Fashion Bomb Daily, founded in 2006 by Claire Sulmers, has grown into a huge fashion media brand amassing over 1.4 million followers on their Instagram page. What started as a way for Sulmers to show off her writing skills bloomed into the largest online fashion magazine for multicultural women.
“I just started writing about what I felt was missing in popular culture and traditional media back when I started seeing a woman of color on the cover of a fashion magazine,” explained Sulmers. “It was a rarity – and it was worthy of note and paying attention to.”
According to Sulmers, women of color spend nearly a trillion dollars on consumer goods, yet are constantly the most overlooked demographic. “There’s no reason why a young woman like me or any young women who look like me or can relate to me should not see themselves reflected in magazines that supposedly cater to a national or international demographic,” said Sulmers. “If we’re the women coming to Saks or even Macy’s or Nordstrom and we’re buying and we love it and we’re consuming then why not cater to us?”
The founder discussed the time when Jennifer Hudson was featured on the cover of Vogue in 2007, which made her the first ever African-American singer to grace the cover. Sulmers explained that even Beyoncé, who did end up on a cover later on, said that when she first started out she was told “women like her aren’t marketable.”
With Fashion Bomb Daily, Sulmers set out to provide that missing content. It happened to be that there were tons of women wanting to read about females and celebrities of color in the fashion world, and her site soon prospered. “The success of the website I think just speaks to women who are always looking for that validation, for that representation, and they’re not finding it so they’re going online to find it,” said Sulmers.
Claire Sulmers has become a notable name in media. She even hosts a highly successful event titled “Convos with Claire.” She started the event five years ago to give her readers a chance to meet her and ask any questions that they had. What started as an event in a handful of cities, including New York, Atlanta, and D.C, now tours globally to places like Nigeria, Paris, Haiti, and London.
Now, “Convos with Claire” features panelists in different industries to offer their expertise and knowledge. “When I was coming up, I really didn’t have anyone that I considered a mentor, and I never had any real advice that I could use to apply to my life in terms of how to be successful,” said Sulmers. For more information about “Convos with Claire” including upcoming dates, visit Fashion Bomb’s website.
We were lucky enough to speak with this mogul on how she was able to grow her online magazine into the outlet it is today. Here are some of her biggest tips on readership and monetizing.
Gaining a following:
If you’re looking to start a blog, the first step to making a career out of it is creating a large audience, which of course is easier said than done. Sulmers said the best way to build readership is to provide consistent, relevant, and original content. For example, Fashion Bomb Daily was one of the first online blogs invited to go to Fashion Week. By providing original video and written content from the show, other blogs would then backlink to her page, which inevitably increased her page views and Google rankings.
Obtaining interviews is also a must. Sulmers explains, “aligning yourself with people who have a large following and having them promote your content to their audience so that you’ll get a few of their audience members.” Your interviewee will probably share the content, giving you a broader audience.
Overall, Sulmers said that running a successful blog takes a lot of “sweat equity.” When she first started, she updated Fashion Bomb literally on the daily. She also created a content schedule so readers had something to “set their clock to.” For Fashion Bomb Daily, Sulmers would give each day of the week a theme of the sorts. For example, every Monday on Fashion Bomb was “real style,” and on Fridays they would have “reader mail” or “mail bombs.”
You also have to ensure that you are providing unique content that sets you apart. There are so many blogs and social media pages on the web, so you need to make sure yours is doing something extraordinary and special. Lastly, you have to have the passion or else you probably won’t be consistent. For Sulmers, it was all about the community she was creating, and it soon became her “true love and passion.”
Monetize, Monetize, Monetize:
Sulmers explained, “it might take several years of not making money in order to build up that readership before you could monetize.” But, knowing how to navigate your way through the technicalities of monetizing are also so important.
First things first, you have to know your stats – page views, followers, engagements, etc. That way, when the time comes and an advertiser reaches out to you or you reach out to them, you’ll be prepared. Sulmers also suggests creating a “rate card” that will have set prices so you know how much to ask an advertiser for a specific post or advertisement.
It would be wise to do your research to make sure you are not overcharging or undercharging clients. Sulmers explained, “if you’re unsure, there are some blogger networks, there are companies that help influencers with reaching out to different companies, so I would say do your research.”
For Fashion Bomb Daily, Sulmers reached out of advertising networks to help her monetize her website. They were able to reach out to advertisers based upon companies that were advertising on blogs similar to hers. “If business is not your strong point or ad sales is not your strong point, then get people who can help you with that,” said Sulmers.