Working With Brands As A Sustainable Content Creator With Ariel

The Klaia Team
May 10, 2023
5 min read

Ariel, known as @helloarielchristine, is a sustainable content creator based in Los Angeles. Her content’s core focus is sustainability, which has branched out into sustainable and ethical fashion. She also uses her platform to spread awareness about mental health. In this interview, Ariel shares her journey about becoming a sustainable content creator and how she dealt with late payments.

How did you get started as a content creator?

I didn’t have a lot of friends growing up so I definitely went to the internet to find that sense of community and I was always on Tumblr or a photo-sharing website called Flickr. I was always on the next platform, so when Instagram came out I was like this is it.

It wasn’t until 2020, when we were all at home, and when lost my job that I started seeing people post, especially other Latinas, about sustainable fashion. Sustainable fashion was something I was interested in and I was like okay, this person looks like me – which I didn’t see for a while, and I feel like that encouraged me to share my outfits and my journey with sustainability.

Are you a full-time content creator?

I work a 9-to-5 as a customer experience lead. I have worked in retail for years and now I answer a lot of customer questions via email or chat, so I balance content creation with my 9-to-5.

How do you balance your 9-to-5 and content creation?

I know so many people that are way better at it than I am. I don’t batch create – which I know a lot of creators do. And it would probably save my butt and time. But I usually take some time early in the morning right before work or I take a 15-minute break from my job to take my outfit of the day picture or whatever I’m posting that day. During the weekends, I shoot my brand partnerships and content that takes more time. I think finding that balance is always a struggle.

How do you manage your brand partnerships?

I need things physically written down, so I use a planner. And then I also use Klaia. I feel like Klaia has helped a lot because when I write things down, I am not going to write all the hashtgas that I need to use.

Using Klaia is pretty new to me – a friend on Instagram introduced me to it. I’ve heard of so many different platforms, but getting set up with other ones takes too much time and I just abandon it, so that’s why I decided to use Klaia instead. I feel like my physical planner and Klaia go hand-in-hand.

Did you ever have any difficulties finding brands to work with that are sustainable?

It is hard. I definitely have to turn down people, which often feels unnatural. Both of my parents are immigrants and I’m the first generation in the states, so I tend to have an scarcity mindset of needing to say yes to everything that comes my way, because every single thing is an opportunity and I also think that if I say no, then I’m ungrateful and not seeing how lucky I am to be given the opportunity. But that’s not the case, you don’t have to say yes to every single opportunity that comes your way. Saying no, does not mean you’re ungrateful, it doesn’t mean that more things won’t come your way. I think that saying no to something that doesn’t align with your values or views is so important.

Whenever a brand reaches out, I like to do as much research of them as I can. I google things such as if they are owned by a bigger corporation, who the owner of the brand is and seeing if anything problematic comes up. I go on their website to see if they have anything on sustainability to make sure they are doing something to better to their communities.

Granted, I am not always going to get it right, something is going to slip through the cracks. I am going to maybe partner with some brands that don’t fully align, but I definitely try my best and take time to research.

Are there platforms you use to connect with brands?

All the brands that I have worked with have reached out to me – which always blows my mind and I am always so taken aback by it. I think there might have been a couple brands I reached out myself. However, I haven’t used any platforms that brands can find you on – those are the platforms where you have to fill out multiple different questions and it’s a lot of work that I get overwhelmed by.

Have you ever had any bad experiences working with brands?

I did have one recently, where I didn’t get paid until two months after the agreed terms. Naturally, it was very frustrating. Maybe being in customer service helped – I kind of knew what to do and what type of emails to need to send to grab someone’s attention.

Other small things were brands being pushy and asking for another deliverables with a quick turnarounds. I work a 9-5, I am a person, not a marketing tool.

What steps did you take to get that brand to finally pay you?

I was very consistent and very forward. I often fall into the trap of making my emails very fluffly and happy. In this case, I stated the facts:

“I sent my invoice that was dated on x, you said you received it. I need the check number that you said you emailed and I need the date that you said you emailed it on. I still haven’t received it in x amount of time, when we agreed on a net payment terms of x, and it has now been x amount of time.”

Keep it very forward. I got very persistent and was emailing them every single day. I wouldn’t let my name drop down to the list. On the third day of me emailing them consistently, I received a PayPal notification.

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