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!

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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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20 notes

  • 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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