Meet Chiara Ferragni, the highest paid fashion blogger
How to turn a personal blog into a business empire? This question haunts many Millennials but not everyone can find an answer to it.
The number of followers is no longer the main indicator of success for Instagram stars and influencers. While some of It-girls wannabes are still eager for likes, other have turned a virtual blog into a real-life source of profit.
One of such examples is Chiara Ferragni, 30.
She was born in Cremona, Italy, and already at school, she showed interest in online communication by publishing her photos and selfies.
Her blog on Flickr became popular, but a true breakthrough to success happened in 2009. Ferragni launched The Blonde Salad, a fashion blog, when she was a law student at Bocconi University in Milan, Italy.
Back at that time, blogs were not yet the phenomenon and there was no Instagram, but Chiara thinks it was just the perfect moment for her.
"I really started The Blonde Salad at the best time possible," she said. "That's when the world started talking about the fashion blogger phenomenon, and brands started approaching me from the very beginning.»
In 2011 the blog reached 1 million unique visitors while Ferragni received the Bloglovin’ Award as Newcomer of the Year» and was profiled by Teen Vogue as the Blogger Of The Moment.
The explosive success prevented her from obtaining her University degree, but since then she was unstoppable on social media. She started to turn a “personal space” into a business, first through banner ads and Ferragni modelling brands’ clothes in the images, with fees of about €1,000-2,000 for a post.
In 2013 she collaborated with designers for the first time, launching capsule collections with Superga and Steve Madden. Both were sold out. Chiara appeared as a guest judge on Project Runway in 2014.
In 2015 The Blond Salad has reached such heights that it became a Harvard Business School case study. By this moment, she had already launched her own line of shoes and was looking for ways to best monetize her blog and to build its positioning as a high-end brand. For renowned Business School it was the first-ever case study on a fashion influencer.
Today the 30-year-old isn't just a successful blogger, she is also the creative director of a successful clothing line, a magazine cover star, and she is flown all around the world to collaborate with major fashion houses.
«Now we’re business people, not just crazy bloggers,» said Chiara.
Chiara has over 11 million Insta-followers and over 2 million Facebook subscribers. The 30-year-old has landed at #1 on Forbes's Top Influencers list in the Fashion category.
She is as well an in-demand model, who has worked on sponsored content and ad campaigns with the major design houses ranging from Guess to Gucci. Her pretty face has appeared on the cover of 27 magazines including Vogue Espana and InStyle Berlin. She has been hired by Pantene as a global brand ambassador.
Ferragni has also collaborated with Louis Vuitton on a series of video posts, documenting her travels throughout the world and her use of Vuitton products.
But being a promotion tool for big names would clearly not be enough for her ambitions. Chiara fully expressed herself as a creative director of her own shoe company, Chiara Ferragni Collection. The personality of the Italian extraordinaire fashion blogger and her incredible taste are recognizable in these cute but stylish sneakers and loafers, adorned with – appropriately, for an internet sensation – winking emoji-like eyes.
Chiara’s LA home is a pop chic perfection too. The interior incorporates the bold use of black and white, graphic accessories and rich, velvety textures.
«Chiara lives a very kinetic lifestyle. We wanted to create a space where she would feel at home and comfortable in after returning from jet-setting around the globe,» explained the representative of Consort Design, a design firm, hired by Chiara.
«I never thought it could become a job, let alone that I would have such success,» said Chiara.
Today she is CEO of TheBlondeSalad.com. and has a team of 20, which manages the activities of the blog and produces digital content.
Many corporations could envy the pace of development of her empire. The company stably shows a financial growth. In 2017, its profit has tripled compared to 2015 and the income was 82 percent more than in 2016. In 2018, Chiara expects revenue growth of another 80 percent.
Chiara’s younger sister Valentina is also coming up the ranks, described by Forbes as "the next Milanese social media style star». She is up to the mark with her 1.5 million followers on Instagram and appearance in the front row during New York Fashion Week.
The younger Ferragni generation came just in time. In November 2017, Chiara announced her pregnancy in a very blogger way by posting pictured on her Instagram. She and her fiancé Fedez, an Italian rapper and singer were captured in bed, wearing, respectively, a baseball cap emblazoned with "Daddy" and a tiara adorned with gems that said «Mother." The baby boy even got his first likes as Chiara posted videos of her ultrasound. This child is pretty much destined for success.
Well, here we are, in the modern times, when fashion blogging can become a family business.