I get asked a lot how my blog works.
That is to say, how do I make a living? Do I get tons of gifts? Do I do sponsored posts? Do I write all my posts myself? That kinda stuff…
All right! Today, I’ll try to respond to all of your questions.
But before we get into the details, let me explain my “philosophy” to you all a little bit.
First and foremost, my blog is my dream.
I know I’ve said it before but, I’d never dream of doing anything else. I don’t dream of being a journalist, nor a writer, not even a model (ahahah), not a TV announcer, and the last thing I want is to be an it-girl. My blog is my dream job.
I can’t even put into words how precious what I have here is to me. I give it all my heart.
And it’s with that heart that I approach every financial question with my blog. Just keep that in mind…
Okay, onto the questions.
How do I make a living off my blog?
Well, I don’t make my living solely off my blog, and that’s a choice.
Coming up on seven years now, I’ve managed to develop serene and balanced finances with it.
There’s my work as an artist.
I started as an illustrator and then photos came later. Then video came along organically and multimedia collaborations come in every now and then.
In every one of my contracts when I work with a brand, it’s specified that working with me doesn’t guarantee any coverage on my blog.
That said, when I’m proud of a project or find it interesting, I’m happy to talk to you about it. Sometimes it comes up, sometimes it doesn’t. It’s all part of the game. My clients know that and accept it.
There’s advertising on my blog.
As a huge reader of magazines, I know just how complicated the relationship between advertisers and magazines is. The last thing I want to do is to compromise my content. I don’t have an advertising agency because I have yet to find one that meets all my expectations so we still deal with everything right here in the studio.
We have healthy relationships with our advertisers and have learned (Scott and I, that is, since we work together so often on this stuff) to say no very early on.
Sometimes it means saying no to a lot of money, which is not easy (but it’s actually not that difficult).
But making tons of money is not necessarily part of my dream.
All the advertisers who appear on my blog (they appear from time to time in the spaces you see in the sidebar) are brands with whom we have respectful relationships. It’s gone well, and we’ll do everything to keep it that way.
There’s the shop.
Yep, the opening of the boutique has surpassed all of our hopes, so thank you to all of you.
The shop isn’t something I developed to be a revenue source. I never really wanted to do any sort of commerce (my father was a restauranteur so I knew I never wanted to go that way very early on) but I wanted to be able to answer all of the emails I received about being able to purchase illustrations. Well of course, it proved to be a pretty exciting adventure, so now I’d like to develop the store a little more…
There’s affiliates… Maybe?
For a little while, we’ve tested affiliates links (that is to say, putting links to a product and receiving a percentage of a sale that’s made through the blog).
Affiliation is complicated because it seeks to monetize the links within the content itself…
But my friends never stop asking me why I don’t supply that service on my blog. They don’t understand why I don’t put where all the clothes are from in the photos. They’d love to go shopping directly and would be even happier if I got a little kickback from it.
Lots of fashion bloggers do it and so I’ve just started testing it out a little.
But of course, the question comes up right away, “Yeah, but couldn’t you just put up certain brands or certain products just to get a kickback from the link?” Well, my first and foremost priority is to protect the content of my blog. So this won’t happen. The advertising falls under the same category. But I get where this is coming from.
Hence the testing period, to see how I feel about it. If it makes me feel weird, I’ll stop.
There’s Pardon My French.
Pardon My French is a project that I just love. It doesn’t bring in money and costs a lot , which is why it needs sponsors. Maybe one day it will be self-sufficient? Only time will tell. What we’re going for right now is just to develop it, and that could take years.
There are the extras.
It could be a conference on a particular subject (yes, I’m considered an expert on the web and fashion) for example. Writing for French Vogue, consulting…
Thanks to this balanced system, my blog isn’t my only source of income.
And even within my blog itself, there are a few different sources of revenue.
It’s like a kind of ecosystem that makes my choices much easier: it gives me the luxury of being able to say no.
Things I say no to.
I never do sponsored posts. I am not against it, I just don’t think it would fit in the blog. I say no to brands who want to pay me to talk about them on my blog, even if I love the brand.
So I’m never paid for a product that appears on my blog, if I talk about it it’s always because I love it or find it interesting.
I never feel obliged to talk about any gifts I receive. Even if I never receive another. It’s the same with runway shows. I don’t feel obliged to talk about any given show, even if they put me in the front row. Even if it means I’m not invited the next time (and honestly, it’s rare for that to happen, just to be clear).
Honestly, thanks to this system (what’s the expression? “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket?” that’s a French expression), I feel totally free on my blog. If one day my advertisers start giving me hell, I can leave them behind without losing my shirt.
I hope you see all that and trust me with it.
Am I just covered in gifts?
I receive gifts, yes, but I’m not covered in them.
I have some brands that I love who lend me outfits from time to time, which is an awesome arrangement (when I can fit into them, that is, which is a whole other problem).
Do I write all my posts myself?
Yep. Every day, I stress out about what’s going up the next day (sometimes it drives me crazy to not be able to prepare my posts in advance, but it guarantees you a very fresh and spontaneous spirit!). Don’t worry, I mean, I love the stress of it. Scott has the same thing. We’re pretty funny together.
Sometimes, Emily and Alex, who work with me, put together a few mini-posts or help me take care of interviews (the career ones, for example).
I wanted to open my blog up to some collaborations with them because they share so much with me and they have a totally different point of view than mine but at the same time, share a similar spirit, and of course, a similar sense of humor.
Their posts are always signed, so you can know who did what.
There you go! Before I let you go though, I want to talk to you about one last thing.
I love business. I didn’t think I’d love it as much as I do, with my artist soul and hatred of numbers. It’s seen as such a negative thing (definitely in France. In the US it’s a liiiiittle bit different). Business is associated with profit.
But through the years of trying to find my own economy, I’ve discovered that “business” is something else.
It’s developing an idea. It’s surrounding yourself with passionate people to put it together. It’s working together on something that you love and believe in. It’s creating jobs. It’s having responsibilities, learning to navigate the bumps along the way and finding utter joy when you do it well. And going back to work right after that.
And just to be clear… I’m not looking to get rich, but let’s not be hypocritical, I don’t hate money. I’m a little suspicious of it (soooo French of me) but it’s not like I’m not against it!
I love being able to buy pretty things! Why not?
That’s why I’m comfortable talking to you about my business model, that I try to create with as much sincerity as I can. Of course, there are moments where I fall short, but I’m always happy to have tried.
Voilà! Sorry it’s a little long and that it ended up like a “lesson on blogging” but I wanted to answer some of your questions with as much honesty as I could. It’s good that you ask yourselves these questions, I would do the same. Don’t hesitate to tell me your reactions (try to be nice! It’s not easy to show all your cards like this ;-) I’m here. I hear you. And I give you all big hugs!
Translation : Tim Sullivan