Last Thursday, I attended the last of the Gal Meets Glam Collection launch events here in Chicago. While waiting for over an hour in line to meet Engel, I chatted with some of the fans and aspiring bloggers around me about Engel and the collection. Although all religious readers of her popular personal style blog, several echoed the same worry: will Engel’s blog become an ad for her collection?
Since the launch of the collection in April, 14 out of her last 25 blog posts have all heavily featured GMG Collection pieces. On Instagram, 28 of the last 40 photographs that she appears in she (or someone else in the photo) is wearing a GMG Collection piece. The majority of her Twitter since the launch is responses to customers and retweets of features for the collection, as well.
To be fair, it seems reasonable that she is pushing hard to gain visibility for the collection in its infancy and these numbers could be considered skewed because they include teaser marketing and launch announcements, but going on a month now her social media presence has been dominated by GMG Collection features and press. And that doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon.
With new dresses coming out every month, GMG Collection releases product often enough to be a consistent star of Engel’s social media platforms moving forward. She has also already shown that featuring GMG Collection on her personal channels is a big part of her strategy. Engel has revealed they are working on dresses for Spring of 2019 already as well, so production doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon.
Of course it makes sense for her to leverage her 1.2 million followers in order to sell her Collection brand, but when will it be too much for her readers? I think her readership has been understanding of the GMG Collection spam because the brand has just launched, but when will they grow tired of seeing a blog that has primarily become an ad for her own business?
Many follow Engel as a source of ultra-feminine style inspiration and to see how she mixes affordable and luxury brands, but Engel’s personal style gets lost amongst the GMG Collection posts. Her styling options are limited given that all of the pieces are dresses, so much of the content looks homogenous and we lose out on learning about new brands and watching her integrate them into her style.
Plus, there’s something undeniably cringey about consistently pushing your followers to buy your own product. When Engel collaborates with other brands, at least she’s an arm’s length away from receiving profit. Of course she receives commission on those items through monetization platforms, but she isn’t getting the lion’s share of the profit.
With GMG Collection, though, it feels like much more of a conflict of interest. The blogging industry is based on trust between influencers and readers – that bloggers are promoting products they genuinely love and use. This is harder to believe in Engel’s case: I’m sure she genuinely loves and wears these dresses, but she is also profits from saying she loves and wears them more than she would any other product.
Hopefully as her brand gains momentum she won’t need to rely on posting to her personal channels as often, but it’s unclear how long that might take. Personally, I hope she takes time to focus on content not related to her collection as a way of instilling some trust back in her readership. But given their current trip to London to shoot the July GMG Collection look book, I won’t hold my breathe.
Read more about influencer brands and collaborations: Kate Padgitt’s Collaboration with The Impeccable Pig, Chriselle Lim’s Second Collection with JOA, and Danielle Bernstein’s Jewelry Line Controversy.