A fashionista shares how she's turned her love for fashion into a lifetime passion project and source of income.
Photo by Annie Hayes via All Things Annie Hayes
“Just remember that authenticity is key, practice makes perfect, and to have fun with it!”
Growing up, I always had a passion for fashion. I would try on millions of different outfits just to go to the grocery store or a play date. Think pink tulle skirts, with little graphic tees, headbands and clips galore, topped off with a jean jacket and some white sneakers. I had it all.
Little did I know that 10 years later, I would be inspiring people to get dressed through an app and be making money for it.
At the beginning of the Summer, I had a bit more free time and really thought it would be the perfect opportunity for me to finally start my passion project: a blog. I had so many ideas for blog posts, from what was trending that week to beauty products I had been loving, and how to style 1 dress multiple different ways. After I created the initial blog website, I started posting articles on there without telling a soul. I wanted to create a space that was truly an expression of myself before telling the world what I was actually working on.
Five unread blog posts later, I was finally in the mindset that I wanted to take this more seriously and begin an Instagram page, along with my blog, where I could expand my reach and make a community of like-minded fashionistas.
Once I started my Instagram, that is when my passion really started to take off, and I was obsessed with the idea that I could turn this hobby into a full-time career. Now, this is not something that happens overnight. It takes years of growth and experience to make enough money to do this full-time. What I can offer you is my first-hand tips-and-tricks so that you can start monetizing your own page!
Monetizing Tips #1: Affiliate Apps and Links
Affiliate marketing is a type of performance-based marketing in which a business rewards an affiliate for each visitor brought to that app or site through the affiliate's own marketing efforts. For example, if I were to post on my Instagram stories about a dress that I bought and loved and therefore made someone check out that dress's website, that would be a form of affiliate marketing.
What is so great about this marketing is that a lot of times you can make a small commission off of the purchase! There are plenty of apps like Voilà and LiketoKnow.it where you can link your outfit and put that app link in your bio for your followers to shop straight from! This is perfect because it is an easy way to make some money, especially if you don't have the swipe-up feature on your Instagram account. Since these commissions are often small, you want to make sure that you are utilizing these apps and links to the best of your ability.
You always want to be posting with your whole outfit linked on these apps, even if you are not posting about it yet on your stories. I always try to include sizing and how the product fits me to really help give your community all the information they might need on what you are wearing! Remind your followers that they can always check the link in your bio to shop your looks, and remember that consistency is key! The more you post on these platforms, the more your followers are interested, and the more money you will make! If something cannot be linked on these platforms, tell your followers how they can find what you are wearing so that you can not leave them in the dark! Authenticity, consistency, and transparency are super important, especially when it comes to affiliate apps and links.
Another way you can make a small commission is through promo codes that can also be through an affiliate! This is the same type of method I explained before, but if you had a promo code for a specific brand you are working with, and say 20 people use that promo code, you can make a commission off those 20 sales! This is also a great way to build a relationship with that brand, your followers2, and all well still turning your voice into money!
Photo by Annie Hayes via All Things Annie Hayes
Monetizing Tips #2: Brand Deals and Sponsorships
This is probably one of my most frequently asked questions and something that I didn't fully understand myself when I first started my page until I reached out to a larger influencer, but I will spill all the tea.
Put your money where your mouth is and preach products you actually like and wear. Authenticity is key, and you want to make sure you are telling your followers and posting things that you would actually wear and use. Fashion is ever-changing, but that doesn't mean that you have to ebb with the tides! Show how you can wear that sweater vest into Spring if you love it that much!
The more you post about things you love, trends you are following, and that bronzer you can't stop thinking about, the more people will start going to your page for certain things! Build a community around that, and I promise you your page will start to get noticed.
Most of the time, brands will reach out to you, but there are times that you want to pitch yourself to the brand, and you want to make sure that you are already using the product and that it is shown on not just one photo on your page!
In order for brands to reach out to you, you want to make sure that you have an email address accessible for the brand. I always find that putting an email address in your Instagram bio or putting it on your blog for people to see is the best way to get yourself out there. I find that most of the time, this is how brands reach out to me!
With that being said, you don't have to say yes to everything. Authenticity is key, and like I said, you want to make sure this product and brand you are working with is something that you would actually use! Working with brands is great, but you don't need to work with every brand. If you work with 5 and have a long-standing relationship with them, that is WAYYY better than working with 50 brands only once.
I also find that by building a relationship with a brand you can start working on more paid content. For example, if you have worked with, say a company 3 times on gifted posts, you can also negotiate for the next time to be paid by working with that company's budget! They should by then know what to expect from you, so this is the perfect opportunity to put yourself out there. The more you work with them and create that relationship, the better your chances are of them also asking you to create different kinds of content for them, some that you post on your page and others that you can create for them for their own channels. This is why creating meaningful relationships is important!
Another great way to work with brands is to pitch yourself! You want to make sure that you have a media kit (a blogging resume basically) that you can send to these brands to really show them stats, what kind of content they can expect when working with you, and some examples of brands that you have worked with in the past! Most of the time, the brand will respond, but sometimes they do not. That is okay! Practice makes perfect, and the more you put yourself out there, the better you will be at doing it and the more experience you will have for the next time! Not everything is handed over on a silver platter.
In conclusion, there are many different ways that you can start making money and monetizing your passion project. Just remember that authenticity is key, practice makes perfect, and to have fun with it! I love fashion, beauty, and lifestyle, and I can't wait to see where my passion project takes me. I hope you all will come along with me for the ride. Please do reach out with any questions because we are all in this together.