celebrity

An Instagram influencer launched a $230 'creativity workshop.' Now, her followers are calling it a scam.

When popular Instagram influencer Caroline Calloway launched a “Creativity Workshop” tour, her followers were quick to jump on the bandwagon.

With an opportunity to “learn how to live their best lives” from the influencer who boasts an Instagram following of over 820,000 people, fans forked out US$165 (AU$230) to participate in the four hour seminar.

But now, Calloway has been forced to abandon the national tour.

The American blogger, who rose to fame documenting her love life at the University of Cambridge in the UK on Instagram, promised her fans a seminar about her creative process.

The seminar, which was set to visit multiple cities across the US, would include a coffee, a personalised journal, a care package, an hour-long meet-and-greet and a salad lunch prepared for the attendees by Calloway herself.

 

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The Cut reports that Calloway promised to teach “attendees how to cultivate creativity…and how to build an Instagram brand.”

But in the end, the event turned out very, very different.

As journalist Kayleigh Donaldson explained in a viral Twitter thread, the seminars were incredibly poorly planned.

After failing to book venues in time for her Chicago, Philadelphia and Boston events, Calloway relocated all three events to Brooklyn, New York, just days before the events were scheduled to take place.

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She also requested her fans pack their own lunch, as she left it too late to secure catering for the event.

Donaldson also shared a screenshot from Calloway’s Instagram stories, exposing how the influencer attempted to hire an unpaid photographer for the event.

Despite all the bumps in the road, Calloway’s first two seminars actually did go ahead.

But it’s safe to say her followers weren’t impressed.

Speaking to Donaldson on Twitter, one attendee admitted that she was disappointed with the event.

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“Only about 1.5 hours (max) of actual ‘teaching’ if you can even call it that. Icing on the cake? Her ‘staff’ are 20-year-old college girls with no event planning/logistics experience that are just huge fans of her and that’s about it,” they said.

Other guests noted that they felt they didn’t get their money’s worth for the seminars.

Calloway has since responded to the backlash by cancelling her national tour and issuing refunds to all ticket holders.

“I think that criticism is really valid and I apologise to anyone who felt cheated by the price point of $165,” the 27-year-old wrote on her Instagram Stories.

“I take full responsibility for letting my total inexperience with event planning and GREED create a situation where the details of the tour were ever-changing, preparation was inadequate, and the event did not match the description by the time it went on.”

Speaking to Buzzfeed News following her apology Calloway said, “I said I didn’t plan this because I’m dumb, but that’s not true,” she corrected herself. “I didn’t plan well because I didn’t know. I would be dumb if I did it again like this.”

According to Buzzfeed, Calloway is sending individual apology emails to everyone who attended.

“I take full responsibility with what I did wrong and am humbled by the criticism of me,” she told the publication.

Calloway most notably rose to internet fame in 2015 when she secured a $500,000 book deal to write a memoir about her time at Cambridge University, but not long after, Calloway backed out of the contract.

Although Calloway insisted she backed out as the project was something she “couldn’t stand behind”, Broadly reported that Calloway procrastinated on the proposal for so long that her publishers withdrew her contract.

In the end, Calloway was forced to repay her advance of roughly US$165,000.

What do you think? Is Caroline Calloway in the wrong? Let us know in the comments.

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