Is The Fashion Blogger Bubble About To Burst?
Today we got sent numerous links to a New York Times article about independent fashion bloggers making serious amounts of cash. It should be noted that we are not independent fashion bloggers (“We have salaries and health insurance!” we scream from our Soho office), but that we do indeed follow the independent fashion blogger scene. And we’re not the only ones. Three separate articles published this month are telling the world what we already knew: these bloggers are making a whole lot of dough through the help of agents.
These three articles say the same thing and use the same sources. They all mention that Bryanboy is represented by Creative Artists Agency, and that some bloggers want to remain agent-free. The Glamorai‘s Kelly Framel gets interviewed twice, From Me To You‘s Jamie Beck gets two namechecks, and Man Repeller‘s Leandra Medine talks about buckets of cash once again. Additionally, all of the articles discuss Digital Brand Architects, an agency that reps dozens of bloggers. Here, look:
Ad Week, “Bloggers Mean Business”, Sept. 13:
“[Brands] have to know that nobody is jeopardizing anyone’s image,” says Karen Robinovitz, co-founder of fashion blogger agency Digital Brand Architects. “A blogger knows what will resonate with her audience, even if it means never capitalizing her ‘i’s.” Robinovitz started DBA with former Fleishman-Hillard vp Kendra Bracken-Ferguson after watching bloggers undervalue themselves in deal negotiations. She represents more than 50 fashion bloggers.
New York Times, “Fashion Bloggers, Posted and Represented”, Sept. 28:
For its part, Digital Brand Architects is trying to position bloggers in the same category as stylists, makeup artists and photographers. “Bloggers aren’t just people who sit in a room and regurgitate press releases,” said Karen Robinovitz, who started the agency in August 2010 with Kendra Bracken-Ferguson, the former director of digital media for Ralph Lauren. “These are the next influencers.”
Mashable, “Fashion Blogging Grows Up: Why Advertisers Want a Piece of the Action”, Sept. 29:
“There’s no difference to Hollywood in that someone might be worth a lot of money because they know how to open a movie. If [a blogger] can convert 14,000 people in a week for you, that’s worth something,” says Karen Robinovitz, who co-founded the digital management agency Digital Brand Architects (DBA) in 2010 with Kendra Bracken-Ferguson, formerly of Ralph Lauren.
For the record, we attend and cover DBA events, though we aren’t paid to be there nor are we managed by them. Anyway, this whole bloggers-having-agents concept is an interesting thing we should talk about. Brands are paying crazy amounts of money to get bloggers to collaborate with them, write about their stuff, and even attend their parties. When Kim Kardashian is paid to tweet about things, we roll our eyes but acknowledge that she’s a professional shiller. When a content producer does the same, it feels different even though many of them are celebrities in their own right.
So, is it worth it for brands to shell out this kind of money? Some of these bloggers are excellent, creating fantastic original content that is incredibly valuable. Some of these bloggers don’t know much about the industry that is paying them for their supposed expertise. Story time! We ran into one of these represented bloggers at the tents during Fashion Week. She asked what we were up to that night, and we told her we were attending the Prabal Gurung afterparty. “Who?” Prabal. “Oh, what’s that?” Prabal Gurung. “Should I be embarrassed I don’t know who that is?” Well. “How do you spell it? P-R-E-B-B-L-E?” After all of this awkward back and forth, she then declared she wanted to attend the party for the important designer she had never heard of. Sigh. We took that as a sign that this blogger agent bubble should be bursting quite soon.