1) We don't have a marketing budget. (Ok, not a question but a statement I and my fellow conscious creatives receive all the time.)
I know startups are especially bootstrapped in funds. I think you might find this research-based article or this article helpful as an introduction to the value in influencer marketing and the effectiveness of it over conventional advertisement. If you need some creative & marketing consulting help to solidify the foundations of your brand prior to outreach, or help with identifying which creatives to work with, I can assist you with that - contact me for more info. Should you decide to formally work with creatives, I'd suggest you conduct proper research to find ones whose values, style, and audience align deeply with yours (it doesn't have to be me!), and reach out requesting their media kit if you're genuine about working with them.
2) Can we send you free products in exchange for you posting about us?
In efforts to balance minimalism and conscious consumerism while sustaining my work, 99% of the time I will not accept free products outside of formal partnerships. In order for me to conduct proper research, craft thoughtful content, and share top quality information with my conscious audience, who I'm dedicated to serving first and foremost, I limit the number of projects I take on and only work with brands fully committed to their businesses and know the importance of setting aside a marketing budget to build awareness as a necessary startup cost.
3) Can you write a post about us, in exchange for us sharing about you?
Unless you have an engaged, real audience that's 10x the size of mine that you can cross share my work with, no, as I get way too many pitches than I can handle and have to prioritize ones that support my creative business. I value sustainability in all senses of the word.
4) But we REALLY don't have any funds to work with. Help me please?
I don't do work or talk about brands by request, but I do freely share things I buy myself and brands I stumble upon organically.
So if here are some tips. If you're looking to get me to "organically" discover you in some way or to get in front of my audience without investing financially, you'll have to invest your time. Come like and comment on my posts authentically to get in front of me, and engage with me and my audience in a meaningful way. I read all the comments I get, and I'd love to get to know you and your work better over time!
5) I'm doing a launch next week. Can you share about my brand ASAP?
In order for me to create high quality content for you, I plan at least 1 month in advance. If you're interested in working with me still with this in mind, give me a holler!
6) What criteria do you look for in the brands you collaborate with?
With a primary focus on wellness and sustainability, with roots in ecosystem health and preventative care, I collaborate only with brands on a mission to 1) incorporate more eco-conscious, nontoxic materials (see next response), 2) eliminate toxic chemicals, finishes, and byproducts, and 3) offset their water and energy use and carbon emissions. Brands don't need to already check all of these boxes, but it's most important to me that they're aware of their impacts and are on this path. I am a huge believer in celebrating and highlighting progress over perfection.
In fact, I actually enjoy hearing about the honest limitations your manufacturing process may currently be held back by, and what you hope to do to address them in the near future.
7) What materials do you avoid or prefer?
As a deep ecologist, I generally avoid virgin poly, nylon, or acrylic; virgin PVC or PU leather; or any other new petro-based textiles, due to them coming from non-renewable sources, being non-biodegradable, and being likely to off-gas and release toxic chemicals during their use and disposal phases. I also try to avoid resource-intensive natural fibers that involve the use of more toxic chemicals, such as conventional cotton and rayon / viscose, whether from bamboo, eucalyptus or other.
While I'm still learning every day what our healthiest options are, and am not perfect by any means, at the moment I prioritize used or vintage goods; products made with dead-stock, byproduct, up-cycled, or recycled materials (e.g., up-cycled metal jewelry; repurposed wood products; dead-stock textiles; and on occasion, rPET and recycled nylon fiber athleisure wear and swimwear when the performance properties of synthetic fibers are needed); goods made with indefinitely recyclable materials (e.g., aluminum); and clothes made with relatively lower-impact, biodegradable fabrics such as Tencel, Lyocell, linen, hemp, cork, straw, lotus fiber, Cupro, etc. On occasion, I'll also sport organic / rain-fed cotton, peace silk, veg-tanned byproduct leather, and traceable alpaca and wool from reputable brands or small family farms, as opposed to each of their conventional counterparts.
I prefer products that are either 100% biodegradable, or 100% one type of recycled fiber, over textiles with mixed biodegradable + nonbiodegradable fibers. This makes the disposal part of the item much easier. The first can be composted (ideally no toxic chemicals were used, meaning no toxic chemicals will leach into soils), and the second could potentially be recycled.
Meanwhile, I'm always intrigued by innovative eco materials, such as lab-grown silk, banana fiber textiles, mushroom leather, and Pinatex, and look forward to opportunities to working more closely with them.