Twelve small businesses have recorded a collective loss of $15,851 after participating in a botched Instagram giveaway by Married at First Sight alumni Tracey Jewel.
Jewel reached out to the wellness and beauty companies to offer them a spot in her giveaway, indicating they’d gain anywhere from 5,000 to 10,000 followers each if they entered.
The catch was that each company had to “donate” Jewel and 10 other influencers products from their product lines and pay a $299 “buy-in” fee.
Several of the influencers named in the promotion have since claimed that they were never made aware of the giveaway or promises that they would promote the products.
Some business owners, such as Ebonnie Masini of Masini Sleepwear, were able to negotiate their inclusion at a lower cost, but many others went for the full fee with high expectations of exposure and new sales.
But they’ve all turned red-faced and now face legal threats from Jewel’s team for wondering why the promotion failed.
Former Married at First Sight contestant Tracey Jewel has been criticized by small Australian businesses for failing to get them thousands of followers in exchange for free products. Pictured wearing a Masini Nightwear Robe, surrounded by giveaway gift items
Ebonnie Masini (pictured), the owner of Masini Sleepwear, claims 38-year-old Jewel contacted her on Instagram on June 30 with a business proposal
The contest ran from August 15 to 21, and since the contest ended, each company gained an average of 40 new followers.
“That’s not a typo,” Ms Masini told Daily Mail Australia. ‘That is it.’
Jewel has since announced that she would refund 33 percent of the “buy-in” fee, but at least one company claimed that when they contacted her to take up the offer, their email went unanswered.
In addition to the purchase price and 11 gift items, Vibe Wellness owner Megan provided 100 samples of her best-selling Ultimate Skin Tea at Jewel’s request.
“We saw this as a great opportunity for our small business… but our excitement was short-lived,” Megan said.
Only three of the 11 promised influencers promoted her product, while others involved in the giveaway later confirmed that they never received her package.
In addition to the purchase price and 11 gift items, Vibe Wellness owner Megan has provided 100 samples of her best-selling Ultimate Skin Tea at Jewel’s request.
In posts seen by Daily Mail Australia, Jewel offered Ms Masini a spot in a massive giveaway, indicating she would gain anywhere from 5,000 to 10,000 followers if she participated
She did not receive any new sales from the promotion.
“Our small business lost $813.35 in this transaction. It may seem like a small amount, but Tracey and her team aren’t delivering what they’ve agreed to while companies like me are out of money,” she said.
‘As a small company, this hits us hard. We have already lost so many sales due to COVID and this is just another blow.”
Another business owner who also claims to have left $1,200 out of pocket said that when they approached Jewel for a refund, she referred them to the company behind the promotion, Upself, and the owner, Jenny Collett.
Mrs. Collett is Jewel’s mother, and Jewel’s husband, Nathan Constable, is listed as a “key contact” for the company.
The voicemail message associated with the company number is also recorded by Jewel.
Several of the influencers named in the promotion have since claimed that they were never informed of the giveaway or the promises that they would promote the products.
The Nourishing Body Co was also part of a giveaway organized by Tracey Jewel, and the owner now has $1,200 out of pocket
Ms. Masini, along with other small business owners who agreed to participate, was under the impression that all 11 influencers would promote the brand, both in their stories and on grid posts.
Jewel initially told Daily Mail Australia that she was simply an influencer involved in the giveaway, but later confirmed that she was organizing and creating the event to support small businesses.
She said it was unfortunate that the giveaway didn’t produce the results she hoped for, but denied any wrongdoing.
“I’ve played my part in promoting these companies… There are no guarantees in advertising and I wish these companies all the best,” Jewel said.
But in light of the disappointing results and the overwhelmingly negative response from some companies, Jewel admitted that the “company she is involved with” would refund 33 percent of the fees paid.
Jewel told Daily Mail Australia that she was simply involved in the giveaway but did not organize the details of the agreement
Ms. Masini understands that promoting products through Instagram influencers never guarantees sales, but she, along with the other entrepreneurs, feels that the competition was poorly executed.
“We were lucky enough to only gift four items, but these items all sell for $189, so it’s not an insignificant amount for us as a small business,” she said.
“All the brands involved have absorbed losses.”
Ms. Masini said she had tried to contact Jewel to ask what went wrong, pointing out that only three of the promised 11 influencers were promoting her product, but she has received legal threats.
“This is harassment, bullying, defamation and cybercrime and my lawyers will be contacted Monday morning if this doesn’t stop. This is your first and last warning,” Jewel wrote in an email to all companies involved.
“I understand that some of you are not happy with the lack of results with this giveaway. Me too… Sometimes things just don’t get the high returns.’
Since then, she’s been in touch with several other influencers featured on the promotion, some of whom claim they had no idea it even existed.
Others say they were aware of the giveaway but never received the products or received damaged goods without instructions on how or when to promote them.
“Many of them have since reached out in shame, apologizing and devastated that their name is attached to this through no fault of their own,” Ms Masini said.
Jewel has been at the center of several controversies since appearing on Married At First Sight
Several other influencers have since claimed that they were not notified in advance of the giveaway and did not receive the products