Just recently I cleared a corner of my bedroom to make a space I could work in. As most of you know, I work from home and more often than not I’d work from my couch or bed. At first that might sound ideal, dreamy even. Though it was getting to be more distracting than productive. I needed a space that I could “go to” and work from. I also needed a space that could help encourage a creative flow and give me a chance to hit the refresh button on what I do every day. In a way, I needed a space that respected my job and helped me understand that what I do is in fact important. My job, that once was a hobby, then it became what some would call a ‘side hustle’ and now has bloomed into something I love and do full-time. In a lot of ways my little space online is like part of my family and I adore it as such. I also take a ton of care of it and do things to foster it and help it grow. One of the major ways I’ve decided to foster my online space and job as a whole was creating this teeny bedroom office! I’m pretty proud of it and enjoy coming to work so much more now!
I think the majority of us know what it is I do for a living, but in case you didn’t I wanted to explain it to you. I also wanted to clue you all in on how I personally work with paid brand partnerships. I think of you all as my friends and I share my entire life with you all. I wanted to try and break down that wall between us and my brand partnerships in hopes of enlightening you all on how they work and further develop our trust with each other. If that makes sense? I always come from a genuine place, but I know with so many ads and sponsored posts out there it can become cloudy. A lot of you may question the “realness” behind such posts. And I’ll be honest, I’ve received comments from some of you who have questioned me flat out! Which I find to be totally OK! Though as friendships go, it is time we have a chat and I am happy to lay it all out there so we can continue to grow together and foster our friendship.
I’ll also give you a mini tour of my tiny bedroom office in case you want to check out what I have put in place to help inspire me and keep me happy during my working hours. When people ask what I do for a living I used to get flustered, not knowing exactly how to answer that. Now the term ‘social influencer’ gets tossed around. Though I like to say I’m a lifestyle and recipe blogger, I work with brands to create content featuring various products and work closely with certain brands to design products/my own collections with them. I also create, write and curate items for my own online shop. I have no idea how you'd say all that in just a few short words, but anyways, that is what I do for a living and I love it. Some question “How long is this social media thing going to last?” to which I always say “I’m not sure! It keeps evolving and I evolve with it. I love what I do and I’ll keep creating as long as I can.” ;) And no, I don't own a bakery haha! Baby Boy Bakery came about late at night when my husband asked what I was going to call my blog when it goes up. I told him I have no idea! He was holding Ryan and at the time Dan always sang a little song to him called "Baby Boy". I took that and added Bakery to it because I loved being in the kitchen and baking. It stuck and I don't think I'd ever have the heart to change it now. Only because it holds so much of Ryan within it.
First things first when working with brands the inquiries can come one of two ways. Either the brand reaches out to me or I reach out to them. When I reach out to brands it is because I am in love with their product and I see a way we can potentially work together. I’ll draft up an email basically pitching them on my partnership ideas and send it to them. When a brand reaches out to me it is the same thing only they are pitching me on their partnership ideas and how they see us working together. When a brand reaches out to me I always ask these questions first and foremost; “Do I use this product/have I ever used this product and do I love it?” “Does this product make sense with my life currently? Example, mom life, personal, family, work life etc.” “Do you 100% want to share this product with your social media community and do you think they would enjoy it as much as you?” If after I ask those questions and answer “Yes” to them all then I move forward. If I answer “No” to any of those questions I don’t move forward.
Moving forward usually means the brand will send me their product if I don’t already have it. If I don’t have the product already I always ask to test it out for two weeks to get a feel for it. Even if I am familiar with it, I use those two weeks to work it into our lifestyle and think of ways I can create content with it. If at the end of those two weeks I can’t seem to fit it into any areas of my life and the content isn’t sparking any interest for me I let go of the potential partnership. If after the two weeks things are going great and I am excited about the product and my content ideas then we move forward into nail down our content. This is when both myself and the brand have a conference call and discuss our ideas and make sure my content meets both their ideas and mine.
When I say ‘content’ I am talking about the photos and videos you see when I post to social or my blog. Whenever I am getting paid to post about a brand partnership I use the brand partnership tool which you’ll see at the top of my social posts. It will be in a small dark font that says ‘Paid Partnership with ___’. I’ll also always use the hashtag #ad somewhere in the caption copy. I also use the words “I’ve partnered with” or “I’m working with” in the caption copy and at the start of any paid blog posts. If you don’t see those three things, I am not getting paid to post or tag a brand.
Working with brands on creating content with their products is actually something I started doing about seven years ago when my son Ryan was just a year old. Our first brand partnership was with a small baby company and for me it was just a fun experience. It also opened my mind to similar possibilities with other brands, which is how I started reaching out to brands on my own. At the time, seven years ago, my social media platform was very small. So reaching out to brands was something I had to do so they could know who I was. Reaching out was (and still is fairly simple) and at the time it almost always ended up as a post for product swap. Meaning I wouldn't get paid, I'd just receive the product for free in exchange for me posting about the product. My paid partnerships were few and far between which was fine and it felt like winning the lottery when a brand wanted to actually pay me to create content for them. It actually still feels like that! I don't think I'll ever loose sight or the feelings from when I first started. If anything, as the time passes my gratitude grows.
Now after working with brands for the past few years I’ve developed this process that is unique to me (though I’m sure most who do the same thing as me, just some different version of it). Working with brands to create content has become something I truly adore. I love getting to be creative with things that I already use and experiment with new products! I also love getting creative for you all and sharing things that may be new to you and your family. I used to feel like this goes with out saying, but now I feel like I need to say that, I’ll never work with a brand and share it with you guys if I don’t 100% believe in the product and enjoy it myself. I always, always come from a genuine place. I do know that everyone has varying opinions which I actually love, because it offers my space up to hold discussions and shed light on things that I myself or others may not know. It also helps encourage my space to be two ways rather than just one way, my way. I respect my social media friends so much and value their insight, so having us all comment to each other in a positive manner is something I strive for. I also find it so helpful sometimes! Especially when posting paid brand partnerships, there are so many brands out there and I love to engage with you all on them and get your feedback. FYI … One thing I won’t stand for is blatant rude comments and comments that shame other moms and what they choose to do/use. Those will be ignored and if rude enough, deleted.
Creating content with brands usually takes about a month to three months. After the initial ask and test period it takes about a week or two to nail down the content ideas. Then I’ll shoot the content with my photographer Lily, who I just brought on last October. If it is video content I shoot with Juice Box Media. Before Lily and JBM, my husband Dan shot all my content! But that was really trying on our marriage and didn’t work well for us personally. Before Dan, it was just me. When I first started I only used my iPhone! Anyways, once Lily sends me the content images, I’ll send it in to the brand. It can take up to two or three revisions/reshoots to get it right for myself and the brand. Once the content is captured and correct it will go live. The majority of the paid brand partnership posts you see take no less than two months to go live. It takes a lot of writing, story boards if video is involved and creating shot lists to offer varying content. I almost always shoot content in my own home or somewhere local to me. Unless the brand is asking us to shoot at a specific location. I love shooting at my home though, because at the end of the day I believe my relationship with my social community is so personal that sharing content from within our home means a lot to me. It’s like I’m inviting you all into my home for a chat and to hand out as friends.
You may see me post a paid brand partnership one or two times a week. I typically work with about four to five brands a month and the content gets dispersed. Again, sharing this info with you is something I wanted to do in hopes of fostering our online relationship. I thought it also may be interesting for those who always wondered. I’m open to any questions you may have and if I find that you have a lot of questions, I’ll be happy to answer them in a Facebook Live to be more helpful. So ask away!
As I love creating content with brands, my first love is writing about my motherhood and sharing the recipes my family makes together with you all. I started my blog nearly 8 years ago when my son Ryan was just a baby. I wanted to share my baby food recipes and hopefully meet some other moms out there as being a first time parent for me was SCARY! Hell, being a second time parent to Mila is scary! I first and foremost share my life with you all and if you’ve been with me for a while you know I share everything. When my son Ryan passed away four years ago I made the decision to continue our online space in honor of him and in honor of my family. Now we share our life and how we dedicate everyday to living a life full of adventure all while our son beams on us from above. In the midst of of personal shares and stories there are paid brand partnerships that I am equally proud of and excited about. I’ve never shared this side of things, I guess I sort of assumed everyone knew about the paid side of posting. I’ve said this a bunch now here and on social media, I think of you all as my friends and friends tell each other everything.
Quick note before I go, I also work with brands to design my own collections which has a little difference work process wise. I'd be happy to touch on that too if you have questions about that specifically. I think you all know by now that I'm an open book ;)
Below is a peek into my tiny bedroom office and where I work from everyday! I’m happy to keep this conversation going so ask any questions you may have and I’ll most likely answering them all here on the blog and in a Facebook Live so keep an eye out.
Love you all and thank you so much for being here!
Photos By Lily Ro Photography