Yes, sponsorship can be that easy sometimes, but it isn’t always so simple.
The concepts behind flow sponsorships carry this nugget of core information:
Companies make props, flow artists use props, and sponsors help to bridge the gap.
Companies sponsor artists and athletes because they want to have their products tested, showcased, reviewed and marketed.
Hoopers look for sponsorships for many reasons including validation of hard work, new gear, and an opportunity to grow.
This article covers the varying types of sponsorships, assessing self-readiness, finding sponsorship opportunities, applying, and giving thanks.
*Individual sponsorship agreements carry their own terms. This is simply a reference.*
There are several different kinds of hoop sponsorships that each carry different levels of responsibility for the sponsor and sponsee.
The Donation Level of sponsorship is typically done in good faith and is generally a one way transaction from the shop. Giving reviews in exchange for product is deemed unethical by review sites like Yelp and others, and false reviews should never be given. However, shops will often times donate product to people that fit within their customer base in hopes that the flow artist will like a product and then tell people about their experience.
The Shop Level carries a little more weight for both parties and is starting to dip more than just the toes into the sponsorship pool.
The shop will give free products and discounts that can be shared with the sponsee’s flowmies. In exchange for this, the sponsee will be responsible for sharing their (hopefully) positive experience with the gear and the shop. Additionally, the sponsee will also give support to people who have questions about that type of product or shop.
The Amateur Level is when things really start to heat up. The shop will not only continue to provide free and discounted gear, but also start to cover expenses for things that build the flow artist’s career and exposure. The sponsee will then increase the quality of promotion and facilitate sales by sharing the shop info to potential buyers.
When a Pro Level Sponsorship is secured, the sponsee can expect an exclusive relationship with the shop. This exclusivity would mean that the hooper would not have any conflicts of interest with competing shops. The shop will pay for media creation and also for promotion done by the sponsee. This will be done to support the continued advertising and allegiance of the sponsee.
Keep in mind that all flow artists and shops are different, and each sponsorship may not be the right fit for each situation, regardless of talent.
Am I Ready for a Sponsorship?
Before deciding to start seeking a hoop sponsorship, it is import to asses the end-goal.
Many sponsoring companies look for people that balance flow with social presence and self-determination. Unfortunately, having a large following on Instagram is not the only qualification to a sponsorship. Ross Dantonio, an athlete-marketing consultant at Have Fun Media shared in an interview that “what truly matters is how engaged your followers are.”
That piece of information can be taken to many different levels.
Do people tag friends in your posts? Do you get asked for advice?
When analyzing feedback in person and online, companies want to see someone who is active, but these interactions are not a one-way street. The years of seeing a blatant TV ad are disappearing, and even brands as large as Nike and Lebron James are interacting with their followers on social media. When a hooper is trying for a sponsorship from their favorite brand, they need to consider what level of interaction they have with their fans.
Another important factor is determination. Sponsors want to see that their gifts are being used to build something. That doesn’t mean that in order to be a sponsee, it is necessary to quit your job for flow, but it typically requires taking the sponsorship seriously.
If a company has consumers in the flow industry, they are a potential candidate for sponsorship. Ideally, sponsees will match up with their favorite brand. By actively promoting how great that product is sponsorships can come organically, but sometimes it takes more than that. Find a brand you are enthusiastic about, reach out, and make your case to them.
With so many companies related to the flow industry, it may be difficult to decide which sponsorship opportunity is the best fit. While some companies will give sponsorships to anyone willing to sell their products, others are more selective or are limited by size. The most important question remains “Is this a good fit?”
If your favorite shop is not open to sponsoring or declined your application, there are ways to find other companies with opportunities. Simply typing “sponsorship” into Infinite Circles or other online communities will bring up dozens of results where “sponsorships” are mentioned.
Make Your Case
After assessing readiness for sponsorship, and determining the right fit, it is then necessary to pitch the company. When creating your proposal, it is important to include the important stuff like: who, what, where, why, and when (NOW!)
In this interview with Christina Hummingbird and Tristan L. owners of Eternal Hoops we learn:
“It is important, when applying for a hoop sponsorship, that you explain why you would like to be sponsored by that company, and what you could bring to the table. You want to give some background on your hoop journey, and express what hooping has done for you in your life. Lastly, a video of you flowing with your hoop!”
Companies that are open to sponsorships generally have specific criteria for their sponsorship applications. They should be followed, but with a personal twist. Once the pitch is worked out, it comes time to send it to the companies.
MakeAChamp.com, the global leader in crowdfunding for sports, recommends two different methods for sending out sponsorship applications: The Shotgun Method and The Sniper Method.
The Shotgun Method starts with a basic template of your sponsor case which you can “blast” to any relevant company or person. The Sniper Method is a little more time consuming, but is often worth the work. With this method, calculated research is done on each company and the message pertains to specific reasons why this relationship is a perfect fit.
You Got It, Yay! Now What?
It is important when accepting a sponsorship to be clear on the terms of the relationship. Not all sponsorships deal with paper and pen, but it is definitely important to have a perfect understanding of what the relationship entails. One of the main factors is the frequency & quality of posts & public appearances, but the number one thing is knowing the product you represent. Jazmin King of Unicorn Crochet says her main request is “being a good face for the company, be courteous and knowledgeable of my skills and what I can do for the customer.”
Along with knowing responsibilities of the sponsee, it is important to establish a fair agreement on the side of the sponsor.
The Spinsterz sponsorship program, for example, starts off with a few of the most desired props from their site, branded apparel, a stack of stickers and other promo shwag. They then expand their sponsorship to store credit, access to their professional booking agent, payment for festival attendances, sponsored videos, photo shoots, and cash money.
This small article does not nearly cover all of the information in the world of flow sponsorships, but it will definitely send you in the right direction.
Feel free to return to this article as a reference, and share with friends.
Thanks, and Have a Happy Today!