Staying Honest as a Blogger when Sponsored with Free Stuff

Never thought I’d be a Sponsored blogger, but here I am…

Getting Free Fabric in the Mail

I while back I, as the owner of this blog, was offered free fabric from a online fabric store. The deal was to create anything I wanted with the fabric they sent (and I could pick the patterns I liked from their shop) and then blog about it, mentioning the name of the fabric and linking to where you as a reader can buy it, if you’re interested.

I did not hesitate to say “yes please, that would be fun” and I thought I’d write a bit about why I did so, and how I will go about this matter…

Sponsered blogger, me?

To get fun patterned fabrics to me is inspiring and a bonus of blogging. To me there will not be a huge difference in executing a craft idea with fabric I myself have picked out and purchased, or fabric I’ve picked out and been sent for free. The only difference might be that I feel responsible to actually make something from the fabric, in timely manner, and to post about it. And to me, that is a bonus too because we all know how easy it is to fall in love with pretty fabric and then simply store it away to use “some day”… To you as a reader, free do not need to matter either – as long as we can agree that my voice is not bought with free fabric, nor with big sums of money or anything else. It’s just not for sale! My time is, because I need to earn money to eat, but never my voice.

Nature Trail Curtain Fabric Red

I feel confident about expression my opinions, both positive and negative, when reviewing products and books even as a sponsored blogger. Maybe it’s because I have a journalistic education, something that has given me strong ethic beliefs. And I have always loved and honored freedom of speech! I think most of you know this already, but to be clear: I will always give you my own, personal opinion about any topic I choose to bring up. No matter how much I am paid to blog (if that would ever happen!), I will not compromise my opinion about the goods I’m reviewing or linking to. Plus I always prefer to write about things I love rather than other, more bland, stuff…

I’ve read many writers who becomes uncertain of their role when they start to think about blogging as a job, a place to get income from, a platform to sell merch through – or as a way to promote other’s products or services. I think that the reason for this is that many become too interested in the business of it, and they forget the most important task, to stay true to the relationship with the readers. To be honest should be the most important thing to any writer, because without that, why would you want to express anything? And why should anyone listen to you?

Through the years as a blogger I’ve been approached with quite a few offers from companies, most of them only beneficial to their company and not me. They’d like me to link to them, help them sell strange stuff or buy space on my blog to promote their products. Most offers are scams or spam, I guess. Others are offering a shamefully small amount for the value they want to receive. This is the first time, as far as I can remember, that I’ve been offered goods that I thought my readers would like to know about (pretty fabric!). I have of course gotten quite a few free books to review. As you might know almost all reviews you read in magazines and newspapers are sponsored by free books. This is not a problem, and to me it doesn’t need a disclaimer, because I will write the truth even when I am not loving the product. That is weather I’ve bought the book myself or been asked to review it by the author and/or publisher. I hope this is already evident to regular readers of my blog?!

Campervans Curtain Fabric Pink

Anyway, as you can see in this post the fabric I received is extremely lovely. I was thrilled when opening the packages and inspired to think up some project perfect for each print! These fabrics were sent to me by the fabric store Terry’s Fabrics in the UK, and I am planning at least tree posts with projects made from these fabrics (with the help of my crafty mom), starting this Friday.

The first project is a bag made from my favorite fabric, the Campervans Curtain Fabric in pink. It’s the kind of fabric that I, if I’d stumbled upon it in a store, would’ve picked up.

The other fabrics I’ve received (and that you might want to check out) are Nature Trail (big animal prints with red background), matching with plain Panama Red, the Autumn Leaves Cinnamon (turquoise and warm colours) and the same print in another version called Autumn Leaves Teal (a darker turquoise, brown and black), a rather romantic Jardin Lime and finally the striped pink and green fabric called Goa Stripe Fuschia!

terrysfabrics

Be aware that when buying fabrics online you should always double check what quality of fabric it is you’re purchasing. All these are something that is called “curtain fabric”. It’s 100 % cotton but much thicker than regular quilting fabric, almost like the kind of fabric you use to upholster furniture. Personally I was much fooled by the images in the shop (see the squares above), thinking that the prints were small quilting sized prints… Truth is that for example the animals in the red fabric above called Nature Trail are huge! The owl in the print is actually 20 centimeters (7.8 inches). Something to be aware of at least.

I am happy to have been approached by a well stocked and nice shop like Terry’s, where they have lots of fabrics I personally would love to sew with (many more than I’ve listed above), that ships internationally and accept both VISA and paypal payments, something I’m always looking for. They’re even on Pinterest!

So I hope you’re as excited as I am to see what these fabrics will become!

PS: If you are a big company that have a product you wish to market, I suggest you read Diane’s post Much Better Ways to Create Marketing Exchanges with Bloggers before approaching a blogger! ;-)

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8 Responses to Staying Honest as a Blogger when Sponsored with Free Stuff

  1. Bex Beltran says:

    Great Post with an important message! As a new blogger, I’m very interested in how more veteran bloggers with who are approached by sponsors handle the ethics of the situation. It looks like you have found a win-win with Terry’s! How exciting. I love the fabric (I would not have been able to resist the camper fabric either!) I’m looking forward to seeing the projects!

  2. Erica says:

    Those fabrics are to die for, omg. I love the one with the VW vans on it, omg omg omg. /dead Too bad I am fairly new to sewing and wouldn’t want to ruin such beautiful swatches on a newbie mistake or even unfortunately, a newbie project. (If anyone reading this would like to help me in my adventures of being a new sewer, please contact me through my website- I would love to hear from you!)

    • iHanna says:

      My best advice: start experimenting with cheap fabric that you don’t adore too much, then it will just for fun. Sewing a tote, for example, is easy and super fun. AND you get something useful out of the experiments. There are thousands of tutorials out there, both video and written. Don’t be afraid to play!

  3. Arielle says:

    I can’t wait to see the projects you and your mom create with these wonderful fabrics! Enjoy the free stuff you choose, and as your readers, we’ll enjoy the beautiful things you create and we’ll continue to be inspired to create our own things, too! Thanks for staying honest as a blogger!

  4. Anna says:

    Really enjoyed this post and thanks for the link to CraftyPod. Can’t wait to see what you come up with – those pink campers are just fabulous! Have fun. Anna

  5. dawn says:

    Thanks for this post and for being honest. ENJOY ENJOY the material and can’t wait to see what you do with it. The one with the leaves is my favorite!!

  6. Pingback: Sewing a very red Owl Tote | iHanna's Blog

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