There are so many paths for fashion bloggers who go pro, this week we're featuring a blogger who not only caters to a specific niche but has also leveraged her blog to work in television and write books. What's even more exciting is her niche is distinctly Japanese-Goth-Punk-Fetish. La Carmina has been a long-time IFB member, her blog is a delight to read with her adventures in travel and with her darling Scottish Fold.
Tell us a little bit about La Carmina.
Pirate. Harajuku girl. Absinthe addict. La Carmina Blog chronicles my flamboyant adventures in… Japanese Goth Punk fashion, young Visual Kei boys, cosplay and fetish balls, maid and robot cafes, scandal, drama, and the cutest Scottish Fold cat in the world.
How did you monetize La Carmina?
The short answer: my income sources vary constantly, and come both directly from the blog and from related projects.
La Carmina blog has a fair amount of traffic, so I sell direct ads, use Google Adsense, take part in affiliate programs, and have sponsors. My RSS, search and YouTube are monetized too.
When I receive promotional items, I disclose them as per FTC regulations. I am very choosy about the companies I work with; I only recommend products that I personally like and that fit my subcultural / Goth / Japan audience. Because of this, I’ve never received a complaint about sponsored content.
La Carmina blog is not only about fashion. I also report on alt concerts, nightlife, films, travel. Since I’m a journalist, access and accommodations tend to be compensated (press passes, advance screenings, hotels etc) — and all this is disclosed.
Various collaborations stem from my blogging activities. I partnered with a Gothic t-shirt company, make appearances (book tours, conventions), and write (I’m a main contributor to CNNGo and Lip Service, and have three books published).
Finally, producers have found La Carmina blog and hired me to be on TV shows. I worked on eight programs this year, in various roles: on-camera host, production coordinator, consultant, casting director, promoter. I started a company, La Carmina & The Pirates, that provides “fixing” services to broadcasters worldwide.
How has blogging affected your career?
Beyond belief. When I began my blog in September 2007, I was Yale Law student at crossroads — I needed to be in a more creative field. Blogging was the perfect way to share my love of Harajuku fashion and alt subcultures. Upon graduation, I had books and other projects in the works, so I decided to pursue this road instead. And never turned back. I grew up in Vancouver with no media/entertainment connections whatsoever, so my blog let me break into tight-knit industries such as TV hosting. Every day, I’m amazed at the opportunities that arrive in my inbox; my adventures keep getting weirder, and I love it!
What are you working on now?
All of the above. I love finding new ways to partner with inspiring people in fashion, music, film, etc. I think cross-media collaboration is the way to keep pushing forward. Right now, the TV hosting work is going very well, and I’ve been speaking to various production companies about development. We’ll see how it goes.
What is the most important piece advice would you give aspiring bloggers?
From a technical standpoint: use WordPress on a self-hosted domain, pay attention to design and SEO, write high-quality posts regularly, and build up your social networks.
There’s no need to emulate the path of mainstream personal fashion bloggers to be successful. Be your quirky self, and concentrate on a niche or lifestyle that you love. Since I blog about Japanese/alternative subcultures, I partner with brands like h.NAOTO and Lip Service (which I much prefer to JC Penney and Forever 21)!
But what's the magical formula? Create a world that your readers want to be in.
Visit La Carmina at LaCarmina.com