influencer marketing and ecommerce marketing podcast GRIN gets real

Hosted by:

Katya Allison portrait

Katya Allison

Director of Marketing Content at GRIN

Scaling a Product Gifting Program with Creators

In this episode:

Aneesha DuBois & Elton Graham

PR Consultant & GM Ecommerce & Growth

Los Angeles Apparel makes your favorite styles & quality basics sustainably in the USA. We’re on a mission to bring back apparel made in the U.S.A. by highly trained employees earning fair wages and supporting domestic farmers. Your Favorite T-Shirts, Dresses, Shorts, Skirts, Crop Tops, Tank Tops, Skirts, Denim, Sweatpants, Sweatshirts, Leggings, Bodysuits, Sweaters, Activewear, Swim, Intimates, Underwear, Socks and much more. #sweatshopfree #madeinusa #sustainable #fairwages #longlasting

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About GRIN Gets Real

Welcome to the GRIN gets real podcast, the show for people who want to maximize their marketing potential. From influencer marketing to eCommerce strategy and everything in between, each episode will feature industry experts that share their insights and provide actionable tips to help you achieve your marketing goals. Subscribe and stay tuned!

Full episode details

How Seeking Out Quality Content From Creators Drives Growth and Success

“We’re not just going after those macro influencers, the ones with 1 million, 2 million followers on TikTok, YouTube, or Instagram… We’re going after those micro ones too, those ones who still engage with their followers… Going after it from both ends, I think, is really helping to scale.”  – Aneesha Dubois, Los Angeles Apparel

Running an influencer marketing program takes time no matter what. The important thing is to put extra time and effort in at the beginning and build an efficient, fruitful program, saving you time at the back end and allowing you to scale.  This means setting clear goals and expectations, testing to see what approach works best for your brand, and creating a thorough influencer vetting process. If you don’t put the time initially into creating effective processes you’ll end up wasting a lot of time dealing with problems and complaints, and the elements will never run smoothly. 

For programs with a goal of increasing awareness, an influencer product gifting program is a great way to get your products into the hands of creators who will spread the word and share your brand’s story. In order to keep this sort of program moving successfully, you have to carefully seek out creators whose content matches your brand’s identity, and who are happy to post in exchange for free products. Otherwise, you’re going to spend too much of your energy chasing down content or receiving content you don’t feel great about repurposing. The best way to build a program that you can both scale, and adjust to meet your brand’s changing needs, is to build an authentic relationship with your influencers from the start. If you do all of these things, you’re going to see the rewards for years to come.

“All the effort you put in the beginning is going to make the end so much easier. Without that work in the front end, you’re going to be chasing your tail at the back end.” – Elton Graham, Los Angeles Apparel

Breakdown of the Grin Gets Real Podcast + Brands Talking Influencers: Los Angeles Apparel

The Magic Is in Building Relationships with Influencers

“So basically, once they send me their proposal, I click three buttons, and that’s it, then I wait for the content.”  – Aneesha Dubois, Los Angeles Apparel

Aneesha Dubois, the influencer marketing director for the sustainable clothing brand, Los Angeles Apparel, describes herself as, “not a heavy analytical person.” But even though Aneesha doesn’t focus on metrics, she runs the program in a way that her boss, GM Elton Graham, consistently sees the numbers that he is tracking go up. For Elton and Aneesha, the success of their end-of-the-month metrics is because of the way they’ve built the program from the beginning. Aneesha focuses on finding influencers who not only create awesome content but are also the perfect fit for the brand’s product seeding program. This qualitative approach to prospecting and vetting has helped them create an influencer program with almost 100% compliance. Their influencer program is consistently building brand awareness and spreading the brand’s story to a wider and wider audience.

In this episode of the GRIN Gets Real Podcast, Katya from GRIN talks with with Los Angeles Apparel’s Aneesha Dubois and Elton Graham, to get their responses to the unanswered questions submitted during the Brands Talking Influencers Fireside Chat webinar that took place live on March 23, 2022. These questions range from their insight on the value of influencers to the specific tactics they use during onboarding, to how they build relationships and ensure influencers follow through.

During the podcast, Aneesha’s relationship-based approach and Elton’s more analytical approach give you nuanced explanations for how they’ve been able to build a successful program in a relatively short time. Aneesha and Elton discuss topics such as:

  • Where brands can begin, even if they have a small or non-existent budget.
  • Why the email templates they have set up in GRIN work to establish a real relationship with creators from the beginning.
  • Why giving too much direction to creators can have an inverse effect on the quality of the content you receive.
  • How their influencer program has changed after moving onto the GRIN platform to manage it.
  • What metrics they use to gauge success.

And we get to hear specifically how they’ve managed to maintain a 95% compliance rate, even with non-paid influencers!

“Influencer marketing is a long game. If you’re in the short game for influencer marketing, you’re gonna have a hard road ahead of you. – Elton Graham, Los Angeles Apparel

If you’re running a product seeding influencer program, or think you want to start, and you’re worried about compliance issues, or getting push back from influencers who demand to get paid… this episode is a must listen. You’ll hear how Aneesha’s more laid back approach to communicating the brand’s requirements helps her build trust immediately and ensure quality content, and plenty of it!

“Don’t micromanage them; go through the platform, look at their content and trust that you like what they put out there already. Just make sure they’re doing the proper tags. That’s it.” – Aneesha Dubois, Los Angeles Apparel

Take this opportunity to learn from three long time veterans in the industry… and listen to the podcast now!

Quotes from This Episode

Podcast title image of "Living the cookieless life as marketers using creators"

“What I envision is, thanks to GRIN, which makes scaling so effortless and efficient, we will scale this and my hope is to have hundreds a month and scale up from there. – Elton Graham, Los Angeles Apparel

“If they make good content, it’s a snowball effect, and the numbers support that.” – Aneesha Dubois, Los Angeles Apparel

“It’s almost like a slippery slope, the more directive you are, the poorer results you get… you kill the serendipitousness of it.” – Elton Graham, Los Angeles Apparel

“We’re open to paying a fee. But let’s see what you can do first… let’s just see what it does organically within your content.”  – Aneesha Dubois, Los Angeles Apparel

“If I had to take my pick, do I want to comment or do I want to click, I probably want the comment. Our goal is to get awareness and reach, not to be real heavy handed on a tactical conversion.” – Elton Graham, Los Angeles Apparel


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