This influencer with 2 million followers couldn't sell 36 shirts
30 May 2019, 17:48 | Updated: 30 May 2019, 18:00
The internet is freaking out that the influencer couldn't shift enough t-shirts and they have plenty of theories why...
We all know that what we see on Instagram isn’t ‘real’ and that followers don’t really ‘matter’, but when Arii, an 18-year-old influencer from Miami with over 2.6 million followers, announced she was no longer launching her own clothing line due to the fact she couldn’t sell - wait for it - thirty-six shirts, the internet was pretty confused at the maths of the situation.
In a since deleted post, Arii explains that in order to continue working with the company that’s making her clothing brand she had to sell a basic level of thirty-six items. After she was unable to do so, she was forced to cancel the launch.
“Breaks my heart to have to write this post,” she wrote on Instagram. “As y'all know I released my brand. I've poured my heart into this drop… But unfortunately the company that I'm working with goes based on your first drop sales.”
“No one has kept their word so now the company won't be able to send out the orders to people who actually bought s*** and it breaks my heart. The people I thought who would support me, really didn't nor did they share any of my posts (all I asked for), sounds b****y but like no shade to anyone, I've supported everyone's music or whatever they've asked for my support on and I couldn't even get it in return.”
Obviously, launching a successful brand is no easy task and you wouldn’t assume it’ll be mega successful straight away. But with 2.6 million followers, Arii wouldn’t need to have even sold her shirts to 1% of her followers. In fact, she’d only need to sell to *gets out calculator* a tiny 0.0014%.
So what’s going on here? Predictably Twitter had a few theories…
Some were quick to suggest the “influencer bubble is bursting”.
The influencer bubble is bursting. This young lady has well over 2 million followers and couldn’t sell 36 shirts. Focus on genuine engagement and not followers cuz they ain’t gonna buy a thing. pic.twitter.com/uOSVxc2k4D— Flawless and Brown (@kissmyelite) May 27, 2019
Others had questions about her marketing strategy.
Making a t shirt isn’t launching a brand.— Tony King (@tonykingnyc) May 27, 2019
It turns out there’s a big difference between having a ‘following’ and having ‘customers'.
The truth is that her followers aren't her customers.— Tamara (@baydiangirl) May 27, 2019
Understanding who will actually buy from you and what they will buy is a key business lesson.
And a difference between having a cute Instagram and having an actual brand.
skimming her ig, it looks like she just didn't have a real "brand" other than taking cute photos of herself, there was no videos, no comedy, nothing inspirational. i thin she mistook people liking her aesthetic as "a brand"— Kelandria (@angeltenders) May 27, 2019
Others just… didn’t like the shirts.
well, one problem is that it's an ugly shirt— alex (@alexlath) May 27, 2019
Or her Instagram in general.
I just checked out her insta and it was super dry. Photos, captions. Barely any engagement. Can’t feel her personality. Overall boring.— k. (@keawmanee_jun) May 27, 2019
Maybe her 2.6 million followers aren't even real?
Her two most recent posts have good, real engagement. She definitely has a bunch of real followers.— Jack Appleby (@JuiceboxCA) May 28, 2019
Does she have 2.6 mil real followers? That's up for debate, as these engagement # are low for 2.6m. But she definitely has enough real followers to sell 36 of literally anything. pic.twitter.com/oNZJX3tdqR
The whole thread actually turned into a really useful class in branding and marketing...
Look at her feed vs her product line. These aren't even close to the same aesthetic.— Jack Appleby (@JuiceboxCA) May 27, 2019
If you can't imagine her wearing any of these, why would her followers? pic.twitter.com/5CdEdxKUjf
Maybe I missed her IG Stories or promoted posts, but looks like she announced w/ video, only put up one more video, then said she failed 13 days later?— Jack Appleby (@JuiceboxCA) May 27, 2019
Not one single pic of her in product.
Only two posts even about it?
She basically didn't even try to promote her own product. pic.twitter.com/W28NAd1ogM
And others turned it meta and are convinced her ‘failed’ brand is, actually, all part of her brand.
Not so hot take. The failure and subsequent pity party IS her marketing angle and she’ll use it later to pivot and say how she overcame adversity and try to sell ebooks on the road to success 🤷🏾♀️— The Many Faced God’s personal MUA (@chas_sididdy) May 28, 2019
Whatever happened here, it’s clear that something odd is going on here. Arii has since been forced to turn off commenting on her posts in response to the backlash and, honestly, we feel a bit bad for her.
On Twitter though, she seems to be taking things as a learning experience, writing: “I’ve studied everyone’s responses & advice, i will take this summer to work harder & learn more. this isn’t the end, i won’t let this hate & laughter get to me! thank you to those who have sent kind messages”.
That's an energy we could definitely take with us in life.
seeing people talk about the fact that i couldn’t sell enough pieces for my brand is triggering. like i hate seeing that post & seeing people talk about it. it breaks my heart every time. it’s not my fault people didn’t wanna buy. not everything takes off in the first try-— ✭a (@arii) May 27, 2019
grown people are literally laughing at me because of what happened with my brand. I AM 18 & still learning. AGAIN, brands don’t take off on the first try & i knew that. i never expected to sell out because i had followers. i learned my lesson & won’t give up now.— ✭a (@arii) May 27, 2019
i’m not asking for sympathy. i’m just sharing my story, i’ve always kept it real with my followers & i wasn’t gonna lie about this.— ✭a (@arii) May 27, 2019
i’ve studied everyone’s responses & advice, i will take this summer to work harder & learn more. this isn’t the end, i won’t let this hate & laughter get to me! thank you to those who have sent kind messages 🖤— ✭a (@arii) May 27, 2019