Blogger Garance Doré. Photo: Getty Images
It’s something we often think, but don’t ask: How do fashion bloggers and street style stars actually make a living? We got the answer from Garance Doré during the magazine’s Innovation Festival, where she shared the stage with Tumblr founder David Karp. [Disclosure: Tumblr is owned by Yahoo. It’s also one of my favorite places to blog.]
After moderator Noah Robischon bluntly asked, “So, Garance, how do you make money?” and the audience erupted in laughter, the French digital darling offered some slivers of info:
“My team and I are always asking, ‘Where do we want to make money from?’” she shared. “I don’t really like ‘native content’—where you’re creating content for a brand and putting it on a blog, which is intrusive, and readers never know if the blogger actually likes what she’s talking about. So we usually say ‘no’ to that—we say ‘no’ to advertising all the time. We just said ‘no’ to a big campaign for a perfume that I thought didn’t smell so good!”
What does she say “yes” to? “Regular advertising, like banners on the site, plus the products we put out like stationery and the book… and we’re going to start making more of our own products.” She’s also resisted the temptation to turn into a full-fledged media company. “My choice has been to stay at the size where we can say ‘no’ to things… we are an ecosystem, not a machine.” Her website employs four full-time employees.
But Doré admits to allowing brands to use her personal image to help their own online followings—as long as she likes their products. “I’m doing a series of dinners with a watch company in 2016,” she says, staying mum on the name of the label. “I host parties sometimes, I collaborate with brands… but I think that plays into my role as a creator… Business is so much creativity. Inventing new ways of making money… it’s a hugely creative thing. And I need to create. If I couldn’t still be myself on my blog, and working with these companies, I wouldn’t be able to function.”
Doré also took the opportunity to set Fast Company—and her many fans—straight about one big thing: she’s not Parisian! “People credit me with bringing Parisian style to America, sometimes, but I didn’t live in Paris. I’m from Corsica!” she cries. “A small island! And people are like, ‘She’s so Parisian!’ It’s not true!… So I am not bringing Parisian style to America. Here in America, women are told the only way to do it is to be perfect. That’s not what we’re taught in France. And my role has been to tell my friends to relax about it. And I think that’s why people are so into ‘French style.’ Which happens in Paris,” she laughs, “but also, you know, on the Internet.”