The Times has a lengthy story today about fashion bloggers getting their own agents to help negotiate advertising deals and brand partnerships. You know, like a real business! Which is great, because having an agent not only frees up their time to make their blog better, but it helps them get paid for things that brands might otherwise expect them to do for free. Reports the Times:
Many fashion companies still treat bloggers as little more than style-obsessed young women looking for swag. They are used to working with bloggers directly, not through their agents. “From a brand perspective, it is quite troubling to now get pushback from a blogger who says they want to be paid,” said [Kendra Bracken-Ferguson, the owner of agency Digital Brand Architects].
In fact, this whole bloggers-getting-paid thing strikes some as very novel.
Until recently, fashion bloggers were paid with free merchandise, if they were paid at all. But that started to change as their influence grew. Now fashion bloggers are “right up there with editors in helping to mold what the consumer is going to buy,” said Alexis Borges, director of Next Model Management, an international modeling agency.
Next has 11 style blogger clients, including Fashiontoast's Rumi Neely; Digital Brand Architects counts The Glamourai's Kelly Framel and BagSnob amongst its 50 blogger clients, while Bryanboy is repped by Creative Artists Agency. In other words, more than a few bloggers have found a way to monetize their influence and get paid for their hard work. Maintaining profitability is not without snags, though: Bloggers' independent point of view is their most valuable asset, and when it becomes obvious that they're shilling a product for a partnering brand, they risk losing credibility with their audience. In theory, a good agency would help them navigate those issues.