Being a yoga brand ambassador is a trendy subject now, regarding what’s going on in the US between a huge yoga brand and a yoga teacher, and the repercussions it has on the brand ambassadors, so I’ve decided to share my own experience as a brand ambassador myself. (Not the same that is involved in the current drama, but a similar one).
A little more than 2 years ago I went shopping in a town near mine, where a store of a famous yoga brand I liked just opened. I used to shop for their outfits when I was in LA, but they were starting to conquer the European market and suddenly here they were at a reasonable distance from my place!
The staff was super nice and I immediately liked them. They asked if I was interested to give free classes sometimes in the store, and I said yes. (I liked their products and the girl I was speaking to was the sweetest).
I came back a month later to teach my free class, and that’s when they offered me to become an ambassador.
I was honored even though I didn’t really understand what being an ambassador meant for them. They didn’t ask me to post pictures on social media (although I did because I was just super grateful), I could wear other brands even when I was teaching in their stores (which I never did because, you know, it felt wrong), they said they would help me for whatever project I could have that would fit their image, and they gave me a gift card, so I can shop in their stores worldwide. (the amount was really REALLY interesting…).
When you’re an ambassador for a brand like this you are spoiled. They took us for some coaching week-ends in magical places, where we were doing yoga and personal development (I even taught a class to one of this event). They told us how much we were family, how it was more than a clothing brand, how they wanted t to spread the message of healthy living, we all shared very very personal stuff during those weekends, it was almost like a group therapy, but we felt safe because, yes they were family remember?
I’m not saying we were brainwashed, but you know, we were super spoiled and they sell us this idea of a dreamy life with them, and I started to believe that they were not only doing business, but that they had a higher purpose, that business was is just a way to serve their “higher goals”….
….Until the store that recruited me was shut down.
Just like that! In a month time, may be more, they closed the store. The staff was very sad, because they have created an amazing team, and because them too, have believed all the beautiful words they were told about being a family and stuff, and everything happened so fast. They told us that for us it will not change a thing, that we were still ambassadors.
We had another weekend scheduled, which some of us (including me) attended. But it was different, than the last one. Suddenly we had less attention, it’s like they were embarrassed we came.
After that week-end I never heard of them again. Except for one email saying they will call, it was months ago, they never did. Suddenly there were no more family, no more sharing, no more support. Only some dollars left on my gift card. And it made me realize (although deep inside I knew it all along the way) that the only thing that matters for them is money. They just try to wrap that in a beautiful healthy loving and caring package, but in the end there is no real humanity and it’s all fake.
I was suspicious during all this time, but you know, you always want to believe the good things people are selling you.
Don’t misunderstand me, I’m forever grateful for this experience, I’ve met good friends and good people (the staff from the store, some other ambassadors…), I was showered with gifts…
What I’m trying to say here is that when you get an opportunity like this one, never lose the idea that this is only pure marketing and business, a brand rarely become that big without doing pure marketing and business. And most of the times they have more than yoga pants hidden in their closets…