Hello, my Gals!
It’s been a hot, hot few minutes since my last post! I’m trying to be better about updating more regularly, but it’s crazy around here!
I have to say, this is a pretty cute picture, right? My little hero and his sidekick! This shot were the best I could get of them on my own. I didn’t feel like waiting for my husband to be able to help me take a better one.
It took a lot of time to get, too. Like too much time, and a lot of sweat and tears. I’m sure a lot of you Mamas can relate.
Professional photographer I am not, but you get the idea of the point of the picture, right?
Despite its quality (or lack thereof), I could have possibly made some money off of this picture.
With a simple hashtag and code in my post description on Instagram, I could have had the potential to get some side income all from my boys just being cute in some cute outfits. Not just from one company, but two.
But I decided against it.
Why on Earth would I do that? Read on, my Gals!
In the age of social media, it feels like everyone is out there trying to be an influencer. I’ll admit, the concept has been appealing to me (and almost everyone else with a smart phone).
I’ve definitely been that guy and have put up one or two too many insta stories to my meager audience of 183. If nothing else, it’s a fun way to keep family and friends up to date on our little family adventures!
Now when it comes to our babies, we all think we have the cutest ones on Earth. And of course every baby is beautiful. But sometimes we can let a few extra likes on a milestone photoshoot go to our heads.
In recent years, Instagram has turned from a fun platform to share your pictures and videos with family and friends (and whoever else out there is really that interested in looking at pictures of Starbucks orders) to a multi-million dollar industry complete with paid models and spokespeople. Kind of like YouTube, in a way.
And in a similar fashion as YouTube and its family channels, there has been a rise in family pages on Instagram, independent from and supplemental to family content on other platforms.
Now, I’m not trying to police people having Instagrams starring their little ones. My own account is lousy with shots of my boys being “the cutest,” so I can’t cast stones.
So where am I going with all of this?
I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but there’s been a lot of companies that have been offering people the chance to be “ambassadors” for their brand. In the past, you’d have to have thousands if not millions of followers or subscribers in order to get a chance to represent brands, and now brands seem to be ISO just about anyone.
These companies advertise this search as a chance to represent them, get noticed as a page, and even make a little money on the side. From what I’ve seen from most of these ads, the companies offer “ambassadors” a discount, usually up to 40 percent off their clothes. Once you place an order, you’re given a hashtag to put in your post as well as a discount code for followers and viewers to use towards their own order and for you to make commission off of.
I don’t know a single person who wouldn’t want to get paid to just wear clothes for Instagram, so this sort of thing appeals to hundreds, thousands, possibly millions of people.
And that 40 percent off the price of their stuff out of pocket sounds like a small price to pay for a potential chance to become Insta famous, right?
Recently, I had been presented opportunities by two different avenues for my boys to model clothes.
The first company was an ad that popped up in my Facebook feed, which stated the company was “Accepting applications” for models ages newborn through five. I figured I’d give it a shot. Nothing ventured, nothing gained, right?
So I filled out the information and almost immediately I got a notification saying I was accepted.
Upon clicking the sign up link, I discovered that how this was going to work was I would be given 40 percent off of any order which my child/ren would then wear for a picture. They could only be wearing clothing purchased from the site in the picture, and I would have to post a brand-assigned hashtag and a code for potential buyers to get 20 percent off their orders.
I was skeptical, but placed an order anyway. Hence the pictures at the beginning of this post.
Then not even a week later, I posted my youngest’s 5 month pictures to Instagram, and got a comment on them from a different company asking me to DM them for information for him to model clothes for them!
I have to admit I got a little excited that my child had been “noticed.”
The conditions for this “opportunity” were similar, except that I could order an outfit for “free” and just pay shipping.
After sending them a message (again, nothing ventured, nothing gained, right?), I posted an inquiry on one of my Mom’s pages on Facebook, asking if anyone had heard of the company.
Right away I got responses saying that the company seemed fishy, and they had even stole a screenshot from a Target promo to promote their matching family outfits!
I followed up with both companies, and I didn’t really like the answers I received. I’ve decided to share screenshots of my exchanges with these companies, but I’ve blurred out their information.
After these exchanges, I got the feeling that these companies are part of the “fast fashion” industry.
Fast Fashion is a term that basically means cheap, disposable trendy clothes. H&M, Wish, Romwe, and companies like these are examples of fast fashion, which usually draw in a younger, hip crowd.
In this case, instead of appealing to broke trendy college kids, these companies seem to be edging in on Moms looking for insta-worthy outfits on the cheap, and potentially for Moms looking to boost their likes and follows on social media.
There isn’t as much sticker shock with these companies as with other brands, so a lot of Moms jump at the opportunity, from what I saw on the websites.
However, the affordability comes with a hefty price.
This mass consumption of fast fashion impacts the environment and the quality of life of many of the workers behind the crazy fast production of these clothes.
In my research, I have found a fascinating article written on WordPress by Sustaining Community. Graeme presents this information in his post far better than I could, but I will provide a very little nutshell of the impact some of these cheap online clothing stores can have on a larger scale.
From this post, I learned that over HALF of the garments made for fast fashion are sent to a landfill or an incinerator within just ONE YEAR of production. This stuff just SITS there, contributing to the suffocating amount of waste we are piling onto our planet, and then literally suffocating it with the toxic smoke and chemicals from burning the cheap, artificial fibers and materials these clothes are made with.
What’s worse, many of the people making these convenience clothes are subject to horrific working conditions and wages. And some of these workers have been found to be CHILDREN.
Just imagine your children for a second. Now imagine them being forced to work inhumane working hours and conditions for very little sustenance in return. Those cheap clothes hardly seem worth it now, don’t they?
I highly recommend reading the article I linked, and doing more research on this for yourself. Although there’s so much information out there already, I’d be surprised if many of you weren’t aware of some of this stuff already.
But it was enough to convince me to think twice about the next $5 trendy onesie I happen to come across in my Instagram ads.
Now I can’t say for certain whether these places in question are a truly part of the problem, but I’ve seen enough to be convinced not to try them anyway.
You might be thinking, “So what now? Do I have to pay an arm and a leg to dress my second born in sustainable, made in the USA clothes after selling my first born for the funds to afford it?”
The answer is simple: No!
I have fallen in L O V E with secondhand shopping since becoming a Mom. As more people become environmentally and financially conscious, there are more and more nice clothes you can find gently used at thrift shops. It’s so much fun to scour these places for the hidden gems within!
And if GoodWill or Savers squick you out, a simple google search for a higher-end consignment shop is sure to yield impressive results, depending on where you live.
Facebook Marketplace is another amazing resource for cute clothes on the cheap. You can even find things brand new with tags sometimes! I once scored my oldest’s entire winter wardrobe complete with snowpants and boots along with a ton of stuff in two sizes up for just $20! It all easily once retailed for over $200!
In my quest to make it as a blogger, I fell for the smooth moves of fast fashion. But now I know, and knowledge is power!
I think for now my family will stick with consignment clothes. It’s better for the environment, and our budget. And you’d be surprised what you can find out there!
Later on down the line if we find we have a little extra money, we might seek out independent business owners via Etsy or something for more of the cute matching onesies.
And who knows? Maybe later on down the line, my boys or future little ones might get the chance to model some locally made or even consigned clothes to promote sustainable fashion! A Mom can dream…
Here are some “expectation-vs-reality” bloopers from our photo shoot as a reward for making it this far through my ramblings! As you can see, the terrible two’s have come in like a lion for our little Vin.
What do you guys think? How many of you have been against fast fashion from the start? How many of you secondhand shop already? Who’s going to start? Talk about it in the comments!
Thanks for reading, my gals! 😘😘
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