Blogging is no longer just a hobby. For many fashion enthusiasts, blogging has become an incredibly lucrative business. For brands, working with bloggers through influencer marketing has become a great way to increase brand awareness, boost sales and build trust/community within your target market in an authentic and personal way.
As an emerging designer, boutique owner or fashion brand, working with top bloggers can be tricky especially if you don't have a large marketing budget. How can emerging brands work with top fashion influencers? We caught up with one of our favorite PDX fashion bloggers Lavenda Memory of Lavenda's Closet to get the inside scoop on how emerging brands can partner with top bloggers.
LAPTOPS & SMALLTALK: TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOURSELF? HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN BLOGGING? HOW DID YOU START OUT?
LAVENDA: I'm a single mom entrepreneur. I freaking love blogging! :) I actually began my business-plan for blogging because I wanted a more flexible job where I could work from home and only travel when convenient. It changes your whole perspective- including work goals- to have a little one running around. My previous business was in fashion and I had to travel to NY and LA frequently. I ended up missing out on important times with my daughter.
L&S: WHAT ROLE DO YOU THINK FASHION & LIFESTYLE BLOGGERS PLAY IN THE OVERALL FASHION INDUSTRY?
It's still evolving. It used to be a limited style pool- mostly tall, model like women wearing eclectic Paris and NY inspired sillhouettes (which I love by the way) who pushed the envelope and inspired design houses in their newest collections. But now we have created a surge of these "every woman" fashion bloggers. Some are more commercial, some alternative and some very casual or preppy. It has become a very accessible and relatable field where real women can draw everyday inspiration.
L&S: HOW DO YOU THINK FASHION BLOGGERS CONTRIBUTE TO THE PORTLAND FASHION INDUSTRY?
I haven't seen a huge surge of bloggers in Portland yet. The one's I've found inspire me to continue supporting our local community with authentic Portland style and inspiration feeds, however, the growth of Portland's blogger community will hopefully challenge local designers and businesses to uphold incredible standards and elevate their own brands. I believe bloggers are kind of like food, fashion and brand critiques who keep the whole industry on their toes. It adds a competitive edge where growth becomes essential.
L&S: WHAT CHANGES, IF ANY, WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE HAPPEN BETWEEN PORTLAND FASHION BLOGGERS AND PORTLAND FASHION BRANDS?
I've seen some minor changes in the past 2 years. The brands are taking blogger influence more seriously as far as time and resources go. For myself, this is my full time job, which means I end up working mostly with international or out of state brands because that's where marketing budgets are. While I still carve out time to work with local brands, it would be awesome to see Portland businesses follow suit with marketing strategies that include influencer budgets.
L&S: WHAT DO YOU LOOK FOR WHEN DECIDING TO WORK WITH A BRAND?
Number one it has to reflect my personal style and aesthetic. Quality goes hand in hand, since I am always searching out the best quality and highest performing products.
L&S: WHAT KIND OF CAMPAIGNS DO YOU ENJOY THE MOST?
Fashion and beauty campaigns are my favorite. Also, I love to work with brands on repeat. I fall in love with a brand and it becomes second nature to review clothing lines and products that I've grown familiar with.
L&S: HOW FAR IN ADVANCE DO YOU PLAN THE CONTENT FOR YOUR BLOG AND INSTAGRAM?
About two weeks in advance. I am a single mom so my schedule is a bit wonky, which means varying posting dates each week.
L&S: HOW DO YOU DETERMINE SPONSORSHIP RATES?
I have a minimum rate that I'm willing to work for considering my skill set and the quality of work I produce. It breaks down hourly so I offer packages that include content caps. This allows me to play and continue creating work I love instead of thinking about bills each month- something I think a lot of bloggers and artist sacrifice too quickly. You can read my "Charging for Sponsored Posts" to get a more thorough breakdown of what this looks like.
L&S: IF A BRAND HAS LITTLE TO NO BUDGET FOR SPONSORSHIP FEES, HOW CAN THEY STILL WORK WITH YOU?
It depends on if it's a good fit and the time of year. An integral part of my blog is creating authentic content. This means saying no to brands that are not a good fit or represent something I can't stand behind. If it's a great product and I'm slammed already, I don't want to overcommit and then disappoint a small business, so I'll pass and request they get in touch the following season. During slow times I like to connect with and discover new brands. This is such a fun part of the job!
L&S: WHAT IS THE BEST WAY FOR A BRAND/ PUBLICIST GET IN CONTACT WITH YOU?
Via email: firstname.lastname@example.org I get messages on Facebook and Instagram, but the archive structures are not organized and I often miss messages there.
L&S: WHAT ARE YOUR 3 MOST IMPORTANT ADVICE TO BRANDS WANTING TO WORK WITH BLOGGERS?
Do you research and make sure you are not asking for more than you're offering. Be ready to negotiate for partnerships with great content creators- it's worth it!
Stay connected with Lavenda on Instagram!