The Journey to Mini fashion and Brand Repping- By Mamas.Little.Wolfpack
We officially started Brand Repping over two years ago, but my love of all things handmade begun long before that. As a kid, our family never had too much money. My mum was a handy sewer and so most of our wardrobes were her creative fashions- inspired by Spotlight patterns. As I grew into adulthood, this love of handmade followed me through.
Fast forward to 2012, the year Jasper was born. I had been collecting clothes for him for years (thanks to working at Pumpkin Patch and a long conception journey). I wasn’t satisfied with the same clothes that everyone else dressed their kids in. I craved funky, unique and different.
My very first handmade purchase was through a store I still love following even now- Belles and Bruisers. I was obsessed! I think I bought her out of harem pants the moment I saw them. Back in these olden rep days, the market wasn’t so saturated, there wasn’t as much on offer. To begin with, I was happy posting my happy snaps on Facebook. Belles and Bruiser’s even shared a few on their page. That was the moment I was hooked. Line and sinker, I was in.
I started taking photos, happy snaps, good ole iPhone4 photos and uploading them to Facebook. Somewhere along the way someone told me I needed to get onto Instagram to post his photos. Apparently, that’s what all the cool kids did. I was hesitant at first, I could not figure the damn thing out for the life of me. Then it started to become a natural thing for us to do. Dress Jasper for the day, a quick phone snap on the front steps or yard, whack a filter over it and bam! It was ready to post.
Jasper's first rise to fame [photo via @mamas.little.wolfpack]
Haven’t things changed!
I came across some amazing accounts through my favourite Insta stores- @thepresidentandtheboss, @maxandzachary, @ethanandevan, and @mylittlemasters. I wanted to do what they were doing. Their kids looked super cool and their clothes were AH-MAZ-ING!! I started finding even more small stores and my bank account (and husband) were starting to notice. So, I entered my first Brand Rep Search. I can’t even remember what brand it was now. We didn’t get the gig, but it didn’t bother me. I kept supporting small and tagging businesses. A month or so in, I still had no success with any rep searches, what was going on? Was I ever going to be a cool kid? (take note of that self-doubt sneaking in).
Then, I was overwhelmed to get offered not one, but three rep spots in the space of a few days. Our ‘hard work’ (I know right, I laugh at it compared to what we do now) had paid off. We were so excited to join the teams. I’m eternally grateful for those stores who gave us our first chance and becoming something in this repping world (Head on over and give @globalbambino and @little.a.handmade a follow).
We began receiving more and more offers, so many that I was beginning to become overwhelmed. I think this is probably a wonderful time to start ‘The good, the bad and the ugly side of repping’
I think the biggest thing I have taken away from this repping journey is the friendships. After two years, I have finally found myself in an amazing crew who all have similar styles, we all have the same beliefs and values and the friendship and chat is natural. I guess they’re my repping family. I have also gained some amazing friends with some of the Boss mums that I work with. The relationship is two ways, business and personal. They value my opinions with their products and I value their company and work ethic. Relationships between reps and reps and reps and businesses can make or break you in this business. For such an oversaturated market, it is a very small community. Everyone talks, everyone is watching out for each other.
The fashion!!!! I know for sure, without a doubt, that my boys have a much better wardrobe then I ever will, and probably better than most of my family and friends too. I love coming up with our own interpretations of a product and styling them our own way. Mini fashion is the best and every season, Insta stores are outdoing themselves.
Kohen dressed in clothing from Instagram [photo via @mamas.little.wolfpack]
Brand repping has made me strive to be a better everything. It’s given me something to work towards. Being a stay at home mum of two very active boys can be challenging and hectic. Getting out and about for photos gives us not only something to do but allows us to bond on a level that may not have happened if we weren’t repping. It’s given me opportunity to be creative behind the lens. My photography that started on an Iphone4 and a filter has been taken to another level with my digital camera and editing programs.
Jasper and Kohen love to take photos together [photo via @mamas.little.wolfpack]
My bank accounts. It suffers. A lot. Yes, we get sent so many clothes for the boys, but there are so many amazing products on offer it’s a little hard to resist. Not to mention buying accessories to compliment items you are being sent. If you use a camera you’ve got the cost of that plus lenses (which adds up quickly). Many of us go to meets and scout locations for amazing photos- you’ve got petrol money for that. I can go on and on with the costs of brand repping.
The hit to your confidence. This is something most reps encounter at some point or another. It’s really had not to feel deflated if you’re not winning searches, or not gaining positions. You start questioning what is wrong with our account, is my kid not cute enough, my photos suck. The repping world is so over saturated it can be hard to find your place and do something that stands out and lets you be noticed. My advice is find your girl gang. Find them and ask their opinions. Keep working on always improving. There is always room to grow and get better.
Not being appreciated is something hopefully most reps wont encounter. Every now and again there can be a business who treats you like rubbish. Not re-posting, not commenting on your photos and no appreciation of the demanding work you’ve done. It’s hard in these situations to remain professional, do your job and finish the contract. But it must be done. If you’re a business reading this, take the time today to give a shout out to your reps who work hard to promote your products. On the flip side there are also reps who think businesses owe them everything. Don’t be one of these reps. The relationship should be mutually appreciative. Neither works hard then the other, neither is better than the other.
Its time consuming. When we first started, I would have laughed at you saying this. It would have taken me maybe 5 minutes tops to get the photo and post it. These days not only do we do photos of the kids, we do flatlays, stack lays and the ever increasingly popular location shoots. We buy props and balloons to make our photos stand out. This all takes time to organise. Then the shoot itself, making sure we have all angles of the outfit careful photographed while trying to wrangle the hectic 4 yr. old dancing around and the crawling 1 yr. old who is destroying his shoes and knees. Once that is one, they’re loaded to Dropbox, then edited, then reloaded in edited form to Dropbox. This alone can take hours. I also never do this in my kid’s time, I do it at night once they’re asleep. I spend hours alone editing photos daily from the shoots we do. But it doesn’t stop there, thanks to Instagram we now have the introduction or interaction groups and telegram. I know accounts who spend hours a day interacting through these means so their photo is seen and businesses are getting better exposure. Who was the simpleton that said repping was easy?
Getting the perfect shot is never easy with toddlers [photo via @mamas.little.wolfpack]
These interaction groups and Telegram have brought a bit of controversy themselves. It’s become a competition to see who can get the highest likes and comments on a photo. Is this true interaction or forced and fake? Is it still exposing followers to products even though its forced? Where did the sharing of old fashion hippy love go? (thanks @piper.dior for that term) How many people actually scroll Instagram for fun now? Is everybody too busy catching up on eleventy billion likes?
It’d be nice to think that as adults we left our school yard antics behind, unfortunately for some, they never grew up. Bullying in the rep world unfortunately happens. I don’t know if it’s a jealousy thing or just plain Mean Girl behaviours. It has to stop. The relationships you form can make or break you. If you become known as a nasty piece of work or a bully, you’ll notice that you’ll start getting less positions. People don’t want that on their teams. Be kind.
There are also people who are only in our world for their own motives. To rip people off. Reps who are only in it for the free gear and businesses who shut up shop with everyone’s money. My advice is always pay with PayPal and businesses don’t be afraid to ask reps for their previous experience and get in contact with those people to ask if they would recommend them. Be smart!
[photo via @mamas.little.wolfpack]
If you’ve managed to get through all of that then well done and thank you. I wouldn’t give up repping for the world. Its challenging work, but making new and lifelong friends, the special moments with your kids and the ever-lasting memories in photos, making everything worth it.
Follow Mamas.Little.Wolfpack on Instragram.
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