Blogger and model Rumi Neely from FashionToast.com whose blog attracts more than one million hits per month and has landed her collaborations with RVCA, Forever 21 and more.
Companies are seeing the pay-off in providing free products to bloggers that will appear before the eyes of thousands of fashion-hungry blog readers. Blog-focused advertising agencies are springing up everywhere promising clients coverage through web media. In the pre-blog days, the most coveted marketing opportunities were print or television editorials. Those efforts are now directed online to specifically target the ad-desensitized consumer who scrolls or flips past all the ads and fast forwards through the commercials.
As Dress Me Dearly's readership continues to grow, so do the emails in my inbox. Every morning I open about 10 emails from marketing coordinators or publicists asking to send me merchandise, or suggesting I write a post on their "amazing" new product line. As exciting as this is, it also stirs up credibility issues. What I feature on Dress Me Dearly must align with my style and vision for the blog. If it doesn't, my readers see right through it, and the credibility and brand I've spent the last two years building goes right out the window with last season's shoes. The marketers are getting smarter, but so are consumers. In an effort to maintain transparency and trust, Dress Me Dearly has adopted a policy of clearly stating if a product was provided by a company and always providing an honest opinion of the item. Increasingly I am actually turning offers away that don't align with my brand, but also welcoming promotions from great companies that deserve a shout-out.
But some of the leading brands in fashion are becoming more strategic. They're making blogger dreams come true by inviting the most influential to actually collaborate and design products. And it's paying off.
|Emily of Fashion Foie Gras with the "Blogger Bag" by Coach.|
In 2010, handbag giant Coach, garnered thousands of dollars in free advertising through its collaboration with four blogger royals. Each designed a custom bag that was mass manufactured and sold for just under $500 each.
Most recently, Coach has taken it one step further, designing a custom bag specifically for us tech-tasking influencers. Blatantly named "The Blogger Bag", the over-sized tote was designed with input from Emily Johnston of Fashion Foie Gras and features compartments for a laptop, chargers, camera, notebook and more.
In August of this year, clothing shop Farfetch.com joined forces with online footwear boutique Six London to reveal the Six by Six limited edition footwear collection. It's completely designed by, you guessed it, six of the world's most influential bloggers including Style Bubble, The Man Repeller and The Cherry Blossom Girl. Along with the collection's reveal at Paris Fashion Week, an online campaign was launched including a video and web page promoting the Six by Six collaboration.
As a blogger these opportunities are beyond exciting. I dream of someday collaborating with my favourite brands and fashion icons (feel free to call anytime, Karl). But it's important to keep grounded as I navigate the relationships between myself and marketing departments. Drunk with material glee, I'll continue to embrace the amazing opportunities coming my way, but I strive to always return to the founding reason for launching Dress Me Dearly: as an outlet for my passionate love affair with fashion.