Back on my grind over here and figured it’s about time to put this particular blog up. With 2 years of owning a business under my belt, I’d say I have a little wisdom and knowledge pertaining to this industry; one being Band Endorsements. Winky Boo has sponsored our fair share of bands since launching and we’ve had some good experiences and some bad ones. This post is for both the clothing companies who get approached regarding sponsorship’s or who already have bands as endorsements as well as for the bands seeking to obtain a sponsorship with a clothing company. Let’s get down to it.
1. Do NOT send mass emails to clothing companies regarding sponsorship’s
Bands!! This one’s for you! Unbeknownst to you, clothing companies talk to each other. You might assume, “well they’re in competition with each other so why would they share information?” We may all be in the same industry but that doesn’t mean we don’t share our knowledge or tips with other companies. Actually, a lot of us owners/designers/artists in the clothing industry are pretty good friends with each other. So yes, we share information, we complain to one another and we congratulate each other when we succeed! Therefore when you decide to send out a mass email changing a few words here or there to 10 clothing companies that all have different styles saying things like, “We really love your style and even own some of your clothing” – (don’t you think we receive and fill each order that comes through, we know if you’ve ordered or not and more times than not, you are lying).
If you say things like, “We’re going to be the next big thing” – (we’re happy you’re confident in yourself and your band but every band thinks they’re going to be the next big thing just like every clothing company thinks we’re going to hit it big. Don’t say things like this to us if you want us to take you seriously).
Before I give you a million other examples of things NOT to SAY, please note that if you are seeking a sponsorship with a clothing company; you should probably find ONE clothing company that you really do like the style of that really does fit your band’s personality and music and contact them. DO NOT send a mass email to a bunch of clothing companies assuming we won’t know the difference, because we have a little place we go where we copy and paste the emails we receive like that to ALL the other clothing company owners and then we laugh at you for thinking we are too oblivious to notice you sent us all the same exact email.
2. Be Authentic
When you contact us, be honest. Lying isn’t going to get you anywhere with us or with yourself. If you just found out about our brand don’t tell us you’ve been following us for years or have bought our clothing before. Be truthful! Tell us about your band and your style. By style I mean the bands personal style and your music style. Obviously every band has an image that you want to uphold and usually it correlates with your music style so be truthful with yourself when finding a clothing company for your band. Don’t choose the first one that your friend tells you about because you hear they give a lot of bands sponsorship’s. Really take the time to sit down with the band members and discuss what clothing brands are right for ALL of the member’s style. We don’t want 1 band member doing all the work and making all the decisions and if we take you on as a sponsorship the rest of the band doesn’t want to wear the clothing but that 1 person does.
Be authentic with your career when explaining to us about your band. We’ve heard it all before, “We toured the entire US” or “We’re in talks with a record label and really close to signing”. Yes, these are things we’d like to know about you but don’t lie or exaggerate. We are going to do our own research and we always find out the truth. If you tell us your shows usually have over 700 people in attendance, yet we go looking through your performance photos and see the audience has 10 people, that’s going to be a problem.
3. Don’t assume a sponsorship equals Free Clothing
Keep in mind we are running a business. Taking on sponsorship’s are a bonus factor for both the clothing company and the band if done right. The majority of clothing companies cannot afford to just hand out free clothing to their bands. A lot of clothing companies give you a huge discount if you are a sponsored band. Other times we offer incentives and/or rewards in the form of free clothing for special circumstances. So if you are looking for an endorsement assuming you’re going to get tons of free clothing, you’re barking up the wrong tree my friend. You will find very few clothing companies that do this and usually they will not be classified as “indie” brands.
“Indie” brands are independent brands and are typically small-scale businesses owned and operated by less than 10 people. Yes, of course there are more recognized “street-wear” or “indie” brands out there that have grown to fame over the years and sure I bet they can afford to give you free clothing but a lot of them don’t even do band sponsorship’s and the next reason is going to explain why.
4. Someone please deflate that big head you’ve grown
Bands are hard to work with!!!! We all start somewhere. I’m still working on growing and expanding my business – 2 years in. I don’t know it all, I’m still learning and I definitely don’t claim to know everything – even about the topic I’m blogging about as we speak! No one gets rich or famous over night and some people won’t even get that far. Please don’t contact us or talk to us like you’re better than us. Humble yourself! Once you get a clothing sponsorship keep in mind that this is a 2-way street. If we email you, we expect you to be professional and respond. Keep in mind, you sought us out. A lot of bands have this problem; they nominate 1 person in the band to handle the emails and then that person doesn’t take it seriously. We are all busy and we are all human, but we expect courtesy and professionalism regardless of how cool we are to you; we are NOT going to understand you not responding for months on end and then telling us you were too busy with practice and touring. If you are not going to take us seriously, we aren’t going to take you seriously.
Personally I don’t deal with bands who act this way. If I email you, I give you 7 days to respond and after that I take it as you blowing me off and typically it isn’t going to end well. Everyone has cell phones and internet these days and everyone USUALLY checks their email. If we see you on Facebook constantly posting but you haven’t emailed us back, you’ll probably be dropped as a sponsorship. All in all what I’m saying is, band’s are not the easiest to work with. The majority of them have big heads and think they are much much bigger and more important than they are. Don’t make it difficult for us to work with you because we will pass it along to more people than you think and if you aren’t easy to work with on a small scale then you definitely aren’t going to be easy to work with on a big scale. I’ve personally worked with celebrities before I started Winky Boo and the truth is they don’t even act like that. Some of the most famous people you can think of are the most polite, considerate, appreciative and respectful people I’ve ever met in my life. So do us a favor and don’t be difficult, don’t act like a diva, don’t demand new clothing and not purchase or promote it because that isn’t holding up your end of the sponsorship and being a douche-bag isn’t going to get you far in life.
5. Promote us and we’ll promote you
The theory behind a sponsorship is in the band’s eyes that they can obtain a larger following by wearing the brand’s clothing while performing, etc. and they think they can get lots of free clothing which we’ve already established isn’t true! In the clothing companies’ eyes it’s that they’ll obtain a larger following by promoting the band. If the band’s fans see them in our clothing then they’ll become fans and customers of ours. If this is the goal then both parties need to do their part in promoting each other. I’ve experienced way too often promoting a band, giving out their stickers/cds/business cards at events, promoting their shows, including them in interviews and blogs I do and then I receive 1 photo of 2 guys wearing some shirts at a show. I mean thanks but no thanks. Believe it or not we do not have to mention you in interviews relating to our clothing company and we definitely don’t have to hand out your flyers and merch while trying to sell ours, but we do because that is part of having an endorsement. There’s been times I’ve sent along record label contact information or contacted record labels for bands. After that, what they or you do with that opportunity is not on us. We’re looking for opportunities for you and doing our best to help you out so keep in mind you should do the same for your clothing company. Tell your fans and friends about us. Promote us on your social media pages instead of trying to enter and win other clothing companies contests or do those stupid “ladder” games promoting everyone else but your clothing company.
These are just some examples of things I’ve heard and also some I’ve experienced. With Winky Boo, if we take you on as a sponsorship we don’t allow you to obtain another sponsorship of the same genre. Therefore you can get sponsorship’s with shoe companies, for guitar strings or drum kits but not clothing or accessories that we sell. I’ve sponsored bands before who even after knowing that were contacting other clothing companies out in the open on Facebook for all to see consistently every day – basically spamming peoples pages saying they were looking for a clothing endorsement. These are the things that make us think you are only out for some freebies and aren’t looking for a serious sponsorship.
I don’t know it all, I can only teach from my own experiences and the above information is just that. Keep in mind I’m coming from a clothing companies stand-point and not vice versa. But on this end of things, we do receive tons of emails a day from bands and some clothing companies just don’t even give you the courtesy of responding because band’s are unaware of the mistakes they’re making. So this is for you bands who are new to this process. Instead of ignoring your ridiculous emails I accumulated everything into this blog for you to take notes and remember the next time you are seeking a clothing endorsement! You’re Welcome.
Currently Winky Boo has 3 bands on roster as sponsorships:
Thirteen To One
Click the photos to check out each of their Facebook pages and music. Hopefully you got something from this post, whether you’re a band or a clothing company. Please feel free to share your experiences below in the comment section as well!