Jeans: TJ Maxx
Tank top: Charlotte Russe
Like the outfit? See more details here!
This is the final post in my discussion about how retailers and bloggers work together to bring fashion to the masses. I’ve discussed many types of incentives and partnerships, but I haven’t discussed how it makes readers and bloggers feel, and how it impacts the perception of a blogger. While the partnerships happen all the time, not everyone is happy about it.
First, some readers dislike seeing free items or promotional plugs from their favorite bloggers. Part of this is because they feel like a friend has sold them out, and that instead of being the trusted, unbiased source of information, the blogger is now speaking on behalf of a retailer. And, if the reader wanted to know information from the retailer, they’d just view the traditional advertising, or go to the retailers website or store. Many bloggers try to combat this by blatantly calling out items that were given to them by the retailer, and being selective about which retailers to work with. By being selective, they hope to continue convey their own sense of style and approval to the readers.
However, some bloggers and readers feel that when a blogger partners with a retailer, the blogger loses their own style and voice. If they’re constantly receiving free items from one or two retailers, they stop being “themselves”, and become a model instead. Again, if readers wanted to look at models, they’d view the magazines and commercials. Readers want to see a real person, living a real life, wearing the clothes. Sure, that funky piece looks great in a magazine spread, but how do I incorporate it into my daily office wear? Of course that over-sized bag and sky-high heels work for standing still for a photo shoot, but how am I supposed to make my morning commute in those? When bloggers seem to stop functioning in the fashion, and just wearing pieces because they received them for free, or were paid to do a review, they start to lose themselves. And, in losing themselves, many start to lose readers. And, if there’s no readers, or readers who are no longer influenced to buy items because they don’t value the blogger’s opinions, there’s no reason for the retailer to continue the partnership. It’s a fine line when partnering with retailers to make sure that a blogger stays true to themselves.
And finally, the pressure of the partnerships and incentives causes some bloggers to burn out. They say you shouldn’t make your hobby your job, as it will cease to be enjoyable, creative outlet. I deal with this to some degree, as it relates to my job, classes, and scrapbooking/card-making. I do a fair amount of design work in my day-job, so my brain is usually too tapped at the end of the week to do design work for the fun of it. Creativity-on-demand is hard to provide, and the same is true for fashion bloggers. Some have admitted to being overwhelmed by too much stuff, and others have found that they get in a rut by constantly trying to bring a new twist to a retailer’s piece. Sometimes the pressure of a “job” makes it harder for bloggers to marry function with form, and their looks become less appealing. Again, when the blogger stops providing valuable ideas to the readers due to burnout, the readers leave, and partnerships are no longer appealing to the retailer.
There are many pros to blogger-retailer arrangements, but bloggers must consider the risks before jumping into an agreement. There is a real risk for losing yourself, and eventually, losing your readers. How do you feel when you “c/o” in a blogger’s item list? Do you like seeing a head-to-toe look provided by one retailer? Have you stopped reading a certain blogger because they lost themselves? Like the outfit? See more details here!