Being on the flip-side of the influencer/blogger world for the past 15 years has been really interesting. There was a time when the idea of a blogger was completely looked down upon, and it didn’t seem to help some that our website had the word blog in its very name. The funny thing is, we started PurseBlog before blogging was blogging, before anyone realized it would be an entirely new market (including us), and well before brands began to work with bloggers like ourselves. Though we are one of the first and few original sites to stick around (actually one of very few to continue to keep our readership on our own platform, we love you all!), I don’t fit into the traditional influencer mold. Our site is about the bags, and sure, I am reviewing bags constantly and sharing my thoughts on them with you, but this is much more of a conversation about the bags we love and as much related to you sharing your bag thoughts as it is me sharing mine.

An Insider’s Perspective on Influencer Gifting

With all of that being said, I am incredibly well-versed in the gifting and product placement that goes on in the influencer space. I get bag gifts myself, however, typically, it is not at the same time as influencer gifting cycles, and I do not partake in those larger social media campaigns. Many would assume that would make me feel averse to it all, but it doesn’t. Do I think it’s the best form of marketing? Probably not; I think it needs some tweaking because it does turn off plenty of brand loyalists. But when I see new bags styled on people whose style I love, I wind up falling for the bag. Even the over-exposure of many of these bags has a positive impact on me if the bag is one that I truly find to be remarkable, and sometimes you need to see something many times to appreciate it in a new way.

The difference here is that typically when this happens for me, I reach out to the brand to see if I can get a press sample to shoot the bag and review it for you all. I can then see the bag in person and decide for myself if it lives up to the hype, and though I feel this lust toward many bags, I am actually really hard to push from the lust to the purchase category. I’ve seen thousands of bags over these 15 plus years of PurseBlog, and while I still feel the love, I now am much less likely to run out and purchase and more likely to really think about the next purchase. But the specific marketing does work on me, and even with the full understanding of it, I continue to find myself drawn to what is being shared by others. Thankfully, it is something that helps us all in the long run – as I get the bags before they are released or right when they come out and can review and share them with you all.

How do you feel about the influencer gifting space?

This has been covered by other writers on our team. Check out their thoughts here:

Why Do Instagram Influencers Get Designer Freebies, and Where Do the Free Bags Go When They’re Done?

Are Designers Doing Themselves a Disservice By Using Influencers to Sell Bags?

A Behind-the-Scenes Look at the Relationship Between Brands and Influencers

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QueenV
QueenV
3 months ago

If marketing didn’t work, it wouldn’t be all around us and brands wouldn’t spend fortunes on it. People who think they’re not influenced by what has become all-encompassing and intricate marketing campaigns are clueless.

To the other comments:
Maybe people shouldn’t be called racists just because they write that they don’t care for VA’s designs or don’t like Telfar. Playing the race card all the time is really exhausting and diminishing meaningful conversations about justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion.

Seun
Seun
2 months ago
Reply to  QueenV

I agree. It really is. I find designs from both men tacky. Just like I find most LV, Gucci and some D&G designs gaudy.

It is what is.

Nom
Nom
3 months ago
Reply to  QueenV

Actually, no one said disliking a bag is racist. And as I said to Megs, in fact, a decent number of people who felt the article was problematic said they don’t actually like Telfar bags much either.

The issue is much deeper if you care to scan through the comments on that article. It’s a lot, and I didn’t read every single one myself. But a quick run through will reveal some very valid points.

Lastly, I am not sure what being a person of color or liberal does to strengthen your arguments, but you have a right to express yourself the way you see fit. I would just suggest maybe addressing the actual content of people’s arguments instead of touting liberal credentials while using conservative language bc claiming that people are bringing race into “everything ” is a favorite line of reasoning on the right.

olivia
olivia
3 months ago
Reply to  QueenV

If people weren’t continuously racist and racially insensitive, they wouldn’t need to be called out.

QueenV
QueenV
3 months ago
Reply to  olivia

People are being “called out” for saying they don’t like a bag or a designer. That’s not being racist. It’s just that it disrupts your narrative. Sounds like you’re the one with a problem. Calling someone racist because they think a bag is ugly is exactly why the majority of people in this country is tuning you out. You are reaching No one with that discourse. And this is coming from someone who is BIPOC and reliably liberal.

Green Leaf
Green Leaf
3 months ago
Reply to  QueenV

Unfortunately we’ve come to a place where divisive rhetoric has driven society to be so tribal that we can no longer have a nuanced conversation about anything.

Nom
Nom
3 months ago
Reply to  Green Leaf

Actually, again, if you care to look at all the comments you will notice there are some very nuanced conversations happening in the comment thread of the original article being referenced.

Dialogues don’t always have to break down bc the speakers are passionate or even angry. In fact, you can sometimes have the best and most interesting conversations that way. But dialogues will always break down when one side refuses to address, or in this case even acknowledge the existence of, valid points made by the other side.

This was definitely an opportunity, albeit a belated one, for PB to be more nuanced and intentional in its approach with regard to these issues. The lifestyle bloggers, many of whom came to prominence around the same time PB did, provide good examples of what to do and what not to do in this situation. Compared to PB, lifestyle blogs have more and frequent debates about stuff life race bc they deal with more intimate aspects of a person’s life. But even with PB as we see here these issues pop up. It’s unavoidable.

10 years ago it was ok to be clueless but not in 2022. Some of even the most defensive bloggers who used to block, delete and defend their right to ignorance have changed their ways bc readers know more, except more. Some of them have even instituted actual changes to make their brands and blogs more inclusive. They have adapted with the times. These changes were the result of many passionate and, yes, “nuanced” dialogues.

QueenV
QueenV
3 months ago
Reply to  Green Leaf

Exactly. You are unfortunately spot on.

Lydia
Lydia
3 months ago
Reply to  QueenV

Exactly. Especially as an Asian living in a poor country in Asia, to be put in that class is comedic. No, Woke Person, people aren’t the narrow two categories of your mind.

olivia
olivia
3 months ago
Reply to  Lydia

As an Asian person living in Asia, you have no business speaking on racism against black people in America. You have no idea. Come to the US and see how you get treated.

Sandy
Sandy
3 months ago

While I understand why celebrities and influencers are gifted bags it might be nice to see what a person would truly spend their own money on. I agree, if there is someone that I truly admire their style, or perceived style, I do take a second look at everything about what they are wearing. I would never make a purchase simply because someone/anyone is wearing a particular item. I have my own sense of style and nothing will influence what I like or do not. I look to your site to provide accurate information on bags, positive or negative as I do not always have access to see IRL all products. The post about the Telfar bag was refreshing, I want to know these things before making a purchase.

Kyle
Kyle
3 months ago

If you want “real talk,” maybe you should address the disgusting Telfar article posted during BHM. I have been around this blog for a long time and I don’t recall a single instance that a brand was trashed like Telfar was. Do you truly think that because a POC wrote the article it was okay? You missed the mark on this one big time and all of your rhetoric in 2020 about anti-racism and growing as a person was pure and utter bullshit lip service, Meg. I’m not sure if you haven’t noticed or you just don’t give a s hit but so many POC left tPF because it was a seriously racist place. But then again, it’s full of out of touch with reality rich old white women and you’re one of them too sadly.

TKS
TKS
3 months ago
Reply to  Kyle

You seem to be asking for something you’re unwilling to give to others, clearly. Your hypocrisy is impressive. “Out of touch with reality rich old white women”. I guess you’re even now huh?

Lydia
Lydia
3 months ago
Reply to  Kyle

People who think TPF is full of rich white women probably don’t engage in the threads at all or don’t really read widely in the forums. As an Asian living in Asia, I find that it’s full of rich Asians. And also surprised at how many poor Americans there are in there.

Nom
Nom
3 months ago

Meg, you are not actually addressing any of the very valid concerns readers brought up. Time and time again readers said they were fine with the criticism. Some even said they themselves don’t even like or own Telfar bags. So your statement is actually just reiterating the comments of readers criticizing the article, that it’s ok to dislike a brand, which makes no sense when you are trying to defend the article itself.

One really important criticism is the writer’s use of “I am a POC, buuut…” which is super problematic. There isn’t enough space here to explain why it’s bad, but it’s not unlike when a white person says “but I have black friends” or quotes MLK to try and justify themselves, which I believe a commenter was actually doing when trying to defend the article. If you have to do either of these, you know what you’re about to say is bad but you just can’t stop yourself. But you should.

Another was timing. Have you heard of Black History Month? If PB was posting numerous articles about the incredibly important intersection between black culture and handbags/fashion/beauty, which it totally should, not just in February but all year round, then this wouldn’t be an issue. We would see a variety of viewpoints, and one itty bitty article expressing dislike for a single brand would not be a big deal. But that’s not what happened.

This tone deaf and antiquated approach of yours would be totally fine if you were more honest with yourself and the PB readership. You just don’t care enough. You want a neutral, non political sphere where you can call yourself inclusive. You want to provide bland statements that do nothing to deal with the many interesting challenges to this article. You don’t want to engage and grow from it.

And that’s fine! You have the right to stick your head in the sand. Just don’t pretend to be the “nice” and open minded lady.

I also find your tone policing really troubling. I have seen numerous times harsh comments from readers and you have unfailingly responded to them with kindness and prompt action without protesting their tone, most recently in the Confessionals. But here you seem to take issue with the commenters tone. Why is it so different when we talk about race? Why can’t readers be passionate and yes possibly harsh with their language when it has to do with something that I would think you could agree is way more important than not having enough pictures in a post?

Lastly, for those who keep saying “it’s ok to criticize a brand,” again, everyone seems to be on the same page about this, so stop saying this. All of us, those who liked the article and others like myself who found it problematic, are totally fine with critiquing a brand. That’s NOT what got everyone riled up.

Sego-irm
Sego-irm
3 months ago

Releasing an article critical of a black owned brand during black history month is incredibly tone deaf Megan. I’d like to believe you are smart enough to to realize that but you are asking us to believe otherwise. I don’t particularly like Telfar either and agreed with the article for the most part but even I thought it could have waited a month to be published at the very least.

Jenna
Jenna
2 months ago
Reply to  Sego-irm

It’s incredibly sad that you are suggesting the four-week window of BHM prohibits good people from expressing a negative opinion about a business just because it happens to be Black-owned.This kind of thinking is virtue-signaling at best. People want to have meaningful and honest conversations 365 days a year without being called “tone deaf” and “racists.” What I see happening more and more is that a lot of people who have been allies in the fight for JEDI are starting to tune out.

Nom
Nom
3 months ago
Reply to  Sego-irm

I don’t know that I totally agree that it would be better to post that article a month later. The timing made it egregiously bad, but the lack of other articles balancing out this one is really the issue.

PB wants to point out that it has had other Telfar articles, which were generally “positive,” but that is just so missing the point (again).

Not sure if PB realizes this, and sadly I am not being sarcastic, but black culture is not only one of but perhaps THE most relevant and vital aspect of today’s fashion and beauty, which includes handbags.

To bring in more articles and writers who can adequately talk about this wouldn’t be to make PB some PC and “woke” (as more conservative commenters keep saying) kind of fantasy land. It would be dragging this old ship into the current century. It wouldn’t be bold or progressive, it just be barely keeping abreast of current day expectations and the reality of the world.

Kyle
Kyle
3 months ago

That was exactly the response I was expecting. How braindead.

Lydia
Lydia
3 months ago
Reply to  Kyle

And yours the narrow self righteous responses I expect from the naive and so’-called “woke”.

FloJo
FloJo
3 months ago
Reply to  Lydia

While Kyle’s delivery is harsh, I find your note about “…naive and so-called ‘woke’…” interesting.
There are subtle ways Black and POC experience micro-aggression and bias. It’s not ‘so-called’ woke when we and others who ally with us recognize when it happens. The proper response when we tell you that something triggers us is to understand that we’re coming from a place of genuine concern. It’s not like we set out every morning looking for ways to get offended.

JaimeG
JaimeG
3 months ago
Reply to  Kyle

While I do feel timing was off on the article, but as an African American woman Telfair didn’t/doesn’t call to me. I think you are putting the blame on the wrong site or team. I come to read about purses and people’s experience. I am a long time follower, the timing was off.

Sandee
Sandee
3 months ago
Reply to  Kyle

I agreed with you re: the Telfar article should be addressed and why it hasn’t is a serious concern. However, you lose credibility when you lump a group of people into a category for which they don’t belong. “Rich old white women” and “you’re one of them too sadly” puts blame on one group, undeservedly. There are deep rooted problems with TPF and PB that need to be addressed from a critical, nonjudgmental viewpoint in order to solicit change. Racism exists throughout the world as I have encountered myself, but I don’t apply blame to only one group of people.

Kyle
Kyle
3 months ago
Reply to  Sandee

To be fair, I said the out of touch with reality ones!

kang504
kang504
3 months ago
Reply to  Kyle

And address the racism on full display on the Virgil Abloh final collection post.

Olivia Penzey
Olivia Penzey
3 months ago
Reply to  kang504

Anytime Virgil is mentioned, the comments section turns into a cesspool of blatant micro aggressions.

FloJo
FloJo
3 months ago
Reply to  Olivia Penzey

THAT PART. It’s the tone-deafness and micros for me!
@Megs – Not ONE of y’all on the team read it and was like “Should we really put this article out during BHM” – for real? While you may want to cater to diverse opinions, the optics, tone and feel of that article was a whole yikes moment.
**and i say this as an OG on tPF. It’s become a harsher, sadder place to visit.

Wang Lin
Wang Lin
3 months ago

jeez this comments section sure is full of bad vibes.

anyway back to the original question: when i see influencers posting about the bags, i tend to focus more on the aesthetics of the post eg how the bag is styled, how it looks on certain outfits etc.

for the substance – the review if any, I would take the positive reviews with a large pinch of salt (actually more like ladle of salt than pinch haha!) since i doubt the influencer would be writing negative stuff with a freebie.

Thefashionableteacher
Thefashionableteacher
3 months ago

Maybe it’s my age or station in life, but I don’t care about influencers or their gifting. If I like something, I like it. I like seeing things that I normally wouldn’t see in my everyday life. But to actually purchase? I’m good.

psny15
psny15
3 months ago

I’m allergic to influencers – if I see a kartrashian carry a bag I find it repulsive but if it is someone whose style I admire carry a bag then it may influence me – Melinda Gates, Hillary Clinton, Nicky Hilton, Amanda Burden, Marie Chantel, Martha Stewart, Miranda Kerr, Diane Kruger, Susan Dell, Wendy Schmid, Helene Mercier, Natasha vodianova

Last edited 3 months ago by psny15
Wang Lin
Wang Lin
3 months ago
Reply to  psny15

Goodness gracious this is terrible – all white people ? Have you ever thought about why you aren’t inspired by the style of chinese models – Liu Wen, Ming Xi, Xiao Wen? I’m outraged because as an East Asian, they are my style models and I think others should take stock of their own assumptions, have hard conversations while enjoying handbags and also admire the same type of people as I do – otherwise it reflects prejudice on their part.

^just kidding re the above. now can we calm down and go back to enjoying bags?

Sego-irm
Sego-irm
3 months ago
Reply to  psny15

Hey have you given any thought has to why all of your examples of stylish women are exclusively white? 12 names, and not a single person of color there.

Candi
Candi
3 months ago
Reply to  Sego-irm

Psny15 admires who and what “she”(?) likes and it’s“ok”! Why does everything have to be analyzed and assessed? Why can’t she just be left alone to enjoy? Can we just focus on bags? Geez…

TKS
TKS
3 months ago
Reply to  Sego-irm

Maybe that person doesn’t find POC attractive, or only finds white women attractive or stylish, which is 1000000% ok. I am sure plenty of ppl don’t find white people attractive, 10000% ok also. Geez you people. We are all allowed to have our own taste, what we are drawn to and what we are not. Quit trying to control everyone, it’s exhausting.

Nom
Nom
3 months ago
Reply to  TKS

What’s wrong with the question?

The tone? It was respectfully asked.

The fact that it’s asking the original commenter to pause for a second and ponder? It’s not bad to sometimes take stock of our own assumptions and even our likes and dislikes.

Who is “you people?” I guess people who like to think about social issues and sometimes have hard conversations while enjoying handbags.

Your comparison between preferring the look and aesthetic of white v WOC is intellectually lazy. It doesn’t go both ways. The power dynamic is completely different.

Yes, people are allowed to have their own tastes. We all do, and no one is perfectly egalitarian about what they like and dislike. Which is ok.

It’s also ok, actually more than ok, to occasionally take stock of our own feelings and thoughts and challenge ourselves to consider more options and break out of our own shells.

What I personally do like about the list is it includes women, who may not fit society’s standards for hotness, but they are accomplished and intelligent. There are also women who are both.

Taking a closer look at famous, beautiful and accomplished WOC for fashion and style cues doesn’t do anyone any harm. These women are often overlooked and their beauty or accomplishments minimized by harmful racist stereotypes and assumptions. Which is why, again, the comparison just does not go both ways.

Green Leaf
Green Leaf
3 months ago
Reply to  Nom

Is it necessary to ponder or question one’s own preference of attractiveness? Why does it need to be so complicated?

The insinuation that psny15’s list of inspirations is somehow deficient due to lack of diversity is unnecessary. All people have the freedom to choose who inspires them.

kimberly
kimberly
3 months ago
Reply to  Green Leaf

omg THIS. sheesh, you can’t even list the people you admire without being called out for race. like, damn does everything have to be about race? and why do we feel the need to criticize who someone admires anyway? are we no longer allowed to have an opinion? as an American who is of Asian decent, I’d say the people who I’m inspired by lean heavily white and I don’t see a problem with that.

kang504
kang504
3 months ago
Reply to  TKS

Is it okay? It’s very odd. Is it really a question of taste? I can’t imagine finding an entire ethnicity unattractive. Unless I internalized some kind of prejuidice so I find people of the my (the dominant) ethnicity the standard of beauty. I find that kind of thinking exhausting.

Passerine
Passerine
3 months ago

I don’t have an Instagram account — and with each passing day, I become more determined not to have one. When it comes to bags (as opposed to, say, healthcare), my the biggest influencers are real-world women out and about carrying bags that catch my eye (and sometimes my wallet). My first LV purchase was based on seeing a woman on a German train with a bag that I just thought, wow, this is the one for me (this was in 2011; Trevi PM). I felt an immediate pull towards Gucci’s leather backpack with bamboo handle when a women sauntered into a chic Brussels café with one — she looked sooo cool that the bag has been on my wish list ever since (this is the cafe and it’s still one of my very favorite places: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B4ae9WWTlTI ).

ally
ally
3 months ago

“I am immune to Instagram marketing” is one of my daily affirmations, but I know it’s not entirely true. I always decide if I want to purchase a bag or not independently, but seeing a wish-list bag thats styled creatively on an influencer gets me really excited about it and probably contributes to me clicking “add to cart” that much quicker

The carrier
The carrier
2 months ago

I actually in a basic experience when it comes to bags.got cheap ones and eyeing on the “it” ones.i love exposing bags.dreaming i could draw it all…as a fashion lover on trends its not easy to admit that we all want rich expensive taste.as for me displaying ur bag doesnt only tells u who u are but also inspiring u who u want to be.thats why im in to purse blog.i wanna dream a bag dream and carry it the bag way….does anyone here can see any sense if an inexpensive shopper like me could have a bag dream…hehe…as it goes..one carries what one sees…love u guys….

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