How ‘Bachelor’ Contestants Are Making Money Using Fashion and Social Media

·Contributing Writer
How do the women make their time on <em>The Bachelor</em> worth it?
How do the women make their time on The Bachelor worth it?

If you’re a certified member of #BachelorNation, then odds are you also follow a contestant or two on social media. And if you follow any of the men or women, past and present, who have tried to find love, fame, or some combination of the two on national television, then you’ve also inevitably seen said hopeless romantics (or something like that) give thanks to the friendly folks who help outfit them both during and after their tenure on the show.

As Jennifer Saviano, who appeared on Ben Higgins’s season of The Bachelor, says, “Shopping and packing for The Bachelor journey is close to impossible! They tell you to pack nine weeks’ worth of clothing for any and all types of weather and circumstances. That’s it. Oh, and you have to fit it all in just two suitcases.” In other words, Saviano is something of a pro (she was also on the third and most recent season of Bachelor in Paradise, during which she was in a short relationship with current Bachelor Nick Viall) when it comes to knowing the ins and outs of getting dressed to accept some roses.

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“I won’t sugarcoat it. I put a serious dent in my credit card preparing for The Bachelor. I kind of thought of it as an investment though; how often are you on national television? I wanted to look and feel my best, so I splurged on a few great outfits, mainly on the [rose] ceremony dresses,” Saviano explains.

Which is why you can’t blame contestants for trying to wrangle a few free items of clothing if — and however — they can.

Josephine Tutman, who vied for Viall’s heart on the current season of The Bachelor (and alas, did not win), admits that because she was studying for a nursing exam, she only had a week to find outfits on a student budget before making her big reality show debut.

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“Due to my time constraints, I only ended up reaching out to local designers that I knew personally and had one of them loan me a couple of dresses for the show,” says Tutman, who noted that she turned to designer Christina Morgan Cree in San Francisco. For the rest of her wardrobe, Tutman relied on consignment shops — “not very glamorous, I know” — Amazon, and Revolve Clothing (because of its “awesome” return policy). The rest of her wardrobe for the show was comprised of pieces she already owned.

“One of the biggest misperceptions is that the cast members have personal stylists, but in reality we do all the styling ourselves,” Tutman says, adding that for themed dates, certain items might be provided, but not for the bread-and-butter events of the show such as cocktail parties, rose ceremonies, and everyday lounging-around-the-mansion outfits.

While the show’s participants obviously benefit when they score free duds, partnering with Bachelor contestants can be an innovative, organic marketing strategy for brands and retailers too.

Nashville-based designer Cavanagh Baker met this season’s Danielle Maltby, the neonatal intensive care unit nurse who was sent home just before hometown dates, through a mutual business relationship. “She is a model at a local talent agency that we use to cast our lookbook shoots and fit models,” says Baker. “The agency contacted me to see if I had any interest in dressing her for the series. I was skeptical at first, but as soon as I met Danielle, I knew her personality would be a great fit for our brand.”

Prior to heading to California for filming, Maltby visited Baker’s Nashville atelier to meet and talk about what she was looking for in terms of wardrobe and styling for the show. Maltby then chose pieces from Baker’s collection that she liked best, and in-house alterations were done to ensure a “flawless” fit. “I had a feeling she was going to go for our Elizabeth jumpsuit. It’s such a great, contemporary twist on a little black dress — clearly a showstopper.”

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And Baker says that the feedback she’s received since having the piece appear on The Bachelor via Maltby has been nothing short of “insane.”

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“I really didn’t anticipate this much attention. I knew that millions of people watched the show, but was worried the jumpsuit might have gotten overlooked,” Baker says. “I do have to say, I feel like America’s love for Danielle and her sweet personality brought even more attention to the jumpsuit than if another contestant would have worn it. The demand has been amazing! I wish I had enough jumpsuits to fulfill all the requests we have gotten.”

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Since working together on her wardrobe for The Bachelor, Baker says that she and Maltby have developed a genuine friendship that she cherishes, which is probably what makes the success of the pair’s collaboration on the show that much sweeter.

“I am my brand, and my clients are my brand. Larger companies also have more leeway when working with contestants, [whereas] I have to be very careful about who I want representing my brand on such a large platform [like The Bachelor]. I have to truly enjoy and believe in my clients, and I definitely feel that way about Danielle,” Baker says. “As an independent brand, there is a lot more on the line than there would be at an established company. The contestant becomes a mirror of your company values in many ways, and you want to make sure they’re upstanding people.”

While Jasmine Goode was portrayed as a bit of a “villain” this season, Lauren Williams, a former Dallas Cowboys cheerleader, is still reaping the benefits of working with her teammate. Williams, the founder of the line and eponymous pop-up shop Elle Lain, explains that since Goode had already been wearing Elle Lain on Instagram to help promote the brand, she had no idea that some of the approximately 20 items she had pulled for Goode to use for photo shoots would be used as part of Goode’s on-air wardrobe for The Bachelor.

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“It has been such fun surprise to support her!” Williams tells Yahoo Style. “Being that Jasmine and I are friends and former teammates, we continue to speak weekly. … I am just excited to support a friend, and it’s just an extra bonus to see her wearing Elle Lain.”

The opportunities between contestants and brands seem to only expand following the show, especially considering that a contestant has had weeks to develop a ravenous fanbase that has studied her look for weeks and weeks in their own living rooms.

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Saviano, for example, explains that while she never reached out to brands or retailers preshow for partnerships, “as we are supposed to be very hush-hush about being cast,” she was already thinking about what her appearance on the show might mean for her potential opportunities afterward.

“As a lifestyle and fashion blogger, having a likable, positive, and fashionable image is something I was very worried about jeopardizing,” Saviano says. “I think everyone [who] appears on The Bachelor and Bachelor in Paradise is well aware of the benefits of the exposure we’d be getting. However, I was mindful of how destructive it could be to my image and ultimately business if things didn’t go well. So if you’re not in it “for the right reasons,” it’s very risky!” she explains. “Thankfully, I stayed true to myself throughout both shows, and the exposure was only the good kind. As a result, I’ve had the opportunity to work with a lot of great clothing companies, boutiques, photographers, and other bloggers. My blog, Miss Lifestyler, is growing every day, and I hope to work with many more brands this year.”

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Saviano adds that once a woman appears on the franchise, “the door to the world of fashion and beauty brands flies wide open. You get a lot of companies reach out to send you their product in hopes of tags and mentions on your social handles.” She admits, “At first, it was hard to turn down any of these offers. How do you say no to free clothes, products and photo shoots?! As a bit of an amateur, I rarely said no. But as time has passed and with a little more blogging and [influencer] experience under my belt, I’ve learned the importance of only working with those that best reflect my style and overall image. I don’t want to disappoint my followers with inconsistency! I’m very picky with the companies I choose to work with, and I’m starting to see the benefits of synergy throughout my platforms.”

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For example, Saviano explains, she has been invited to join the LikeToKnow.It/RewardStyle program as well as ShopStyleCollective, which allow her followers to get outfit details and shoppable links sent to their inboxes just by “liking” a photo of hers on Instagram. She describes the relationship as “a great way to stay true to my own style, while also monetizing along the way. I’m happy, my followers are happy — it’s a win-win all-around!”

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Tutman says that she hadn’t thought about the potential business opportunities that could arise from her Bachelor style, “but after the show, I’ve been receiving some cool clothes in exchange for Instagram publication. I’ve worked with a few brands ever since the show has been airing and am looking forward to working with more in the future!” She now counts Clothing by Owl, Charmosa Swimwear, AmiClubwear, Karch Creations, AYH Jewelry, BootayBag, Tribe Boutique, Coco Reef, and others as brands for which she now serves as a style ambassador through social media.

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“I choose brands based on whether or not I feel like our styles are compatible,” Tutman says. “I want to make sure I’m representing who I am accurately, so I don’t tend to agree to partnerships with brands that wouldn’t depict my personal style well. I feel like that would be doing a disservice to myself and also to the brand. What I enjoy the most [regarding brand collaborations] is the opportunity to help advertise for local brands, because it’s important for me to do my part to support the local economy.”

And Tutman adds that while she is still a registered nurse, she’s also working as a stylist for photo shoots and as a personal shopper, specializing in makeover packages for clients in the greater Bay Area and nationwide.

“I’m passionate about this work, and am excited about the potential for expanding my client pool as a result of my participation on The Bachelor,” she says.

Saviano couldn’t agree more. “Appearing on The Bachelor and Bachelor in Paradise gives you exposure, but what you decide to do with that exposure is up to you. You can make a living for a short period of time solely off of sponsored Instagram posts, but your appeal will eventually die down. Alternatively, you can take that exposure and carefully curate a brand out of yourself. If you already have a business, which I do, you can really take advantage of the boost,” she says. “I never found love on the show, but I’m so grateful for the relationships and opportunities that have come from it. I’m not sure what the future holds, but I’m pretty confident I’m going in the right direction.”


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