Mum called a ‘psycho’ for turning her one-year-old son into Britain’s youngest social media ‘influencer’ – and he’s made THOUSANDS
Little Ralphie Warlington, from Brentwood, Essex, has raked in freebies worth more than £10,000 thanks to his mum sharing immaculate snaps with his 19,300 Instagram followers.
But Stacey Woodhams, 28, who started the account when Ralphie was a WEEK old, has received a torrent of abuse from trolls – while friends and family aren't allowed to upload unapproved shots of the tot, in case they dilute his brand.
"We don’t ban our friends and family from posting photos of Ralphie, we just ask them to get our approval first," Ralphie’s dad Adam Waplington, an area manager for a wholesale food company, told Mail Online.
"A messy, snotty-nosed kid will not sell the product. We can't win. If he looked scruffy we'd be criticised for that too."
The angelic lad has totted up a haul of 200 outfits, eight pushchairs, a cot, bed, high chairs, toys and a lot of bags – as well as a king-size bed for Mum and Dad and overspill freebies which are stored at his grandparents' house.
There's also free trips to theme parks, meals out, salon treatments – as well as payments of up to £375 for sponsored posts, which go straight in a savings account for the toddler.
Stacey said: "I’ve been called a 'fruitcake' and a 'psycho'. I’ve also been told I’m an 'unloving mum', that my son will grow up not to trust me, and that I don’t deserve to be on this planet.
"Someone else said I was psychologically abusing my child and infringing his human rights. Another threatened to phone social services. We've stopped reading the comments now."
Despite cashing in on her son's cuteness, Stacey insists Ralphie doesn't even know he's being photographed and says he has the "best life possible", despite considering social media a second "job".
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My boy, my world ? @instagram I owe you everything for our success and blessings. I have my own small business @mummasprints where I can channel my creativity through to my work, I run sell-out business/influencer workshops teaching and inspiring others how I do what I do and how to grow their accounts organically and authentically, I have supported and worked with brands I never even thought would be possible, Ralphie is an agency represented model and he gets paid to appear in content and imagery on the branded “Ralphie.RW” social media account promoting the brands we love and use in our home. And as a result of the doors opened by #Instagram, Mummas Media is my “full time” form of income and the life I love living where I get to spend every day with my little bestie working from home. As well as being able to put away and save for my son through his platform earnings so one day he can look back and know I did right by him. So nothing breaks my heart more than when people say comments like “you’re too busy taking pictures of him posing as a model rather than spending quality time with him/ or shoving a camera in his face.” How is this any different to the guilt some parents go through having to leave their babies on daily basis to go to work or other jobs where in one way or another people judge you for not being the most perfect parent with a perfect work/ family life ratio. Is there such thing as good balance in this day and age or are we just all winging the shit out of life keeping our heads above water in such a judgey, cut throat and competitive society. Not that I have to justify myself as a mother or my intentions behind anything I do but do you honestly think I would be using him as a tool for my own greed? No! Everything I do – I do for my son, I do for him and I do it to create and shape his future. He never misses out nor suffers as a result of the online account I manage in his honour. And 9 times out of 10 he’s actually none the wiser I’m even taking pictures as he’s too busy living his best life and distracted by whatever’s behind me, the camera or the fun he’s having.Thanks for your support today I’m so humbled and overwhelmed ??
She said: "I certainly never get him to pose and I couldn’t make him sit or smile on demand even if I wanted to. I just let him play in his natural environment.
Childhood sweethearts Stacey and Adam met through mutual friends 11 years ago and got engaged last Christmas.
Their son was born via C-section in December 2016 and Ralphie had more than 1,000 followers within a month.
His mum insists she didn't set out to make him an influencer and started the account so friends and family could track his progress – although she now runs workshops about boosting your social media presence.
Stacey, who often stays up until 2am to upload photos when frazzled mums are scrolling, also runs a small business form home, selling personalised baubles, cards and T-shirts.
She says she hopes Ralphie will be "proud" of what they've done when he becomes old enough to understand and insists they'll stop if he ever says he doesn't want to do it anymore.
Stacey and Adam aren't the only parents cashing in on their kids. This dad-of-three also proudly makes ££ on social media with his Daddy To Triplets account.
While Kim Kardashian is happy for her five-year-old daughter North to wear makeup apart from ‘dark lipstick’ and ‘fake lashes’.
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