Asking For Freebies

I've written a post similar to this before, but I wanted to go into this topic a bit deeper after a particularly rude email was sent to my Etsy shop earlier this week.

The email went along these lines:

'Hi I'm a blogger and I love your brand. I would really like to 'collaborate' and work with you x x'

There are a few things very wrong with that small paragraph and that's just a teeny snippet of a typical message I usually receive in my Etsy shop. What I'd like to try and do is dissect the sentences so it's a bit easier for people to understand what I'm getting at here and hopefully educate other bloggers who may not realise they're pitching their proposals in completely the wrong way.

1. 'I love your brand so much...'
You know what? There is nothing nicer than hearing these words and it really is very flattering when someone goes out of their way to make sure you hear feedback like this. In the past I have quite literally sobbed at how lovely some customers have been towards my work and it really is so motivating and special. However, if you're a blogger looking to review products and you really love my store so much, you wouldn't hesitate in buying a little something. I know there are a few of my regular visitors who often buy little treats for their other blogger friends and believe me when I say, the order could be the smallest possible but it makes all the difference to a small shop. This is genuine love and support towards a small business, or any business for that matter. If you really love someone's work and are really interested in seeing them do great things, grow and develop then you don't even have to spend a penny. Just retweet, like, comment, share and tell your friends. It really is as simple as that.

2. 'I can offer you exposure...'
This one is particularly frustrating because every blogger on planet earth has received proposals themselves from brands offering them exposure for their work and we all know how much time, effort and sometimes sanity goes into running a blog. Exposure isn't a form of payment. I would expect bloggers to understand this, but when you as a blogger offer exposure to small businesses it's just as disrespectful and cheeky. Fact: you wouldn't DARE pitch exposure as a form of payment to a bigger brand, I know you wouldn't unless you've got some serious nerve and need a reality check. Exposure doesn't guarantee sales or pay the bills.

3. 'I have THIS amount of followers'
Don't care. Frankly. Especially when I can tell a mile off that you have paid for bots to get these followers for you. Also, I'm gonna tell you if I suspect you've used this strategy. I will not hold back if I can see your engagement isn't reflected by all these millions of followers you have acquired mysteriously; don't think I won't cause I'm not stupid nor was I born yesterday.

4. 'I would love to collaborate...'
First off, if you'd like to collaborate I want to know what ideas you have. Don't be vague and avoid actually expressing you'd like some freebies sent to you. Not only is it obvious from a mile away that's what you're after, but it shouldn't take for me to start unravelling your cryptic messages to finally have you spell it out that you want to review some products for free. The brand you love so much, the small business you're so keen on supporting. You want their products for free. Answer is sod off, honey.

On this particular occasion, the blogger told me she was willing to work for free on the basis I gave her some freebies. So basically she cleverly tried to turn it around as though I'd scouted her out to get some free advertising for Pastel Elixir. Sneaky, sly, downright bloody cheeky. I confronted her about the fact her engagement on the platforms she was raving about didn't really reflect the follower numbers and then things turned again. Granted I understand many of us are suffering from engagement issues especially on the likes of Instagram, but this kid had 33k followers and barely reached 50 likes per image? Not to mention she was only following 1k people herself. Get stuffed babes.

After calling her out, she told me blogging was a very busy and time consuming job and that she couldn't work for free. Guess what guys. I can guarantee 150% that running a shop takes longer. Guess what else takes even longer? Running a shop AND a blog AND a YouTube channel. The last thing I want to do is get nasty with these people so instead I'm attempting to channel my thoughts into a blog post in the hope it reaches some people who may be pitching ideas to brands and not realising that it's not at all professional to ask in this way nor is it good practise or supportive, as some people seem to think. Usually the rotten emails I get sent end up in the spam pile so Etsy know to block them in future from messaging my shop, but this experience left me feeling like I had to share it.

As a blogger myself, I remember sending a couple of emails in the very early days but this was simply asking if the brand ever worked with bloggers and that I would be very interested should an assignment ever arise. I made it quite clear to myself in my ways of working that I would NEVER ask for freebies and that I would only accept free stuff if the brand contacted me initially and that I had a genuine like or love for the brand. I can't help but feel like blogging has turned into a bit of a freebie fest and in my honest opinion, it doesn't help that it's the norm for people to be watching huge YouTubers do PR hauls all the time and it's now some people's ambitions to collect free stuff and see how much they can get. It really is a very sad behaviour that I see floating around way too much.

I put an awful lot of money into my small business and from anyone who has tried to make a business or is doing so now, you'll know that the first two years are basically you slaving away and putting every penny back into your business to help it grow. You make virtually nothing and you work long hours, most of the time alongside full time jobs and you try so damn hard to make things work. I worked like this over the past 2 years and have finally got to a point where I can actually make a bit of a wage from my shop, but let me be completely honest with you here: I'm not a millionaire and I don't make that much money. I do not work my tits off (and I love my work trust me) just to give it away for free.

At the very same time, let me thank each person who has ever supported my shop no matter what you did. Every share, retweet, like, comment, message, photo, every order big and small has meant the absolute world to me and you're doing things in a way that is appreciated more than you will ever know. You're all awesome.

Thanks for reading,


  1. Great post Ellis xxx there is a growing sense of entitlement which is sometimes hilarious but good for you for sticking to your guns.

    Kelly xoxo


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