How much money does it take to become a top-tier fashion blogger? How much money do fashion bloggers make?

Note: Let’s be clear that I am not trying to shame or bash ANY fashion blogger because their successes did not happen overnight, and they should not feel guilty for it.

I am just interested in the money aspect of fashion blogging, which is what this post is all about.

The ones I am featuring below are the ones I think are the bigger tiered fashion bloggers, and I do love reading their blogs!

———————-

I’ve always wondered how fashion bloggers afford all of their spending, but one blogger who has been up front with how rich she is, doesn’t need to hide behind any kind of masquerade. It’s Jane Aldridge from Sea of Shoes, who is already rich (father Bryan is an oil & as lawyer, mother Judy is a former model and designer).

jane-aldridge-sea-of-shoes (Via)

Anyway, I came across this article about her, and the minute I saw dollar signs, my interested PF side kicked in.

Those start-up years were expensive: Jane’s father, Bryan, estimates the investment in the blog runs “several hundred thousand dollars,” mostly in shoes. (Judy says it is closer to $70,000.)

But Jane began making money through collaborations with retailers

[…]

says appearance fees can go as high as $20,000 and sponsored posts can bring in as much as $5,000 per post.)

So the initial investment is about $300,000 let’s say (not to be cynical but I’d trust an oil and gas lawyer who probably pays for all of this to know a more accurate figure than a former model and designer who probably never has to really look or think about a budget.)

Sponsored posts don’t even have to be for their own blog either:

Jane’s newest source of income comes from commissioned posts she writes for Reward Style

[…]

(Venz says Jane is usually in the top ten of the website’s earners, who “easily make five figures a month.”)

Let’s say $10,000 to be conservative.

So if she gets maybe one appearance booked per month, and 3 sponsored posts a month on her blog, plus her writing for Reward Style, she’s looking at about $45,000 a month.

(These are all very conservative estimations, I have not gone through her blog to really count how many appearances or sponsored posts she’s done)

Timeline on that return on investment:

$300,000 / $45,000 = 6.66 months

Obviously you’d also need the capital to begin with because $300,000 is not chump change.

Another fashion blogger that has made it to the top in what I consider to be a relatively short time is Wendy of Wendy’s Lookbook.

This one is a bit different than Jane because she is an orphan with her little brother and does not come from money.

Speculations have gone about that it’s her boyfriend (Mystery Man) who has the money (family money?) to have invested in such a high-end, luxe, professionally done blog from the get-go.

A lot of style and fashion blogs do not start out this well funded by a long shot, nor do they even reach such funding heights as Wendy’s Lookbook.

People just start taking shots of themselves, and only once they start to become more known, do they do things like buy expensive cameras or video equipment, set up shots so that they look extremely professional like out of a catalogue and so on.

Anyway, MM does all the shooting for the blog as well, and I think it’s also a stepping stone or a way for him to launch his own career in video editing, etc.

wendy-beige-out-wendys-lookbook-fashion-blogger

(Via)

I know she gets invited to fly around the world to events hosted by fashion houses and so on, so there’s also that enviable traveling, all expenses paid aspect of it all.

She makes I’d say conservatively, around $50,000 a month.

She also has a lot of pretty expensive shoes and bags, although I do see her mixing in lower-end pieces or trying to showcase similar pieces for much cheaper than what her actual outfit costs, which makes it seem more accessible for folks.

For instance, in the image above, this is what she lists as what her outfit consists of with my notes in red:

Accessories

TOTAL RETAIL COST OF A TYPICAL OUTFIT ABOVE: $7458

If you had read through the post and clicked on her “similar” links, you would have found MUCH lower priced shoes and accessories than the actual items she has on in the photo.

Anyway, now you’re probably gawking at the total price tag but remember that the coat itself is already $2000, the shoes are $1000, the ring is $2400, and the bag is $1000.

It all adds up pretty quickly (as many PF’ers who budget can attest to)

OBVIOUSLY HER PIECES ARE BEING REUSED

This is not the price she spends each time, because obviously some items make repeat appearances like the trench coat, shoes, etc.

But if you can imagine that fashion bloggers are under a LOT OF PRESSURE to make new outfits appear each day that are different and cool without reusing the same things over and over again, it can really add up.

Conservatively speaking, let’s say they need 6 months worth of “new” outfits, assuming the rest of the year they can reuse pieces and remix them.

6 months x 30 days x $7500 = $1.35 million

Now that sounds ridiculous (obviously), but there are other ways that this retail price tag to be a fashion blogger comes down significantly.

So what else brings in money for fashion bloggers?

THEIR OWN FULL-TIME JOBS

I know some fashion bloggers don’t do this completely full time, but they tend to be freelancers.

Consulting seems to be a common job for these ladies, and I suspect they’re freelancers so that they have the flexibility to do photo shoots and work on the fashion blogging thing while fitting in clients in between.

SELLING THE BLOG COMPLETELY

Having done this myself for my two previous blogs, it is not unusual to see blogs being bought and sold all the time.

(Even in the PF world!)

Conde Nast purchased Sea of Shoes as “NowManifest”, and now handles the blog while I am sure Jane is hired on full-time to continue blogging for it.

ADVERTISING SPACE IS ALSO SOLD

Like on every blog (including mine) you can buy advertising space. I don’t know what fashion bloggers charge, but let’s say if you’re charging $5000 for a sponsored post, a sponsored link might run in the same circles of $5000 a month.

Just look at Fendi posting ads on Sea of Shoes. They are not paying chump change to get their name on there:

http://www.seaofshoes.com/sea_of_shoes/2013/12/chelsea-boots.html

THERE ARE THE FREE THINGS THEY GET TO RESELL

On top of that, she gets free swag (free clothing, goods, shoes, etc) from designers and fashion houses that want to be part of her fame on top of all of that.

All this free swag is not just free stuff to photograph and style for a day (have to keep things fresh!), but she could easily re-sell it as many fashion bloggers are apt to do to make room in their closets, as well as to make money.

You can tell what has been given for free in their lists of clothing when they put words like: “Courtesy of” or “c/o” and then the company or brand name.

LET’S NOT FORGET AFFILIATE LINKS

Affiliate links are where a lot of fashion bloggers post where you can buy exactly what they’re wearing. Heck a lot of blogs do this including mine.

I will say though that fashion affiliate links are a lot more profitable than posting affiliate links on a personal finance blog like mine to Questrade for instance, because investing is not sexy to most folks.

(Even though it should be.)

COLLABORATIONS WITH COMPANIES

Maybe collaborations with fashion houses are free (like the one Wendy did with Tacori) to get her name out there, but I doubt it.

I know if I were a fashion blogger, I’d charge for something like that, and it wouldn’t come cheap.

Maybe $20,000 – $50,0000 for something like that? (Total guesswork here.)

She is after all, lending her name to the business and jewellery line, writing posts on them, featuring the jewellery she created with them in her outfits, etc.

A blogger that has done this with companies like Tide and Crocs has been Maegan Tintari of Love Maegan.

www.lovemaegan.com/2012/08/summer-pool-party-sponsored-by-crocs.html

STARTING A SIDE BUSINESS BASED ON THE BLOG’S SUCCESS

Wendy’s Lookbook and Tiffany of Style-Ish have done this.

Wendy now has her own e-magazine called The Frame which I think they’re hoping to branch off into a successful e-magazine to generate more business / money.

Tiffany of Style-Ish has her own jewellery business as well called T+J Designs.

There are plenty of ways to make your fashion blog branch out into other areas if you’re willing to do so.

And that, is how fashion bloggers make money.

SO HOW MUCH MONEY DOES IT TAKE TO BECOME A TOP-TIER FASHION BLOGGER?

Conservatively, to start completely from scratch, I’d say at least a $300,000 as an investment over a year, if these blogs are anything to go by, assuming they don’t already own high-end pieces in their closet before starting the blog.

After you are established as a top-tier blogger, I wouldn’t be surprised if you could easily rake in $50,000 a month as a gross income, maybe higher depending on how far-reaching your influence has become.

Naturally you do not get to keep ALL of this income because you still need to pay for everything such as all the people you’ve hired to help you out, pay yourselves a living wage, pay for equipment, clothing and accessories… it’s a real business, folks!

Then you get taxed because the government wants a piece of your sweet glittery blog.

Maybe out of all that, after paying everyone, you could come away with at least $10,000 a month, net or $120,000 a year.

Not too shabby for a job you love!

BUT LET’S NOT FORGET THE TIME, WORK & EFFORT SPENT!

Nothing that is professional, interesting and well-done as these bloggers above, comes without work and effort.

Do not forget all the time spent doing this full-time.. more than full-time (more than 40 hours a week) perhaps because it is NOT as easy as it looks.

You can’t really have a full-time job and be a top-tier fashion blogger and I challenge anyone who says that they do it (you must have a lot of assistants and help).

Being a fashion blogger is your job, and that’s it.

Fashion magazines and houses spend millions of dollars just shooting an ad campaign, and while these fashion bloggers are not yet spending a million on an ad campaign, they are certainly spending a lot of time and sweat equity to make the business run and become successful.

Every post we see, every magazine they create, everything that they do has taken a lot of time in the background to make it look seamless and effortless.

It’s a brilliant but exhausting business. Hats off to them, because I could never do it.

I’D LOVE TO HEAR YOUR THOUGHTS!

Also if you have more links to share on how much they make or what it costs, I’d love to read them.

 

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46 notes

  • Btw- I don’t follow either blog but recently read about them so on that note need to make a correction- the one that recently graduated is actually titled, “With Love from Kat.” It seems very well done so she must have affiliates at this point. Interesting stuff! Would love to learn more on startup costs of fashion blogging!

     
  • This is all so interesting to read. Many of the blogs such as From Kat With Love and quite a few others such as Pink Peonies actually don’t seem to follow this pattern of being established between 2007-2010 to be successful so are they the exception to the rule, or were they starting with that kind of money to begin with behind the scenes?

    From Kat with Love started 3 years ago by a 22 year-old-college grad who now does it full-time I believe.

    The question, initially is what it took to become that in just 3 years and I wonder the investment required as someone that young would only be buying pieces with their day job, which in the city wouldn’t go far at an entry level pr gig for a fashion upstate ( Kat’s Day job at time of blog)( the other girl, Rachel Parcell is at 1 million a year and started 3 years ago at about the same age although was married) not with rent and living expenses.

    Much about the actual start-up cost or initial investment needed to get things running day to day, let alone the monthly budget required to sustain interest by purchasing new pieces seems unrealistic unless you go into severe credit card debt, or have rich parents funding your little fantasies. Doing this long enough to get noticed and see the return seems a bit up in the air as well- a bit of a crapshoot. If one designer handbag costs a few hundred, I myself wonder ” where the money is coming from” to sustain new pieces and interior art to photograph daily.

    Even $10,000 for someone so young doesn’t seem enough- and know these bloggers began with the money almost makes it less appealing. I guess we want to believe people really started with nothing, but it never seems to be the fact. What would you say is the story in the cases of such successful blogs that began by very young people relatively recently?

    What would you make of this?

     
    • You make excellent points. In my opinion I love and hate the blogs that started with a lot of money. I love them because the styling and the clothes are like from a magazine spread which is really nice to see and visually appealing. I hate them because their pieces are unattainable for the mass public (myself included), especially if you want to replicate outfits. I use them more as inspiration as a result.

      The blogs I like tend to have a theme in common and that is that their clothes are wearable in terms of styling in an outfit.

      That’s not to say I don’t like higher end bloggers either but between the two I have noticed that the more money they have, the more variety is shown.

      I mean, you can’t really show outfits that are repeats of each other with different tops or bottoms day in day out which is the way MOST people dress especially for work. It’s fine for general style blogging but not very inspirational if you’re really into fashion.

      What I would like is a balance.

      As for actually starting a blog the costs are minimal and then it is up to you to create the different outfits based on what you have in your closet.

      I tried style blogging a long time ago but it is time consuming and the photos you have to take, then edit, then explain, is a lot of work for the result you get. To do it “professionally” and churn out 3 posts a week you definitely need a helper, even if it is just a friend.

       
    • Oh and my opinion about young people starting style blogs is — the more the merrier!! However as I mentioned, getting to that variety on a limited budget is tough.

      The only solution is to go thrift shopping.

       
  • So what’s the point? Of course, these girls had money to give them the initial lift while others have been working at it from years but it seems that hard work is paying off anyway, so you don’t even need such high end items to pull of different looks all the time. ;)

    http://taleofthegreat.com

     
    • Well but how many high-end fashion bloggers do you really know out there who started with nothing in savings or as an initial investment?

      You still need to spend a good chunk of money getting a nice camera to take photos, maybe a videographer, someone who knows Photoshop, a webdesigner.. it all costs money. It doesn’t start with a Blogspot page and turn into a big moneymaker over night. THAT would take good timing (being an early blogger), lots of hard work, and time.. lots of TIME.

       
      • @save. spend. splurge.: I’m definitely not arguing with that ;)Some spendings are unavoidable, like domain rent, design, a point and shoot at least, business cards for meetings, etc.

        But that doesn’t cut it that close to those really huge sums of money to start your blog and to get some viewers for it. I mean, the first photos of Susie Bubble were made with a simple point and shoot and they still attracted attention over time.

         
        • True, but she started at a time when blogs were not that popular the way they are today, and she had a very unique sense of style that (over time) grew into something where she became a fashion icon, like Man Repeller or even Maegan.

          To become a top-tier blogger today, in a short period of time (not over the years it took for others to gain any kind of status), it takes a lot more money.

          Even “The Sartorialist” who takes pictures of “street fashion” goes with a lighting crew, and a whole bunch of people to make the shots look as natural as possible… while not being natural at all.

           
  • Great post – and exactly why I have no ambitions of being a top tier fashion blogger – I’d never have the guts to invest that kind of money! lol

     
  • This was a great and informative post and I’m going to bookmark it! I’ve been blogging for about 3 years now and now I want to start taking it more seriously money-wise. I’ve always wondered how bloggers make their money, especially the Personal Style ones who feature a lot of high end designer labels. If I had the time I’d do a survey, try and contact them etc. So this article is a great start!

     
  • Wow great post. I’ve never really thought about the business/money side of the fashion blogging business, although I was always curious about it so im glad I came across your post! I can’t believe it costs that much to really get to becoming a top fashion blogger! definitely serves as a reality check ! but nevertheless i love blogging so I hope I can still continue without having to pay $300,000 … (:

     
  • This is a great read and a great reality check. As a fashion blogger, I can attest to the fact that it is a lot of work. I always wonder how the top tier fashion bloggers became so big, and I realized that most of them started their blogs around 2007-2010 when blogs were very new. (Or their families are wealthy.) Now, the market is over-saturated. My goal for blogging is more of a portfolio piece that will hopefully lead my career in the right direction. And if I can make a little money on the way, even better!
    Thanks for this post!
    ~Jen
    http://chambrayandcabernet.wordpress.com/

     
    • Oh yes you have to start when the wave was beginning not now, when practically everyone is a fashion blogger.

      To become a top-tier one these days, this very moment, you need a lot of $$$$ to buy clothes, pay for videography, photos…

       
  • This post made me think of SATC. I have a huge hunch that if the show was airing these days then Carrie would have her own website and she would blog about dating and fashion as well.

     
  • I was estimating that fashion bloggers spend between $10,000 at the minimum to $100,000, but your figure of $300,000 surprised me. I love fashion blogs but unfortunately it brings out the consumerist in me. Thanks to fashion blogs, I don’t buy magazines like Vogue and W as much anymore.

    I don’t read fashion blogs because I want “reality” I read them because I like fashion and it’s an escape. The type of job I work in doesn’t require dressing up and my lifestyle after work isn’t one where I need to dress up either. So in that sense fashion blogs aren’t realistic to my life but so what?

    They’re fun and it doesn’t cost me $4-5 or whatever Vogue and W costs these days.

     
  • UM YES to all of this. tina craig of bagsnob is a fantastic example. let’s see, she built an empire, flies around the world for fashion week and just debuted her collaboration bag with hermes. so so SO much work goes into that–it doesn’t just fall into your lap!

     
  • AdinaJ

    I don’t envy these girls their blogs (and blog incomes) because it a) seems like a lot of work and b) the long-term job security is nil. I’m also not really interested in their blogs – if I want to see high end deigher clothes shot beautifully, I’ll buy Vogue. To me, fashion blogs are supposed to be an alternative to that – real style on real-life budgets. I’m far more interested in how someone with a full-time job styles herself, since both her lifestyle and budget is more likely to be similar to mine.

    That said, mid-tier and even lower tier blogs (which are legion) make decent side hustle money (probably in the hundreds) with far less work, mostly through affiliate links. It’s far eaier to make that kind of money as a fashion blogger than a PF one, for the reaon you mentioned. No real start-up costs beyond website stuff. But … it IS a lot of work, no matter what. And building an audience is hard, especially if your primary audience is not 20yr olds who buy cheap fashion non-stop. I speak from experience ;)

     
    • @AdinaJ: Low end pieces that are styled nicely are hard things to find on style blogs these days.

      I could look fantastic too if I had their budgets ;)

      As for fashion blogging I just find it all too hard to do. Even just sourcing out outfits for some of the wardrobe posts I do, it takes a LONG time and a lot of work.

       
  • This is all really interesting. I never thought about how much money it took to be a top end fashion designer. I guess once you factor in all the dresses and such, it comes out to be very expensive.

     
  • One thing that I notice you left out of your figures were taxes. In the US, someone who makes $45k/mo is in the highest tax bracket and subject to the full 13% of social security tax + 3.8% of medicare tax. That’s not including any local or state taxes either.

    Someone who is making $45k a month is probably paying well over half of that in taxes.

     
    • Ohhh yes! Excellent point.

       
    • @Kara: OH I know what I forgot to mention.

      If they’re smart, they are probably also incorporated as a business, so it isn’t personal income tax that they pay.

      Business taxes in Canada are about 20%, so it wouldn’t be 40%.. but then you also have to either take the money out as a salary (you’d be an employee of your own company) or in dividends and pay tax on THAT.

      So something like $45,000 a month would be AFTER they write off expenses to bring down the gross income, but let’s say they have $0 in writeoffs for expenses, it would be $36,000 net a month after taxes, and then they can decide to withdraw $5000 a month or $10,000 a month as a salary, and pay income taxes on $120,000.

       
  • Great post! I don’t follow fashion bloggers as much now but there was a time I read fashion pieces daily.

    Both Megan and Wendy reuse their pieces and are both masters of the high low mix and match (I used to visit both on a regular basis). I agree Wendy’s blog has been very professionally shot from the get go, her videos are better than most lifestyle tv shows honestly (I think she could easily become a “star” throughout Asia, both in Japan & HK, as it reminds me of NHK tv and her style of dressing is suitable for Japan office ladies). What I loved the most about Megan is her DIY posts, both for fashion and home. She has some fun and not too difficult project ideas.

    I enjoy Sea of Shoes and would agree it’s probably closer to the couple thousand grand figure. Her clothes/shoes are in the luxury designer range. Gorgeous photography.

    I think it is worth mentioning the fashion (and design) blogs making money are really well done in terms of layout and photography (Megan is a little more homespun but she started years ago and gained a loyal following). Some of them were actually employed in the industry in traditional media too (Design*Sponge comes to mind) so they are professional. The % of fashion/design blogs making any kind of real money is very low and even the successful ones are now finding ads are not so important to brands/retailers now and must turn to other streams of income (books, courses, sponsored posts & appearances).

    I do see fashion bloggers selling their things on poshmark with a “just worn once for pictures!” in the description but have yet to see anyone really well known. I have seen some fashion journalists/columnists hawking their wardrobe on poshmark though, which I think is kinda cool.

     
    • Wendy is impressive, and so is her boyfriend in video editing and shots. She also seems like such a sweet person. A little bubbly, giggly.. but overall very very nice.

      I’ve been on Poshmark myself, and I see a lot of their items on there.. but it would be kind of odd that they DON’T resell their pieces (the ones they won’t wear again), only because I am thinking of all the space it would take to store all that. :|

       
  • Wow, I didn’t realise just how much money a fashion blogger could make and my eyes nearly popped out of my head at the possible set up cost! Think I’ll have to stick with PF blogging…

     
  • um my thought is INSANITY.. mostly at the profit. I never guessed it was that high! My god I’m in the wrong niche.

    Not that I have $300,000 to throw around to get started. Or someone to take photos of me. Or enough fashion savvy to succeed…

    Wow. Just wow.

    (PS. Wendy’s Lookbook is one of my faves!)

     
    • The thing is that fashion blogging is a lot of work. A LOT OF WORK.

      Having to pose, have perfect makeup, find the right backdrop, find a pro photographer, spend time flipping your hair or your clothes.. it’s really not an easy job. It’s far more labour-intensive than just sitting around typing out bla bla bla thoughts into a post and scheduling it (which is the way I see myself PF blogging).

      I TRIED a style-type blog in the past but it was still a lot of work just to hunt down things for people to buy, to set up the images, create outfits… god it was exhausting.

      I do not envy them, and their overhead must be insane as well. I’m only guessing at the profit however, because I don’t really know the numbers aside from the article notes and my guesses (no one has a fashion blog and also talks about exactly how much they make so… :P).

       
  • I was hoping you would blog about Wendy… I’m always curious how much all her stuff cost… very pricey. Who can afford it anyways? Is she suppose to give inspiration with her expensive clothes?

     
    • Her stuff costs a lot of money but I do notice that she reuses pieces in her outfits like the Burberry trench (just not in a row).

      It is very hard for anyone to come up with a brand new style and look each time they post something so I can understand the pressure to have to go out and buy new things or to constantly be shopping.

      No one can really afford to dress like that, but it’s more aspirational dressing or inspirational than it is realistic.

      The look or the colour combinations are what I go after because then I can look into my own closet and try to re-create a similar feel, but with what I have, or for less money.

      The other thing is to also sell things that people can afford one item of, like let’s say a bracelet. She can hawk the bracelet for $400 or something, and if someone buys it they think: Wendy wore this and it looked great on her outfit ergo it looks great on me as well!

      :)

       
 

 

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