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How to decline collaboration requests without burning bridges.

It's ok to say no.

Post by: The Kinship Studio

We all talk about how collaboration is so important, we all have to work together to help usual grow and be an amazing community. When that's the main talk, why on earth would we ever say that it's ok to turn down a cold offer? How could we be so mean? Well, it's business baby. But truthfully, while it's awesome to help each other out, sometimes it isn't the best business decision. So we broke down a few suggestions to help pass on someones offer without causing bad blood. ​

What is my reason for wanting to decline?

The first thing you should know is why don't you want to collaborate with this person or business? There can be a variety of ways but it is important to do your research first before you send off a blanket "no". Are their prices too high or are they asking you for too much?​ It's good to know what someones media dollars are so you will know if you will get back with you are putting in. If they want a really high price and you know that you won't make that back with their marketing, that would be a great thing to know. Is it possible their branding is not something that will mesh well with your business? Making sure your target markets align is really important to help keep your branding consistent. Whatever your reason is, make sure you are aware before hand incase they want to know why. "I dunno, cuz" will give you a sour look to future collaborators. 

What if I wanna say no right now but maybe want to later? 

Then be honest! You can let them know you love their vibe and you see something happening in the future but now isn't a great time. Maybe you are just prepping for a Spring launch and can't think right now or maybe someone at home isn't well and it's all you can focus on. Let them know that you're into their vibe and yo willl reach out to them when you are in that head space. However be aware that they might want to move onto new prospects and you might loose out, and that's ok. 


What if you really don't feel their vibe?

That's ok. Everyone isn't going to be into everyone. It is what it is. It is best to be honest with the people who you really don't want to work with now or in the future. Maybe their branding isn't one that will mesh well with yours or maybe they came at you with a 2 week old blog asking for $1000.00 of free stuff (ya, that happens). When full out rejecting someone, you don't have to be rude or send some insanely long email about how you hope they will grow without you (it's not a 7th grade break up), just be honest and to the point. ​


Thanks so much for the email! I love that you reached out to me to collaborate with a photoshoot. I am looking another way for my spring collaborations but appreciate you thinking of me. 

All the best,


It helps to keep you as a respectable person and business for others so they don't get a "they think they are too good for me" vibe. There is also the option if you are someone who gets a lot of requests to set up an email with an auto response that lets them know you get a lot of requests and that you will reach out if you think it's a great match. Communication helps everyone feel heard and noticed.

It might feel like you have to work with everyone so you can maintain the "community" feel but it's ok to say no and pick what is best for your business. Selecting who you think will rep your brand to the best of the ability is the main focus of collaboration so just be honest, direct and, polite to keep the good vibes flowing!​

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