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Bloggers & Brands

Monday, 10 June 2013

You know what I don't like? Being sent a generic email asking me to give over an entire blogpost so that I can enter a competition and be in with a tiny chance of winning something. That's not working with bloggers, that's asking a huge bunch of them for a load of free advertising space but couching it in "Yay, competition!" terms.  I'm sure it makes perfect business sense and if other people want to take part, great, but those emails really rub me up the wrong way.  I'd so much rather companies were honest about it. Either pay for sponsored posts or send out products for review or do something else innovative but don't sneak around pretending that this is an awesome opportunity you've laid on specially for us when all you want is free advertising.

You know what I do like? Brands that get social media and use their Twitter account for things other than retweeting how awesome they are. Brands that want to work with bloggers and realise the benefits of it. Brands that understand building a community and a following are important. Get us on board: we like to shop and spend money, we like to write, we like to take pretty, arty photos of products. We have lots of readers. We can be useful to you and we'll be loyal if we like you. It's a no-brainer really, isn't it?

Here are two brands that I've been in touch with recently. Both of them rock. They're happy to work with bloggers, talk to us rather than at us and yes, offer us some free products as a way of promoting them and spreading the word. Nowt wrong with that!

I've never fallen into the blogger trend of owning a satchel. I basically don't like them. I love a good leather bag but they have to be something a bit special to win me over, so I was quite happy to stick with the massive handbags I already own. Then I went to a BBQ with Char a few weeks ago and on the way home I shared a car seat with her Brit Stitch Half Pint bag. It was so ridiculously cute I nearly stole it. Far too small for my needs, but then I discovered that they did a size called the Milkman and, well, come to Alex, my preciousssssss.....

You can fit a book in it! It's not a useful bag unless it passes this test.

It may not be quite as ridiculously cute as the Half Pint but it's even more beautiful. Such a gorgeous shape and colour. If I had room to store them I'd get one in every colour.

Check out Brit Stitch on Twitter and Facebook and say hello. Jen runs their social media stuff and she's doing a kick-ass job at it.

Brand number two: Sunglasses Shop, and their sister site Glasses Direct. Both are super happy to work with bloggers. I'm an awkward customer and need prescription sunglasses, which unfortunately Sunglasses Shop aren't able to send out for review (damn my wonky eyes!), but they very kindly sent me this cute Scout Marilyn pair of specs from Glasses Direct instead.

I showed them to the Mothership and she pulled That Face. You know the one. "I think they look bloody awful on you but I'm too polite to come out and say it so I'll just try (and fail) at keeping my face non-commital and go 'Mmmmhmmmm, very nice' instead". That Face.

Meh. Yes, they're probably a bit big for my face and no, I'm not the sort of pretty young thing that can wear massive specs and look cute and ironic. I just look like a dick who picked some glasses that are too big for her face but WHATEVER. I don't really care. I like them.

And I like Glasses Direct because they have awesomely low prices and their customer service is good. I've tested out the returns policy and I can assure you that a) they actually reply to emails, b) they're polite and helpful and c) they sort things out quickly. So I bought these Audrey glasses with a sunglasses tint as a treat for myself. Woop. First pair of prescription sunglasses I've ever owned. That's quite bad isn't it? My poor eyes.

(the rule about glasses being too big for your face doesn't apply with sunglasses. The bigger the better.)

Just for the sake of clarity, the bag and the specs are c/o Brit Stitch and Glasses Direct respectively. I bought the sunglasses myself. They're all great.


  1. I actually think the glasses look lovely. One thing I've learnt over the years is that I can't trust my mum's opinion on glasses - even the funkiest pair that I'm most pleased with, and she'll have a random comment like 'they're very...cream' (delivered with a screwed up face) I've been trying on every pair of vaguely cat-eyed glasses in Specsavers to find some that weren't too SMALL for my face, so I shall definitely give Glasses Direct a look. Jen x

  2. Fantastic post Alex, sums up my thoughts (mostly, I can be a hypocrite at times I guess).

    Loving the glasses x

  3. I think the glasses really suit you - not dickish, hipster or ironic at all. Love the colour and shape of your new bag too.

  4. So... how blind are you because I am planning on stealing those glasses. Umm as a favour to your mum. They are lovely!
    I am loving britstitch but alas I do not have the pennies. I really want a red one.

  5. I hate receiving those cheeky emails expecting me to post for them. If there is nothing in it for me or my readers than no thank you.

    I absolutely love that bag, super cute. x

  6. I love love love love that satchel. You chose the best size and the best colour and I ADORE how you've photographed it with an orange Penguin! Eeee, I might have to get one myself...

    As for the glasses, I think they look GREAT.

    Sarah x

  7. What is on top of that ring??? I like the satchel and the glasses are nice too- I don't think they look too big!x

  8. Very much like your choice of specs missy! My parents never appreciate my choice of glasses either... :/

  9. The bag is too beautiful and it goes perfectly with the dress, fyi i love love love that dress! Love sian

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  11. The first thing I thought when I saw the photo of you in those specs was "wow she looks beautiful in those". So ignore your mum, they're GORGEOUS on you.

  12. They do make some rather lovely bags, don't they. My collection grows..

  13. I love both of your new things! That bag is lovely and I ADORE the glasses on you!

    Maria xxx

  14. Here here! I've been lusting after those Brit Stitch bags, the colours are lovely. I really do hate those generic emails too- particularly those wanting to write a random article for my blog that has nothing to do with me and what I like! x

  15. Lov the glasses! I just ordered some prescription sunnies from glasses direct. No money off or anything!

  16. You've already witnessed my Twitter ranting about posts as competition entries. I hope whoever dreamt it up steps on a Lego brick. Some PR people just *get it* and manage to come up with something that benefits everyone, while being friendly in the process. Others - like one I have dealt with recently - offer you something that is of no use to you, and then explain in a patronising manner how blog advertising works in an email back. I DIDN'T ASK HOW IT WORKS, I SAID I DIDN'T WANT IT >:O

    I think your glasses look bloody amazing!

  17. AU CONTRAIRE Alex, those glasses are beautiful and look great on you! I don't like satchels though I have to say, hey just look so STIFF, like there'd be no GIVE when I tried to overstuff them :\

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