Last month I read an article about the rise of Reward Style in Texas Monthly. For the uninitiated, it’s a fashion affiliate link program started by a fashion blogger and her MBA husband (then boyfriend). They figured out a way for fashion blogging to be profitable.
These partygoers reached more than 13.5 million followers on Instagram combined. Many made more than $20,000 a month—some more than $80,000—just from posting links to sites that sold the short-shorts and Chanel shoes that they wore in their photos.
Now, for years I’ve thought sewing bloggers have undersold themselves. I’m all for community and being a part of it. My best friends come out of sewing and this blog. But, I tend to think twice before I directly directly link to products I liked, suggestions on things to buy or where to shop. I stopped for a couple of reasons.
- I didn’t really like being responsible for someone’s experience with a product. Not that I am responsible, but I had a few people email me after buying something I recommended that they weren’t a fan of.
- I hated that a few times after I posted a product or referred people to something, the price/ demand would go up astronomically (ex. Dritz vintage buttonhole maker, vintage Japanese pattern drafting books, newish Bunka garment design books and Traum tracing wheels).
- Why free advertise? It’s the same reason I don’t fill out user surveys. I think companies should pay for market research. I’ve been paid for market research outside of sewing too.
This is just something I arrived at on my own years ago. And, it’s solely my personal opinion. I haven’t put a ton of my own energy into thinking this through because it’s not about to cure cancer. It’s just something that was niggling at the back of my head.
I have a dear friend who works for a large cosmetics company. They pay bloggers when they wear their makeup. Not in kind gifts. But, literally pay them cash for references in addition to products. I remember at the time thinking it was crazy and people should blog for the love of it. But, the truth is, they are blogging for the love of it and the perks came after.
But, now that I’ve read about Reward Style and Like to Know It (Reward Style for Instagram) and I wonder why we don’t have the same for sewing. Aren’t we underselling our market value? Yes, there’s Fabric.com and Amazon.com affiliate links. But, what about Dritz, Fiskars, Palmer and Pletsch, Fons and Porter, sewing machine reviews, sewing pattern companies, fabric stores Etsy and eBay? I don’t even link to BurdaStyle downloads now. I’ve bought SO MUCH *stuff* based on blog referrals! And, I’ve learned a lot too from other bloggers.
Believe me, I’m not saying people should make a living off blogging (once people go ‘pro’ I tend to find them a little boring). But, what’s so bad about getting something in return for the advertising one is giving anyway?
Feel free to discuss below. Or, roll your eyes and move on to another blog post. Like I said, I’m not super passionate about this. But, am curious as to what other people think too.
**Full Disclosure: I had one blog sponsor about six years ago and was part of the inaugural group of the Mood Sewing Network.