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Clicks for cash: how fashion bloggers make bank

Kat Tanita is a fashion and style blogger based in New York. Her blog, With Love from Kat, is a cornucopia of style, beauty, travel and décor. After working in the Fashion industry, Tanita, 26, decided it was time to pursue her own business. She googled “How to start a blog”, then set up a domain and as she says, the rest is history.

Tanita is part of a growing trend where big retailers like Nordstrom (JWN) and Bloomingdales use individual bloggers to promote their products and generate clicks. “You can link to the products that you are wearing and link to each product in your post. If a reader clicks on the link and makes that purchase then you get a percentage, ” says Tanita.

Tanita also partners with an affiliate marketing network called RewardStyle. They serve as a middleman of sorts- bringing brands to the blogger and vice versa. “They have their own team. A marketing team that reaches out and has different relationships with different brands and companies. They work out the commission and back-end components,” says Tanita.

On her blog alone, Tanita links to twenty different retailers. Including high-end shops like Neiman Marcus and everyday stores like J. Crew. When someone clicks on the sponsored link and makes a purchase she receives a commission. Commissions can range anywhere from three to twenty percent of the purchase according to Tanita. Her affiliate partner, RewardStyle says their links created $282 million in sales for retail partners last year.

RewardStyle, based in Dallas, accepts around 10% of bloggers who apply to join the network. The company works with 9,000 bloggers and 4,000 retailers. The company has just launched an app that allows users to buy clothing directly from Instagram.

In addition to blogging, Tanita uses social media to post photos and updates on style. She boasts 170,000 Instagram followers who await her next upload. “It’s a combination of affiliate marketing and doing collaborations with brands that generates my income. Affiliates are for the links and if I do a sponsored post or Instagram takeover or maybe host an event with a brand that is the other side of blogging,” says Tanita.

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Tanita wouldn’t reveal exactly how much she makes from all her blogging and posting but did say it’s enough for her to earn a living. Expansion is her next step. “I’m trying to build an empire right now. The blog is really growing into more of a brand than just a blog. I just hired my first employee. We’re going to Paris, London and Milan for fashion week...”

Tanita attributes her success to staying true to herself. “I think the way I’ve grown is by really only pairing with brands that I believe in and I buy and wear already. So just being genuine and transparent.”

As far as the business part of being a fashion blogger, Tanita advises would-be bloggers that it’s not as easy as snapping a photo and including a link. “People see fashion blogging and it looks so glamorous and it is. But it’s a lot of hard work.” Her advice for anyone looking to break into fashion blogging is to ask questions and educate themselves. “You’re really running a business as a blogger and there’s so many different hats that you wear. Take as many classes as you can because it’s all about learning.”

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