Shavar Kelly, an entrepreneur from South London, felt that he had been taken advantage of by an influencer, who promised to promote his product but ghosted him after accepting the product. Kelly’s thread on Twitter triggered a lot of discussions about the relationships between influencers and small brands.
PAIGEY CAKEY — THE FRAUD. pic.twitter.com/mTKBCSNOxm
— Shay (@theshayprint) December 4, 2019
Kelly’s story echoed with many other small business owners who had a similar bad experience with influencer marketing practices. Shavar Kelly decided to promote his goods on social media and applied to YouTuber and musician Paigey Cakey (her real name is Paige Meade).
He said that he decided to deal with Paige because she had a large audience – over 256,000 followers on Instagram. They agreed that Kelly would send her one of his T-shirts, and she would post a picture of herself while wearing the T-shirt. However, this never happened. Moreover, he discovered that she was trying to re-sell his product on Depop.com.
After numerous futile attempts to come in contact with Meade over DM messages, he took the issue online. He documented and shared his attempts to get in touch with Meade, as he was frustrated with the influencer and wanted to hold her accountable for not doing her part of the deal.
“I just want influencers to understand that, as business owners, when we send our products out to them, it costs us. It’s never free, so taking advantage results in our personal loss,” Kelly said in the interview with the BuzzFeed.
However, the reaction of the social media community was not so straightforward. Many people believed that Kelly had made a mistake by taking the issue online, as it might affect his relationships with influencers in the future.
“It’s a pisstake but take the l and move on Cos all this is just gonna make people not wanna work with you or buy your stuff. Lesson learned.” one of the commentators wrote.
However, others were more sympathetic, though they thought that was the way the influencer industry worked. If you are a small business, you send your things and have no guarantees.
“I know your pain, but it’s part of the business you’re in. I’ve had this happen several times, just take the L and don’t use that person again.”
Kelly said that he had no intention to attack Paigey Cakey. The primary reason for bringing this issue was the desire to raise awareness.