Influencer Marketing Case Study : How an Eco-Friendly Apparel Brand Used Influencers to Scale


Who is tentree?

Tentree is an eco-friendly apparel lifestyle brand with a big goal: to plant 1 billion trees by the year 2030. Fortunately, they are well on their way to that goal–they’ve already planted 42 million trees and counting. Tentree plants ten trees for every clothing item they sell. They are planting trees all over the globe in places like Madagascar, Nepal, Haiti, Canada, Mexico, the United States and more. The idea for tentree came when co-founder Kalen Emsley was working as a tree planter in Hawaii. After a visit from his friend David Luba, the pair were enchanted by Hawaii’s natural beauty and resources. The two friends along with Kalen’s brother Derrick decided to form a company that focused on their passion for the Earth and their desire to make a difference.

influencer marketing ROI and metrics

About tentree’s influencer marketing program

Co-founder Kalen has long understood Instagram’s potential for exposure and building community. He is an influencer himself–he established himself online through hosting nature photography meetups and creating a community of like-minded photography lovers on Instagram. Because of this, tentree knew that influencer marketing would be an effective marketing strategy.

Lindsay Derer joined the marketing team first as a social media coordinator and in her role wears many hats—she oversees the strategy and implementation of all their social channels with a focus on Instagram. She’s also responsible for all content sourcing, some content creation, posting on social media and managing the ambassador and influencer programs.

Tentree has always had a strong, passionate online community of ambassadors, but after hiring Lindsay the team wanted to formalize their influencer marketing strategy. At first, the brand was investing in traditional sponsored posts using professionally created content. However, the program evolved, eventually targeting nano and micro influencers to produce realistic, relatable user-generated content.

The challenge

Tentree wanted to scale their influencer marketing program. The goal was to help tentree’s mission reach as many people as possible, which included those outside of their established ambassador community of outdoor enthusiasts.

There was also a problem getting enough professionally-produced content. With the effects of Covid-19 on their business operation, things like studio photoshoots became impossible. And with the economic uncertainty caused by the global pandemic, the brand wanted to be prudent with spending on content creation. It became important to source cost-effective, highly-relatable content that properly reflected the social climate.

Lindsay used many spreadsheets with confusing color-coding to try to keep everything organized.

“I realized on day one from the beginning we needed a solution. It was quite a struggle just figuring out efficient ways to track my 150 Google sheets tabs and color code everything properly. I don’t even like to think about it!” – Lindsay Derer, Digital Community Lead

As a one-person department, things would often slip through the cracks. The program included about 20 influencers, which was all she could manage with their current workflow. To grow the program at scale, it became clear that she needed a powerful tool that would help her streamline her workflow and save her from endless spreadsheets.

Co-founder Kalen had access to a trial version of another platform used in the past. But as Lindsay attempted to get it implemented to help get control of things, she soon realized that there was a need for a full version of a better program to really succeed.

The solution

It was clear that tentree needed a robust influencer marketing software platform to take their influencer marketing program to the next level. Creating a smoother workflow was the only way to scale the program with their one-woman department. They needed a tool that could:

influencer marketing case study

In the end, GRIN’s software checked all of the boxes. Once they implemented GRIN, the program began to flourish.

Grin’s lookalike tool made it easy to search for the perfect nano and micro influencers. By using a favorite influencer as a guide, the lookalike tool helped them find people who were creating excellent content and that was similar. The Instagram plugin was also a welcome feature because it integrates Instagram search results into the GRIN CRM. This integration is a huge time-saver, eliminating the need to manually add potential influencers to a separate spreadsheet.

After implementing GRIN, tentree quickly gained a wealth of valuable user-generated content. With this proven content, it could easily be repurposed in sponsored posts or any number of other marketing efforts. And because the GRIN platform makes getting content rights simple, there were no problems with repurposing the content right away.

The results

After GRIN, tentree was able to scale their influencer marketing program from 20 influencers to an impressive 80 influencers. For a one-person department, managing 80 influencers is a tremendous feat.

The GRIN program’s lookalike tool and Instagram plugin allowed them to broaden their influencer search. This efficiency helped tentree partner with a more diverse group of nano and micro influencers who care about the brand’s cause.

When tentree set out to scale the program, the main goal was to gain quality user-generated content. But they were pleasantly surprised when their influencer marketing push yielded a fantastic ROI. GRIN’s program made it easy to share commission links with their community. Most of the users posted with the links several times, resulting in a stellar direct conversion ROI.

Why choose GRIN?

Tentree considered more than ten platforms to help them streamline their influencer marketing program. But once they tried working with GRIN, the choice became easy.

“Pretty much since day one I’ve been advocating to get something. We were approved to get GRIN after reviewing upwards of more than ten platforms… So that was game changing.” – Lindsay Derer, Digital Community Lead

Not only did GRIN have vital features that other platforms lacked, but it came highly recommended from a colleague. He told them “Don’t waste your time with any other programs because GRIN was simply the best around.”

Hear the full story

Lindsay Derer, Digital Community Lead at tentree sat down [remotely] with GRIN to share the details of her influencer marketing program, how she was able to recruit the right influencers, build a brand-loving community and scale in the Brands Working Remote Talking Influencers fireside chat. Hear from the brand how they were able to power up their influencer marketing and take it to the next level with authentic influencer-generated content, brand loyalists and more.

This article originally appeared in the blog and has been published here with permission.

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Steve has entrepreneurship in his DNA. Starting in the early 2000s, Steve achieved eBay Power Seller status which propelled him to become a founding partner of, a contact lens and eyewear retailer. Four years later through a successful exit from that startup, he embarked on his next journey into digital strategy for direct-to-consumer brands.

Currently, Steve is a Senior Merchant Success Manager at Shopify, where he helps brands to identify, navigate and accelerate growth online and in-store.

To maintain his competitive edge, Steve also hosts the top-rated twice-weekly podcast eCommerce Fastlane. He interviews Shopify Partners and subject matter experts who share the latest marketing strategy, tactics, platforms, and must-have apps, that assist Shopify-powered brands to improve efficiencies, profitably grow revenue and to build lifetime customer loyalty.

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