There are a few bloggers in the world who are just so successful, and have parlayed their humble beginnings on the web into partnerships with designers, clothing lines, and other measurable monetary gains. (The Blonde Salad blogger Chiara Ferragni, for example, is set to earn $2 million this year.)
Shea Marie, the mastermind behind Peace Love Shea, is one of these bloggers. After starting her blog nearly five years ago, she has managed to grow her business from a self-proclaimed hobby to a veritable and multi-faceted force, including her own collection of shoes in collaboration with Steve Madden, nearly a million Instagram followers, her own clothing line in the works, and partnerships with countless high-fashion brands, including Dior, Dolce & Gabbana, Gucci, and more.
We sat down with the Southern California native to pick her brain about just how she got so insanely successful. Keep scrolling for Shea’s tips on building a successful career as a fashion blogger!
Don’t see your blog as an end goal.
My main advice is don’t make [blogging] your end goal. Go into it as something that can benefit what you want to do—if you want to be a stylist or a designer, for example. Have your blog be a backup for what you love, so that way when you are out there looking for internships and jobs, you can have it on your resume.
You really have to come up with an idea for something no one is doing.
Photo quality is so important, but having a good voice is important too. I really admire that website The Skimm. They did something different that no one was doing; they made news relatable and put it in an urban tone. As a blogger, you have to do something that’s just not out there, because there are so many personal style blogs. How can you truly differentiate yourself?
Use your Instagram to get more visitors to your site.
It’s imperative, it’s so important. There are girls that have a huge Instagram following, for whatever reason they have millions of followers, and then they started their blogs. Their blogs are getting popular based on their Instagram following. It doesn’t really happen the other way around anymore.
Decide for yourself if you want advertising on your site.
Advertising is actually something I never did until very recently. There were five years there where I didn’t take ads at all. People on my team were like, ‘There’s money to be made here that you’ve just been throwing in the trash.’ But it was important for me not to do it, because I personally don’t like to go to a site and see a bunch of ads. It’s about creating a balance.
Affiliate links will make you the most money.
I know a lot of girls who don’t have super-large followings, but they make a lot of money through affiliate partnerships, which is where you earn money off each time you link to shopping. You can definitely capitalize on that.
Collaborating with brands is something that usually happens a bit later.
Working on collaborations and creating beautiful visual content and editorial stories with designers and brands that I love is one of the best parts of my job. It's about building connections with companies you admire and working your way up to the point where they trust you and appreciate your creativity and aesthetic. Of course having a following is important, but it's about much more than that as well.
Your skill has to go way beyond your outfit posts.
More than just the outfits and the style, you kind of have to have the whole lifestyle. When I’m interested in someone’s whole life, their goals, where they’re going, what they’re doing, what they want to do—that’s how you know they’re good. I follow a lot of people who don’t have massive Instagram followings, but they have a really cool job in the fashion world. I think it’s much more about lifestyle—what the person does. Style is important, but there are a ton of people with good style, so there has to be something more: a personal connection and interest in their life, their career paths, their dreams and inspirations. Young entrepreneurial women are what inspire and drive me to the next thing.
Have YOU ever wanted to start your own fashion blog? Tell us in the comments below!