Something I get asked about often is how fashion bloggers make money. I have been blogging for just over 2 years and left my primary job (as a part-time nurse practitioner) about 1.5 years into blogging. Just over 2 years into blogging I now make my full time income sharing things I love and here’s how…
How Fashion Bloggers Make Money
Making your income through platforms like Facebook and Instagram can be unsettling as you have to keep up with constant changes. One day Instagram may be showing all photos chronologically and the next day it’s favoring pictures that gain a lot of comments (or engagement). For most of my blogging “career” I put most of my eggs in one basket – Instagram. As I get older (I’m 36) I am trying to diversify my content on other platforms. On Instagram my audiences is mostly younger than me and I wasn’t sure how long I could hold their interest. The blogging community is HUGE on Instagram.
To make a consistent income you have to always be evolving and regularly publishing new and fresh content. It can be exhausting, but it’s rewarding to see your creativity well received.
Here are the primary ways fashion bloggers make money:
Are you wondering why bloggers don’t announce where their clothes are from on Instagram?? Bloggers make money by people deciding to make purchases from their referral. If I were to post a t-shirt from Nordstrom and tell everyone in my caption “grab this Madewell “Whisper Tee” in size XS at Nordstrom” no one would visit my blog. Almost all bloggers use commissioned links on their websites (or with liketoknow.it) – not just fashion bloggers.
Affiliate links (or commissioned links) normally pay one of two ways. For fashion bloggers the two big networks are ShopStyle and RewardStyle. ShopStyle pays per click (a few cents for each click you direct to a website). The “click rate” is calculated based on how well a blogger “converts” (ie: what percent of people make a purchase after clicking the link). A “good” conversion rate is over 1%.
RewardStyle pays “per action”. Rather than payment for each click, a blogger is paid a set percentage of each sale they convert. If the commission rate is 8% and a bloggers refers someone to a $50 sweater that they purchase, the blogger will be paid $4 for that referral. All those clicks that didn’t “convert” to a purchase pay nothing with the pay per action model.
AFFILIATE LINKS DO NOT CHANGE THE PRICE OF A PRODUCT FOR THE CONSUMER. You are supporting the work of fashion bloggers by buying items from their affiliate links. Bloggers do a lot of work to select styles, coordinate multiple outfits with a single item, give sizing info, and put out sale alerts just to name a few things. Both bloggers and their followers gain from the relationship. Speaking of relationships – do you love the bloggers you follow? I feel so connected to some bloggers I follow even though I’ve never actually met in person. There is a trust you build in all relationships and I think that’s EXTREMELY important in the blogging community.
Sponsored blog posts:
Sponsored posts are crucial to how fashion bloggers make money. Sponsored posts are when a brand selects a blogger who seems “on brand” to get more in depth with a certain product the brand is trying to promote. When fashion bloggers collaborate with brands for a paid exchange they’re required to disclose this. I generally use terms like “Thank you to (brand name) for sponsoring this post” and “this post is in collaboration with (brand)” which are considered legal disclosures by the FTC that notify my followers I was paid for my work.
When you consider the amount of time it takes a blogger to shoot photos (many pay a photographer), write a post, and then promote it, the fee is well earned. Compare that to a brand paying a model, fashion photographer, and marketing agency.
Once a post is drafted, approved, and posted we bloggers have to send in links to all our shares and invoice the customer etc. Blogging is a business that requires a great amount of time – despite how it may come off to some on social media.
Sponsored social shares:
If you see hashtags like #ad #sponsored or occasionally #(brand)partner you know a blogger has been paid for a social post. Bloggers are a great resource for brands to market their products. I don’t know about you but I don’t watch TV so I get a lot of my “news” from social media.
Bloggers work hard to build trust within their community so if they tell you these “Dream Jeans” lift your bum and hug your thighs right they better be ready to stand behind that. If someone spends their money on something a blogger recommends and then hates the product they probably won’t want further recommendations from that person. By the way I got my “Dream Jeans” because a blogger I love and trust (Erin from CottonStem) said those things about these jeans. Unfortunately mine were too long in the “long” size and then were sold out by the time I could exchange.
While I don’t have any ads running on my site it is another avenue to how fashion bloggers make money. If you click on an ad that runs on someone’s website the site owner is paid a referral fee.
Within the last 2 months I have just started getting several messages a day asking for paid shout0uts on my Instagram account. I have not done any but I’m sure there are bloggers who do.
Consigning Clothing and Accessories:
Many bloggers consign their clothes, shoes, and handbags on sites like Poshmark to make some additional side income. If you want to shop what I’m passing on you can follow my Charity Closet Sale on Facebook.
When does the income stream start?
Like starting any new business you have to invest both time and money before you can expect it to start paying back. I worked more than 40 hours a week for nearly a year before my income stream picked up. I remember someone saying brands typically want at least 40,000 Instagram followers before they will pay bloggers for sponsored blog posts. If you’re having trouble growing your Instagram check out this post with tips I have used to increase my following. I have recently had some success with Facebook advertising and live videos as well.
Fashion Bloggers Do Work Hard
While it’s a HUGE blessing to work from home and get paid for a creative outlet, this is a 24/7 job if you let it be. Social media and sales pick up on the weekends so those are often my busiest days. Some people liken fashion bloggers to personal shoppers. Rather than going to the mall, trying things on, figuring out how to restyle a piece, and watching to see what is on sale you can just follow your favorite bloggers to do that work for you.
Some of the behind the scenes work that fashion bloggers do that many people don’t consider:
- responding to hundreds of inquiries per day on social media and email
- editing photos and loading them onto different platforms (facebook, instagram, blog, etc). Each platform requires different ways to load the content – the most timely being the website. Have you considered how much time it takes to link clothes to social media posts and blog photos? It takes hours a day just doing that and checking where items remain in stock.
- responding to social media comments. Instagram and Facebook favor engaged posts which means receiving and responding to comments. I LIKE TO CHAT WITH FOLLOWERS but some days I am too overwhelmed with mom life to respond before 8 pm (when my work day really picks up).
- in order to have new content bloggers are CONSTANTLY shopping for new and great items to share. Champagne problems – but sometimes shopping feels like a chore these days.
- have you considered the learning curve for designing a website? It took me several weeks to build my website and then I had to figure out how to make social media pages for my site. Social media and marketing were things I never participated in through out during my healthcare career. Many people come to blogging from unrelated careers.
Have you considered starting a blog?
It certainly seems like a lot of people are considering starting a blog these days based on the amount of questions I get! Last week I shared a post with some tips for how to start a fashion blog.
If you have questions beyond how fashion bloggers make money, how to grow your instagram, or how to start a fashion blog, please drop a comment below. I don’t want to make this post too lengthy, but I’d be happy to write another if this peaks your interest.
Thanks for stopping by and don’t forget to support your favorite bloggers be it with comments, likes, shares, or website visits. I am SO grateful for all of you who have chosen to come along with me for the ride.