That's a good question. I don't know if you're speaking about outgrowing them from a budgetary standpoint, or feeling like the brand is no longer a natural fit for you, but let's address both. If you outgrow what the brand can pay, I think that goes-- One, I think, honesty is always appreciated in business and in life. Be Candid. It is okay to tell a brand, "I've loved working with you and I so much appreciate the support. My rates are going up." It's totally okay to email the brand and say, "I've loved working with you these past years, months, whatever it might be. As you know, my following has gone up quite a bit and I'm going to have to increase my rates to reflect that rise in my following. As as a respected-- as a partner that I respect and who has been there for a while, I just wanted to tell you now and be totally candid and honest with you. Let me know if you want to jump on the phone." That's a good-- That's totally valid email to send, and I think anyone would-- any brand person would totally understand, and they will either pay those rates or say, "Congratulations on your growth. We can't work with you anymore, wish you the best. Hope we can still gift you", something like that.
The way not to do it would be, they reach out for a project and you just send back a price that's twice as high as it was last time you worked with them. Get ahead of the pricing issue before there's a project.
Let's say I haven't worked with them in six months but you know you usually work with them in the holidays, and it's September. You think, okay, I'm going to email them now, I'm going to tell them my prices are going up so we can have that conversation now. It's also just-- It feels more respectful and it feels, "Hey, I'm thinking about you. I want to work with you. I'm reaching out now to get ahead of this" rather than the brand person being really excited to reach out to you and work again because in their head they say, "I've worked with this person 10 times. We have a relationship, this is locked in. I'm good with this." They reach out. You just send back, "Hey, this isn't enough money." That feels disrespectful, in a lot of ways, even though you very likely deserve that money. There is power in the way you present the message. That's first things first for that.
Another thing is that I encourage all of you, if there's a brand that was there early, I encourage you to be loyal to that brand and they should get something for supporting you when no one else did. I worked for years for Oscar and didn't charge the rates that I was charging other clients because they were there early. I know, Man Repeller worked with-- What's the-- Man Repeller-- the first client that Man Repeller had was Rebecca Minkoff. I know that she supported that brand for years after it was probably not possible for Rebecca Minkoff to pay the rates that Lee Andrew was asking.
This business is built on relationships, and I encourage you to remember the people that were there early and reward them for that. If you do happen to achieve some growth, they probably had a part in that. You should give back a little bit so there's that.
If you feel like you've outgrown the brand from a taste, or you just don't like the brand anymore, or you feel it is no longer representative of your taste or of what you're interested in, that's a little more difficult conversation with the same advice, I think, which is honesty. I don't know if I would go with radical candor on that one.
If we're talking about clothes, because that's the easiest thing, and you didn't-- you're not connecting with the collection or something, I think you could say something to the effect of, "You know that I've been a big supporter. I love the brand. You also know that I authentically have to love something to be able to tell my followers about it, and I'm just not connecting with this collection. Looking forward to continuing to work in the future. Thanks so much." I think that's totally fine.
We've had, on the beauty side, we've had influencers if a shade didn't match or something back out of campaigns gracefully and say, "Because the shade doesn't match, I just can't or I tried the product, I don't love it and I just can't support it" and like send-- I can't support it and promote it to my followers because that would hurt my ability to be authentic, and we've always understood that.
Honesty, candor, works, get ahead of it, and don't wait for them to be following up and asking you about it to break the bad news.
- Influencer Selection, Engagement vs. Likes, Outgrowing Brands