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Brand Repping: The Most Expensive + Most Rewarding Hobby

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When people initially talk about brand repping, they hear that it’s an easy way to fill up their child’s wardrobe with small shop items, for FREE, in exchange for snapping a picture or two of your child in the items and posting those pictures on Instagram.  They don’t tell you about all of the hard work and the costs involved. They don’t tell you about the dedication it takes, the time you have to invest and the true passion for small shops that you have to have in order to succeed.

Not many wake up one morning, start an instagram account and get chosen to be a brand rep immediately.  For most of us that have been in the brand rep world for a while, we had to work for it and we had to spend money to get to where we are now.  When I started out, I was taking pictures with my cell phone and each picture I took was amazing… I thought.  I would quickly take a picture with my phone, add one of Instagram’s filters and post it.  I was sure that I would get hundreds of likes on that picture because I knew how beautiful my daughter was and it was a matter of time before everyone else noticed her.  Sound familiar? I entered as many searches as I could and although we did get chosen for a couple, it wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be.  I was lucky to get 20 likes on each picture and we were lucky to get chosen for one out of every 20-25 searches we entered.  Of course, I was disappointed but I also took it as a challenge.

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Bracelets: The Loved Peg, Pants: Ella B Denim, Shoes: FabKids

I started following the rep accounts that seemed to get chosen often and learned that brand repping wasn’t as easy as I assumed it was.  I started spending more time taking pictures. I purchased various small shop items from some of the shops I loved and made sure to pay attention to the styling aspect instead of just throwing something on.  I paid more attention to my daughter’s hairstyle, her shoes and to the background of our photos. I stopped pulling my daughter outside in our driveway to take pictures.  We began exploring the neighborhood and finding fun places to take pictures.  I started using my camera more and my phone less.  I even researched editing apps and worked on my favorite pictures to make the lighting better and learned how to fix the food that my daughter always seemed to have on her face when we would take pictures.

Eventually, I invested in a 50mm lens.  GAME CHANGER! My pictures suddenly went from Mama taking pictures for fun to Mama looking like she actually knew what she was doing.  People started commenting on how much better my pictures were.  I started to find a new love for photography that I never knew existed (although I had taken some classes in college).  The more I took pictures, the more I wanted others to see them.  I started buying more and more small shop items. I would look for sales and try to get enough pieces each month to have enough to take pictures every few days. I set myself a small shop budget and spent two or three times my budget every single month without fail.  But I was taking pictures and tagging shops and shops were finally noticing us, so I tried not to think about the cost.

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Beanie: Logan M Styles, Tee: The Pickled Popsicle, Pants: Rustic Pickle, Shoes: FabKids

I stopped entering every search we saw and instead, entered only our favorite shops, a couple at a time.  I knew quite a number of reps that were working with 40-50 shops at a time and while that seemed amazing, I knew that I wouldn’t be able to devote myself to that many shops, so I set a limit of 5, though I’m pretty sure we surpassed that quicker than I thought we would.

We found a new addiction in Dr. Marten boots.  At one point, my daughter had 10 pair.  I mean, we NEEDED them in every color, didn’t we?  All of the popular reps were wearing them. And those suckers aren’t cheap (although we did score a number of them for a really good price). I took solace in knowing that I would be able to sell them as soon as she outgrew them, so although we wouldn’t make back all of the money, I could justify spending on them.

Once I mastered my 50mm, I tackled manual shooting.  It terrified me.  I promise you that it was something I was 99.9% sure that I wouldn’t be able to do.  Up until that point, I had been shooting on action mode because my toddler didn’t stand still and it was the only way I could take pictures fast enough.  I spoke to a couple of people, decided to learn one camera setting at a time and really started to feel like I knew what I was doing, finally!  As my pictures got better, so did my desire to want to keep getting better.  I purchased a 35mm lens and really took my photography to another level.  I joined more and more teams because I wanted to take pictures daily and it was the only way to afford it.

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Dress: Tyke Supply

Through our journey, which started in August of 2015, we have found a number of shops that we absolutely love.  Each time they have a new release, I have to shop.  We currently work with 20 shops and I’ve considered adding a few more.  When we get chosen as a rep, that doesn’t mean we are just getting free things.  For most shops, that also means I’m purchasing on a monthly basis, not because they require us to, but because repping isn’t about free stuff. It’s about supporting and helping to promote shops that you really and truly love.

Now, if you’re keeping track up until this point, my fun hobby that would get my daughter free clothing has cost me thousands of dollars.  I won’t even attempt to add it all up because the final numbers would probably terrify me.  What I will tell you is, that although brand repping has become a very expensive hobby, it’s become even more rewarding.  Each day, for the last year or so, I have really bonded with my youngest daughter.  We turn pictures into adventures.  We may walk around and find “treasures” or we may ride bikes to our final picture taking spot.  We may drive and look for fun new places or do it right in our dining room.  No matter where we are, we are together.  It’s time that we aren’t on our phones, or sitting in front of the t.v. We are talking, laughing (and there’s a lot of that going on), dancing and I get to capture every moment with my camera.  Years from now I will have thousands and thousands of pictures of her that we can look back on.  I will be able to see her growing up right in front of the camera.

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Glasses and Bracelet: iBetterAccessorize, Top: Little Harts and Arrows, Pants: Ella B Denim

And what’s more, I’ve made so many friends in the brand rep community.  Most of these people I have never met, and will probably never meet, but they are some of the most incredible people.  They are people that I can count on to listen when I have a bad day. They are people that will support and promote my shops, even if they aren’t on my team.  They are people that I can call and chat about anything with.  They are people I can get advice from and give advice to.  They are people that I feel like are my family because we are watching each other’s children grow through pictures.  I can’t think of any other hobby where I would be able to meet women like these and I’m so very grateful for each and every one of them.

My advice to those of you that are thinking about getting into brand repping is this…. don’t do it for the free clothes.  Chances are you will spend much more than you receive in free merchandise.  Do it to support all of these hard working small shop owners.  Do it because the thought of capturing pictures of your kids is something you know you would love and you aren’t afraid to dedicate the time.  Do it because you want to meet people across the world that also have the same passion as you do.  Do it because it’s the most rewarding hobby you will ever have.

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Beanie: Logan M Styles, Tee: Trilogy Design, Pants: Ella B Denim, Boots: Dr. Martens

If you have been considering getting your child into brand repping, here are some things you should consider first.

XOXO
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40 Comments
  • Shannon Gurnee
    June 5, 2019

    Brand Repping is definitely an awesome career to have! Way to go for tackling the camera. Your pictures look great!

  • Ntensibe Edgar Michael
    June 4, 2019

    Yyeeaahhhhh….many of us never get to know what’s happening behind-the-scenes when it comes to these things. You’ve done a good job sharing about it.

  • Beth
    June 2, 2019

    Your daughter is so cute and your photos are great! I think a lot of people will appreciate your insight into what it is like to be a brand rep.

  • Heather Barber McMechan
    June 2, 2019

    Glad you found your thing through brand repping and photography. It can be rewarding for sure.

  • Angela
    June 2, 2019

    Your pictures are great! I still use my iPhone for my pictures because it is just more convenient and I edit them manually, I don’t use filters. Anyway, I agree that it is expensive to get started and it is certainly not easy!! Instagram is very tough platform work on so kudos to your success!!!

  • Emmanuel Damian
    June 2, 2019

    I love your daughter’s outfit! She’s so adorable. She’s full of confidence too!

  • Swathi
    June 2, 2019

    Your daughter is cute, she looks gorgeous in all outfits. I agree with you working for free merchandise is not worth time and effort. But the same time I would love to do what is my favorite.

  • Mavs Escala
    June 1, 2019

    Oh my god. Her outfits are all pretty! I love her boots!

  • Becca Wilson
    June 1, 2019

    I love when posts behind a brand are so authentic. You can really feel that energy and passion especially in your photos. I have been following you for a long time!

  • Celebrate Woman Today
    June 1, 2019

    What a powerful post it is!
    I felt your PASSION for what you are doing daily resonating in my own cells.
    Your energy is so TRUE, hence it is so POWERFUL.
    I loved reading through and reflect about how I got where I am, and what I need to do more of.

  • Annemarie LeBlanc
    June 1, 2019

    Your daughter is beautiful! I love how she can pose for those photos! It looks like she is a professional at her age. I should try doing this with my grandson. We’ll practice taking photos tomorrow. 🙂

  • Lynndee
    June 1, 2019

    She is such a cutie. I love taking pictures of my son too so if ever I’ll do brand repping, I’ll totally enjoy being my son’s photographer. 🙂

  • Jennifer
    June 1, 2019

    Your daughter looks adorable! I agree being a brand rep is rewarding but it’s also exhausting and it’s also expensive sometimes. Good job for you mom!

  • Toni | Boulder Locavore
    June 1, 2019

    This is really a helpful post! Love your cute photos!

  • Marina
    June 1, 2019

    She’s adorable and I love the pics and most of the way she poses! Girl power! x

  • Catalina
    June 1, 2019

    I love that your daughter seems to be happy and enjoying what she is doing. She is fabulous!

  • Theresa
    May 31, 2019

    Your daughter seems to love helping mama with her brand repping. Even if you haven’t broke even yet, those memories your making with her more than make up for it!

  • Amy
    May 31, 2019

    Wow, this is super cool! I love the fashions that you have outfitted her in, in these pics!

  • Jamie H
    May 31, 2019

    Your daughter is adorable! This sounds very familiar to my idea of getting rich by blogging! But it’s awesome that you’ve learned so much and strengthened your relationship with your daughter!

  • Teresa https://www.tiarastantrums.com
    May 31, 2019

    Your daughter seems to be really enjoying all the time with you taking photos. I used to do this when my duaghters were younger and they really enjoyed the time too

  • Amanda
    May 31, 2019

    Not gonna lie, brand repping isn’t for me. Too much pressure and work.

  • Sarah Bailey
    May 31, 2019

    What some fun photos – I can imagine it is such a fun thing to do but yep could definitely cost a pretty penny or two which is a shame.

  • Kori Tomelden
    May 31, 2019

    I love the personality in these photos, what an awesome little model you have there! And I had a favorite pair of Dr. Martens growing up.. several of them actually.

  • Sarah Blevins
    May 31, 2019

    All of this is so true! It’s such a great way to help our these small shops too! I know the ones we work with love the support!

  • Tasheena
    May 31, 2019

    Thanks for giving a sneak peak of what it’s like to be a brand rep. When you’re referring to the 35mm. Are you referring to the Sigma 35mm F1.4 Art DG HSM Lens for Canon?

    • Heather
      May 31, 2019

      Yes! That’s one of my favorites.

  • Pam Wattenbarger
    May 31, 2019

    I have a couple of friends who are brand reps for various products, or their kids are. It can definitely be expensive but it seems like an amazing community.

  • Brianne Tursi Manz
    May 31, 2019

    Dare I say you have a fashionista on your hands? I love your photos and it shows you’ve put in a lot of work in getting great pics of your adorable daughter. Yes, brand repping is a lot of hard work and some disappointment sprinkled in.

  • Melissa Chapman
    May 31, 2019

    These are all great tips and I try to take pictures that will be exciting and high quality. I have a lot to learn and this info does help. Your daughter is the best subject!

  • Catherine
    May 31, 2019

    Wow, I would have had no idea there was so much cost involved in brand repping for children’s brands! Thanks for allowing a sneak peak behind the scenes.

  • Stacie
    May 31, 2019

    This is excellent information for anyone mulling over this idea. Not many people realize that the free clothing is only the start. It takes a lot more than that.

  • Alexandrea Harrelson
    May 31, 2019

    This is such a spot-on post and I have to say the pictures are ADORABLE! Love that you have chosen to support these business owners!

  • Amber Myers
    May 31, 2019

    I just love the photos you take! I need to get a better camera. Honestly, I mostly use my iPhone but I’ve been wanting to branch out and use a real camera. My daughter loves to take photos and she has been asked by companies to wear or use their stuff, so I want to branch out and learn more about photography so we can be sure to share quality photos.

  • Colleen
    May 31, 2019

    That is so true. Brand repping usually won’t make you money, but it will make some great experiences and cool looks.

  • Myrah Duque
    May 31, 2019

    Wow, this has become so different from when my daughter was a child! These pictures are gorgeous and your daughters have an amazing talent!

  • Gisele
    May 31, 2019

    Wow, this is certainly different from when I was a child and my Mother made most of my clothes. I’m sure your daughter loves it and yes it is expensive. The fact that you can do this for your daughter is awesome! Your photos are beautiful!

  • Jeanette
    May 31, 2019

    Oh my gosh you have the cutest pictures! I totally understand how it can be very expensive to represent a brand. It is something I’ve looked at and decided that it was too expensive to do it.

  • Alli Smith
    May 31, 2019

    She’s adorable and your photos are awesome! I remember when I started shooting manual. It was a game changer.

  • Krystle
    September 21, 2017

    I just love this. I really enjoy ready your blogs. I feel you are really easy to relate to!!

    • TheSmallFashionista
      September 22, 2017

      Thanks so much Krystle! That means the world to me!

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