How Fashion Bloggers Make Money

Photo Credit: Lindsay @ Sell Eat Love/Shelby Rae Photographs

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I'm obsessed with popular fashion bloggers. Seriously – I love looking at the beautiful photos and trying to copy the way they style outfits. Somehow, even though I have similar items I never know how to put them together into something magical. Fashion styling simply isn't a skill that I have (and usually anytime I look good someone has styled it for me!)

Something about these women makes fashion so much more accessible than styled shoots you see in magazines. I'm also a fan of anyone who can make a living as a digital influencer online.

Whenever I need a break from writing/editing/running my business, I spend a few minutes perusing popular fashion bloggers' sites. (I like Cupcakes and Cashmere, Pink Peonies, Classy Girls Wear Pearls, Southern Curls and Pearls, and Atlantic Pacific, to name a few!)

For fun and because I find it interesting, I'm digging into how much it costs for popular fashion bloggers to make money online and how much they make each month.

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Raking in the Riches

I'm not sure of any fashion blogger who releases their earnings the way personal finance bloggers do with income reports, but there are SEVERAL fashion bloggers (many of whom I follow) that belong to a millionaires club.  Even though they make money in much the same way that personal finance bloggers do (affiliates, appearances, sponsored content) for example, I often wonder about the start-up costs.

After all, some of these bloggers advertise incredibly high price items…do they eat that cost and hope to see a return on investment? Before the fame and free samples from fashion houses – how much did it cost to start a fashion blog?

Business Costs for Popular Fashion Bloggers

Thankfully via my friendship with noted photographer Shelby Steckbauer, I have access to the best and biggest fashion bloggers in Atlanta who kindly took the time to answer my questions.

Photo Credit: Peaches to Pearls/Shelby Rae Photographs

Photo Credit: Peaches to Pearls/Shelby Rae Photographs

Meet Luisa from Peaches to Pearls (she was recently named one of Southern Living's fashion bloggers to follow!). She also admits to keeping costs low – only spending $200 to start the site and $80 a year maintaining it. She saves money on her fashion site by taking her own photos and highlighting trendy but affordable brands, but admits that site income varies month to month. Primarily she makes money from sponsored posts.

Photo Credit: Lindsay @ Sell Eat Love/Shelby Rae Photographs

Photo Credit: Sell Eat Love/Shelby Rae Photographs

Lindsay Rozier of Sell Eat Love did not start her site to make money, although now she estimates she earns around $500 each month from affiliates such as Like To Know It and sponsored campaigns. Lindsay works full time in women's apparel wholesale, so she's fluent in fashion. Although she spent ~$275 starting her own site, Rozier outsources fashion photography each month, “But it's best money I spend,” she says. “Having professional photos makes your blog (and you) look more professional.”

Even the gents are starting to get in on the fashion/beauty blogging landscape. Wesley Oakes, the blogger behind Imanscape.com, make $1,000 each month from his website, primarily from Media.net ads and marketing Amazon products for affiliate revenue. Although he initially started the site as a source of side income, Wesley recently started reinvesting his earnings back into the site. “I now spend $500+ per month on the site,” Wesley writes. “This is because I'm looking to grow revenue. I'm just reinvesting profits back into the website. Before I did all the writing myself and didn't begin reinvesting earnings until the site was making $700/mo.”

Nickel and Diming Their Way to the Top?

In my research for this article, I also had the chance to chat with mega site Activate by Bloglovin'.

Thanks to Activate I was able to get my hands on some data about the income opportunities for micro influencers (Those with less than 100k followers on any platform) :

  • The majority of influencers (84%) charge under $250 for one branded Instagram post and 97 percent charge less than $500
  • Blog posts allow for rich original content and 87 percent of influencers charge under $500 per branded blog post
  • 90 percent of influencers have fees under $250 per branded post
  • 83 percent of influencers charge less than $150 for a branded Tweet

But with these prices, even assuming a diversified offering of posts, products, and affiliates it can be hard to crack six figures each year.

I'll admit, I find these answers surprising. I'm under the impression fashion, beauty, and food were more lucrative niches (as opposed to personal finance.) However, even though they're more lucrative, they're also more crowded.

The bottom line of all of this is that if you want to blog, start a blog. Do it because you love it and not because it's the hot new way to earn money. If you want to become a popular fashion blogger, be sure your pictures are above and beyond what you can do on an iphone. You may not get rich quick, but in the process you'll make a nice side income and learn a few new skills that could make you very marketable in your offline life.

And for the very lucky few, starting a blog (fashion or otherwise) could lead to your own multi-million dollar empire.

What do you think? Who are some popular fashion bloggers you admire?

I'm obsessed with popular fashion bloggers - but as a money making blogger I want to know...is fashion blogging a way to riches?

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  • Erica
    October 31, 2016 at 4:20 pm

    Thanks for this great post! I love reading fashion blogs as an escape from working behind spreadsheets all day in my current job (www.chroniclesoffrivolity.com is my favorite). A lot of these blogs inspired me to get my own creative juices flowing in an arena I’m more familiar with: personal finance. I recently launched ModMoney, a personal finance & lifestyle blog (www.mod-money.com), and it’s been a great experience so far. I’ve been careful to stay focused on writing as a creative outlet to make myself happy. I know if I focus too much on readership and viewers and monetization, I will burn out. But it’s easy to fall into that trap! It’s so important to create high quality, consistent content that inspires you in order to create a sustainable blog.

    Erica

    • Lauren Bowling
      November 2, 2016 at 9:51 am

      Your site looks beautiful. Thanks for sharing!

      • Erica
        November 2, 2016 at 10:40 am

        Thanks Lauren! I appreciate it!

  • Stefanie OConnell
    October 31, 2016 at 10:22 am

    I imagine fashion blogging is harder to start out and grow, but when you get into that upper echelon, it becomes far more lucrative than other niches (like personal finance 😉 )

    • Lauren Bowling
      October 31, 2016 at 12:29 pm

      Girl, yes.

    • Nadya from livingoffcloud.com
      October 31, 2016 at 2:09 pm

      I would not agree with your assumption…

      I tried both domains and here’s my experience.

      I was a fashion blogger for about a year in 2015 (my website is down but I have a FB link: https://www.facebook.com/whybuydiy/) and it was _so_hard_ man! I constantly felt burned out. All my weekends and nights were consumed with DIYs, preppying up, photoshooting, picture processing, promotions, etc, etc. I hads to look pretty AND happy AND well-dressed no matter how I really felt. So much pressure.
      Ok, I was only starting out and was far away from being in an upper echelon… but I imagine that in that case, the amount of work wouldn’t reduce but only increase in order to stay competitive. Competition is sooooooooooooo fierce in fashion!!!
      I was not the only one who felt burned out. Some of the famous bloggers (I think the girls from A Beautiful Mess) complained about feeling exactly the same. And they are famous _and_ there are two of them working on the blog! 🙁
      Apart from free goods, do famous fashion bloggers get any real money from advertisement/affiliations? I tried to use affiliate links but in total, I managed to get like $10-20.

      A year ago I switched to a online money making domain (with niche websites – the URL is in my profile). Has it been a blast! Not only I feel more relaxed and at ease (no need to try hard to look super pretty and happy!), I have also started gaining real income from pretty much the beginning. I did not even tried that hard , just was writing about my experience and placing affiliate links. What I got so far from my blog only is about $800-1000. Huge difference with the fashion domain.

      Wow, that was an emotional comment 🙂 Just wanted to share my experience!

      • Lauren Bowling
        October 31, 2016 at 2:48 pm

        Nadya – thanks for taking the time to comment. This was very eye opening and I’m glad you’re finally making money with a blog. It’s the best to be both fulfilled creatively and to get paid doing it 🙂

  • Ammara
    January 2, 2013 at 5:55 pm

    Couldn’t have said it myself! Aspiring to be a fashion stylist, I too started a blog, balancing my school (fashion program), my job, and my family life.. and attempting to lose some weight I have yet to even start it. I’ve done most of my shopping on a budget, buying quality things at ridiculously saled prices. But seeing “fashion bloggers” with $2000 purses and not just one multiples, that not your average Lawyer/Doctor can get makes me really wonder as well. :S

  • Kim
    January 1, 2013 at 4:58 am

    There are a million fashion blogs though, the cream of the crop is just 1% and there are women out there who can afford those things, so they should have a media outlet for luxury items as well. Dig deeper and you’ll find plenty of budget blogs, but of course those are less popular because, as you stated, people like the escapism of luxury.

  • Laura
    December 28, 2012 at 7:22 pm

    Great post. You might want to check out http://www.VivaFashionBlog.com they have great budget outfits and looks for less 😉

  • Ruth
    December 3, 2012 at 7:37 am

    I am so glad you posted this! I kid you not when I say that I came across this post by googling “how do young fashion bloggers afford designer clothes?”… you see what the mind comes up with at 2:30am! I just fell upon the blog pink peonies and for the life of me can not figure out how a 21 year old can afford a Prada bag and Louboutin pumps!! I am not jealous, just genuinely curious. I am baffled! I get sponsors and free clothes but I have a hard time believing that Christian Louboutin is sending some fashion blogger in Utah free shoes. They have celebs and real famous people/influencers wearing their clothing. They don’t need exposure from a 21 year old Communications major. I just don’t get what the designers are getting out of it? Oh well, I have to be honest and say if it were me I would take the freebies too… who wouldn’t!

  • Shelby B
    November 28, 2012 at 4:37 am

    I’m a little late to the party too, but I’m a fashion blogger and thought this post was extremely interesting. I’ve received some free items for posting about them and I’m pretty sure that’s how the big time bloggers never have to recycle their clothes. I personally can’t afford new clothes 24/7 so I recycle them and am thankful for the freebies.
    Plus, most bloggers don’t post pics of themselves in sweats and a hoodie because what brand would want to sponsor that? Not many. And like everyone is saying, we want as many freebies as possible.

    • L Bee
      November 29, 2012 at 7:20 pm

      Shelby, thanks for stopping by! Don’t worry about being late to the party ;). I wrote this post before I starting receiving sponsorships, and before I really understood the “Game”. I don’t get free clothes, but I do receive free items and need to come across a certain way as a business person and blogger.

      I hope you weren’t offended and that you will come back and see me!

  • J
    September 19, 2012 at 1:12 am

    People like Rachel from Pink Peonies aren’t getting these things from sponsors(now she is but it’s still not enough to afford $2000 bags)…its called daddy’s money

  • American Debt Project
    August 27, 2012 at 5:43 pm

    I love this post!! I feel the same way, I’m like “Ugh look at this chick looking so perfectly excited/happy/surprised in her yellow pumps with bright socks get-up” but really I am thinking “Should I just start taking photos of myself too and start getting free stuff? This seems really fun! I want in!!”

    • L Bee
      August 27, 2012 at 6:20 pm

      Thanks for the retweet……secretly I’m just reeeeeeeally jealous. I mostly just want free shit.

  • Emmie
    August 23, 2012 at 12:34 pm

    Late to the party post but I follow Penny Chic and Budget Babe. They are primarily Target, Kohls, Walmart shoppers and pull great things together pretty cheaply. I agree though I’d love to see a “normal” or wearable clothing blog.

  • gillianindebt
    August 10, 2012 at 3:26 pm

    you are hilarious. funniest PF blogger I’ve come across yet ! Great job. I hate fashion blogs solely because they make you want to buy things you do not need… something I cannot afford to do. Too much of a tease !

  • Shawanda @ You Have More Than You Think
    August 8, 2012 at 11:56 am

    I don’t read fashion blogs. Primarily because the clothes are super expensive and I’m just not fashionable. It seems in order to put together a decent outfit you have to put on too many articles of clothing which really adds up.

    I used to watch a lot of makeup tutorial videos on YouTube. I’d often wonder where a twenty-year old got the money to buy, literally, thousands and thousands of dollars worth of makeup. It took me a little while, but I eventually figured out they were getting all that crap for free.

  • Bunny
    August 6, 2012 at 9:26 pm

    Thank you for writing exactly what we’re all thinking! I’ve followed a few like Fashion Squad from their beginnings, and the girls did buy their own pieces at first. Once a fashion blog becomes full of high-end pieces, I tend to think of it as a bit of escapism. I look at the pretty pictures and imagine one day having a stunning wardrobe and the lifestyle to match. That said, I think Kendi Everyday is a great example of a more attainable fashion blog – she’s even written about how she affords everything, which includes shopping at outlets, working a few different gigs, and recently opening her own boutique in Texas.

    • queenlbee
      August 6, 2012 at 10:04 pm

      I need to check her out. I LOVE the photos and love trying out a few of the options with pieces from my own closet, but I need something that dabbles more in the everyday. Thank you for your comment! 🙂

  • See Debt Run (@seedebtrun)
    August 6, 2012 at 8:09 pm

    Oh my Gaga….that yellow skirt would be SO cute on ME! lol. If anyone wants to send me some clothes to wear and blog about, please…that skirt needs to be on my body now! 🙂

    Oh, and now I hate fashion bloggers, too! ;))
    -M

  • femmefrugality
    August 6, 2012 at 5:35 pm

    You crack me up! I’ve often thought many of the same things….these girls looks amazing but how do they do it everyday? I’m willing to bet, like you, that they don’t.

  • momoneymohouses
    August 6, 2012 at 4:36 pm

    I totally know what you mean and I’ve always wondered how these fashion bloggers can afford it all? They must have had to start out buying everything before they got sponsored. A good actual budget fashion blog I like is Frugal Beautiful. She usually lists where she gets her clothes and how much they cost, and they are never ridiculous outfits you wouldn’t actually wear. They are more realistic outfits that make sense in real life.

  • Money Bulldog
    August 6, 2012 at 1:09 pm

    I regularly walk around sporting some giant balloon’s, Is that not normal behaviour? 🙂

    Great post LBee!

  • Jason
    August 6, 2012 at 12:37 pm

    I often wonder who really wears that kind of stuff. In my Men’s Health they have a fashion edition and people just don’t wear that kind of stuff here in the Midwest. Maybe on the coasts somebody can get away with it but I’m not about to spend $200 for a pair of jeans. No chance.

  • Michelle
    August 6, 2012 at 11:30 am

    I am very jealous of them! They always seem to get free clothing and I would love that.

    • queenlbee
      August 6, 2012 at 11:39 am

      I KNOW! So unfair. 🙁

  • William @ Drop Dead Money
    August 6, 2012 at 9:37 am

    This is the same as the fashion magazines. For guys it’s the car magazines – whoever drives a Lamborghini to work… in traffic?

    Truth is it’s the envy factor that sells magazines – and what sells magazines sells blogs. I should know – I have no envy bait… so nobody reads my blog. 🙂

    • queenlbee
      August 6, 2012 at 11:02 am

      I hadn’t quite thought about “envy” being a powerful selling agent. It’s very interesting. Thank you for commenting 🙂

  • Ornella
    August 5, 2012 at 11:22 pm

    We are all a little jealous…lol. I am amazed by the photos, too.:-)

    • queenlbee
      August 6, 2012 at 1:04 am

      Glad I’m not the only one.

  • SavvyFinancialLatina
    August 5, 2012 at 11:43 pm

    Very jealous! Wish I had the body to wear fashion like that! :p

    • queenlbee
      August 6, 2012 at 1:05 am

      I want to see someone who makes outfits look that amazing and has killer curves!

      • SavvyFinancialLatina
        August 6, 2012 at 11:54 am

        Yup!!! I have curves and would love to be represented in fashion 🙂

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