When we first started on this crazy brand repping journey, like most people, I had no idea what I was doing. I figured that I would just take some cute pictures of my kids, enter them in any search I could find and hope to get lucky. It sounded so easy. I was so wrong.
We did get chosen for teams, but there was no connection with a lot of them. I didn’t LOVE brand repping because we weren’t getting chosen for the shops that I considered my “dream shops”. As time went on, I realized that I didn’t want my kids to rep ANY shop, I wanted them to rep shops we really loved. So I entered them in less searches. And surprisingly, we weren’t chosen very often and it was even more disappointing because these were shops I looked up to. These were the shops I most wanted my girls to represent. I could have given up. I could have taken our rejection as a sign that we weren’t meant to work with those shops, but instead, I used it as motivation and I accepted the challenge. It wasn’t that they didn’t like us, it was that we weren’t providing them what they needed. So, I changed all of that.
I realized that just admiring a shop and loving them wasn’t enough. How did they know I was out there? We were one of hundreds applying for these spots. What made us stand out?
I started by purchasing a couple of items from each shop. I studied their feed style and I made sure that when we took pictures of their items, that we were taking pictures that would fit within their Instagram feed. We found different spots to take pictures in and tried new things. I focused on my photography and learned my camera. My pictures got better in time and I found a love for photography that I never knew existed. I tagged the shops and I even emailed the pictures to them without them asking me to. I wanted them to know that I loved their shop, discount or not. I wanted them to see what I could provide, if I was a part of their team. It was almost like standing up, in a crowd of sitting strangers (with neon pink on) to let them know that I was here and I was supporting them.
Not only did this get us noticed, but we developed friendships with the owners which was a HUGE bonus that I never saw coming. We got to know each other on a more personal level through FB, DMs and emails. They knew me and Falynn by name and they knew I wasn’t just looking for freebies. They knew I was a huge small shop supporter by the pictures I posted and the number of shops I was tagging. They finally started to notice us and it felt amazing.
And when it was time for their brand rep search, I re-entered. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t go into any of them thinking that we were going to get them all, but I did feel more confident that they now knew what I would provide for them if I was on their team. There are still some that we didn’t get and I continue to work on our pictures and will wait until their next search, but for the most part, we started working with shops that we really and truly loved and it’s been a dream come true.
If you are in a place where you aren’t getting the positions you really, really want, my best advice to you is to never give up. Don’t be afraid to take Enthusiast or Fan positions. Use them as practice and use them as time spent getting to know the shop owner and proving how awesome you really are. Get better! Even the best photographers in the world are constantly learning. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Most shops are more than happy to talk to you, after they have chosen their team, to let you know what you may have been missing. Let them know how much you love them and that you aren’t afraid to work hard to get them the pictures and exposure they need. Not only will they appreciate you for it, but you will get first hand knowledge of what you can work on and that information is invaluable.
I see people complaining all the time that there are reps that get chosen ALL the time. The truth is, that wasn’t an accident and they aren’t just lucky. They worked hard to get those positions. They are constantly improving their photos. They are spending time styling and planning each shoot. They are editing pictures to make sure they are perfect. They are scouting out new locations. They are working on the interaction on their Instagram page. They aren’t afraid to wear neon pink and stand up in a room full of sitting strangers. I encourage you all to be like them. You have the ability to get chosen ALL the time too. I challenge you to try.
Don’t forget to check out more tips for brand reps!