So, I want to talk about working and collaborating with brands. It seems to be something a lot of people want to know about but not very many people talk about.
First one people usually ask, "do you get paid for posts?". Yes, I have been paid for posts by brands but it's a lot less often then you might think. I have a full time job, I'm definitely nowhere near paying my bills with insta ha ha. Almost all of what I post is for me, non-sponsored, non-paid, straight from Courtney content. A number of brands I work with are also small start ups or companies that give a great deal to amazing causes and in those cases I post for them for free just because I love what they're doing.
"Don't you feel bad about just posting to get money?" Umm..no. I'm very particular about what brands I work with and the reasons for working with them. I never post about something that I don't actually use and love. I work really hard to produce pretty content that flows well. My instagram feed is something I'm proud of and I take a decent amount of time shooting photos, editing, deciding what I want the flow of content to look like, writing captions, and being involved with all of you and your pages. It's a lot of time and can be a lot of work. So no, I don't feel bad accepting a bit of payment every now and then.
The most important thing to remember when working with brands is staying true to yourself. When my insta account started growing I started having brands contact me wanting me to post about their products. At first I was freaked out and refused everything because I was convinced they were trying to scam me somehow ha ha. Not sure what I was thinking they would do but I didn't like people asking for my address so they could send me random stuff.
Eventually I accepted one to see what would happen. Free product arrived at my house and I put up a photo. I thought nothing of it. I honestly didn't think people cared or noticed what I posted. So as additional offers came I figured I'd just accept them all and try everything! It's free, why not?!
This was my huge mistake, however, I did learn from it. My 3rd collaboration I received a detox tea. Despite not believing in detoxes or cleanses, and knowing that only hard work and good diet can change your body, I accepted because...I like tea. I posted about it and said just what I liked about it and didn't talk about the detox part. A few weeks later I got a text from a friend asking how much weight I'd lost on the tea I'd posted about. I told her I didn't use it as a detox or to lose weight I just liked how it tasted and hadn't lost any weight. Her response broke me, she said "Oh, I bought it and was frustrated I hadn't lost any weight. I really thought it would help me". She spent money on this product because of me, because she trusted me and I betrayed that trust.
From that point on I decided I would never again represent something that didn't resonate with me.
Your integrity is all you have and I'm not willing to sacrifice that for money or free clothes. Since the tea incident, I have had the opportunity to work with some truly incredible people and brands and I've also had a few more negative experiences that taught me a lot. These led me to build some requirements for what to look for when working with a company.
When approched with a new opportunity I ask myself the following:
1. Do I love the product?
2. Do I love what the brand represents?
3. Is it for a good cause?
4. Does it fit with my personal brand/style?
5. Is it something I feel passionate about?
If it doesn't meet one or more of the above criteria I politely turn it down. If I'm unsure if I'm going to like it I ask that they send me the product to try so I can see what the quality and fit are like before I agree to post anything. Sometimes they refuse and we part ways. Sometimes the product arrives and it's amazing and I love it more than I ever expected and am more than happy to share about it! And sometimes its absolutely terrible and makes me look like I have sausage thighs and I have to tell them I cannot rep it. In some cases this means paying out of my own pocket to ship the ugly things back and sometimes brands surprise you and simply ask that you donate the items.
I turn down most of the requests I receive and try to only post about things that truly fit with me and that I think you guys will like. I really don't think of you all as 'followers', I hate that word. You are my friends, my supporters, my motivation, and mean so much to me. I wouldn't be where I am in this fitness journey without all of you pushing me. I always have you in mind when I post. So please know that when I recommend something it's something I actually do use and love and genuinely want to share with you.
So, I hope that helps give you a better look into what my process is like working with brand. I would love to answer any questions you have about working with brands and collaborations so comment here, on insta, or send me a message.