Once upon a time, a young person had a blog, and then…they became a fashion industry mogul. Such is the story of a few handfuls of exceptional entrepreneurs who have mastered the style world with their written word, eye for detail, and savvy social media moves.
The fashion world has taken notice in recent years and invests in these gamechangers with full-on collaborations and media campaigns. But truth be told, the rise of a successful blogger turned fashion industry influencer doesn’t happen overnight. These former “just bloggers” monetise their site and brand with advertising, a focused social strategy and a build up to brand partnerships.
What are these fashion influencers doing differently and what can we learn from their paths? Relentless dedication and passion is the name of the game. Here’s how a handful of stylish entrepreneurs got scrappy and turned learn-as-you-go fashion know-how into major industry prowess.
Chiara Ferragni—Stick With What You Love
Creator of The Blonde Salad, Ferragni has consistently been named a top fashion blogger and influencer in recent years. Case in point: Vogue, considered the fashion Bible for over 100 years, has 17 million followers on Instagram. Ferragni, who started her blog in 2010, has 11 million. That’s a one-woman brand gaining major steam on a fashion empire. But her site and Instagram’s insane popularithy come from humble beginnings just like anyone starting up a WordPress.
Ferragni began by parlaying a growing Flickr account showcasing her fashion sense over to a blog. Today she’s a global ambassador for Pantene, the face of Amazon fashion in the EU, and appeared on more than 25 magazine covers. The Chiara Ferragni Collection shoe line is also a huge player in her lifestyle brand. #Goals!
Negin Mirsalehi—To Be a Leader, Be a Follower
Blogger is an understatement when it comes to Dutch-born Mirsalehi. She’s definitely helps define the term “influencer” in the fashion world. Mirsalehi’s rise to blogger/influencer dominance goes back just a few years—with a humble start on Instagram. She noticed that people that loved fashion similar to her own passion would consistently post pictures of their own fashion in their daily life.
She’d follow favorites, follow their followers, comment often, and with persistence, would get follow backs. Within a year, Mirsalehi had one million followers of her lifestyle/fashion and beauty brand—that’s some dedicated Insta-activity! Now, her coveted hair even has its own Instagram—and Mirsalehi has her own haircare line.
Gabi Gregg—Embrace Your Niche
Best known to her followers as GabiFresh, Gregg started out blogging and following forums on LiveJournal. Gregg soon realized there was a huge audience dedicated to plus-sized woman style that had the same passion she had too. The only issue was that most of the online communities were dedicated to body shape issues, and not the fashion and styling itself.
Gregg had found her niche and went for it. Today, her Instragram followers are fiercely loyal (over 500k and counting), and she’s the face of Target’s Ava and Viv plus-size collection, collaborated on a sell-out swimwear line and graced the cover of Ebony Magazine.
Wendy Nguyen—Video and a Lot of Creativity Go a Long Way
The power of YouTube cannot be underestimated for lifestyle brands—and for this fashion blogger, it made her a star. Nguyen of Wendy’s Look Book sprung to blogger infamy with her YouTube sensation “25 Ways to Tie a Scarf in 4.5 Minutes” that been viewed more than 40 million times. Creating uber-popular videos certainly helps boost Nguyen’s traffic, and her creative skills are beloved amongst her Pinterest fans.
Nguyen has so far stayed true to her passion for fashion and posts a couple videos a week (and outfits a handful of times, while other influencers have dipped into other lifestyle areas like travel or beauty. Whatever she’s doing, it works. With design collaborations with major brands like Tacori and a dedication to her foundation that helps children in the juvenile justice system, there’s no slowing this gamechanger down.
Sarah Vickers—Embrace (and Share, Share, Share) Your Lifestyle
Vickers blog, Classy Girls Wear Pearls, just about says it all—and she soon figured out that a fondness for New England preppy style was something not hers and hers alone. A cult-like following would soon amass. Perhaps the secret to Vickers rise is how she openly documents not only her love of modern preppy fashion but incorporates her other passions for family, travel and an easy, breezy New England lifestyle alongside her husband Kiel James Patrick (KJP).
Together they run a highly successful apparel and accessories line of his moniker with fans like Reese Witherspoon and Tommy Hilfiger. Vickers gives an inside look to how they work, how they play—often with their amazingly preppy squad, adorable pets and now baby—and how they just get through the day (of course, always inspiringly stylish). Authenticity keeps devoted fans following and sharing.