I've worked with quite a lot of brands in the two years I've been a professional blogger/creator/Instagrammer/whatever-the-hell-you'd-call-it. And nearly all of them have been great. I mean - I should bloody well hope so; I made myself a solemn promise when I started The Pink House that I'd only work with companies that fitted the following criteria:
- I loved their stuff
- They loved my stuff
Pretty simple, right? And most of the time, it has been. Following these rules means that everyone has a better experience: me, the client and - most importantly - you the Pink House Guest.
This is because if I love the products, I'm genuinely enthusiastic when I write about and style them in my home (or on my person). I feel I'm doing my readership a service by showing off something cool I've found, in the same way that I'd show a friend something fabulous I'd found to eat/drink/wear/spend your holiday in/decorate your sofa with.
And if the company loves what I do, that means they trust me to talk about their product in a way that's natural to me, and attractive to you, my readers. The word 'authenticity' is bandied about a lot at the moment; it's become The Word To Use when speaking with 'influencers' (ugh that word; to my ears it sounds so shallow, with shades of coercion; I prefer Instagram's version - 'creators' - which focuses instead on the creativity involved in publishing content in a variety of media). But despite its frequent misuse, 'authenticity', when used correctly, gets to the heart of what it means to make excellent creative content that pleases everyone.
Here's my formula for authenticity when it comes to branded content:
Creator's love of the product + the brand's trust in the creator = AUTHENTIC BRANDED CONTENT
The Case Study
And this has what's been going on over the past 3 months while I've been working with QVCuk.com on a paid partnership. The very fact that this blog post - the first I've ever written about the nuts and bolts of the strange job I do - is sponsored by QVC, says a lot about how much I've loved working with them. Even better, they won't even know they're sponsoring this post until it's published! This is because the delightful QVC team trust me implicitly. My contract says I need to produce a sponsored blog post this month, but it's entirely left up to me what it should be about, and which products I'll promote.
True creative freedom. When I worked in the advertising industry, no creative team was ever afforded that luxury. Sure, they'd be allowed to spend a week getting stoned, playing pool and coming up with various outlandish responses to the brief, but ultimately they'd be reined in by a) me, the account manager, and b) the client. I don't think that ever in the history of advertising a creative team has been given a brief, then allowed to come up with the ad and PUBLISH it, without the client getting involved (though based on how the sexist ad industry was run in the early Noughties, this was definitely a good thing). And yet that's what I'm allowed to do on a regular basis. So. Effing. Cool.
So we've established that QVC trust me to understand what they want and deliver appropriate content, but what about the other side of the equation - my love of their product? Granted, when QVC first approached me about working with them I didn't even know what their product WAS. For me, the acronym Q V C merely conjured up visions of ladies of a certain age buying sparkly rings on daytime telly. And while there is that aspect of the brand, there is SO much more, not least the fact that all of this so much more can be accessed via a cleverly designed website, complete with mini videos showcasing the products.
QVC is, essentially an extremely clever curator of those brands you already love, as well as those brands you didn't really know about but love when you do. And they have some EPIC sales. I was allowed to take my pick from the thousands of products available on their website. This was done by me filling out a questionnaire of what I was into, then turning up to QVC towers in Chiswick to discover an entire massive room merchandised purely with items tailored to my requirements. Hands-down the best shopping experience ever.
And this is also how I found the products I fell in love with and discovered brilliant brands I'd never have considered, all while having an experience that made me fall further in love with QVC as a company (seriously; by the end of the studio tour I was BEGGING them to let me go live on air). It's been a joy working with them these past months, so to mark the end of this project, I thought I'd share the 5 QVC products I loved most from our 3-month partnership...
1) Bundleberry by Amanda Holden set of 2 nesting tables
Honestly, I don't know how I'd have survived the summer so far without these nesting tables. We keep ours in the garden and they look as good as new, 3 months later. I love how lightweight they are, meaning that wherever you choose to sit, you can bring your side table with you, and your glass of champagne/iced coffee/water (in descending order of beverage preference) won't spill as you precariously balance it on the grass/a passing child.
2) Rino & Pelle faux suede biker jacket
I'd never heard of Rino & Pelle before getting to know QVC. Plus I'm a bit of a jacket snob, tending to prefer real suede or leather to anything faux. But as soon as I tried this jacket on I knew it was a keeper - see pics above. Super classy, and at a price point that means I can buy two colours (check out the pink one - sigh!) for the price of one standard suede jacket. Love the leopard lining too
3) Lisa Snowdon diamond teardrop ring and necklace
Let me tell you - if you're in the market for a few faux flowers or some fauxliage, QVCuk.com has got you covered. They sell a brand called Peony (so it's not surprising that their peonies are especially fab) which has a range of incredibly life-like flowers and leaves. I had one discerning Pink House guest who had to touch the eucalyptus (currently out of stock on QVC) and waxflowers before she was convinced they weren't real. I use the foliage to mix with and bulk out real flowers, and the peonies in my turquoise earthenware vase. The smoked glass vase the faux peonies came in is great for real flowers, though, so I don't feel it's been wasted.
5) Northern Nights Tripleknit Waffle Quilt
This stylish grey quilt hasn't left my bed since it arrived. It looks so chic with my M&S waffle bedding and my dark blue and pale pink Chalk Pink Linen Company bedding and works really well over a sheet as a cooler version of a duvet in the summer.
So there you have it - how I love to work with brands, and some of my most recent finds on QVC that have genuinely enhanced my life and which I think will do it for you too. Happy shopping!
This post was sponsored by QVCuk.com, but as always, all thoughts, opinions and lifetime love of Lisa Snowdon are entirely my own. If you're brand who loves what I do and thinks I might love what you do, email me on firstname.lastname@example.org