Blogs have come a long way from their days as simple, online diaries. These days these constantly updating and far-reaching editorial and idea platforms have become big business. Bloggers with a unique voice, a loyal and strong following and entrepreneurial savvy can turn their passion into more than just profit, they can grow a powerful, multi-level brand. Which brings us to today’s Business of Blogging feature interview with Fabulatina’s, Nashelly Messina.
Not only does the fashion influencer and buzzed about fashion blogger run a popular, bilingual fashion blog filled with her personal Outfit of the Day posts and other fashion scoop, she’s manage to grow her following while also growing her blog into a proper, profitable business. Her blog posts lead readers to shop from the brands she regularly showcases (guilty!) and lead sponsors to clamor for an integrated marketing opportunity with her via her blog and social media channels.
I’ve followed Nashelly as both a loyal fan of her blog and an intrigued observer of the growth on the business side of her blogging and HAD to know more about her overall brand’s past, present and future. Lucky for us, she was open to talking about it. Read below for her story with some great lessons for current and aspiring bloggers woven in!
What drew you to the decision to launch your own blog and on a larger level, your own brand?
I spent the last 13 years working in the beauty industry, which exposed me to a lot of hot trends and the ever-changing world of publishing. I found myself relying more on blogs and fashion websites on a daily basis than on the monthly publications. As a Latina, I craved to see relatable faces and body types and those were few and far between. I started consulting many of my fellow Latina friends and quickly learned they were experiencing the same challenge--- a lot of great content out there but not necessarily catered to them or created with them in mind. As Latinas, we don’t want to be put in a box but it’s nice to feel that the content is inclusive. It was clear that there was a white space in the market and I was up for the challenge.
What background (if any) did you have in fashion and the editorial world?
Zero background in fashion. My blog is about exposing my personal style and providing everyday people access to trends, style tips and mixing high/low items. I don’t claim to be a fashion expert, just someone who loves to shop.
Why do you think that people have taken to your blog so much?
From what I hear, the content is relatable, the site is clean and easy to follow and they like my style. I’ve also heard that people appreciate my honesty. Someone recently said to me, “Ever since I read that you wear Spanx, I no longer feel embarrassed to admit that I wear them too.”
What is the most difficult part about having regular, fresh and “sexy” content (or is it difficult at all)?
Harder than people think! I always have to stay on top of trends and want access to the hottest items first. Sometimes I buy an awesome piece that I can’t wait to shoot and next thing you know, I see that another blogger beat me to it. It makes it challenging and fun at the same time; you always want to bring everything to your followers first so there’s always a sense of urgency.
What is the most awesome and rewarding part about having your own style blog and public persona?
The best part is getting lovely messages from followers who say that I’ve inspired them to want to get dressed up again after having a baby or something as simple as putting on red lipstick. When I look good, I feel empowered and it’s rewarding that I can provide a bit of inspiration to other women.
What would you say is a common misconception people have about you and/or style bloggers in general?
That we don’t pay for clothes! Some may not but I still do.
Do you see yourself as an entrepreneur? A member of the media? Both or neither? (If neither, what would you call your “brand”?)
Both. I think that with the expansion of social media, “media” takes on a new meaning in the 21st century. As a blogger conveying content that is consumed by readers, I do consider myself a part of the media establishment and, perhaps more important, an influencer. As an entrepreneur, I hope to establish a platform that reaches as many people as possible and turn it into a sustainable business.
When did you make the decision to engage in partnerships with sponsors, advertisers etc.?
As soon as I launched my blog I was blessed to have brands that were interested in my bilingual proposition and the audience I was reaching. It was a no brainer for me to partner with brands who understood the Hispanic buying power.
How (generally) did you manage to connect your brand and blog with advertising and sponsored post partners?
I was approached by several ad networks and eventually signed with one.
What advice would you have to other people who are hoping to turn their love of something – anything, whether it be fashion or food - into a worthwhile and perhaps even profitable brand and blog?
Only pursue it if you love it and have a passion for it. Find your voice and stay true to it.
How important is social media to the growth of your blog and brand, and how do you use it?
Social media plays a significant role when you’re a blogger. Every one of my posts is promoted via social medial, most of my traffic is driven from social media, I’ve made amazing blogger connections through social media and brand collaboration opportunities have come to the table thanks to social media. I’m no expert in social media but dare I say that it is everything.
Where do you hope to see the Fabulatina brand five years from now?
TV as we now it today will be very different in 5 years. Netflix has shown that streamed content is just as valuable as broadcast. Imagine a Fabulatina channel, accessible 24/7 on several platforms that streams digestible, bilingual content across fashion, beauty and lifestyle. How’s that for a dream?