Manners Over Everything
Etiquette they don't teach you as a blogger.
There are so many experience you go through as a blogger in your regular schedule. True, but how to handle these situations in a professional manner is a behavior to be learned through observation or the good ol' trial and error. It's not fair that we have to dive into industrial settings blindly - but then again we're forced to do so with adulting (which is where I'm at right now and it's bloody freaky; re: been watching a lot of Grand Tour lately. Don't mind me.)
After years of researching how-to articles regarding displaying elegance and intelligence at tastings, social events, and meetings,I've found that there's nothing but the generic "How to Start Blogging" articles to plague the Internet. Ugh, eye roll.
I thought I'd share some tips and tricks that made me look like a fool but won't do the same for you.
1.) Always Tip
I never knew this as every tasting is different but always tip your servers. Yes, you're getting free food at tastings, but that's just the food. The service shouldn't be free either and just like you, your waiters are also trying to get food on their table.
I didn't realize I was supposed to do this until I noticed one of my blogger friends had done so. I had been going to tastings for years and never did I even think to do that. It's courtesy.
At most tastings, they usually don't expect it and won't mention anything about tipping so ask the waiter to charge you for a penny so you can tip accordingly on the receipt. It didn't occur to me that that was a thing until a restaurant did so on their own.
2.) Always Respect a Company's Clothes
This mostly applies to showroom pulls but pretty much any time you're going to return pieces, zip your flies up all the way, button your buttons all the way and return everything the way you received them.
The way you treat their clothes is a direct correlation of how you will treat them in the same manner as how the way your significant other treats their mothers and waiters correlates to how they will treat you.
I've had experiences when I pulled from a showroom and picked a piece that was just dropped off. When I had returned that same piece, I was questioned. They asked if I had worn it out to Coachella or in the dirt because it was wrinkly, smelly and had dust all over the hem.
I had only worn it to sit at a hotel so I know it was definitely not me but since I knew the person who had dropped it off, it said a lot about him. The showroom was obviously not happy and contacted the person immediately. As you can see, there are some serious consequences and could even be costly to your wallet if you're not careful.
If you ever borrow shoes, duct tape the sole or walk around in shoe covers until you have to shoot If you borrow hats, ensure that they won't fold wherever you're storing them. If you borrow jewelry especially, try to carry extra earring backs in case they fall off. Never return earrings without backs.
Most importantly, if you stain a piece, use Tide-to-go, or last resort, wash it. Always mind their care tags when putting pieces in the laundry. You don't want the item to come out looking completely different than before you washed it. You're responsible for anything that happens with pulled pieces so take extra care of what's not yours.
3.) Don't Be Greedy and Always Track
When collaborating with a brand, never ask for too much. It turns a brand off from working with you (trust me, I learned the hard way). Try to keep your choices between 3-5 products (sometimes I even think 5 pieces is too much). Brands technically lose money gifting pieces so keep them in mind too.
When sending your address to a brand, always ask for a tracking number. One, you want to know when to expect it, especially if there's a time frame for a campaign, but also, if it gets lost or never reaches its destination, you have proof for the brand to address the situation. Again, you don't want to be be accused of lying just for more product to be sent.
4.) Always Confirm
When it comes to any meeting, appointment, etc. always always always confirm the week of if it's still happening. Also, when you confirm, reiterate time, date, and place to ensure there are no mix-ups or potential miscommunication. It makes it easier for yourself and that person in the future.
Plans tend to change and sometimes we forget to follow up or let the other party know when they do. We're human.
Take it another step further and habitually check your email every 1-2 hours the day of, especially before heading out. You never know when someone will change meeting times or cancel altogether last minute so it's better to save yourself the drive. Always be a step ahead.
5.) Watch Your Mouth
Last but not least, watch your mouth. This is self-explanatory but you'd be surprised how many times I've come across awkward or bad situations because others don't know how to filter themselves.
This has resulted to consequences (I've witnessed for the most part) such as being blacklisted from brand events, ending a business relationship forever or having your reputation ruined by a brand. Trust me, there are some bloggers and even photographers that end up being bad for business by association because of the way they've spoken to brands. They have more power than you ever will no matter what the brand is.
The fashion industry is small. Everyone knows everyone somehow or will know everyone whether you like it or not, and even worse, word spreads quickly. How you treat others will resonate with them. Regardless if they're a brand founder or just a retail employee, you never know where life will take those people. That retail employee could end up being your boss at your next job or that brand founder could end up being your intern.
You just really never know.
I think this dialogue can be pretty controversial because as a blogger, you want to or have to stand up for yourself against other brands, especially when you're not getting your end of the bargain. It's the only way we can protect ourselves.
The language for that is tricky and it's better to be avoided altogether but in the event that it does happen, you really have to tiptoe with the way you communicate your feelings.
In other instances, people don't know how to differentiate between personal and work life and for a lifestyle blogger, the two must be blended to achieve authenticity. Other times, in conversation, some just pour their digitally unshared life unabashedly. It's awkward because if you're a blogger as well on the receiving end of the conversation, that's either going to push you away or pull you in.