Best of 2018 – 5 Favorite Brand Collaborations

Questions that I get asked the most are how I get to work with brands and what it is really like to be a blogger. I can give you examples from my own experience and tell you stories but everyone’s blogging journey is very different. It might take me days or thousands more words to tell you what all that is about. Depending on wherever the person is in their blogging journey, they can do things for free or charge a fee however they like. In most cases for me, I’d like to develop a relationship with brands first before I accept any work from brands. I usually research to learn more about the brands, look at their social media channels, what types of products or services they offer, and their purposes in doing what they are doing. If everything speaks to me, then the next step is that I’d accept products for a try-on/review or to shoot and style with. Brands usually ask for content like photos, blog posts, or videos with their products tested, styled, and reviewed. I take on any brand opportunities equally whether it is paid or on a gifting basis. A good brand collaboration is not always a paid one.

 In today’s post, I’m walking you through 5 unique brand collaborations this year and give you a little sneak peeks in why they stand on the top 5. You would learn from how they reached out to me, what type of collaboration it was, and my relationship to the brand, and especially the lessons I’ve learned along the partnership. Please keep in mind that these are meant to be stories told in my perspective as a blogger in hope to give you a glimpse in what I do and what it really is like working with brands.

1. MEJURI

It is a no surprise that Mejuri is the first brand that I think of is the best example of what a good brand collaboration is. I had had my eyes on Mejuri jewelry for a good year before they reached out to me in January this year. Mejuri offers fine jewelry and bring them more accessible for the mass at affordable prices. Most of the Mejuri pieces I own are gold vermeil or real gold, so they don’t tarnish. Their necklaces don’t get tangled on me, so that is another good thing! I stand by Mejuri’s quality and absolutely love every single design that they have done. Throughout the year, I have been consistently gifted a piece of jewelry each month. And their posting requirement is simple without any pressure on the exact date. I got invited to be a member of their Fine Crew couple of months ago in which I was given a referral link. Any first time buyer who uses my link can get 10% off and free shipping, and in turn, I also earn a small commission. My relationship with Mejuri is an on-going one as I still receive jewelry from them. Also, I started gaining more brand collaborations and made more online friends (those who are also currently are working with Mejuri!). Mejuri, based in Toronto, has recently opened their first store in the US, and I have seen how fast they grow ever since.

I wrote a blog post reviewing the brand a while ago, so feel free to read more about it, here.

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wearing all Mejuri jewelry: the Dome hoops | the Lock necklace | the Starburst necklace | the Star signet ring

Get 10% off your first order and free shipping when you shop with me: http://crew.mejuri.com/An

2. HEADLANDS LODGE & SPA

This lodging opportunity was probably the best brand collaboration/trip yet this year! It was a lodging opportunity instead of free products like how most brand collaborations have been this year for me. I was contacted by a PR agency based in Oregon who connected me to Headlands Coastal Lodge and Spa, a luxury hotel/resort at the coast of Oregon. I was jumping for joy and beyond excited since Headlands looked like an amazing place to be. Headlands offered me two nights stay for free in exchange of a blog post, 4 Instagram photos tagging them, and I had to submit 20-30 photos for them to use on their social media channels. It was a 6-hour drive from Seattle and the deal was not too difficult to fulfill, so I confirmed my stay with them in early November. After a few emails back and forth, I got an additional meal credit since the did not offer any travel reimbursement. Arriving at Headlands was another experience in itself. The lodge’s interior and every design element were out of this world. There are lots of wood, cement, brass gold metals, fur, and leather elements which add nice cozy touches from individual room to the entire lodge as a whole. Our room has a king bed, a bathtub right next to the bed, and the best of it all is the view from our balcony. The Haystack Rock stands nicely centered right at our balcony view, and I’m pretty sure all rooms at Headlands have the same view which is amazing! We had breakfast and dinner at the Meridian Bar & Restaurant which situated right inside Headlands. We hiked the sand dunes, explored the Kiwanda Cape, took our bikes to the beach, and explore the neighboring town. It was such an incredibly relaxing experience that my boyfriend and I did not even think we needed. We shot a lot of photos to send in for Headlands, and I had to change like 5 outfits in just a few hours. It was work but did not feel like work which was really cool! In 2019, I would love to work with restaurants and land more trips with hotels like this, so if you know someone or if you’re in the hotel and lodging industry, please contact me!

Read my Headlands blog post and see more photos, here.

Book your stay at Headlands Coastal Lodge & Spa, here.

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3. BOMA JEWELRY

Boma love necklace sterling silver detail shot cloth

Boma gifted me a piece of jewelry early this year in exchange of a blog post review and a few shout-outs on Instagram. I was excited to find out Boma was a local brand founded here in Seattle. They specialize in 935 sterling silver and is indeed a leading company and manufacture in the industry. Even though Boma has been around for awhile, many people don’t know much about them since they have just been focusing on the manufacturing aspect of the business. They make jewelry and produce them for many private partners across the world. And Suzanne, Boma’s new CEO, is the daughter of Boma’s founder who has realized much needed rebranding steps to take toward the company. And I had the pleasure working with her for a few months started back in July of this year. We met up weekly to discuss and brainstorm many ideas for the future Boma. If you look on Boma’s website, part of what you see comes from our discussions and I also helped with choosing what pieces of jewelry to go in what collections. I also planned and directed a few photoshoots for them with my boyfriend’s help. We produced content for their website as well as managed their Instagram for a period of time. From this collaboration, I had realized that I really enjoyed styling and planning for the shoots. It was really cool seeing how the photos come to life. I also really enjoyed working with people face-to-face and having a direct 1-to-1 conversation. It was also a humbling experience for me at least to be able to hear Boma brand story, especially told my Suzanne whose father founded and created such a brand that does good until this day.

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I’m wearing all 925 silver pieces from Boma jewelry, and most can be found on their website.

Shop BOMA here 

4. SOCIAL FABRIC

Social Fabric is one of many platforms run by Collective Bias, and CB is a PR agency. They are not a specific brand but they work with brands and influencers. Social Fabric has brand campaigns posted on their ‘Shoppertunities’ pretty regularly that influencers can apply to. I get accepted to pretty much all shoppertunitoes I’ve applies thus far. And I sometimes get emails from their Community manager asking to apply to the shos as long as they see fit. So taking any brand campaign seriously and submit things on time is really important here! These shoppertunities are often time beauty and lifestyle related. They mostly require a blog post and additional social shares. Instagrammers with higher reach can also apply for Insta-shoppertunities as well. I stay pretty active on the platform since they have some really great campaigns. Their requirements are straight-forward and super easy to fulfill. I love seeing variety of blog posts on others’ blogs, so doing this adds great variety to my blog. I love that I can apply and do as many as I want, and often time my application for each campaign gets accepted pretty quickly.

A few campaign examples from Instagram photos and blog posts I have done for Social Fabric are from brands such as, Tide & the Tide Purclean campaign, V8 & the V8 Hydrate campaign, and Kahlua where I recreated their classic martini recipe and had friends over for dinner on that shoot day.

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4. REWARDSTYLE

This one is not really a brand collaboration, but it is more like a tool that almost every blogger uses to make money from referring sales. I have learned my way to utilize RewardStyle this year to insert affiliate links on my blog and use it to gain some cashback towards my own online shopping as well. Liketoknow.it is obviously another feature/app from RewardStyle that lots of blogger and influencers use to make money, and I’m sure you guys have seen that around. I used to get annoyed seeing people overuse it and hated the idea of making myself sound like a sale-person. I’d rather direct people to go on my blog than attracting them to another page, such as the liketoknow.it app. Again, I don’t like to force a sale but rather suggest options for others to view as inspiration only. I do the same thing when others suggest or give advice since I don’t make millions either. In 2019, I am planning to do more than just blogging and invest more in what else I can do in order to grow my blog and business. RewardStyle is rapidly growing, and it is actually a handy tool for us bloggers to make ends meet. I thought about giving the liketoknow.it app a try, but again let me know if you guys actually would rather buy things I recommend that way?

Check out my blog’s front page where it’s titled as ‘Style File.’ You can have a peek and shop what I’m adding to my shopping carts: here.

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Again, the mentioned brands are not the only and the best representation of what a good brand collaboration is as there are so many factors that come to play. I thought the 5 were the most unique and different as in those opportunities have allowed me to do more than just ‘looking good for a photo posted on Instagram.’ 2018 is the year that my blog starts to take off. It is true when they say that consistency and quality are key. In 2019 though, I want to learn more about SEO and more ways to work efficiently and strategically. I want to expand into videos and do more creative work. Pitching to more brands and reaching out to connect with real people are also my two big goals in the new year.

I get questions from you guys asking about my blog and how it all started all the time. I see my blog as a home, and my social media channels like Instagram as an arm or a channel to drive traffic to my house. A blog takes lots of maintenance and constant improvement in the back end, but it is 100% worth it. I get paid lots more for a blog post than an Instagram post, and I can assure you that! So please seek professional help to get it started and you will learn ‘the what and how’ along the way! You will figure out your own working schedule and what works for you! Remember, everyone’s story and journey to blogging are different. Everyone is different and can provide something really unique to the vast world out there. There is a lot of competition, yes, but hey! If you want to do something, just ask yourself if you want it badly enough, then ‘JUST DO IT!’ 

I hope this blog post gives you the motivation to start your own blog, Youtube channel, or simply push you to do something you have been wanting to do but you’ve been hesitated to start. So let’s all make 2019 another great year! Make it worth your while when you’re on this earth! Get yourself out of your boring situation and do what you love! I know that 2019 will be another crazy year filled with adventure and opportunities, and I am ready for it! So thank you for being here! I really enjoy every conversation and connection that I get to make with you guys on the daily online and in person. I appreciate any humans out there who have trust and liked my work. I feel incredibly humbled for this opportunity to be able to share my blogging and life journey with you, and on top of it all it is the opportunity that I get to turn my passion into a career. It is true when they say work doesn’t feel like work when the love is there.

Thanks for your awesome readership!

Can’t wait for 2019!

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Read my previous ‘Best of 2018’ – best 5 fashion investment pieces and best 5 luxury beauty purchases worth the splurge. Stay tuned for my next Best of 2018, sneak peek: Seattle! 😛

An Trieu

Currently based in Seattle, Style & Senses is my digital life and style journal of all things that inspire my senses and beyond. Hope you stay inspired, as always! - An Trieu.

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