Many people become bloggers within a field they are passionate about with the sole purpose of sharing their thoughts and stories with the world. Some find ways to make a profit from what they are doing, but more often than not it’s just a fun hobby. But within the world of fashion and beauty, it’s possible for fashion bloggers to obtain a high-paying career from this social media fad. Actually, in the modern world fashion blogs pay off more than ever and the rates continue rising with each year.
Bloggers gain more and more exposure as the amount of their followers increases. This alone does not allow for a source of income, but brands have been using these bloggers’ popularity to gain more exposure for select products. Top bloggers on social media websites like Instagram are approached by these brands and become a part of deals and campaigns, where the blogger takes a picture with or makes a post about the product the brand requests.
Sounds easy enough, right? And for such a simple task, these bloggers are provided with a remunerative profit. Not only are they able to work with top brands in their marketing and promotions endeavors, but they can easily make $500,000 for a single one-year campaign with a brand. This price point has drastically increased in previous years, and it looks as though that trend will continue.
The more followers a fashion blogger has, the more money they receive from the brand. Some of the more famous bloggers have been known to bring in profits between $1 million and $3 million per year. A single post with a brand’s product for a beloved fashion blogger will earn them between $5,000 and $25,000, which is substantially higher than the running price in the past two years. Of course, more acclaimed figures like Kylie Jenner are known to rake in between $100,000 and $300,000 for one single post on Instagram.
And if that’s not enough, L’Oréal has raised the bar to unprecedented heights for Kristina Bazan, creator of blog Kayture. Bazan has 2.2 million followers on Instagram, and L’Oréal has entered into a seven-figure contract with the blogger, and also tapped her as the new brand ambassador back in October. She is now in the place where the likes of Julianna Moore, Naomi Watts, and Blake Lively have been, so she has contributed to the ranks in which even bloggers are able to climb now.
“Kristina really works with us, she gives us feedback on our products, and she is a real L’Orealista and very connected with her community, it gives us very useful insights,” Yann Joffredo, vice president of global cosmetics at L’Oreal Paris, told WWD. “This is a deep relationship; [it’s] very unique [and] not the kind we have with magazines – that are also very strong, but in a different way.”
Frank Jung, co-head of digital talent and packaging at Creative Artists Agency, said that this type of relationship between bloggers and these brands will continue to be “growing very high and increasing,” so there’s sure to be a lot more where this came from.
After this particular business expenditure went underway, the bloggers themselves began to become their own brands. And in the wake of this, management companies were able to find more work by concerning themselves with the contracts being drawn up between blogger and brand, which will only cause the cost for brands to increase in coming years. And according to the businesses, there’s nothing wrong with that.
“We all need to stop pretending that it’s a bad thing that digital influencers are compensated for their work,” Raina Penchansky, cofounder of Digital Brand Architects (DBA), told WWD. “The digital space, bloggers included, is egalitarian. And since when is egalitarian a bad thing?”
DBA is a five-year old company with 30 employees, and has been tightening its focus on influencer-management business, rather than public relations and digital strategy for brands. Penchansky, alongside cofounder Karen Rabinovitz, began the company working with brands like Calypso, Hasbro, Mark Fisher, and White House|Black Market.
“Service businesses kept the lights on for the first few years when everyone laughed in our face,” Penchansky continued. “Everyone told us we were cray; people said no one would pay for influencers.”
And look who gets to laugh now. With this transition of focus, DBA is finding more economic success, and sources predict to see the company’s 130 clients to bring in a combined revenue of $50 million this year. Some of the firm’s top clients include Aimee Song, Chriselle Lim, Jamie Beck, Rachel Parcell, Julia Engel, Tina Craig and Kelly Cook, Amber Fillerup Clark, and Shea Marie. It is believed that each person on this list will earn at least $1 million this year.
It is easy to gauge the impending success of the clients by seeing their current level of popularity on social media. Aimee Song leads the pack with 3.1 million followers on Instagram, while Clark, Engel, Lim, Parcell, and Shea have 575,000 to 1.1 million fans each.
In order to capitalize further on these bloggers and their brands, DBA created Digital Brand Products to work solely on bringing in sellable goods. 12 of their clients have products to launch in 2016, such as food products, beauty products, and ready-to-wear collections.
It’s interesting to note how far the concept of bloggers has come in today’s society. Bloggers weren’t always offered this level of opportunity. In fact, they used to be criticized for their lack of journalistic integrity, which isn’t actually an issue, since they weren’t actually in the news business to begin with. But it was still cause for the Federal Trade Commission to step in and issue a set of guidelines, stating that bloggers must disclose when their post was sponsored or paid for. These requirements were updated last June, resulting in a more detailed set of rules, such as stating the need for disclaimers before a sponsored video, or a level of disclosure for brand-endorsed contests.
Regardless of any guidelines, the blogosphere continues to expand, since there is no restriction on who can become a blogger, regardless of differences like age, demographic, topics, or location. There will always be new blogs and new bloggers popping up, as long as the Internet is around, which means there will always be an abundance of aspiring e-celebrities trying to attract the business of top brands and advertisers.
And the trend, so far, shows that it’s possible to get celebrity status if you build from the ground up, in this way. The more successful fashion bloggers even attend red carpet events with Kristina Bazan being the latest among them to hit the Golden Globes 2016!
Running a blog can be a lot of fun, and with the large amount of money that can be obtained from this path, there’s no real way to lose in this situation, which makes it a popular outlet for so many people. But of course there’s the question of the high dollar being spent by brands for a small post on social media, and how effective it might be. But they are seeing a clear return of investment coming from each campaign, as it allows for an increased direct connection with the customers, through esteemed fashionistas around the world.
For instance, Rachel Parcell, of Pink Peonies, was able to direct $1 million in sales back to Nordstrom.com through her social media collaboration with the brand. This all occurred in 2014 over the holiday season, and Parcell reported that she is “superproud of having a successful relationship with Nordstrom.”
Shopstyle Collective, the shopping search engine’s blogger network, reported a 315 percent increase stemming from the involvement of bloggers, as well as, according to affiliated sources Campbell, and Ugg Australia. The top 100 bloggers from the network were estimated to have contributed eighty percent of the reported sales, and $8 million in sales in the single month, for brands like Burberry, Club Monaco, Donna Karan, etc.
On top of these direct promotions, affiliate marketing is also a growing trend with brands and bloggers of today. This type of marketing occurs through companies like ShopStyle Collective and RewardStyle, where bloggers earn a small amount of money for each reader they refer to a brand’s website. Each reference is a fractional amount, but in perspective, things begin to add up, with top earners even racking up six figures in one month. Forrester Research believes spending on this type of marketing this year will be upwards of $4.5 billion.
But naturally there are many other ways revenue is brought in through different marketing attempts.
The Blonde Salad, founded by Italian blogger Chiara Ferragni, hit 5.2 million followers on Instagram in just a few years’ time. Through her website, partnerships, and personal appearances, she reached $2.5 million last year, and through retail was able to create a brand from her site. At the beginning of her website’s existence, Ferragni was developing products for her brand, and is now the owner of a multimillion-dollar footwear company. Alessio Sanzogni, group general manager of Chiara Ferragni and her assets, talked to WWD, and said that the brand nearly reached $10 million in revenue last year, with $7.5 million of that stemming from footwear alone.
Sanzogni worked with brand Louis Vuitton for six years, then decided to join Ferragni, where he has been for two years. He was able to expand The Blond Salad brand beyond its roots on the Web, and there appears to be a great deal of success to date.
“We don’t have superbig money deals – only one-third of our work is paid and the rest is organic content. We aren’t looking to be limited [to one brand],” Sanzogni told WWD. He said that Ferragni prefers working with partners on a smaller scale, since big deals end up with exclusivity clauses. So far, there have been no six-figure deals, but as long as she can keep her sense of freedom and individuality with the brands and styles, the possibility remains open.
For this brand, affiliate marketing is not in direct focus, as Sanzogni says it is “not relevant to our income right now.” The Blonde Salad employs 19 workers, which includes cofounder and CEO Riccardo Pozzoli. Over the past two years, the brand has seen its revenue reach six-figures for the first time, and then doubling in 2015.
In another business front, Jennifer Powell of Next Model Managemen’s influencer division, claims her crew has been trying to gain the support of businesses and brands ,which surround their clients, which include Ferragni, Julie Sarinana, Shea Marie, Helena Bordon, and Kristina Bazan.
What everything here boils down to is the relationship between bloggers, brands, and customers. Whether brands are paying for posts, paying for reference clicks, or bloggers expanding their brands, the line between the different entities is thinning. More bloggers will likely be seen in the limelight working with brands in coming years.
Insiders say that Nordstrom and L’Oréal are known to pay a substantial amount of money to work with digital talent, although people declined to disclose which brands were officially the highest-paying. This seems to be the future of e-commerce, so we’ll just have to wait and see where it takes us.
Photos courtesy of The Blonde Salad, @KristinaBazan, Peace Love Shea, Song of Style