It's strange to me to be called an Influencer. That is, someone who is seen to have influence, leverage, or effect over a community due to his or her rapport within that community.
I never, ever started my Instagram with that intention or even the inkling that I would ever have a large following and inspire others. I began IG because my sister told me about challenges you can join where you may win free leggings. I thought, "cool! I like free stuff!"
But it turned out I also liked connecting with other people all over the world, I liked being motivated and inspired by those people, and I liked the creative outlet that my IG became -- getting photos, creating content, writing captions, playing with new angles -- and I loved meeting others to co-create with me on photoshoots and hosting challenges.
And so my IG grew as my yoga practice developed, and my yoga journey lead me to become a teacher, and then a travelling yoga teacher. More and more people followed me to watch my journey, and consequently more and more companies contacted me to wear their clothes, try their products, promote their business, or stay at their accommodation.
I'll admit, at first I took anything. As I said: I like free stuff! And it's also really flattering to be contacted by a brand who wants to give you something. Sometimes I would receive leggings that were AWFUL and I wear them just for a photo and then never touch them again. Readers: there are a lot of really bad leggings out there! I know, I've tried so many!
But I soon got too many offers to possibly keep up and I realised, "Hey, I can be picky! And maybe actually just work with brands I really like!"
Now, I get multiple requests a day. Two or three DMs per DAY come into my IG inbox with something along the lines of "How much for a shoutout?" or "what are your rates to promote my brand?"
To be perfectly honest, I delete those straight away. Simply because if I know nothing about a company and they haven't taken the time to tell me about themselves in their initial message, then I don't see why I should care to promote them.
More rarely, someone will take the time to reach out to me through my website or email and explain their product and how they want to collaborate. I appreciate a personalised message -- I'm a human being! So I like to feel like a company sees that I'm a person, and not just a big account.
But no matter what, I always explain to the brand that I have to try their product first, and ONLY if I love it, then I will tell my followers about it.
There have been many, many products I've tried -- from skin care lines, to jewellery, to protein powders and yoga props -- that my followers never hear about. Because I don't love them. No matter how much a company is willing to pay me, or how well known a brand is, if I don't love a product and use it myself, then I would never tell a single person to use it.
Even though it's hard to fathom the idea of being an "influencer" sometimes, I do take it seriously.
So, if you follow me on IG, you may know that I don't often promote brands. Maybe, apart from me wearing AloYoga clothes all the time (because, yes, I love ALO) you've never seen anything. I haven't done a promotional post in months and months!
I write all this to say that I want you to know that you'll never hear, see, or read about me promoting anything that I don't use myself, that I don't find value in myself, that I don't believe in. I speak to brands about the origins of their products, the intention of their business, and the methods of their production before I agree to work with them.
And so, of the dozens of requests I get every month, there are just a handful that I am happy to share with you. My favourite yoga mat brand, the line of skincare I use, the only natural deodorant that I feel really works, a couple of great yoga props, and the nutrition school that changed my life.
You can read about them right here, and most of them even come with discount codes you can use if you choose click the "confirm purchase" button. But I won't ask you to buy any of them! This is simply me sharing what I've enjoyed using!