You ever heard the saying that when you assume you make an ass out of you and me? (ass-u-me) Well, I can’t tell you how many super rude assumptions are made about me everyday, especially as a full-time blogger/influencer or even when I was working my 9-5 and blogging on the side. A lot of people seem to have very unsavory opinions about bloggers especially those who don’t really know what blogging is. My good influencer friend Ellie @slipintostyle who lives in Paris often speaks on these assumptions in her instastories. There are some pretty bold people in the world especially when they can hide behind internet anonymity. I feel bad every time she feels the need to explain that she isn’t rich or keeping up with the Joneses by spending all her money on designer goods. Sisters, Shelcy and Christy of @nycxclothes also spoke a little on the subject of assumptions made about them on their platform as well. I thought is was about time to debunk a few of these assumptions about bloggers especially about black women who are bloggers.
We’re All Rich or Come from Money
This couldn’t be further from the truth for myself and the majority of the black women I know personally who are full-time bloggers/influencers. In fact most of us are outchea on a wing and a prayer hoping for enough collaborations any given month to pay our rent and bills. I’ve written extensively about being poor and broke to having a 6 figure job as a Doctor of Physical Therapy as well blog posts on how I spent my money when I had a regular 9-5 job. When I was working a full-time job and blogging I was making close to 100K a year. That’s with a doctorate degree and 7 years of college/graduate school. After my bills were paid, whatever I had left I’d either save or buy myself several nice things. YOLO. But now that I’m blogging full-time I’m much more of a penny pincher. Some times I have amazing months, like this week where I made 3K in 1 week soley from Instagram and other months are slow. So I always have to make sure I have a hefty savings.
We Go Broke Buying Name Brand + High End Items
Y’all this blog ain’t called Fashion Steele NYC for nothing. I’m not rich, I just know how to shop. I never pay retail for anything, ever! I’m a huge fan of sales, coupon codes, designer consignment shopping (hello The Real Real) and sample sales! Also many bloggers use Rent The Runway. For $99 a month you have unlimited access to designer clothing that you can shoot, create content around and then return. Now there probably are some people out there buying clothes just to shoot and return but I’m not one of those people. I don’t have the time or the patience.
Everything We Wear is Gifted
Only about 10% of my clothing is gifted and when it is I always disclose that information (because that’s the law). Even if something is gifted, 100% of the time, I choose what product it is that I want to receive and style. That way everything I get that’s gifted is something I’d want and probably buy for myself. The majority of my clothing is comprised of thing’s I’ve bought. Unfortunately, I don’t have the Chanel plug or extremely high end luxury designer plug yet but when I do you’ll be the first to know! So about 70% of my designer items are gently used. A lot of my designer shoes from my Alexander Wangs (that I’m wearing here) to my Balenciaga Booties came from The Real Real. Everything else was bought at nothing less than 40% off retail value during sales and sample sales. I also love Moda Operandi for runway pieces. You have the option to pay half upfront and the other half when the item ships 3-4 months later. It’s lay-away for runway clothing, shoes and accessories and it’s amazing. Also it’s a rule of thumb that anything I accept as a gift, I can afford to buy myself.
That We’re Not Relatable When We Wear Designer
This one really boils my blood. I’ve worked insanely hard for every single thing that I have so when I get that rogue comment that I’m not relatable, I immediately go on the defense. I don’t know about you all but I didn’t work this hard to stay the same. A lot of people ask me to do more thrift videos but the truth is I don’t thrift as much anymore. I don’t want to fake the funk. When I first started my blog I was broke and fresh outta graduate school. It was necessary for me to thrift because I had no money. I still love thrifting but only do it when I have something in mind that I know I can only find thrifting.
You may not be able to afford the things I wear but hopefully the way I put things together inspires you to recreate the looks with what you already have in your wardrobes. It’s the same for those who aren’t the same size as me and don’t find me relatable because I’m a size 6 and not what ever XYZ size they are. It’s not about the size or even the clothes…it’s about sparking creativity and experimenting with your own sense of style. You can do that with no name brands as easy as you can with designer. I don’t find my style inspiration just from following clones of people who look exactly like me.
We Get Paid for Everything We Do
I wish. It’s the things that I do for free that actually land me the paid gigs. For instance, I post on my blog 2-3 times a week. I post on my Youtube 1-2 times a week and write a comprehensive newsletter twice monthly. I don’t get paid for any of that. In fact I spend no less than $500 a month on my blog (photographers fees, apps, websites, pluggins, templates, hosting fees, etc). Luckily, I usually recoup that money with brand collaborations, pitch template sales and affiliate link sales. For the most part, what I do is a lot of free work for myself and I do it because I’m passionate about it. I have yet to book a paid travel collaboration. That’s after 9 years of blogging and nearly 25K followers on Instagram. So please know that I paid for all my trips with the exception of a few compensated hotel stays and experiences. But I plan of doing my first travel collaboration this year! Manifesting it as I type this. Also when it comes to Black fashion bloggers we aren’t getting paid nearly as much as our white counterparts. Even when the work is better. We are definitely out here working 3x harder, hustling, negotiating back and forth with brands for fair wages every single day.
That We all Want to Be Famous
Am I a little bit of a narcissist yes, do I want to be famous…meh, I’d rather be wealthy. I didn’t get into blogging to become famous. I’ve been blogging since 2010 and trust me there was no money in blogging during that time. I didn’t even start to get paid until after blogging for 3 years consistently. Most bloggers actually have blogs and I think the term influencer is solely based on social media. I hate that term though. I actually still get super nervous when someone recognizes me. It happens more and more and it still blows my mind and I’m still an awkward babbling mess every single time. Most of us are just passionate about it.
All bloggers aren’t doing it full-time and are working full-time jobs and taking care of families and do it out of sheer love. If we happen to gain a little Insta-Fame that’s cool but for most that’s not the end game. Now trust me there are people who are in it 100% because the opportunity exist. You know them because they only post sponsored posts on instagram and only update their blogs when being paid to in collaboration with a brand. Trust me those bloggers make it hard for the rest of us but there will always be opportunists.
GET THE LOOK
That Blogging is Easy
My job as a Doctor of Physical Therapy was easier than being a full-time blogger. I’m just gonna keep it 100 with yall. Being a self employed entrepreneur is hella stressful. I literally lost 10 pounds my first month of full-time blogging thanks to anxiety about money and working so hard I’d forget to eat. I’ve never worked so hard in my life. It’s harder than my 3 years of graduate school LOL. But I’m so in love with being creative and getting to do what I’ve always dreamed of. It’s totally worth the stress, anxiety and doubt that I have every now and then. I think the greatest assumption is that blogging is a vapid occupation that doesn’t serve any good. I don’t think thats true at all. There are tons of bloggers who are beautiful writers, creators and artists who inspire me everyday to be a better human being or let me know that I’m not alone. It isn’t all fashion shows and free clothes. For me, fashion is just the hook, the real substance is here in these blog posts, where I get to do what I love most and that’s share my stories and my truth.
So now that I’ve dispelled a few of these assumptions, when you see your favorite blogger especially a blogger of color with that sponsored Instastory or Instagram post and you roll your eyes and keep scrolling, maybe remember a few of these points and show some support instead. It goes a long way. Some people don’t have the luxury of having amazing people like I do who always show love. We still have to make sure we all win.
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