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).
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.
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:
- Top :: Burberry trench — $3600 for the trench but you can find it at $2000 — I bought one myself
- Dress :: Halston Heritage — $Found the exact dress here – $375
- Shoes :: Charlotte Olympia — Found the exact pair here – Monroe shoes at $995
- Bag :: Celine – I couldn’t find the exact shoulder clutch but let’s estimate it at $1000 at the low end
- Marie Todd cuff — Found the exact bracelet here for $195
- Wendy’s Lookbook X Tacori bracelet – $2390, this is a collaboration she did with Tacori
- Karen Walker sunglasses — Exact Number One Sunglasses here for $250
- Jennifer Zeuner ring - $253 for the exact ring
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:
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.
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.