Influencer Skye Wheatley has shared a tearful video about how influencers aren’t promoting her clothing brand after receiving free PR packages despite not paying them for promotion.
On Monday night, Skye took to her IG Stories to share some behind-the-scenes challenges she faces running her business, Good People Apparel, that she shares with fellow influencer Tori de Jong.
“I just want to jump on and talk to you guys about business and just kind of show you the reality of it. And just talk a little bit about how fucking hard it is to run a business and you know even for me, being an influencer or someone with an audience, it’s fuckin’ hard,” she began.
“From the outside looking in you might think ‘Oh my god they’re making millions and millions of dollars, they’re so successful’. And yes, I’m talking about GPA, Good People Apparel, and I get that people look at the brand and go ‘fuck they’re so successful, they’ll be swimming in cash’.”
But according to the Big Brother star turned influencer, that’s not the case and all the money made from the business has had to go back into making the next drop for the brand.She went on to say the reason she was so upset is that she had promised a bunch of people free tracksuits from their collection but due to the loss of funds from sending out PR packages and freebies to influencers, she couldn’t afford to fulfill those promises.
“I just got off the phone with [business partner] Tori who was like ‘babe, you can’t be sending out these free tracksuits’,” Skye told the camera.
“So now I’m like gonna have to tell the people that I said ‘yeah I’ll send you a tracksuit’, ‘actually sorry, we’ve already spent 20k in sending PR packages out to people that don’t fucking post because they don’t appreciate the product’.”
Skye admitted that she’d been “guilty of this in the past” and she “knows how overwhelming” it can be for influencers to get mountains of packages of freebies every day. Plus, now that she’s a brand owner she makes an effort to show the product to her following in some way.
Ironically, Skye concluded her yarn by recommending that other small businesses only send influencers gifts if they pay them for their time because it guarantees that the product will be posted to their socials and tagged.
Not long after Skye’s vids, IG gossip page Dutch Minty noticed that influencer Indy Clinton had shared a couple of posts on her IG Stories wearing a Good People Apparel tracksuit.
“Thank you @goodpeopleapparel 💓 so comfy and great quality #gift,” she wrote.
Then, she followed up with another post which read; “I’ve sadly had to take down my PO Box address. A lot of brands were hounding me when they would gift me something and I didn’t post on my stories, even though it’s the gamble they take. I, unfortunately, cannot post everything I receive.”
“Please don’t just send something, hope that I post and then get annoyed if I don’t post. I appreciate you wanting to send me things but save your money on postage 💓,” Indi concluded. Although it seems like Indy’s post is clearly referencing Skye’s rant, Skye doesn’t think the two correlate.
When asked if Indy’s Story post was about her, Skye responded: “I don’t think so she’s my friend! I’m with her 100 per cent. It is hard when brands EXPECT you to post for free like we are also running a business.”
The thing is, Skye knows how the influencer-brand system works better than most businesses do.
She spent years making a living as an influencer before she launched her small business. She was one of the lucky ones who reached a stage in her influencing career where her personal brand was so enviable that brands paid her to work with them, rather than expecting her time and expertise to be worthy of a free product.
While I totally agree that it must be unbelievably frustrating for small businesses to lose money on products that influencers don’t really care about, it’s a little bit ironic that Skye – who sent out 20k worth of freebies purely in the hopes that influencers might post them for free – is urging small businesses to skip the PR freebies and pay influencers for coverage. The job of an influencer might look like an absolute dream but it’s not all freebies and canapés. The cost of living is rising for them too.
Influencers can’t be expected to live off a free tracksuit, no matter how luxe it is. Although I completely agree with Skye that we need to pay influencers for their time and expertise, it’s still pretty wild that a former influencer is clapping back for the lack of free advertising by influencers she sent shit to.