- Fashion Nova, the edgy fast-fashion brand, has grown its customer base by leveraging social-media influencers.
- But some influencer-marketing insiders say the brand has lowball pricing on sponsored content and an emphasis on "gifting" that feel out of step with the current marketplace.
- Business Insider spoke with five talent managers and agents who work with influencers to learn what campaign asks and rates Fashion Nova has offered recently.
- They all said the company was offering far lower than market rate, and two shared campaign briefs from Fashion Nova that show its rates.
- Subscribe to Business Insider's influencer newsletter: Insider Influencers.
Fashion Nova, the edgy fast-fashion brand built on influencer marketing, has grown tremendously in the last few years by partnering with more than 3,000 influencers and celebrities from Cardi B to Kylie Jenner.
Since the launch of its site in 2013, Fashion Nova has largely relied on marketing its products by sending free clothing to influencers in exchange for photos posted on their social-media accounts, The New York Times reported last year.
But some industry insiders say the brand has lowball pricing on sponsored content and an emphasis on "gifting" that feel out of step with the current influencer-marketing world, which is increasingly focused on long-term partnerships and competitive rates based on engagement.
Business Insider spoke with five talent managers and agents who work with influencers to learn what campaign asks and rates Fashion Nova has offered. The managers and agents, whose identities are known to Business Insider, shared their experiences anonymously because they weren't authorized to speak publicly about the company's terms.
They all said the company was offering terms far lower than market rate for a fast-fashion retailer.
"Generally, we find Fashion Nova will usually offer values between five and 10 times lower than the typical rate a talent would receive elsewhere," one manager said. "Then, the negotiations usually go in circles for months without going anywhere and usually ending in no opportunity, just wasted time because Fashion Nova will refuse to budge."
Fashion Nova did not respond to requests for comment on its rates or strategy.
Despite these complaints from managers and agents, Fashion Nova has remained one of the top brands in influencer marketing by partnering with a large number of "micro" and "nano" influencers who have smaller follower counts (generally fewer than 100,000 followers on Instagram).
The influencer-marketing platform CreatorIQ found that Fashion Nova worked with around 1,182 individual creators on Instagram with over 5,700 sponsored posts in 2020. As a result, the brand generated an earned media value of more than $15.3 million, CreatorIQ said.
In October, Fashion Nova worked with around 122 influencers, which put the brand in third among fashion retailers after H&M (176 influencers) and Nike (128 influencers), according to CreatorIQ.
But how much are these influencers making?
The managers and agents shared real examples of what a Fashion Nova campaign brief looks like, how much money the brand offered them, and how they felt about its negotiations.
Two examples of real Fashion Nova campaign briefs
The talent managers and agents who spoke with Business Insider said that a typical Fashion Nova influencer campaign runs for 6 to 9 months.
One example of a campaign brief sent from Fashion Nova earlier this year to a manager included:
- 4 in-feed Instagram posts.
- 2 Instagram Story swipe-ups.
The payment: A package of 8 items gifted from the brand. No cash payment. That was for someone who had over 100,000 followers on Instagram, according to the manager.
How does that compare to other brands? The manager said the starting rate for a similar campaign would typically be in the low six figures.
Another brief from earlier this year shared with Business Insider included:
- 7 in-feed Instagram posts.
- 4 Story swipe-ups
- 5 YouTube videos.
The payment: $8,000. This was for someone who has over 1 million followers on both YouTube and Instagram, according to the manager.
The manager said that a similar deal with another brand would typically be in the high five figures. The manager said that a single Instagram post for their client was worth about $10,000, which was less than Fashion Nova offered for the entire package.
The manager said that they tried to negotiate the rate, but Fashion Nova wouldn't budge, which they said was uncommon in the industry.
Several agents said it wasn't just the pricing that bothered them about Fashion Nova's approach, but the contract terms as well.
Two agents who spoke with Business Insider said Fashion Nova included the term "perpetual usages" in the contract agreement, which gives the brand the right to use and repurpose the content in perpetuity.
"It's not just a low fee," one agent said about Fashion Nova's influencer deals. "It's also so many posts, and they want the rights to the content. Honestly, it undervalues the marketplace."
Media, marketing, and tech lawyer Amanda Schreyer told Business Insider that typically, a term like "perpetual usages" in an influencer contract will come with a higher-than-average fee, or a long-term commitment by the company to the talent.
"Certainly the fee that will be paid to the influencer is one factor in determining whether a grant of a perpetual license to the brand to use the influencer content is acceptable," Schreyer said.
But the talent managers and agents who spoke with Business Insider said that they had very little luck negotiating contract terms with Fashion Nova.
"For Fashion Nova not to accept [contract changes] and present take it or leave it offers is … not a talent-friendly business practice," one manager said.
'Gifting' and an army of micro influencers
While Fashion Nova's approach has frustrated some agents and managers, its relatively low sponsored-content pricing and gifting are still attractive to other influencers, especially those trying to build an audience.
"There are many, many digital creators who are still building their audience, or influencers with smaller audiences, for whom just having a sponsorship deal can help them land other sponsorship deals," Schreyer said.
One influencer, who has over 100,000 followers on Instagram and TikTok, told Business Insider that they previously worked with Fashion Nova as they were building up their follower count. For payment, they were gifted a few items that they chose from the website.
"I got to the point where I felt I should be paid if our partnership were to continue," the influencer said. But Fashion Nova declined to pay them for a sponsorship, they said.
"Since then, I have not worked with the company," the influencer said.
A quick glance at the Fashion Nova Instagram account, which has 19 million followers, shows the brand reposting images from influencers — mainly micro and nano influencers — who pose with its products and then tag the company, indicating that they had sponsorship deals or got gifted products.
Still, the managers and agents Business Insider spoke with said the company had alienated some top-tier talent with its pricing and terms.
"If that's their business model, then that's their business model, and it's not like they are bad people because of that," one agent said. "If their vibe is just not to work with top-tier talent that's totally fine, and I'm sure they are still going to be successful. They are just probably not going to make a lot of deals happen."
Read more about the influencer industry on Business Insider:
EXCLUSIVE: A database of the top talent managers and agents for YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok creators
How much money nano influencers can get paid on Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok, according to 4 creators
How much money a YouTube video with about 100,000 views makes, according to 5 creators
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