How to Pitch to Small Businesses and Handmade Brands

I think cross-promotion is great and I regularly collaborate* with photographers, bloggers/influencers, and even other brands. Working with other businesses is a great way for them to generate blog content, and for me to gain exposure, reach new audiences, and ... I generally find that these exchanges are mutually beneficial -- they get free stuff, and I get some pictures to post and get an introduction to their audience.

Here's the catch -- when you run a business, everyone wants stuff for free, and some people aren't very nice about asking for it. I wish I were in the position to give everyone free lingerie all the time. However, making and selling underwear is literally how I make my living and I can't dole out freebies as often as I like. I do work with brand reps monthly, participate in a handful of styled shoots per year, and I give back in other ways like donating proceeds to important causes to me.

Alright, let's cut to the chase -- you want me to give you something for free. Here's how to get it:

1. EMAIL ME! Pretty please, this is so important. Messaging me on facebook feels like an invasion of my personal space, and Instagram DMs come off as unprofessional. My email inbox is much more organized and I'm better equipped to respond to your inquiry if it comes in the form of a nicely worded email. You can easily find my email address on my website, facebook, and instagram pages. {hint: it's annika@marriedandbright.com}

2. USE MY NAME! It takes about 5 seconds on my website, facebook, or instagram to figure out what my first name is. {It's Annika, nice to meet you.} I understand that when sending pitch emails, you'll likely be using a template, and that's 100% fine. But, please, take the time to replace the name of the person you emailed before me, and be aware that I can see right through the opening line of "hey there!" {To another point: please don't address me by a pet name. It's likely this is our first point of contact and I don't like being called "honey," "darlin'" or your "BFF," even if I do know you.} Calling me by my name is the bare minimum in putting together a proper pitch.

3. KEEP IT SHORT! I don't need to hear the entire story of how your started your blog, or what your deepest passions are or where you went to college or if you're a vegetarian. That being said, please include the following four things:

  • who you are / what your company is. {this is the part where you have to sell yourself to me and make me interested in reading more}
  • say something specific about my brand. {don't say "I love your stuff." I really detest my beautifully designed and handcrafted lingerie being referred to as "stuff." Say, for example, "I recently saw your cat bralette on Buzzfeed, and I thought it was super cute!"}
  • tell me specifically what you are looking to do. {being broad by saying "I'd love to work with you/collaborate/post about your stuff" doesn't entice me. Say instead, "I'm putting together a post about feeling sexy post baby, and I think your high waisted undies would be a great centerpiece. I would love to photograph myself modeling them and share a link to your site. You can even use my photo on your Instagram page!"}
  • show me how it's a good deal for me. {I understand it's a good deal for you to get free stuff (there that word is again!), but what will I get back? Photos to share, a link on your blog, a pin on your pinterest board?}

4. SHOW ME THE LINKS! As part of your sign off, please include links and stats. I wanna see how many followers you have, what your engagement looks like, how many hits you get on your site, how often you post, etc etc etc. Don't make me work harder than I have to to find you on the internet. I have so much sewing to do, I'm gonna move on real quick if I can't find what I'm looking for easily.

My ideal pitch email would look like this:

Hi Annika,

My name is Mary and I'm a new mom with a blog about sustainable fashion, body positivity, and women's issues.  

I recently saw your cat bralette on Buzzfeed, and I thought it was super cute!

I'm putting together a post about feeling sexy post baby, and I think your high waisted undies would be a great centerpiece. I would love to photograph myself modeling them and share a link to your site. You can even use my photo on your Instagram page!

If you'd like to work together, the best way to reach me is to reply to this email address. For your reference my blog is idealmomblogforM&B dot com and I get 17 million hits a day on it. You can also find my instagram and pinterest pages here where you'll find I have high engagement with my readers.

Looking forward to hearing from you soon! And say hi to Bucket for me!
Best,
Mary

Okay, I felt like this was the meanest post ever. Rest assured, I love working with other people and I actively WANT to find new collaborators. It's frustrating being pitched constantly {I get at least one email/message a day asking for *free stuff*} and it makes me feel like my work isn't valuable enough for someone to at least construct a well thought out email about. I really wanna work with you!! Seriously, following these guidelines will make both our lives so much easier!

Resist + Persist

You may have already seen {and might even own!} the Resist + Persist Set. But, you probably haven't seen this photos of Married & Bright Model, Jodi Hollingshead taken by Amberlee Christey Photography.

Here's what I love so much about this set:

- this print makes me so happy. look at all those adorable, beautiful women just straight chillin' on the beach

- the wrap bralette is basically my new favorite flattering and more supportive style

- the high rise undies keep all the goodies in check

- 100% of proceeds from the sale of this set benefits End the Backlog {I gave over $300 from the first launch!}

- this set embodies everything I work for and believe in; look good, feel good, and now, do good.

I first heard about End the Backlog while listening to one of my favorite podcasts, My Favorite Murder. This empowering podcast brings a bit of humor to the macabre, but also light to what is dark. The fair, inclusive, and respectful way hosts Karen and Georgia handle the telling of these crimes, is actually inspiring. Since many of the cases they cover involve violence and assault against women, End the Backlog naturally came up.

So, what is End the Backlog? End the Backlog is an initiative supported by A Joyful Heart, which seeks to get every rape kit in America tested. Most states have a backlog of untested kits that are thousands and even tens of thousands names long. Not testing them means that crimes dont get solved, and victims don't get justice.

I believe that every woman should have the opportunity to comfortably lie on the beach and relax in peace just like those ladies on this lingerie set are. While getting a kit tested can not undo the crime, it can be instrumental in the healing and recovery process. I have always been interested in true crime, but now, I want to use my talents to solve crime. I hope you'll join me.

Buy a set. Change a life. Look good, do good.

XO,
Annika

Meet a Maven: Maker in Chief & Founder Annika

Hey there Marri Mavens. Today I'm kicking off a new series on the blog -- Meet a Maven -- where you'll get to meet the Married & Bright Models, some brand superfans, and inspiring women of all kinds. I thought we'd start out with a quick introduction to yours truly. 

I'm Annika. I'm the one woman show who designs, snips and sews, packs and ships, and handles any, all, and everything Married & Bright. If you want to read a bit more about how I got started making lingerie, selling it on the internet, and sending golden packages of underwear through the US mail, you can check out this interview on the Lucky Break Consulting website, or listen to this podcast episode on She Percolates.

A little about me:
I was born and raised in Palo Alto, CA where I enjoyed long summers of running in the sprinklers, fighting with my two sisters over the ownership of a black gap body tank top, making orange peel candy during the holidays, and creating costumes for my high school's plays. I went to college in Boston where I honed my garment design and construction skills at MassArt, met and fell in love with my now-husband Alex, and got my first and only tattoo. After graduation, I boomeranged back to the West Coast, this time making Los Angeles my home. After five years of the LA grind, the hus, our pup Bucket, and I set out in hopes of greener pastures, which landed us in Nashville, TN. I love binge baking, attempting to catch fireflies, sewing with the windows open, and seeking to make the world a better place by uplifting and encouraging women to love themselves more deeply.

 

When did you get your first bra? What kind was it? Who helped you shop for it?
I got my first bra in fourth of fifth grade. I'm the youngest of three girls and I remember feeling jealous of my sisters + slightly self conscious about what was happening with my chest area. I read an article in Girls Life about how to ask your mom to go shopping for a bra with you. One piece of advice was to write her a note if you were too shy to say it out loud. I wrote down my request and reasons why on a piece of printer paper with pink pen and left it on the cutting board she used to make our lunches on. I hid in the stairwell while I watched her read it, and she kindly agreed. We went to gap kids after school that day and got a charcoal grey ribbed training bra that looked like a cut off tank top. It wasn't the most fashionable garment of all time, but I was proud to own it.

What's the best part about being a woman?
There are so many best parts, but my favorite part right now is being able to be so creative with how I dress myself. The freedom to wear pants or skirts, bright colors or all black, show my skin or keep it hidden is endlessly inspiring to me.

If you're married, share the story of how you got engaged, some marriage advice, or funny story about being married.
Every single day of marriage is funnier than the last. I think the weirdest thing about my marriage is the way we communicate through the dog. Bucket has his own voice/accent that a enables a single person to have a full on conversation with. He kind of sounds like this: "Hewwo mommo! I wewwy missed you all day wong! Pwease don't ever weave me awone again because actuwewwy wewwy wuve you a lot!" It's so dumb but Alex and I could go on for HOURS talking in the voice/POV of Bucket.

Where do you see yourself in ten years?
One of my long term goals for business has been to open a brick and mortar shop, so I'd really love to see that happen within that time frame. Personally, I'd love to have 1-2 kids and be living a little bit out in the countryside with goats and chickens.

If you could have a different job besides the one you have, what would it be?
I've always had a secret desire to become a food stylist or a midwife/OBGYN. I have sort of an unhealthy obsession with trays, flatware, tablescape design (and eating yummy, pretty food), and I've always been fascinated by the si-fi-ish miracle of birth!

If you could give the 15 year old version of yourself advice, what would you say?
It's okay to make mistakes. I'm one of the few people I know who actually really enjoyed high school while I was in it and would totally go back and re-do it, but I remember always kind of having analysis paralysis because I was scared of making the wrong choice of embarrassing myself by messing up. I would have encouraged myself to be a bit more free and worry less about what others thought of me.

How does wearing Married & Bright make you feel?
Wearing M&B makes me feel incredibly empowered. Creating lingerie that is designed to please the wearer makes me feel so unburdened. I think many women buy lingerie to impress someone else, but putting on a Married & Bright set means that you get to feel good about yourself without having to wonder what anyone else thinks!

 

 

I hope you've enjoyed learning a little bit more about me and what goes ob behind the scenes here at M&B HQ. Stay tuned next week for another feature on one of my favorite Mavens.

Five Ways to Celebrate Spring

It may not feel like spring where you live (hello mountains of snow and chilly, chilly nights!) but the calendar says it's here! So, in the spirit of renewal, here's a short list of ways to celebrate the new season.

1. Bring the outside in. If wildflowers aren't quite blooming outside your door, bring home a fresh bouquet of seasonal flowers. My favorites are daffodils or peonies from Trader Joe's. If you don't have a totally brown thumb like me, try some potted plants like orchids or even an herb garden on your windowsill. 

2. Bake a refreshing treat. These lemon tart bars scream spring to me.

3. Take a long bath in spring-scented bubbles. These rose bath bombs look like a luxurious way to inhale the spring time -- without the sneezing.

4. Stop and smell the roses. If you live in a major city, try escaping to a botanical garden for the afternoon. Sip iced tea and stroll among the fresh blooms. I'm looking forward to a visit to Cheekwood Gardens to enjoy some of their tulips!

5. Refresh your wardrobe. A new pair of skivvies might be all it takes to shake the winter blues and put a little pep in your step. Might I suggest the At First Blush Set? The flattering peachy tone works well on all complexions, and the gold threads throughout the lace correspond to the dots on the elastic for a subtle shine that'll be you feel fine.

Out With the Old

As Married & Bright moves into a new sales model {hello, quick turn-around time!}, some things have to be sacrificed. Today we say goodbye to hundreds of beloved designs, in order to make way for the Spring 2017 Collection.

I'm so excited to share with you the upcoming designs, so here is a tiiiiiny sneak peek.

I know, that's not much to go on, but picture lots of lace, leather, metallics, and beautiful new prints and textures.

If you want to me among the first to get access to the new collection -- Cheeky Mail subscribers get access 24-48 hours ahead of the general public -- get on the list now. The collection launches March 15th. Mark your calendars.

Annika Benitz ChaloffComment