Business of Blogging: Reward Style
By: Taylor Davies

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As we’ve discussed at our IFB conferences over the past year, the landscape of fashion blogging has come a long way from the self-publication-for-the-people days of yore. Today, personal style blogs have incredible potential as businesses and  drivers of consumer trends. We all know of the mega-popular blogs who regularly receive gifted product and collaborate on design projects and promotions with big-name brands and designers, but what about the rest of us?

 

Reward Style has emerged as a cool and lucrative tool both for top-tier bloggers as well as up-and-comers who are not necessarily household names, but fast becoming influencers among their readers and peers. Reward Style allows it’s members to link out to shopping sites from their blog, and earn a commission if readers purchase items through their links. To maintain a standard for their clients, rS is not available to everyone. Though some might view this as alienating, I think it’s a wonderful motivator for those who are serious about taking their personal blog to the next level. To get the inside scoop on Reward Style, I interviewed their president, Amber Venz.

 

How was the concept of Reward Style born?

 

I started my fashion blog, VENZedits.com, in April 2010 as an extension of my personal shopping business – I wanted it to be my fashion diary and styling portfolio. I started out posting 3 times a day and I was telling all of my secrets to my readers. I quickly realized that I had cut myself out of my own business- my clients were now buying the products I suggested off of my blog and not booking appointments with me anymore.

 

I decided to monetize my blog so I did what any blogger would do- I went to every blog I knew and snooped around to see how they were making money. I ended up becoming a member of about eight ad networks. I had a spreadsheet with the logins, passwords, which ads were where; it was an administrative nightmare and a total time-suck.

 

After about seven months of that, I teamed up with a technology company and explained to them what I was dealing with and we developed rewardStyle.com.

 

This site was built around what I needed as a blogger: I wanted all my advertisers in one place, one login, one reporting system, one check. I wanted to get paid like I used to as a personal shopper, the ability to compare commissions between stores on a single product, a way to track my click-to-sale conversion so I could see what all of these links were worth to me.

 

As a small start-up, we listen to what our users need. You want to be able to link to ASOS? Let me call them. You wear a ton of J.Crew? Good news, they called us. You do not want to have to bit.ly your links to see what is working? We will build you an analytics page right into our site.

 

Who is reward style available to?

 

rS is an invitation-only monetization tool for fashion, lifestyle and beauty bloggers around the globe. We work with bloggers who are looking to make money on their content and are blogging at a professional level, meaning their content is original, gramaticaly correct, visually pleasing and consistent. We consider a number of factors in our decision process including reader engagement through social networks like twitter and facebook, number of posts per week, and if the content is a good match for what rewardStyle has to offer.

 

In what ways can bloggers use Reward Style to monetize their blog / social media outlets?

 

We provide fashion, beauty and lifestyle bloggers with relevant product links for whatever products they have decided to talk about, feature or wear. These links allow bloggers to get paid online the same way personal shoppers do offline. My background is in personal shopping and if I took a client into a boutique, I would get a commission on whatever that client purchased. This is the concept we have taken online. If you direct a reader to a retailers site, we allow you to get paid a commission on whatever that reader purchases at that site for a pre-determined number of days (generally 30 days, although this term varies by store).

 

Bloggers are working as personal shoppers by styling and suggesting products and we, as bloggers, are keeping the masses shopping by creating a desire for products. (You are welcome, retailers.)

 

Everything about rewardStyle is performance based; we allow bloggers to get paid exactly what they are worth to these brands and retailers.

 

Who are your top e-tailers using Reward Style?

 

We are currently working with about 300 fashion and beauty advertisers- here are a few of our top performers:

  • Shopbop
  • Net-a-Porter
  • J.Crew
  • Asos
  • Madewell
  • Neiman Marcus
  • Zappos
  • Endless
  • Outnet.com
  • Topshop

 

What advice would you give to bloggers who want to step up their game?

 

  • Purchase a unique URL (get off .blogspot, .wordpress, .tumblr)
  • Set up google analytics and track your progress.
  • Set up a Twitter and Facebook account for your blog and be active on both to grow your audience.
  • Post at least four times a week (but always remember, quality over quantity- four times is not mandatory). This will help with your analytics and it will establish some consistency so your readers know what to expect.
  • Show original content- re-posting a magazine spread does not show talent and can not be monetized.

 

What do you guys think? Do you use Reward Style already? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

 


Comments

  1. I’ve been using Reward Style on Slow Southern Style, it is really easy to use and I like how streamlined it is and easy to incorporate into posts. I also really like the option to just tweet a link vs. having to create content for my blog every time I want to use it. My Twitter followers often ask me for recommendations for clothing and accessory options so this is a great tool for that.

  2. Daniel Dunt says:

    Although this sounds like a great network to be on when possible, I’ve always found networks like this to be, well, not exactly mutually beneficial. I’m unsure as to whether that is different with Reward Style, yet it always seems like brands and designers are getting much more out of these type of networks than us as bloggers are getting for ourselves. Personally, I’ve made a choice to display paid advertisers only on my blog – http://www.tsnewyork.com – rather than commission sites, yet I suppose it’s all down to what we prefer and what we consider to be successful; perhaps this is something I will look into in the future! – Daniel Dunt :D

    • Avatar of i2f
      i2f says:

      I love rewardstyle. They are fair with their commissions, unlike Shopstyle that only pays per click. I use Shopstyle to find items because their sort features are so great but then look at rewardstyle for the link. I’m also a member of CJ, LS, Amazon, etc but it really does get annoying to keep going to each site to get links. I wish I could only have paid advertisers but I’m not up to that level yet. And even if I was, I would still use affiliate links. Why not? Mo’ money, mo’ problems but no money, even mo’ problems.

  3. niki says:

    I think this seems like a really great way of making it all a little simpler. I’m a personal stylist and a big part of what I do is taking people shopping. I use my blog to promote this, but also share my tips and great buys. At the begining, I just saw my blog as another free tool to promote my business but as I’ve been blogging, I’ve realised that it’s so much more than that, and look forward to growing it into another part of my business. Thanks for the advice and food for thought! Niki Whittle

  4. Joy says:

    Thanks for this interesting piece. And thanks Daniel for your viewpoint. Something to think about definitely. :)

    Joy x

  5. lisa says:

    I just joined rewardStyle and I’ve been really pleased with them so far.

  6. Sounds interesting! I wonder how one goes about obtainng an invitation? Hmmm…….?

  7. Melissa says:

    I’ve just started using reward style and so far so good. It’s really simple to understand and they have hundreds of adversiters which makes it easy to find the exact product that you’re looking for.

  8. Love the ingenuity, my story is very similar my blog was design to drive traffic to my business site. Although, I am not a personal shopper. I am a wardrobe consultant. I customize looks base on my clients way of life and personal characteristics. I love that someone who has creative fashion ability also the busy savvy to create such a dynamic business opportunity. I look forward to hearing from you. I am “GBF&Co” A Girls Best Friend and Co.

  9. Mads says:

    @Heather Fonseca I emailed and asked and am now a member!

  10. Jonelle says:

    I just started using rewardstyle on my blog http://designthrift.blogspot.com and i am pretty pleased as to how easy it is to use and how quickly i already made some commissions, after just a couple of days i had already made commission off of 3 sales. I’m very happy to be a part of it. If anybody would like a referral to join rewardstyle from me, email me: designthrift at yahoo dot com.

  11. Avatar of champagne picnic

    how long does a reward style invite usually take??

  12. Avatar of
    Stephanie says:

    Wow. I am ready to monetize….my only issue is that I am getting thousands of hits per month, after just s few months, but I do not have a ton of followers or likes. So I fear I wont get accepted because they wont realize how well I am doing! UGH!

    I will just keep adding in fashion posts and hope the likes and follows grows!

    -SDS
    http://www.luxorlivingandstyle.com

  13. Avatar of boxandbrownie

    I have applied and been rejected – the thing is when I compare my blog to others’, I don’t really understand the rejection. My site is well-designed and grammatically correct. The only thing I can guess is that my lack of a Facebook presence (something I am not comfortable with until I have a few ducks in a row professionally) led to the rejection. Disappointing, really.

  14. Sara says:

    I’ve read a lot about different alternatives and think the best one so far is http://apprl.com. Here you can use the same links as Rewardstyle but they also offer visual tagging, which my readers love. You can also create collages, follow brands etc.

  15. ELSA says:

    Learn a lot from the interesting piece ! i am an owner of a fashion online shop, your blogger and Reward style will be useful&powerful for my business!
    May i have the pleasure to join your blogger and make some advertisng on your blogger with paying you reasonable ?
    More ,i tried to join Reward style before but failed. could you please give me some adivce ? how long does a Reward style invite usually take?

  16. MelissaD says:

    I also tried to join and was rejected. I really don’t understand why they do not support up and coming bloggers. If she knows the struggle of managing a blog and trying to monetize then why is RewardStyle only for bloggers who are already successful??

    • Nikki says:

      Could i have a link to your blog Mel? I was given an invitation a couple of months ago and absolutely love the program. I could have a look at your blog and maybe give you a referral / tips that may help getting invited! My blog is very new as well, not even a year old yet.

      http://www.cityofskirts.blogspot.com

      • jewel says:

        hey Nikki, do you or anyone else know how an invitation is granted or denied? I have yet to hear whether or not my application for invitation was accepted.. Thanks!

      • Kayleigh says:

        I applied to be a member of Reward Style and was also denied. It’s honestly hard to guess why in my opinion. I have a great following for starting out on all social media sites and have professional pictures and whatnot. I would love for you to check out my blog and give me any pointers or tips! Another blogger on Reward Style said she would reccomend me but I’ve not heard anything. Thank you!!
        Kayleigh
        http://www.kayleighskloset.com

  17. TaylorAnn says:

    I think rewardstyle is an amazing way for bloggers to make their passion a profession.

    I have applied and not heard back. I am assuming I was denied because of my Facebook presence. I would love a referral! I am relatively new to blogging and would love the support!

    Feel free to check out my blog: http://www.trendyschmendy.com/

    xo, Taylor
    e: trendyschmendy@gmail.com

  18. Gina says:

    suddenly , I can`t login to rewardstyle.com
    is there a problem…………?

    • Avatar of myfashionjuice

      Hi Gina! I’m curious if you are able to log in now? It just happened to me and I’m trying to search what could be the problem and came across your comment. Please let me know what happened to yours.

      • Avatar of Maya
        Maya says:

        That’s so odd I’m having exactly the same problem right now! It says my email adress isn’t known to their system while I’ve been using it for over 8 months or so

        • I can’t log in either and I’ve been using it for almost a year. I had the same issue in that when I try to reset my password it says the email is not in their system…weird.

          • Erica says:

            Suddenly today I can’t log in either, same problems that you mentioned. I can however log in on my iphone app. I sent over an email to see what’s up. Anyone have any updates?

          • katy says:

            Hi Bailey,
            I have the same problem. Can you log in now?

  19. dacy says:

    first of all, thank goodness for ifb as a resource, i was curious about adding reward style to my blog and this article was very helpful. i haven’t requested an invite yet, am going to try now! thanks.

  20. I came across rS by following other bloggers who are already quite popular in the fashion blogging world and it does seem like an amazing tool for gaining notoriety and making money off your blog. I have been blogging for about 3 years now in an entertainment news capacity and I recently launched my fashion and beauty blog called mystilettolife.com. I have been in the fashion industry for the past 4 years and would love to become a member of rS. If you’ve read this please check out my blog and let me know what you think! Thanks!

  21. Courtnee says:

    I am a fairly new fashion/lifestyle blogger and I would love to be apart of reward style. Unfortunately, I was rejected :) Can of you check out my blog and offer tips to increase my chances for approval in the future?? I would appreciate it SO MUCH!!

    ClassiCourtxo.blogspot.com

    Thank you guys!

  22. irene laura says:

    If anyone needs a referreer contact me : ontomywardrobe@hotmail.it :)

  23. I’m also a fairly new fashion/lifestyle blogger. I’ve applied for Reward Style but never heard anything back. I’d love to know of any tips to get into this program. I have a lot of people tell me that they purchase items that I style so I think this would be perfect for my blog. Thanks so much!

    xo-
    Shay

    http://www.bright-stripes.com

  24. Marissa says:

    hi- can anyone that is linked with reward style share approximately what the commission percentage is? Thank you.

  25. I’ve just come across this article. I applied to Reward Style and I was also rejected. I find it really disappointing because I’ve been trying to make my blog as professional as possible. If anyone could give me any tips it would be greatly appreciated!!
    galgoesnyc.com

  26. Jennifer says:

    I just applied yesterday-I am fairly new to blogging and only have 3,000 likes on FB and very few followers on Twitter. Does anyone know how many FB likes they are looking for? I’m a skin care blogger and am stereo typed with the “crunchy/health” community-I’m trying to obtain a more fashion forward audience. Reward Style would be help me do that. If anyone is interested, my blog is http://www.jenniraincloud.com. I would LOVE a referral!!!

  27. Hello!
    I have applied to Reward Style and also was rejected. I would love some suggestions on what I could do with my blog to improve my odds of being accepted. I would GREATLY appreciate any input! http://mindful-shopper.com/

    Thank you!

  28. Laura says:

    Hi there – I applied to RewardStyle as well last week, and was denied. I wasn’t aware of the vigorous application process, and I’m afraid I just started blogging last week (finally got my own domain name, etc.) I have only 3 posts so far – that’s how new I am! I was wondering if any experienced bloggers out there could give me tips/advice on my websites and maybe eventually a recommendation for Reward Style. So basically I am looking for a blogger mentor! Please email me at dashingindisarray@gmail if you can help in any way at all! :) Thanks!

  29. Cristina says:

    Hi guys, It looks very interesting to get an invitation from Stylerewards!
    My blog is http://www.poshbrazilian.com. I would be more than happy to have one of you to send me a refer! Thank you all and have a wonderful day!

  30. Amanda says:

    Hey everyone! I am so glad I read this article because it gave me some insight in the application process or Reward Style. I have also been rejected as well but gives me something to work towards. I like others would love a referral or like input on what you think of my blog. Please email me or leave me a comment stylessmesavvy@gmail.com

    Thanks!
    Amanda

  31. Catherine says:

    I think rewardstyle is an awesome platform for bloggers who love to share their love for fashion with the world! It’s wonderful that you can garner some monies for your appreciation for fashion. I’d be honored if someone could refer me! Please check out my blog at http://www.feastinginheels.com and let me know what you think!
    Thank you! Catherine

  32. I’m very frustrated with Reward Style because, while it would be perfect for my blog, they keep rejecting me. Along with my most recent rejection, they sent a list of criteria they look for in bloggers, and I met each piece with flying colors. I asked them to specify further why I wasn’t being accepted, but they didn’t answer :( All I can think of is that my blog is lifestyle-related, so it covers healthy living topics as well as beauty and fashion. Maybe they want fashion-only people?? So confused!

  33. resham says:

    I applied for reward style… but they rejected. Currently I use shopsense. But would like to know more sites like reward style. Any suggestions?

  34. Ekaterina says:

    I like the idea to earn money doing my favourite job- on-line shopping and making look, I applied but was rejected, too. My friend also recommend my blog (she is also a member RS) but still there is not any answer :(

  35. sid says:

    Hi everyone. I’m a a fairly new fashion and lifestyle blogger. I just applied for rewardstyle, but I’m afraid I might end up getting rejected because I don’t have a ton of views maybe. If anyone has tips please email me at romanceandpearls@gmail.com
    If anyone can give me a referral that would be so nice!

    http://romanceandpearls.blogspot.com

  36. Avatar of Cynthia Nguyen

    Hey guys, just recently joined ifb and found this thread. Sounds like rS is a good idea for bloggers to get interactive with. I’m wondering how strict in terms of judging your blog and seeing if it suits with their criteria is. What are they looking for?– other than traffic, value, frequency, etc. Are there certain products or brands one might be wearing more of that they are seeking?

    I’d love to join and engage with you guys too– hope someone is able to refer my blog to rS. My link is below, check it out and let me know what you think!

    Cynthia
    http://www.pinchofchic.com

  37. Hi All,

    I too have been rejected by RewardStyle in the past however I am hoping for a referral/suggestions to make my blog more RewardStyle-friendly from those of you who have had success with them so far. My website is BloggerNotBillionaire.Blogspot.com. Thanks!

  38. Anglq says:

    Hi y’all,
    I too have been trying to become a RewardStyle Member, but my blog was rejected a few months ago. I would love to have some feedback from RewardStyle Members that could help me with referral/suggestions to make my blog more RewardStyle friendly looking. My blog is Pretty In Her Pearls.
    Guidance and opinions from people who have had good results with RewardStyle are so appreciated.
    xo,
    Angela
    http://www.prettyinherpearls.com

  39. Amanda says:

    I applied for RewardStyle months ago and haven’t received any sort of notice. I’ve re-applied thinking I must have missed the email, however it says they already have my application. Just wondering if anyone else has experienced this?

    Amanda
    XO Strawberry Chic

  40. amy says:

    I have applied to Reward Style and also was rejected.

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