#BLOGGERLIFE: The influencer who couldn’t sell 36 shirts!

Did you hear the tale of the popular influencer who couldn’t launch her t-shirt ‘brand’? Yeah! It’s wild and totally true! Last week, instagram influencer, Arii, posted (and deleted) that she launched her clothing line, needed to sell 36 shirts, and didn’t fulfill her goal despite having more than 2 million followers!

She then claimed, that ‘the Influencer Bubble is bursting’ just because she didn’t reach her quota. This left alot of influencers giving her the SIDE-EYE! Not only is influencer marketing flourishing, brands are estimated to spend up to $10 BILLION dollars on influencer led marketing campaigns (SOURCE). Hmmm, seems like someone was being a hater because her t-shirts didn’t sell. 36shirts

But why didn’t her shirts sell? Below, I give you FIVE reason why an influencer with 2 million followers couldn’t sell 36 t-shirts (actually she was required to sell 36 pieces of each of the seven items on her website, equaling 252 pieces). Still with 2 million followers not being able to sell 252 pieces seems a bit strange.

I took a good long look at Ms. Arii’s Instagram and social media presence and I’ve come to some conclusions. Take these tips into consideration when thinking about adding a product to your personalized brand.

KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE & Tell the story

When I wrote my book, Jack and Ahlia, I KNEW my current audience would not be the first to purchase. My followers know me for PLUS-SIZE FASHION! Coming out with a clothing line would have been more successful than writing a fiction book.

However, my passion is literature, so I had to take my followers on the journey with me. Every STYLE post was about my writing journey, the process of publishing, and my excitement of giving my followers a new part of me.

Ms. Arii, from my research, is an 18 year-Old lifestyle blogger. She’s cute, has a petite frame, and trendy clothes. Her passions seem to be selfies, music lyrics, and squat poses. Not saying she’s a bad follow, but she really didn’t give the kids (her followers) the journey to creating her clothing brand. She ASSUMED that they’d just be ready to purchase. Don’t assume. RESEARCH, TEST, and MARKET!

Don’t Buy Followers

Allegedly, Ms. Arii’s followers are ORGANIC. But with my digital strategist eye I can tell that a large majority of her followers are bots. Now, maybe she didn’t buy her follows, but her ‘likes per post’ vs her overall following – is mighty low and give one an indication that all the followers aren’t real.

If she has 2.6 million followers, and let’s say, 30% of those are bots, that would mean 780,000 of her followers are fake. Leaving her with 1.8 million people to sell your clothes. And, of the 1.8 mil let’s say that half of them are active users on the site, that leaves her with 900k followers to market her clothes to.

I didn’t even add in her twitter following which sits at 351k. Her twitter following seems more organic as she gets tons of responses for her posts.

So back to the point at hand, you can’t depend on allegedly purchased Instagram followers or the bots the platform brings as you get more popular. If you are ready to launch a product you’ve got to do the deep analytics to determine if your followers have purchase power.

Is your product worth it and ON BRAND?

Before Arii closed her brand website I was able to see some of the items. Girl *insert eye roll emoji*. I’m sorry to say, even with her demographic, the clothes weren’t really hittin’. Basic T-shirt’s with a random slogan and joggers that one could buy from Forever 21 are not what that demographic wants. If I can get it anywhere than anyone can have it.

Arii, although she has a ton of followers, still hasn’t found her niche. She happens to be a cute girl with average photos. Not saying she won’t grow to become a fashion superstar but she’s got a lot of niche building to do. And that’s OK.

Hire a team

With Arii being so young (just turned 18, graduating senior) it doesn’t seem like she has a team behind her to help create her niche and brand her lifestyle. When more than 100k ppl ‘like’ the picture you posted about NOT selling product, but didn’t buy the actual product, something is wrong and you need help.

She was quoted as saying she hired models, a photographer, and a studio to shoot her looks. But I never saw anything about management and marketing. Ms. Arii didn’t need models, SHE’s the brand! She needed a marketing team and a story to create buzz and buy.

With this slight failure I hope she uses the momentum to re-launch a better campaign. I’m not her target demo, BUT, I like to see people succeed.

Self-Promotion is key strategy

Another tip to take is the power of self-promo. Before launching her brand, Arii depended mostly on Instagram for promotion. She doesn’t have a stand-alone website, no newsletter, no Facebook page, and a slight presence on Twitter. In her, perceived, delusion, she may have thought IG was enough. IG is never enough.

You’ve got to promote yourself like a rapper in the 90’s selling his cassette on the corner. You gotta go hard. You gotta pop up everywhere. With social media sites being free, there’s tons of creative ways to get your product in front of millions. Especially someone with a large following like Arii.

In conclusion:

One could make the case that the influencer bubble is bursting, but that not true. Influencers with small followings make major moves. However, those that find the best success both major and minor, are GENUINE, do their research , know their audience, and take their followers on a journey.

Ms. Arii made a major mistake but has set herself up for a great success if she takes her time to research.

2 thoughts on “#BLOGGERLIFE: The influencer who couldn’t sell 36 shirts!

  1. Too many influencers do not understand how important it is to own real estate (blog, website, etc.) IG is not yours! I agree with all toir points and think her not having a site was a big problem for her. What ai also have a problem with is how brands overlook amazing Black influencers and are willing to spend big bucks on white ones.


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