Bloggers Making Bank: True or Faux?

Bryan Boy made splashy news this week when he revealed to the Cut that he makes over $100,000 yearly as a fashion blogger. "While most of his revenue comes from advertising on his blog, now that he’s in demand, he charges fees for appearances and chooses which events he wants to go to," the Cut reported, along with Bryan Boy's comment that content and his personal taste trumps earnings: "For me money is really not the issue, it’s about getting material and getting my content," he said (an easy thing to say when you are indeed making $100,000 annually).

But for budding young bloggers—and even other well-known fixtures on the web—is that actually a realistic figure? A recent profile in the Times on Susanna Lau (aka Susie Bubble, the blogger behind the equally popular Style Bubble) similarly declares that for Lau, blogging isn't about the money, which is perhaps a more believable statement, as she seems to be making far less of it. 

What began about five years ago as a hobby has turned into a fulfilling, though not lucrative, career. Style Bubble generates advertising, but scarcely enough, Ms. Lau said, to support her taste for Church’s English brogues. “The need to update something and feed it on a daily basis with no financial motivation sort of points to an obsessive tendency,” she said. “I think a lot of bloggers are obsessive in their ways.”

While it should be noted that a standard pair of Church's brogues start at about 340 euros (or $450 dollars)—hardly a modest indulgence, especially for a devoted fan, Lau's blog does indeed showcase far less advertising than Bryan Boy's. Though it probably deprives her of some easy earnings, one can appreciate Lau's integrity for not sprinkling her site with flashing ads and clickaway content.

Local blogger Mimi Jung of Brook & Lyn (which was named one of the ten best NYC fashion blogs by the Huffington Post this year), takes a similar stance with regards to ads. "Early on, I made a point of not having ads on my blog," she said during an AIGA-hosted talk about her career last night. "It's not really my aesthetic, and I'm very stubborn about that." Nowadays, most of Jung's revenues come from her jewelry line, which she started earlier this year.

Without going into the specifics of earnings, Jung noted that she would call herself a jewelry designer rather than a fashion blogger, not only because of its greater product-driven, income-generating nature, but also because of an uneasy relationship with the term "fashon blogger." "It's a hard thing to explain to people because it's so ambiguous and still this very new thing," she said. Coupled with naive dreams of $100,000 paychecks handed out for showing up and looking good, it's easy to see why she might want to distance herself from the label.

Still, Jung acknowledges that, while an exception to the rule, Bryan Boy's pay scale isn't entirely unattainable: "These days with blogs and especially fashion blogs there isn't a limit to how far you can take it," she says.

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