A few months ago I was approached by a start-up website with a strong focus on luxurious, minimalistic style. The idea behind this site was to collaborate with other brands to generate online sales and, in particular, achieve an increased following on Instagram in order to gain recognition as an influential and popular brand. Not anything new, really, but I was interested in working on an exciting new project with plans to go global.
I agreed to meet with the founder, a young student with big plans and plenty of energy. They were passionate about the prospect of creating a luxury lifestyle brand and had a clear plan on how to achieve their goals. I was in…. Until one tiny comment was made, which went completely against my work ethic: the founder said that to gain access to international events, such as London Fashion Week, they would happily “Photoshop the figures”. I was astounded.
Here I was, at 32 years old, having worked for the past five years on my own blog to create something that I am proud of, something that is based purely on hard work and dedication. My blog may not generate hits like other more popular and influential bloggers and websites, however, I’m proud to be able to say that my figures are true: they have never been doctored, they’ve been earned. As I sat there, listening to the founder chatter on about what they wanted and what they’d do to get it, I felt disappointed (and a bit disgusted) by their self-entitled attitude. Perhaps this makes me naive, but I’m a firm believer in working for what you want, and when the founder of the new website said explicitly that they would cheat their way to the top I knew immediately that I couldn’t (and wouldn’t) be a part of their swift but shady journey.
Some might say that I shot myself in the foot, that I could have gained a lot by working with this brand – they’re probably right, and yes, I’m disappointed not to be a part of a success story. However, having worked hard since 2010 on my blog and its social media platforms, I couldn’t risk my reputation or professional relationships by being associated with a brand that is okay with cheating its way to the top. What saddens me most about this experience is that the brand (which will remain nameless) will probably continue on its road to success without anyone being any the wiser. I very much hope that this isn’t a reflection of our times….
Have you had a similar experience, either as a blogger or a business person? I’d be keen to hear your thoughts.
Image: Kris Miller