Making It: Success vs. Celebrity in Fashion Blogging


In a post from last week, I mentioned that one of the most important lessons I've learned from fashion blogging and my time at IFB is that there is a difference between success and celebrity in our industry and our community. An interest in this topic was echoed on Twitter by Lingerie Addict, so lets dive in a little further.

Truly, when I first started blogging, I thought the two were inextricably linked. I didn't know (for lack of doing even a little research) that bloggers in every kind of niche you could file under “fashion” or “style” are creating careers and businesses for themselves, as well as amassing huge followings. All this, without reaching this pie-in-the-sky status we associate with hyper-visible bloggers like Leandra Medine, Susie Lau, Rumi Neely, Emily Schuman, Emily Weiss, or even Blair Eadie.

Their kind of success is great, and I'm not discounting it. What each of these bloggers (and many whom I've not named but are also hugely visible and considered “celebrities” in this industry) has done is remarkable. For many bloggers, success and celebrity have come hand-in-hand.

Sometimes I think we (myself included) get a little too wrapped up in associating success and celebrity as one in the same. We get carried away setting near-impossible benchmarks for ourselves, discrediting what we've accomplished because of how it stacks up to the achievements of others.

I don't mean to say that just doing it at all is success though either. Success means prospering from an endeavor, the obtaining of something you wanted, or the achievement of a goal that you set.

I think we need to remember that as with so many other creative industries, from music to acting to art – success comes in many forms. Just because you're not in blockbuster feature films doesn't mean you can't make a living as an actor… You get the idea.

How do you define success, in terms of your blog?


  • Does it bring in financial earnings?
  • Is it your full-time job?
  • Did you create a book inspired from your blog?
  • Has it helped you build important personal and professional relationships?
  • Have you created mutually beneficial partnerships or projects with brands?
  • Is your blog a resume-boost for other professional positions?
  • Are you contributing to and working on your site in the way you want?
  • Is it growing in some way?


Make no mistake, I'm not suggesting you pat yourself on the back for every small achievement. Self-satisfaction can be poisonous to real growth. Unless your goal really is just to do it, you've got to make a plan, strive for something more, and then chase after it like your feet are on fire. And then set another goal – and another – and keep moving forward.

Many of us have no desire to be a presence like BryanBoy – with television gigs, a global travel agenda and a seemingly endless schedule of public appearances. And some of us do – and that's great too. (We're always fans of dreaming big!)

My suggestion? Define for yourself what “making it” means. Do you want to be your own business? Do you want your blog to bring in some supplemental income? Do you want to make friends and connections? Maybe you don't know yet, and that's okay too. However, once know where you want to go and what you want, you'll be able to develop a plan to get there, and start checking off your successes along the way.

What is success in blogging, to you?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

26 Responses

  1. Olivia

    This is a great article, and something I’ve never thought too much about. It is true that you can be successful without being considered a “celebrity”. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Lauren //

    I started my blog genuinely with the goal of providing insight into dressing a body type that I struggled with for many years. I spent so much time reading blogs for plus sized or petite fashion and never found one that catered to me: pearshaped, curvy, not plus sized but also, by no means, easy to dress.
    However as my blog has grown and I have realized what a sensational community this is, my goal has morphed from simply putting out advice to hoping to receive something back: in the form of friendships. I hope to continue to connect in meaningful ways with likeminded, hardworking people in the space. Long-lasting friendships are infinitely more valuable than any monetary reward I could gain from this blog. To me, that would be success.
    Lauren //


    I, personally, haven’t firgured out yet what I’d like to accomplish with my blog, for now I’m just testing the waters. But once I figure it out, it’s absolutely essential to have a path in mind. I guess most starting bloggers don’t know where will this take them, we need some time 🙂

  4. Lexi

    My definition of success has changed as I’ve continued blogging. At first, it was something that I started as a hobby and figured I’d be content if maybe even just 10 people subscribed and cared about what I had to say.

    With my followers growing more and more every month (though admittedly still pretty slowly, compared to some) I keep setting my sights higher and higher and have come to realize what sort of benefits my side-project can garner for me.

    I recently used my blog as resume builder to apply for a position as style talk show host on my university’s TV channel, and I got the position! I can’t wait to see where else it takes me.

  5. Mega R.

    Thanks for writing this post. As a new blogger I haven’t yet considered what I want to aim for in the long run. I started out my blog as a way to share my love for fashion with others, so right now my short term goal is to gain a bigger following. But you’re very right. It’s important for bloggers to define what success is for them or they’ll never reach that endpoint.


  6. Ashley Garner

    I originally started my blog as a way to keep myself grounded at a difficult time in my life. Over the years though it has transformed into a space to share my personal style, photography, inspiration and interviews with artists I admire. As a fine art and art history student I have recently decided to focus my blog on exploring what makes up our identity through the way we dress ourselves, where that is coming from and what the resulting effects are.
    I have already gotten a job at my school’s newspaper writing their first Style Sightings section because of my blog as well as become a stylist and creative director for fashion shoots from time to time. With my blog I hope to use it to get into grad school and show off my skills that I don’t get to in any of my writing jobs.
    I think that this was a great article and completely agree that a blog or bloggers success isn’t defined in the amount of photos that are posted of you by other people but by what you want out of life and your blog.

    -Ashley Garner

  7. Kate

    For me, I started my blog as a little outlet for thoughts and small nit bits I just wanted to document. I’ve never wanted to actively drive traffic to my blog, or generate an income from it – although admire those that do.

    Since making a move from Cardiff to London, I’m hoping I can use my blog as a tool to meet like minded people & branch out a little more! So London ladies who like a cocktail, a bit of a potty mouth and a Marc Jacobs bag, come on down!

  8. Julia

    This is a great article. I think that our goals are always changing along the way. When I just started, I just wanted to have a creative outlet where I can express my point of view. Now after doing it for a while, I realized that it is much more fun when someone actually reads what I write 🙂 So my goal at this moment is to build the following and produce interesting content to increase loyalty. I guess being famous won’t hurt either 🙂


  9. Rachel

    I think I used to have that unhealthy midset too, but over the last year or so stepping out of my teens and into my 20s next month I’ve worked out what direction I actually want to go down with my life and that has made me see that while I am not one of ‘those’ bloggers my blog is actually successful and I can’t believe it took me about 2 years to realise. To me success is in the small things, like a comment I just got from a reader telling me she made Monday’s recipe post for dinner last night and thought it was delicious; I think the success of that and how it put a smile on my face when I read it is worth more than being globally recognised.

  10. Andreea

    I really like this article and I totally agree with the last paragraph. I have started my blog because I want to become a journalist and I am aming to make a career out of it; the blog makes me feel better, I feel like I am doing something for my dream and besides this ” job”, I find writing relaxing and I enjoy doing this every day. I have discovered a lot of interesting people and I hope that the others will feel pleased reading my blog. Success to me means to improve my writing, my taste, my knowledge, my vision … and the highest peak would be a real job in this industry, of fashion journalism. Working in the domain you like the most is the guarantee that you will be successful.

  11. Lilli

    Count me as one who has no desire to be a celebrity. Although celebrity is relative even in the blogging world. Since my fashion sense isn’t exactly mainstream and I don’t have a television I have only heard about people like Susie Lau or BryanBoy on this site!

    Success for me is more personal, as I tend to give up on things easily. Right now if I can post every day and can keep that up for a year that sounds like success!

  12. Brieanna

    I know I started my blog at a time when I was lacking inspiration and life was boring. It still is my creative outlet but it also is a tool I would like to use in the future to gain employment in the field of my choice. I love fashion and if I can use my creative outlet to show others what I can do then I believe it to be successful. I feel like I am doing something to reach my goals through my blog, as well as inspiring other people with fashion ideas.

  13. Adela

    Great article! I’d like to be recognised for my work. I want to make new (blogger) friends and much more 🙂
    Adela x

  14. Maria V

    Excellent article! I think many of us need to think and maybe re-define our blogging goals?

    For instance, I did a few exciting projects with brands, I was making a living out of my blog and went to many exciting, exclusive events purely thanks to my blog. However, I felt like I’m not quite successful simply because I’m not at THAT level. So slowly I stopped doing what I’ve really loved once because the thought that what I’m doing is a failure become unbearable… and my blog is big. I (still) have a great following too. Bu it’s just so easy to loose confidence. When you see someone travelling to a new country every weekend, wearing new designer shoes (that are not even in the stores yet) every day, you can’t help but start comparing yourself and such comparison isn’t healthy. Neither for you nor for your blog.

    I think every single blogger need to have their own individual goals and measures of success. Not all of us have millionaire parents, are models or buyers for a major fashion brand. Most of us are real people with real budgets. So our goals should be real! As you said its great to dream big. At the same time its important to distinguish dreaming big from being unrealistic.

    ps. Next week I’m starting blogging again! To some degree, your article helped me to make this decision.

    • Jennifer Nini

      Maria, glad to know you will continue with it. Blogging is like life, there are ups and there are downs, but if you’ve got to the point that you’ve had lots of followers and getting lots of PR agencies and brands working with you, you’re already ahead of me! Keep going! It’s worth it! xx

  15. Tasha

    Great post. Some people have gotten caught up in become famous bloggers or wanting to be like the Emily’s, Blaire’s Wendy’s and more of the blogging industry when they didnt start out that way. Everyone’s story is they wanted an outlet and blogging became it.

    I use my blog as a platform to help other small business owners and to express my thoughts. My success is not contingent on the success of my blog. My success is I am giving each customer the best product and service every time. Am I being Tasha 100% of the time. We all have gotten wrapped up celebs and bloggers but its great to reminder we are all the same.


  16. Safira Azzahra

    this article is great! and looking at the comments, everyone made their blog for different goal. I actually make my blog to share what i think about fashion. I ever think that success in blogging is being recognised by the world. but for short term goal, i would be happy making friends by blogging. :

  17. Dana Runimas

    Fashion women consist of all beauty trends especially for females but also fully concentrate on mens fashion, we focus on Health & Fitness, bridal dresses, mehni designs, latest news and especially consist of many recipes for delicious and hot Food items.

  18. The Science of Happy

    I definitely believe that success is measured in the saturation of readers that enjoy reading what you have to say rather than your name in the blogging world. You could be the #1 one talked about blogger but have nothing but bad things said about you. That’s not success, success is reaching out to other people.

    For anyone interested, I’m holding a MAC giveaway on Friday!

  19. Gloria

    I would view my blog as more successful if there was more interaction (comments) for each post. I usually don’t get any comments on my blog & I’m not entirely sure how to fix that. Does anyone have suggestions? Maybe this would be a good topic for a future IFB blog post. 🙂

    • Jennifer Nini

      I am in the same position as you and I have been writing this eco ethical fashion blog for 3 years, although on a casual basis due to my full time job. I think what has worked for me in the past is when I write a personal blog post that is not so ”advertorial.” These sorts of posts are what my readers tend to like, but then again, my audience is a little different to most as they may see themselves as more intellectual, more worldly and less superficial based on my niche – fast fashion tends to bring in a different audience to the industry I am in.

      p.s. I have a giveaway for US residents if you are residing there. Ends April 29 2013. Details of how to enter are listed in the blog post! xxx

      I love this organisation and what they stand for (helping Kenyan communities rise out of poverty through ethical fashion) so really hope you can help out (and enter the give away yourself as well!!)

      Much love,

      Jen aka Eco Warrior Princess xx