We look at the success of The Sartorialist and see how other street style bloggers can follow in his fashionable footsteps and convert their blogs into profitable businesses….
Scott Schuman, better known as The Sartorialist, is one of the most famous street style bloggers out there. He is also the leader in demonstrating how street style bloggers can convert their blog’s popularity into a presumably profitable business model.
Aside from the ubiquitous advertising banners which feature on his website he also works on projects outside of his blog to monetise on his success. He writes for style.com and has a monthly page in men’s magazine, GQ.
Schuman has taken the simple street style concept off the pages of the internet, past the glossy mag and onto our coffee tables; he has published a book of his favourite shots featured on his website, The Sartorialist. Furthermore, his indisputable success as a fashion commentator – both of commercial fashion and street style – has gotten the fashion houses interested and several have incorporated Schuman into their advertising campaigns in a bid to use his blog’s popularity and photographic skills to enhance their brand.
In 2008 he featured in Gap’s autumn/winter advertising campaign as a model; he shot DKNY’S spring/summer advertising campaign 2009, and this year he shot images for Burberry’s trench campaign.
The Sartorialist for Gap
As the example of The Sartorialist shows, street style bloggers are in a position to reap the benefits of their popularity and monetise their enterprises as other websites, fashion brands, publishing houses, and even tourist boards are starting to recognise their influence. With street style blogs from Copenhagen to Tel Aviv, there’s never been a better time for bloggers to look to Schumann and learn.
This is perhaps the most obvious way street style bloggers can make money simply by featuring advertising on their websites. However beyond featuring advertisements for clothing lines or fashion websites, street style blogs may be able to capitalise on technology which enables readers to identify where they can buy similar clothes to those they like in their photos.
Like.com pioneers visual search
Street style blogs tend not to feature where the subject’s clothes come from but with Like.com you can find similar clothing to what you’re admiring online. Like.com allows you to shop using a visual search tool – you draw a box around the specific detail, shape,colour or pattern you like. Then you conduct a visual search to find items which match the criteria. So if you find yourself craving the sneakers worn by some random person in Barcelona instead of searching the internet yourself you can enter a cropped picture of said sneakers and let them do the hard work.
This is one website that shows the potential that exists for street style bloggers to make money from their website content. By connecting to a search engine like this sales could be traced back to their site and they could charge for the advertising provided. Savvy bloggers and businesses that experiment with ideas such as these may reap the benefits in the years to come.
Partnerships between street style bloggers and the fashion industry are not surprising. After all street style bloggers write because they love fashion. Often, however street style blogs provide a stark contrast to the typical view of the fashion world as the preserve of the rich, excessively thin and beautiful as they focus on capturing the style of real people in the street going about their everyday lives. Street style blogs are inclusive; anyone can appear on their pages or read and comment on them. This inclusivity is a major part of their appeal. The popularity and unstoppable growth of these blogs provides an irresistible lure for fashion brands who want to use this popularity to their brand’s advantage.
Additionally, from a business perspective, drawing attention to your brand is always a positive. Ungaro’s use of Lindsay Lohan as a fashion designer is debatable but her success as a marketing tool, drawing attention to the brand is indisputable. But if you want to bring attention to the brand in a more positive way, why not team up with someone who actually knows and loves fashion? A partnership with a well known street style blogger may well be the answer. The Sartorialist’s partnership with Burberry is an interesting example of this.
Art of the Trench by Burberry
Burberry, recognising the popularity of street style and the power of social media, has launched an advertising campaign titled Art of the Trench dedicated to its iconic trench coat. The campaign features photos from Schuman, with photographs from more street style bloggers to follow. It invites followers to submit stories to demonstrate both how much they love their trench and how they wear it, through the brand’s interactive website. Burberry then selects its favourites to be featured on the site. As per the street style model, photographs must be taken outside and must, of course, feature a Burberry trench coat. Readers of the site can leave a comment or share the image. They can also click to ‘like’ the image and the photographs can be sorted by popularity, style, colour, gender or even weather!
Simply by interacting with customers through social media, Burberry has made a genius marketing move by letting their customers participate in their advertising campaign as they now seem more approachable as a brand. An engaged audience is far better than a passive audience however only time will tell whether their 705,000 facebook fans and numerous user-submitted photos will translate into higher sales for both the trench and the brand
Putting Antwerp on the shopping map
Given that the majority of street style blogs provide a snapshot of life in any particular city it’s no surprise that the appeal of street style bloggers has been latched onto by tourism marketers.
In October a group of eight street style/fashion bloggers from the UK, France, and Netherlands travelled to Antwerp for a weekend trip to participate in a Fashion Treasure Hunt themed event around the city. The bloggers were invited by the Antwerp Tourist Board and their trip features on the website designed to attract tourists to Antwerp’s shopping district. From the organisers perspective the objective of their visit was to showcase Antwerp as a stylish tourist and shopping destination and the coverage provided by these bloggers is far reaching in terms of their audience as all bloggers are relatively well known within the street style world.
So does this mean that we will be soon seeing partnerships between street style bloggers and their respective tourism boards, will Dublin Streets soon by sponsored by Dublin Tourism? Again, we can only speculate but for tourism boards it’s an interesting way to spread your products message especially to consumers you may not usually reach.
Of course some bloggers have taken matters into their own hands, rather than wait for offers to come to them; they are actively trying to monetise their blogs. A number of street style bloggers offer their services as photographers but the most interesting proposition I’ve seen so far was from Style and the City. The French blogger proposed a project to Starbucks in which she hoped to organise a worldwide Style and the City contest which would feature Starbucks in the background of street style photographs with a prize of a year’s worth of free Starbucks for the subject of the winning photo. Whilst her proposal was rejected by Starbucks, her original idea and initiative demonstrates just how many different ways there are for bloggers to diversify.
But where will it stop? Fashion, tourism, coffee, what next? There’s no doubt that street style bloggers are coming out of the internet and into the mainstream in droves, but only time will tell how many manage to convert their blogs into businesses and sustain them.