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How to Set Your Rates for Sponsored Content

Setting rates for sponsored content can be tricky. There is no guide on exactly what to charge or even a basic formula to use. Many influencers aren’t transparent about their rates so it’s hard to know where to start and what is considered reasonable.

Our goal is to make the business of social influence easier for everyone involved. The first step is to make it easier for influencers to set rates and for marketers to understand how those rates are set and what they reflect.

There are a number of “behind the scenes” factors that brands don’t always take into consideration when offering compensation for sponsored content. They may think, it’s only a picture, only a tweet, a quick recipe – how long can that take? But in reality it is so much more than that. It is time invested by you in building a brand, a business, and an engaged following. It’s up to you the influencer to understand those costs and know what you’re worth. Here are the major components to consider when setting your rate:

Page Views and Traffic – Like traditional advertising, brands pay in large part for the audience they are reaching. While this is not the only element to consider, it is certainly one of the most important. A good starting point calculation for setting your minimum rate is $5 dollars per 1,000 followers.  So, if you have 10,000 followers, your minimum rate should be $50.

Topic – Are you creating content in a topic that is very niche yet highly sought after? If there are fewer influencers creating content on your topic, you can command a higher rate than someone who creates content in a more popular category. You should also get to know other influencers in your niche and get an idea for what they are charging. You can also look at CPC (cost per click) in your given category as a good benchmark for relative pricing.

Equipment – Shooting photos, video, and hosting a blog all have costs associated with them. Those costs should be somewhat amortized by the sponsored content you create. For example, if your new camera is $300, you should expect to amortize that cost over 100 sponsored posts at an additional $3 per opportunity. It’s also incredibly important to understand the elements of a collaboration upfront so you can adjust your rate if needed. One flat lay photo will likely require less time from you and thus cost less than a how-to video.  

Social promotion – We live in a world of ever-changing algorithms on social channels. More and more influencers are now placing a small spend behind social posts to ensure they are still seen by followers. If you spend $5 per post on average to promote it on Facebook, that should be incorporated into your rate.

Taxes – This is often overlooked by many influencers, but is incredibly important to consider. If you make more than $400 per year from sponsored content, that is income you have to report to the IRS. Be sure you cover yourself for those potential costs at the end of the year.

Cost Per Engagement – As influencer marketing matures, brands and influencers are gaining access to additional metrics. Engagement rates and cost per engagement have become increasingly important analytics to consider. You can calculate your CPE with this simple formula: Price paid for the post / Average engagements (e.g. likes + comments) per post.

For example, if a marketer pays you $100 for a post and you get 350 engagements your cost per engagement is $0.28. Most marketers are spending $0.05 to $0.75 per engagement, so this CPE would likely be acceptable. If your CPE exceeds $0.75 per post, you should plan to lower your rate to fit into that range.

As you grow as an influencer, your rate will likely grow with you. It may be beneficial to adjust your rate by $5 – $50 over the course of a few months to find the perfect sweet spot. If you have no problem getting offers at $100 per post, try raising your rate to $125 to see if demand drops.

As a resource for brands and influencers alike, recently published the first ever public influencer rate map. See how your rates compare based on category, location and follower count.

How to Monetize Your Influence

Finding ways to make money off your social presence and influence is not always as easy as it seems. Sponsored posts are often considered to be the best form of monetization but only about 20% of influencers receive these opportunities.

Luckily, there are many other ways to monetize your influence outside of sponsored content and most successful influencers admit they need multiple monetization methods to maximize their earnings. Here are four ways you can make money that mix well with sponsored content.

  1. Affiliate Programs – Earn commissions by promoting products, including ones you already use or have created content around. Affiliate programs are performance-based where you earn income by driving sales. Affiliate programs are especially popular with fashion and style influencers whose content is very product oriented. Check out where you can search through 5 million products and 70,000 merchants to drive affiliate traffic to.
  2. Display Ads – Still the workhorse of content and blog monetization, they can also be placed on your YouTube channel in the form of video ads before your video plays or static ads overlayed on top of your content. Usually, you will get paid for every impression on these ads. Before sponsored content grew to the popular monetization strategy it is today display ads were the main source of income for most bloggers. Check out sovrn who helps pair you with the right advertisers to drive the highest earnings. You also receive access to metrics and analytics that can increase your earnings.
  3. Charge for Premium or Exclusive  Content – Bloggers can charge a monthly or yearly fee for access to premium or early release content. For influencers that don’t have a blog, there are new live streaming platforms like iGo.Live where followers can directly support influencers and ask questions during live video. Check out Copy Blogger for tips on how to make your blog a membership site and run it effectively.
  4. Educate Fellow Influencers – There are thousands of influencers who are just getting started and willing to pay for education that will help them become successful.  Creating eBooks, online course, and webinars are all great ways to teach emerging influencers the tricks of the trade. Check out creating e-books for how get started and see how influencer Melyssa Griffin launched her e-courses and made six figures in two weeks.

Diversifying your income sources as an influencer is a great way to ensure you are making the most of your presence online. Incorporating additional monetization strategies as well as collaborating with brands for sponsored content is a sure way to monetary success.

The Wrap Up from Coachella

The team headed to the desert in Indio, CA for Coachella weekend one. Eighteen influencers, with a combined reach over 20 million stayed on property at the and Sahara Ray Swim House. Events included a Friday night Pop-Up party with Blind Dragon, Saturday afternoon at the Bootsy Bellows Estate presented by Chevrolet, PACSUN, and H. Wood Group and an Easter Sunday Recovery Brunch to celebrate the launch of Katy Perry Footwear! Special thanks to all the amazing influencers who attended and all our partners.

Instagrammer Helen Owen had impeccable #festivalstyle and even matched the decor at the@kravestudios and @influenceco house party. Part of Friday night’s pop-up event with @theblinddragon.

Catch me matching the drapes ♦️🌵 @influenceco @kravestudios @theblinddragon

A post shared by Helen Owen (@helenowen) on

Model and Instagrammer Carmella Rose proves there is no better way to prep for Coachella than a pool party with all your besties. Hers include models; @charlottedalessio, @baskinchamp and  @bronteblampied_.

Girls on girls on girls @sahararayswim @influenceco @kravestudios

A post shared by Carmella Rose (@melwitharosee) on

Katy Perry was looking for some help launching her new shoe line, so we co-hosted a recovery brunch with her to help her out!

We can’t wait for next year!

Interview with Loki the Wolf Dog

One of my favorite things about working in the influencer marketing industry is the influencers. They all have interesting stories about how they came to be influencers and why they choose to live their lives via social media.

Plus, they have first-hand experience working with brands and valuable expertise for other influencers. I love that I have the ability to not only learn from them but also to share their experiences with other influencers and brands.

I have been very lucky lately to connect with some of my favorite influencers and sit down for “Ask Me Anything” interviews. We kick off the series with an Instagrammer who is truly fan-worthy, Kelly, the human behind @Loki_the_wolf_dog.

See the Full Interview Here 


If you are interested in being featured in an AMA or have specific questions you’d like answered, contact Julianna at [email protected]


Today marks the 1 year anniversary of We started out as nothing more than a simple newsletter about the industry. It’s been an incredible year since then and it seems only yesterday we sat down and asked ourselves what else was wrong or missing in the influencer space. We came up with a few core ideals and those became the foundation of what we set out to build:

  • Influencers needed a public place to show off their digital media kits and to highlight all the collaborations they have worked on. Sites like LinkedIn just don’t work for the influencer space and agency-like companies hid influencers and their amazing work behind walled gardens. By being open, we’ve grown to 40K members and become one of the biggest platforms for influencers in a fraction of the time closed networks took to get there.
  • Influencers will take initiative when given the tools to do so. Collaborations come from both direction – brands reaching out to influencers and influencers reaching out to brands. Since we launched brand pages only a few weeks ago, we’ve seen over 4000 applications to brand campaigns from influencers. Expect more of this soon!
  • Influencers should be able to take their influence anywhere, especially off our platform. With embeddable influencer cards, public profiles, and our ENGAGE chrome extension everyone can see your influence where it’s most relevant to them.
  • If you build free and useful tools, users will spread the word for you. We did and they did. Almost all of our growth to date has been organic and it’s only increasing in speed. Thank you to everyone who mentioned us to a friend, put us on their Instagram bio, or tweeted an article about us – it’s been simply amazing.

Those basic ideals have fueled the incredible growth we saw this year and I expect we’ll go back to them over and over as we navigate our second year.

To kick off our second year off we are launching our first paid product: PRO. Our PRO product is the culmination of a year’s worth of listening to our users, running many campaigns ourselves, and trying to understand how different users look at the profession of influencing. We have learned from up-and-comers who are looking for as much data and access as they can to help get a leg up on their first collaborations. We’ve talked to huge, experienced, brand name influencers who struggle to reduce the noise in the industry and keep on top of emerging trends. We’ve talked to representatives for brands and agencies who spend hours and days in spreadsheets just trying to pull together a group of influencers to run a campaign. We’ve talked to brands who find the reality of influencer marketing to be much more complicated than the bylines of the articles they read. All of these conversations we have taken something from and put it into the product. While there is much more to come in the PRO product, we think you’ll really love some of the features we’re starting with and we suspect you might even find them indispensable once you use them.

While today it’s likely we may take a short break to celebrate our success and dwell on what we’ve accomplished, I can promise once we’ve blown out our candles we’ll be right back to work trying to bring the best free and premium tools we can to the industry.

As always, if you have any questions or suggestions please feel free to email me directly at [email protected].

Sincerely and thanks again!

Niel Robertson

CEO and co-founder,

New Instagram Trends for 2017

We’ve been noticing some hot new trends on Instagram lately. Simply posting selfies, flatlays, boomerangs or even carousels just aren’t cutting it anymore. If you’re an active Instagrammer and want to stay in the know check out these 3 trends we’ve identified so far. We have also included how-to guides for each so be sure to give one or all a try!

  1. Matte is out, Grain photo finish is in! It seems that everything old is new again. Never has that been more apparent than photo finishes on Instagram. Matte photo finish used to be all the rage and now ‘Grammers are taking it one step further for a more vintage film look using grain photo finish.

@jsiegelphotography, @ariannahicks, @pursuitofportraits

This is the easiest trend to try. You can use almost any photo editing tool including Instagram’s to achieve this classic photography look.  

Here’s a quick video tutorial:


2. Boomerang is out, Cinemagraph is in! What’s cooler than Boomerang’s looping short videos? Cinemagraph’s looping short videos mixed with still photography. Mind blown.

@devanondeck on Instagram



Creating a Cinemagraph is not quite as easy as editing for Grain finish.  However, it is still very achievable for most amateur photographers using animations in photoshop.

Here is a video how-to:


3. Trick photography is out, Double exposure is in! Sure it used to be cool to edit photos to create attention grabbing images. Want to know what’s even cooler? Combining 2 photos, usually a human or animal, with a landscape that transitions into each other via Double Exposure.

Some cool examples: @janellesyrese,, @bagus711

Double exposure is definitely the hardest of the three trends and pretty tough to get right. Start by purchasing a template from Creative Market and prepare for lots of layering in photoshop.

If you’re up for the challenge here’s a video guide to help you:


Building an Authentic Editorial Calendar

As with most professional endeavors, having a schedule as an influencer is of the utmost importance. Creating an editorial calendar is as easy as setting up a spreadsheet or filling in dates on a template. Building an editorial calendar that maintains your authenticity, however, takes thoughtful planning and strategic execution.

The most important part of editorial calendar planning is creating the right balance of sponsored to unsponsored content. This does not mean you should have an even 50/50 split. Approximately 5% – 25% is the average for what should be sponsored. This will shift throughout the year depending on your area of influence. In general it is always better to post more unsponsored content than sponsored.

Regardless of the amount of sponsored content you create, maintaining authenticity across posts is vital. Influencer marketing works because of the continued narrative across content whether it is sponsored or not. Studies have shown that readers don’t mind sponsored content as long as it is as educational, entertaining or otherwise as informative as your other posts. Your audience will stay engaged regardless of a sponsorship if the content is high quality and is what they have come to expect from you as an influencer. Here is a great example of a post that is sponsored but is still highly valuable to me as a reader.

As you build your calendar, look as far into the future as you can. Planning for an entire year in January is hard, but it’s not hard to sketch out which holidays and events you know you’ll incorporate. Additional planning will be much easier once you have sketched out the basics. It is easier to agree to sponsored work when you know what else you have planned. For example if you are a travel influencer, you will want to schedule in trips you have planned and the content you’ll create from them.

Well organized influencers never commit to sponsored work without consulting their calendars. Nothing ruins authenticity and turns off an audience like posting for competitors within a short timeframe. What that timeframe is will depend on the brands and how closely they are competitors. For example, fashion influencers post for different brands regularly. But if you are a vegan food influencer who just created a post sponsored by Silk Soymilk, you should give your audience a break before posting for another soy milk brand.

Keep your calendar up to date and stay on top of changes or delays that cause posts to move around. This will help ensure your balance of sponsored content and that you are not overlapping brands. As you look ahead you should also look behind you and see what recently shared posts can be cross promoted (this is especially handy for bloggers and vloggers). See paragraph four above where I linked to a previous blog post about holiday content.

Authenticity is what makes influencer marketing successful and maintaining it will ultimately decide which influencers rise to the top. Using a thoughtful and strategic approach to plan your editorial calendar is a sure fire to stay on top of your authenticity game.

5 Types of Content and Why we Love Them

It is easy to get stuck in a rut when writing blog posts and creating content all day. We all get into routines and the next thing you know every post looks the same! To help break out of the mundane, here are five of our favorite types of content that are great for blog posts, Instagram and other social channels.  If you are looking for ways to spice up your editorial calendars or new ways to approach content we suggest you give one or all of these a try!

Snackable videos these short and fun videos gained in popularity thanks in large part to Tasty by Buzzfeed. They have really taken on a life of their own with many other cooking channels jumping on the bandwagon. Not to mention craft projects, home improvements and  DIY. They’re easy to consume without needing to read a full step-by-step guide or have the volume on. They work well when used as a teaser to drive traffic to another site or to push views on Facebook, Instagram or Snapchat.

Flat Lays are a staple for any Instagrammer. Regardless of your area of influence (fashion, travel, food, parenting, etc.) there is value in creating these both for the wow-factor of their look and the stories they tell. If you have not created a flat lay before, check out some great tips on creating the best images. There is more nuance to do flat lays well than you might think.

Printables have been a blog and Pinterest standard for as long as I can remember. They are great for creating checklists and are a handy addition for meal plans, crafting/DIY posts, gift ideas, personalization or anything parenting related. They add valuable content for readers in any post and present a tangible take away. One of the reasons I love them? They’re easy to add to a sponsored post providing an unexpected benefit to both readers and the brands you work with.

Blog Post Collections and Roundups are an easy way to gather and cross-promote related past content. They are also a fun way to showcase other influencers whose work you respect or admire. We see them frequently used for specific recipe types like crock pot, game day or summer grilling. They can also be utilized for seasonal outfit inspiration, favorite accounts to follow, or even gift guides.

Facebook Live and other live streaming video are all the rage these days. Live video creates highly engaging experiences for both influencers and their audience. It’s an incredibly easy way to get started with video. There is no need for major production equipment or a prepared script. Simply use your phone and engage with your audience by answering their questions while you are live.

Experimenting with different types of content is a great way to attract new followers and engage with your current audience. Let us know your favorite types of content and why by sending an email to [email protected]

#Ad Analysis

With its over 300 million daily active users and 4.2 billion likes every day, it’s obvious Instagram isn’t just used to post photos of iced lattes and cute dogs.

In fact, businesses use Instagram now more than ever to advertise their products and services. By 2017, more than 70 percent of companies with 100 or more employees will have some form of Instagram presence. Its 300 million daily active users make it a customer base that’s hard to pass up.

At we’re always fascinated by what is engaging for both brands and influencers–sometimes, it’s the same thing! We wanted to know which kinds of photos are the most popular when used for advertisements and brand influence as well as which industries and demographics respond most favorably to promoted posts. We also wanted to break down which filters earn the most likes to help you customize your photos for greater reach. To figure this out, we scraped the top 2,100 Instagram posts that contained the hashtag #ad, as sorted by likes, and analyzed them for content type, photo composition, and engagement. Want to learn more about how you can put Instagram to work for your brand? Continue reading on to find out.


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When promoting your product or brand through social media photo apps, it’s important to consider image composition. Trends in ads and promoted posts on Instagram are telling.

While some snapshots feature product-only framing, almost 69 percent of Instagram promotional photos showcase a portrait-style product view – which may include a prominent backdrop and other embellishments. From models to brand ambassadors, it’s always a good idea to showcase your product in action.

View this post on Instagram

when your lyrics are on the bottle 😛 #ad

A post shared by Selena Gomez (@selenagomez) on

Selfies can add a sense of intimacy to a brand photo as well, but they’re featured in only 8 percent of posts; it’s possible this style may be too novel for brands that are just starting out on Instagram.


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Certain style compositions of Instagram posts resonated differently by age group.

Participants aged 45 to 54 rated portrait-style photos and product-only shots as the most influential, but they weren’t quite as impressed by selfies. Respondents aged 55 to 65, however, were more likely to prefer selfies over people nearly 10 years their junior.

People 25 to 34 years old were the most responsive to selfies. But still, this age group was most likely to learn more about a product framed as a portrait.

Survey participants in the 35-to-44, 45-to-54, and 55-to-65 age groups were also open to giving product-only Instagram pictures a chance.


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Photo composition seems to make a difference by industry as well. But portrait-style photos are still in high demand.

In the fashion, food and beverage, and beauty industries, portrait snaps were among the most popular. Almost 19 percent of fashion photos were portraits, while fewer than 3 percent were product-only or selfies. Virtually none were featured in a landscape setup.

Showcasing a product in its natural habitat is likely a win based on our survey. Whether it’s a fashion image that features the adventurous spirit of someone wearing clothing or a firsthand look at food via a dish plated in the ambiance of its own restaurant, portrait-style Instagram posts allow the user to understand a brand’s unique narrative. Product-only shots may fail to convey a marketable mood.


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Which commercial category has the most reach in general? We asked respondents to rank a photo’s persuasiveness per industry on a 0-to-5 scale. (Zero was the least persuasive rating, and five was the most.)

Fashion seems to own Instagram feeds for advertising influence. Respondents scored fashion posts 2.5 on average. This middle-of-the-road rating shows that there are definitely opportunities in the market. The recent influx of lifestyle bloggers who showcase up-to-the-minute style offers a marketable way to reach your audience with influencer-sponsored posts.

Department stores also received a similar market response; our survey takers gave them an influence rating of 2.3 on average.

The third-most-persuasive industries were a tie. Respondents scored posts about electronics, TV shows and movies, and food and drinks a 2.2 on average.


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When we break down the impact of influential posts by gender, more marketing trends emerge.

While men ranked “other” as the top category to influence their purchases via Instagram, they also rated fashion posts a 2.7. Men ultimately ranked fashion higher than women (2.4) for persuasiveness.

It also turns out, men are inspired more than women by all post categories we looked at. From electronics to health and wellness photos, they prove that male-focused advertising is just as popular on Instagram.

For women, fashion posts were the highest rated. The “other” category was top of the list for female influence as well.


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The largest user base on Instagram is under the age of 30. But our study revealed participants aged 65 to 74 were actually the most influenced by promoted posts on the platform. Baby boomers make up the smallest percentage of Instagram users, but their influence level is higher than any other age group.

Those aged 45 to 54 had the second-highest-influence rating, while millennials between the ages of 25 and 34 came in third.

Ultimately, older generations might make up a smaller percentage of Instagram users; however, companies shouldn’t overlook the demographic’s willingness to learn more about a product based solely on an Instagram post.


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Of the many in-house editing options offered by Instagram, filters are perhaps one of the easiest and most obvious ways to gain product attention.

Photos posted with the Clarendon filter garnered more likes than any other filter option – almost 2.6 million on average per the more than 2,000 photos we studied. Whether it’s because Clarendon is the first option when users swipe through the filter choices or because of the eye-catching brightness it adds to a shot, the look reigned supreme.

Edits with the Aden filter earned just over 2.5 million; the platform added it to the mix in 2014. Aden – which is subtler than Clarendon – adds a soft, bluish tint that still manages to draw the eye.

While they drew significantly fewer likes than Clarendon or Aden, Gingham, Valencia, and Juno were still popular. Each received more than 1.7 million average likes.


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As we mentioned, influencers can provide a connection between brands and consumers. And some brands are willing to shell out big bucks to the best in the business. Looking at the post content, however, what do people think influencers are paid for their pictures?

When asked how much they think influencers were compensated, survey participants believed that most industries pay less than $100 to their influencers for a single post, but that some industries offered much more. As an example of how lucrative some Instagrams ads can be, Selena Gomez (who works with brands like OPI nail polish, Pantene, and Coca Cola) earns over $550,000 a year in sponsored posts.

Relating to posts that fall within the category of the electronics industry, 46% of people thought that influencers were paid between $100 and $499 to post sponsored photos, and that more than 10 percent were paid between $500 and $1,000. Similarly, 30 percent of participants believed that health and wellness influencers pulled in between $100 and $499, and that more than 66 percent of people thought that department store posts had the same price tag.

Respondents said that influencers in the food and drink industry were mostly paid under $100, but, surprisingly, they also thought that 3 percent of posters earned more than $25,000 for their brand contributions!

While many were split as to what they thought fashion ads were worth, popular accounts like Danielle Bernstein’s We Wore What (@weworewhat) are believed to earn her between $5,000 and $15,000 per post. Similarly, Jane Aldridge of @seaofshoes currently has over 190,000 followers and earns an average of $5,000 for each of her sponsored fashion posts.


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If you’ve been thinking about using social media for marketing, then the internet welcomes you. But keep in mind, Instagram is the real digital gold mine. Its staggering user base is connected to accounts related to almost half of all brands with 100 or more employees. Another stunning insight: Over 90 of the top 100 companies in the U.S. utilize Instagram for marketing and promotion.

In fact, while Twitter usage has risen roughly 7 percentage points in company usage over the last four years, Instagram has skyrocketed from just 11 percent of companies utilizing the social media platform for marketing to a projected 70 percent in 2017. If the forecast is correct (Instagram 70.7% and Twitter 67.2%), it will represent the first time Instagram has surpassed Twitter for marketing use.


From photo styles and filters to industry and consumer trends, there’s an art to utilizing Instagram’s 300 million active daily users to build your online presence. Our study shows that these product posts are more likely to influence men, and baby boomers might be easier to please than millennials. When you’re crafting your social message, these insights can help you capitalize on existing and up-and-coming markets.

At, we bring together all the tools you’ll need to build your marketing profile and grow your business. As the world’s first open platform for influencers to profile their work, brands and agencies across the globe are using our tools to work with the internet’s top names.

Social media is changing the way we connect brands to consumers, and we can help you put all your social media in one, accessible place. Visit us online today or follow @influenceco to stay on top of influencer trends, opportunities and more! to see what can do for your marketing strategy and how you can turn likes and comments into traffic and sales.


We began by collecting the top 2,100 Instagram posts that contained the hashtag #ad hashtag (a recognized way of making it known that a post is sponsored). Next, we administered a survey, asking participants to identify the qualities of each post. Users defined photo composition, persuasiveness, brand industries and more, and we compiled these data in the visualizations above.



Knowledge is power. If you enjoyed viewing our research, please feel free to share any of the graphics in the above piece. What’s the catch? All we ask is that you properly cite in your coverage, as well as providing a link back to this page.

Follow Us on Instagram / Join the Insider | Everywhere You Want To Be

We were thrilled to attend and sponsor Model Volleyball in Miami on March 11th – 12th. It was a fun filled weekend with top model agencies battling for South Beach volleyball supremacy.

Now in it’s 8th year, the event is held at the iconic 8th & Ocean Drive beach. It’s an amazing event with models from top modeling agencies, fantastic brand sponsor, and influencers galore! Runways the Talent Group claimed victory and $15,000 was donated to the Jack Brewer Foundation. Here is a pictorial breakdown of the event from our eyes. If you’re in Miami next year, you shouldn’t miss it!

Competitors pose for a picture with

Our sponsor tent was a must visit for influencers and their agents.

We had a great time meeting these guys and watching them compete!
Look for us at Coachella April 14th – 17th and stay tuned for more details!


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