"The rise of the fashion blogger" - The Australian Women's Weekly

A "staggeringly successful business model" in which even toddlers are earning $200 for an Instagram plug

(L to R) tash sefton, jessica stein, elle ferguson

The blogger story may be about to crank into a new gear, with today's publication of the March edition of The Australian Women's Weekly.

The issue includes a seven-page feature on the rise and rise of Australian personal style bloggers - including Oracle Fox's Mandy Shadforth, Gary Pepper Girl's Nicole Warne and Tuula's Jessica Stein. We have profiled both Warne and Stein on a number of different occasions.

Titled "The rise of the fashion blogger - is it over?" the story is an in-depth look at what reporters Emily Brooks and Bryce Corbett describe as a "staggeringly successful business model" and canvasses not just the six figure incomes that are now reportedly being earned by some of the featured bloggers, but also the growing debate on disclosure. The latter was recently addressed by the ACCC's new online guidelines, which recommend transparency for all commercial relationships - and which we discussed in January. (Yes, we were interviewed for the story).

The Australian Women's Weekly also looks into tax issues and came up with some interesting new information via an Australian Taxation Office spokesperson:

"Bloggers who Instagram and blog as a 'hobby' aren’t subject to fringe benefit taxes, according to the spokesperson, but when their online activities develop into a business, any gifts they receive are subject to fringe benefit taxes and all income should be declared. 'Although there’s no particular crackdown on bloggers right now, as with other industries, we monitor that people are paying their fair share of tax and act where appropriate to make sure we keep a level playing field for all Australians', the spokesperson said".
Some interesting comments from Warne and Stein. Warne makes the point that although celebrities charge money all the time - presumably she means via appearance and product placement fees - when a blogger does the same, the practice is "frowned upon" and she also talks about the need to build her personal 'Nicole Warne' brand in order to ensure longevity.

Stein, who claims 90percent of the clothes she wears on her blog and social media feeds are items she has paid for, added that she would welcome regulation - although it's not 100percent clear whether by "regulation", she is talking about the regulation of fees. Stein tells the AWW:

"Sometimes you just have no idea [what to charge] and you wonder, 'Have I just sold my soul for nothing?' That's why it would be great for someone to come in and manage it".
Included with the story is a shot of an 'Instagram Rate Card' [see below] sent out by Sydney PR agency Sweaty Betty to potential advertisers, which reveals rates of up to A$850 are being charged by some bloggers per Instagram plug.

Sweaty Betty's talent management division, The Ministry of Talent, now represents a number of bloggers - including Tash Sefton and Elle Ferguson of They All Hate Us and Sydney Fashion Blogger's Antoinette Koulas, who are also profiled in the story.

Reportedly, Koulas "earns up to A$5000 every time she updates her Instagram feed", but claims to be unaware of any online disclosure rules in Australia. Koulas tells the AWW:

"Clients say, 'I'll pay you to wear that dress, I'll pay you to wear those shoes', so, yeah, you know, they sponsor me. I hate to say it, but if you think of me like a big billboard, people are paying for that space".

And look, great to see that the kiddies are getting into the action too.

Pixie Curtis, the two year-old daughter of Sweaty Betty managing director Roxy Jacenko, charges, wait for it, A$200 for a plug on her Instagram account, which has a mere 11,000 followers. Unlike Warne and Stein, whose IG accounts are edging towards 1million followers apiece. The AWW does not mention their IG rates.

Fascinating read. Head to your nearest newsagent stat.

IMAGES: SUPPLIED BY THE AUSTRALIAN WOMEN'S WEEKLY