As small businesses ourselves, it can be extremely rewarding and valuable to align ourselves and work together with other small businesses. Forming great relationships with brands and companies doesn't have to mean big brands and big companies. In fact, depending on who your reader is and what your style is, “big” may not be right for you. Small, local, and/or independent businesses are often a great match for all kinds of projects, whether they be in the vein of editorial, advertising, sponsorship or ambassador-ship.
So why should you, as a fashion or personal style blogger, work with small businesses or independent designers? We tapped some great ideas and inspiration straight from the sources. Lexi Cross writes New York Called, a blog devoted to introducing readers to new and inspiring talents in fashion (and the arts) in New York City. Rebecca writes the style blog, The Clothes Horse, and works frequently with smaller and independent fashion brands. Janalyn Francisco founded August Wrinkle, an independent online boutique that frequently works with style bloggers.
10 Inspiring Reasons For Small Businesses & Bloggers To Work Together
1. Growth and gratitude
“I give all the credit to those blogs and bloggers that we have worked with in the past and present for our continued growth and success. They are the ones to bring attention and awareness to our website that we otherwise would not have achieved if it weren't for them taking time out of they're day to help promote us. They are the number one drivers to bringing traffic and pushing sales on our website.” – Janalyn
2. It makes a difference
“I love working with small boutiques like Etsy sellers because that's also where I like to shop. It's also important to support and partner with local and small businesses–it's like how I try to visit local markets instead of just shopping at a superstore for all of my groceries. I'm sure my lack of purchases doesn't affect Walmart any, but the things I do buy might make a difference for a farmer that lives near me.” – Rebecca
3. Genuine relationships
“The traffic numbers aren't as important to us as the blog itself and the blogger behind it. We want people who are as enthusiastic as we are about our website, which is why we normally only sponsor bloggers who have taken the initiative to contact us first. Of course higher traffic is a plus, but its not a deal breaker. We had many people take chances with us when we first started out, so we want to give others that same chance.” – Janalyn
4. A shared drive for success
“I am genuinely inspired by designers who have started with nothing and have found success or are on the road to success because of both their talent and hard work. I focus specifically on those who took a leap of faith and moved to New York from elsewhere without much of a guiding hand. These are the stories I identify with and the ones I like to share.” – Lexi
5. Personality over numbers
“Most of the time, people will contact us to sponsor their blogs. When this happens, we do our research and make sure this particular blog or blogger will fit in with our ‘Blogger Family' (as we like to call it). Everyone we work with, we want to feel comfortable and confident with them and vice versa. Its more about personality than numbers and statistics for us.” – Janalyn
6. Maintaining authenticity
“If there is fiscal gain, it will never result from the stories I tell about the designers I interview because my features would no longer feel authentic. That being said, producing quality content requires a lot of commitment. If there are other avenues that would serve a financial benefit and allow me to dedicate more personal time I would certainly not be opposed to them.” – Lexi
7. Personal relationships
“We are a small family based business, so for us, every time we work with someone, we've welcomed them into our family. I feel there needs to be a certain level of trust established whenever working with someone new, and it goes both ways. Blogs are great because when you read them, you are getting to know the person behind the blog. I love how personal they can be, so when I'm considering working with a new blogger, the first thing I do is to actually read the site to try and get to know the author a little better. What their interests are, what we have in common, their daily doings, where they're from, etc. After that, I feel like I already know them, and the relationships grow from there.” – Janalyn
8. One-of-a-kind finds
“Independent designers create limited items you can't find anywhere else–when I get a headband from Gardens of Whimsy I know it's something I can't find anywhere else.” – Rebecca
9. Targeted marketing
“After starting our company in January of 2012, we finally decided in April that it was time to reach a more targeted audience and to gain more exposure for our website, which spawned the idea of sponsoring bloggers who we felt would represent August Wrinkle in the best light.” – Janalyn
10. Build your network professionally and socially
“I once did an interview on up and coming handbag designer Camille Zarsky. She connected me with an illustrator and so on and so on. Since then we have all become friends and meet the first Tuesday of every month to bounce ideas off of each other, re-focus ourselves, and discuss various topics from fashion to philanthropy to food. It's like a book club without a book. It's both intellectually stimulating and fun!” – Lexi
Do you work with small and independent brands on your blog? Share your experiences in the comments!