TODAY we bring you the initial consultation between Carolina Craft Legal and Tailor Made Style. We prepared a few questions to get at the heart of Tailor Made and DJ rapped the basics of the fashion business, his vision and his ultimate needs from legal counsel. The conversation has been reproduced below, with Michael’s questions in bold followed by DJ’s thoughts. If you missed last week's introduction, find it here.
Michael: From your vantage, what is the business of fashion in 2016? How does someone in your position monetize business within that framework?
DJ: There's an interesting business model that you have to follow being in the fashion industry. It goes something like: (1) find a platform to express your creativity and expertise; (2) post high-quality content on a consistent basis; (3) find and attract opportunities for monetization—advertising, sponsorships and affiliate marketing. With Tailor Made Style, I worked for 8 months before the first opportunity to truly make money came around through brand sponsorship. Here's a quick breakdown of the ways to get paid as a blogger:
- Advertising - when large fashion/lifestyle companies come to you and ask to place a banner advertisement on your site. When you have a high number of page views per month, companies will typically pay you a pretty substantial amount of money to catch your readers’ attention.
- Sponsorships - when you get paid to wear clothes from a certain brand for an extended period of time. During this time period, you’re obligated to post pictures of you wearing the brand’s clothing on your blog and social media along with tagging the brand, providing links to their site, and using certain hashtags. I’m currently in the middle of a brand sponsorship and disclose the fact that I am being sponsored/compensated at the bottom of each post.
- Affiliate Marketing - posting a link to a product on your site and getting paid a commission every time someone buys that product after discovering it through your blog.
M: What are some of the major costs associated with what you do? Give us a snapshot of some overhead.
D: The platforms for building and sharing content are pretty transparently low cost. Smart phones are dominating. Because of that, most people overlook the costs of well-curated looks and consistent branding. I was paying for every single piece of clothing that I wore on the blog for a hot minute. Every. Single. One. There's pressure from your readers and from the industry generally to not wear the same thing twice. So sourcing new pieces for the wardrobe, for me, is the most obvious and somewhat unavoidable overhead expense, at least in the short term.
Some other expenses include a decent camera or two (no disrespect to the iPhone camera, but c’mon) and laptop with some good software. Future expenses will involve some employees or independent contractors. I plan on hiring a writer and a photographer to run and maintain the blog once it grows to a certain point. By then I plan to be moving the business forward in other areas, leaving those folks to oversee and review everything that gets posted.
M: What are your goals for Tailor Made Style and where do you see yourself five years from now?
D: My goal for Tailor Made Style is for it to grow into something that’s more than just a fashion blog. I think I’ve taken some steps to ensure that—partnerships with other menswear professionals and an early contract with a pretty notable retail brand. In part, I want Tailor Made Style to play the role of daily resource and sartorial guidance—and confidence boost! As I mentioned, I’ll eventually hire staff for editorial and content creation purposes. And, man, I’ve got my mind on product development as well. Five years from now, I see myself blogging full-time and running a related venture dealing more directly with menswear. It takes time to become a tastemaker, but who am I to set limits? (laughs)
M: How important is your brand to the viability of your business? What assures people that the content they consume is indeed “Tailor Made?”
D: It’s paramount. It is extremely important that people, both in consumer roles and in roles within Tailor Made, understand that the Tailor Made Style brand is the business. Let’s not kid ourselves here—revenue is the lifeblood of business. The brand, though, is directly tied to my sense of self and how I feel I can contribute to an industry I love. How I’m recognized within that is directly tied to the success of the business. The brand is everything. It is something that the people it reaches feel a part of and something they can take pride in. Fashion is visually driven. If I fail in tailoring my presence and creating some elbowroom, the business will…yeah. You know anyone who can help?
M: (Laughs) I might know a guy.
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What’s more intriguing than this style of client intake? These conversations are what hem productive professional relationships. Next week’s drop in the Law of Fashion series will represent a distillation of all the above info and a blueprint for how businesses like Tailor Made Style might proceed with organizing to accommodate short term success and protect the ability to realize future milestones.
Until next week. Cheers!