Why the f*ck are you not putting it in your portfolio?!
- My designer friend when I told her about the project I had just wrapped up.
It was a women's fashion brand that I LOVE and which would have also really elevated my port. All because I was white labeling for a marketing agency 😭
Have you ever heard of "private label"? If you've ever worked in apparel, you know that a private label is actually just some rando factory creating a line of clothes for a certain brand or celeb. So in my case, you see a landing page, GIF, pop-up or email campaign and imagine the brands design team brainstorming the perfect campaign. But in actuality, it was someone like me, sitting alone at home, churning our digital designs and passing it over to an account manager at a marketing firm. AND NEVER TAKING CREDIT FOR IT 😭😭😭😭.
So why even offer white label?
Honestly, I ask myself this ALL THE TIME. The majority of the white label projects I work on would look SO GOOD in my portfolio. Also, it would just be nice to be able to say "I worked on that!".
I was first introduced to white label when I was still working in house. I was testing the freelance waters with some side projects to make sure I would be able to safely make the transition to working for myself. My very first projects were for PMs I met at my current job. They needed to offer digital design to their clients, but didn't have the budgets to hire full time designers. So they hired contractors and their clients never knew the difference. I never interfaced with the client and I had to sign a contract that said I would never add the work to my book. This worked perfectly fine for me at the time, as I didn't want anyone from my company to know I was freelancing.
What is the process like?
Typically you'll be set up in the agencies project management tool and you'll receive a brief which outlines the campaign or project. In most cases you'll work directly with an account or project manager who will pass down all of the information you need, like style guides, assets, images, etc. There is a LOT of back and forth as you have to wait for all of the communication to take place between the brand and the agency.
🔥 You never have to talk to or interact with the client, ever.
🔥 Certain projects can have really long lead times as the brands are typically larger, more corporate and they have more hoops to jump through for approvals. This gives you more time in-between rounds to work on other projects
🔥 There are less emotions - project managers are straight forward with feedback and I find them to be easier to work with typically.
🔥 You get to work on a huge variety of projects that you may not normally get to work on. For example, most clients arrive at my site because they are fashion, food or e-commerce but with white label I've been able to work on things like luxury hotels and Ivy League universities.
👎 You get paid less. Or at least I do. I charge less for white label because I don't have to deal with the client. I never have to sit through meetings. I don't have to deal with invoices or admin work.
👎 You can't show the work in your portfolio.
👎 You can't reference the work in an interview.
Are you a designer thinking about adding white label to your offerings? Feel free to reach out if you need help pricing yourself, want to get connected with an agency, or just want to be coached through the process.