The reality behind fashion blogging #FVbloggintips
OK guys, it’s about to get real up in FV headquarters. I’ve been thinking a lot about the fashion blogging industry. I mean duh, I’m in it and surrounded by it. Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about what it really takes to make it in this industry. I have seen girls sky rocket and “make it” as a blogger (whatever “making it” really means nowadays. I mean.. there are so many different ways to define success in this world) and I have seen girls that have been blogging for years that have not been able to take their blog to the next level. I think there is something that girls need to know about the blogging industry, but before I touch on that topic I want to talk to you about why I think it’s important to mention this.
The other day I was walking in LA and got stopped by a girl who wanted me to take her photo with her iphone. She handed me her cell with one hand and held her latte in the other while she said “I have a blog and need to update my instagram.” She then asked me if I knew a good photographer in LA. I said I work with a really awesome one, but she’s a little pricey. I suggested she find one that isn’t so expensive since she mentioned she wasn’t making any money on her blog yet. She replied, “No, I’m willing to pay big money for the photographer because that is what it takes to make it right? Pay a good photographer.” No. No , no and no! This is all wrong I thought. “No, I wouldn’t spend too much money on that when you are growing” I said. She cut me off before I could continue and said, “Oh, I should spend it on cool clothes right?” AHHH. What? Ok, This is what really got me. As fashion bloggers we put out this persona that we just wear cool clothes, hang at coffee shops and get paid immediately and easily. It’s not that simple as I’ve mentioned before in other posts. There is so much that goes on behind the scenes.
This example is obviously not how all aspiring bloggers think. I know there are more business-minded fashion bloggers out there, but the truth is that it’s not far from the reality of what young impressionable girls think. How could they think otherwise when we are acting like what we do is so effortless? This is why I wanted to talk further about this issue. I talk to a lot of aspiring bloggers who think that they can just pay a good photographer, buy expensive clothes (racking up their credit cards) or pay for a website design and then they will magically grow and be popular (I myself was a victim of this kind of thinking when I was younger). It takes so much more than that and that’s what I want to talk to you guys about. There are so many ways to grow, but blowing your money on clothes and photographers is not one of them.
Even though the fashion blogging world has blown up, it’s still relatively new so its not surprising that every girl has become a success through various different routes that they have created or paved their own way. While there are numerous ways that girls have taken to make it in this industry, here are a few things that might helped them enormously:
- They might know someone high up in the industry already. It might be a PR person, a fashion designer, a blogger friend who is already big and is helping by tagging them in pics or mentions on their blogs. Think of Shea Marie of Peace Love Shea and her huge success that sky rocketed after she became best friends with Chiara Ferragni. Don’t get me wrong, she’s amazing and has great style and work ethic, but theres no denying how much that helped her.
- They are amazing at networking. I know this girl who somehow infiltrated the industry like a fox. Event after event she would befriend the most important person in the room and somehow smoothly and steadily became intimate friends with everyone. That’s not to say it was unnatural. She genuinely likes meeting people and is a natural at it. Everyone just gravitates towards her. Networking is such a huge part of this world. Some girls just know how to work a room and get what they need to move forward. Like number 1, if you know the right people, the right doors are more likely to open up for you.
- They have been doing it for years. I would say this one applies to me. I have been doing this so long that I have built steady relationships with brands, bloggers and have learned a lot about the industry through trial and error. There are bloggers who seem like they were an overnight success, but the reality might be that they have been slowly and steadily working hard at it for years building their platform, audience and network.
- They come from a lot of money. These are normally the girls (not always but most likely) who are constantly traveling from the get go, have the latest designer bags, have amazing photography…etc. If you have the money from the beginning to invest in everything you need to be a top blogger: photography, promoting, web design, intern, editing, videographer..etc , then it’s a lot easier to get noticed! These girls have the money to travel to all the events (concerts, parties, fashion weeks etc) and money to keep their lifestyle looking amazing. Which it obviously is, but this is so unrealistic for people who don’t have that financial freedom. Going into debt to depict a lifestyle you can’t afford is a sure shot way to fail at blogging. Not only does it spread a false message to your followers, it just isn’t sustainable. It takes more hard work to depict your true fashion self, but at least you’re not working that hard just to pay off your Master Card.
- They buy all their followers, likes, promos, etc. This one is normally not very realistic and not sustainable, but you would be surprised by how many people start off this way. They grow by faking their numbers from the beginning then eventually they start to gain a following. People notice your followers are fake. Brands who want to pay you because of your outreach will not get the return on investment they are looking for. Ehh… I wish this wasn’t even on this list, but I had to put it because it’s the reality of the industry.
Truth be told, you never know what goes on behind a blog. Why some blogs gain so much traction or other girls who are overnight sensations. It might be one of these things on this list, it might be something completely different or maybe all of them combined. What I want you to take away from this is this: If you are trying to build a brand for yourself and grow as a fashion blogger be smart with how you spend your money and time. Work hard on your SEO, your networking, think hard about how you are going to spend and invest your money and don’t expect for it to all work out in the end because truth of the matter is that this industry is not easy and only 4% of bloggers become household names. My suggestion to you is to not spend all your money on photographers and clothes. There are plenty of start up photographers who don’t charge too much and are amazing and there are clothing showrooms, boutiques and brands who will send you free clothes if you are serious about what you are doing.
THERE IS NO MAGIC BULLET! You have to be part of the scene, people have to recognize your face. This means mingling and being in the mix. You can’t expect to just pay a lot to develop one aspect of your game and think that the rest will catch up.
I hope this isn’t discouraging at all. I want it to be more of an eye opener because so many people are so hush hush about what goes on in the background of their blogs. Anywho, just a piece of information behind this industry. Let me know what you guys think and if you have anything to add or don’t agree with me please by all means, leave it in the comment section below.
Much love guys! xx F
**pictured above: Forever21 sweater, 7 For All Mankind Jeans, Steve Madden shoes | Photos by Brogen Jessup