How many times have you been watching a show and some crazy shit happens and you wish you had someone else there to be like, “Yooooooooo, did you see that?! WTF was that?!” All the time, guys. It happens to me literally ALL THE TIME.
But no more. This summer I’ve teamed up with shomi to take part in their new #shomiSummer Streaming Club (think book club, but for TV shows), which is right up my alley because I love nothing more than to pop a bottle of wine, order take-out and binge-watch five episodes of my fave shows on a Friday night. Yep, welcome to your thirties.
It’s midnight and I’m in the middle of finishing up a lighthearted post for tomorrow. A travel piece that will now have to wait because there’s something else I’ve really gotta say.
A few minutes ago, my boyfriend burst through the door from his baseball game and asked, “Have you been following what’s going on in Dallas??” I checked my Twitter feed, only to find it filled with news of shootings – more shootings – this time of police officers at a peaceful gathering protesting the recent police shootings of two African-Americans in Minnesota and Louisiana. Instead of going to bed, I now find myself sat at my desk wide awake, sad and confused about what is happening to the world. Sad for the police officers killed, sad for the lives of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile taken, sad that we wake up every day to news of more deaths.
But the sadness quickly turned to anger as I noticed tweets blaming the black community and the #BlackLivesMatter movement, as well as a few calls for Trump to ‘save America’ and the always-present yet wildly misused rebuttal: ‘All Lives Matter.’ And that’s when I lost it. That’s when I got raging mad. No more. No more of this.
I can still remember the stress of trying to find a designer for my website.
I had just quit my job and was working out my notice period in the UK, on the hunt for the perfect person to help me take the vision I had for This Renegade Love and turn it into a beautiful, functional website. After a bajillion unsuccessful Google searches and disheartening outreach to a few freelancers and design studios, I took to Pinterest, where I found a branding board that was everything I was looking for – clean, simple and well-designed. I clicked through to the Saffron Avenue website and knew that I needed this girl, whoever she was, to bring This Renegade Love to life.
Turns out that girl’s name was Angela, and she was a brand designer who worked from home in Wisconsin, a far cry from both the UK and Toronto, where I was heading back to live and launch my site. Luckily, Angela decided to take on my project (phew), and with the magic of Skype, we were able to chat through the process, which lasted three solid months. With each piece of the puzzle that came back – brand board, logo, website – I was blown away by how Angela was able to take my scattered ideas and turn them into exactly what I envisioned in my head. More than that, I was amazed to find out that she was juggling several other projects at the same time PLUS her own wedding, yet still managed to stick to a strict delivery timeline. Yep, this girl was a total renegade and a full-on bawse and did it all by her damn self.
Keep reading to find out how Angela built a successful design business from the ground up with a lot of hustle and no formal training, and how she went from designing business cards for $10 a pop to creating personal lifestyle brands for NBA All-Stars.
I can still remember the feeling of excitement I got as a new blogger when the first e-mail from a brand popped into my inbox.
It was from a local skincare company asking to send me some goodies to try out. Even though it was just product for review (and likely was being sent to 200 others), I was over the moon, mostly because someone had organically discovered my little slice of the internet (huzzah!). Since then, my daily life as a blogger has involved interaction with brands, sifting through press releases and event invites and collaboration pitches. It seems that every time my blogger friends and I get together, we inevitably chat about who we’re currently working with, what brands we’d love to hear from, the random pitches we get and most of all… what are brands ACTUALLY looking for in bloggers? Like actually, WHAT DAFUQ.
Luckily, I’ve been on the other side of things so have some insight into the weird and wonderful world of brand/blogger relations. For years I worked on the PR + marketing teams for Contiki, researching and selecting influencers (both Canadian and international) to go on trips around the world. I worked with incredible YouTubers like Lilly Singh and Ben Brown, as well as epic Instagrammers like Alex Strohl and Elise Swopes, just to name a few. Over the years, I had some wonderful experiences with influencers (the emotional shot of a YouTuber filming his teary goodbyes to his Contiki group – yesssss) and some not so great experiences (a YouTuber who threw a fit because the internet was down on an island in Thailand during a monsoon – nooooo). I learned exactly what brands look for in bloggers and influencers… because I was the one doing the looking.
So then, what the hell ARE they looking for? Well, although there are plenty of factors that go into partnerships between brands and content creators – and although each situation is unique – there are a few things that every good brand looks for in an influencer relationship…