Many people have jumped on the fashion blogging bandwagon, and some among that ever-expanding group are doing serious business. These photogenic folk are creating names for themselves through their blogs and cashing in on their eye for style and trends. This is what three popular fashion content creators we spoke to said about the business of blogging.
Make it your business – Siya Beyile founder of The Threaded Man
“I didn’t start blogging for the sake of blogging, I saw a business opportunity,” says Siya Beyile, founder of The Threaded Man, a destination for the stylish modern African man, as its Facebook page describes. The blog features fashion trends, news and events, and grooming tips, Beyile started his blog in 2011 by watching tutorials on YouTube on how to start a blog. He knew he wanted to create a unique product, so he did his market research. He found that there wasn’t much of a platform for “everyday Africans who can’t afford expensive clothing”. So, he focused on accessible looks for his market.
Big brands have recognised his influence. At the moment he’s working with various brands: Nivea, Flying Fish, GUESS, River Island, Levis, Nike, VW and (man’s shirt retailer) TM Lewin. For most of the clothing brands, he showcases his favourite fits from their men’s ranges and promotes competitions for the companies. “Another money stream for us is the recently launched Spree x TheThreadedMan Collaboration, which allows readers to buy some of our featured looks from spree.com.”
The Threaded Man is not just a blog anymore. “The money from the blog has been used to build it as an agency, with photographers, graphic designers, stylists and producers,” says Siya. They were the official media partner of South African Menswear Week, he says and they are now branching into image consultancy and entertainment. “We just recently styled Nomuzi Mabena (Moozile) for her new music video for her song “Se7en” featuring Kid X.” You can’t be a fashion blogger for the fame or lifestyle you perceive it comes with,” says Siya. You have to be able to monetise it well, he adds.
Become a brand, then sell yourself – Tshepi Vundla of Red Lipped Princess
Tshepi Vundla also started her blog in 2011, but for her it began as a hobby. “My following grew because people actually showed interest in what I wore.” Red Lipped Princess is a stream of quotes, different styles from influential people, and every now and then, she uploads the #ootd (outfit of the day). She says that if you want brands to notice you, you must “make your blog interesting, inviting, fun and relatable, and push it everywhere.” The more people talk about your blog the more brands show interest, says Tshepi. Tshepi, who pulls 11 000 followers on Instagram and close to 10 000 on Twitter, describes herself as a “brand influencer”. Her modelling career has prospered through her branding.
She’s been the face of the GJC For Brutal Fruit collection, seven designs for the drink’s seven flavours designed by Gert-Johan Coetzee. The collaborations mean she has to promote the brands through her blog and social media. “I’ve worked with Brutal Fruit, Rimmel and JinaHair all through my blog,” she says. At the moment, if you pop in at Woolworths, you may see images of her for the store’s 2015 Autumn/Winter trends. Last year she started her own company, Twelve12, where she offers services as a stylist, personal shopper and wardrobe designer.
You need passion for fashion – Monde Mtsi of Renaissance Men SA
Monde has had an interest in fashion since high school. “I was craving an opportunity to write about fashion in a more report-type style, so I resigned from my job at an advertising agency and decided to spend more time on my idea”. That meant “going back to mommy”, having to convince her about his new venture and living off her for a while.
He started Renaissance Man SA in 2011, a blog which carries “content on African designers and brands predominantly”. His work for brands entails to “actively promote brands as a spokesperson, which requires regular (positive) posts and tweets about that brand.” He also posts PR content to showcase his PR skills. Currently Renaissance Man SA is working with Old Khaki where he posts about the clothing brand every month. The blog promotes competitions, events and puts together a lookbook for Old Khaki’s target market.
The money generated from the brand, he invests it back into the blog to pay for attending events and use of data to update social media of the events.