand rep groups on Facebook and get to know other Mamas!  Some of our favorites are Brand Reppin, Together We Rep, Brand Rep Central, Brand Repping World and CollaborationNation. We have been doing this for years and have come so far because of the help and encouragement from other incredible women.  We all started out small, but with time, dedication and the willingness to grow, we can all make it big.    Good luck!  I can’t wait to see how far you’ll go!

Do you have any additional tips you can share?  I’d love to hear them! Comment below and let me know!  Have a topic you want me to talk about? Email us! Make sure to follow us on Instagram @thesmallfashionista, our Facebook page and our brand new Twitter account!

Featured Image: Glasses from iBetterAccessorize.com and outfit from Wild Rich Kids