One student's entrepreneurial efforts in beauty and fashion blogging
Money College: Can you tell me about how you first became interested in fashion and beauty?
Bren Lee Gomez: My aunt was a make-up artist, and my dad never let me wear nail polish or make-up when I was a teenager, so I think that bred even more interest. I own way more than is appropriate, but its my hobby. Some people ride horses, I buy make-up and shoes.
MC: When did you decide to venture into beauty and fashion blogging?
BLG: About two years ago, the brand I worked for was discontinued (Sugar Cosmetics), and I found myself with tons of free time. SparkleShelf actually approached me about writing for them every so often, so I jumped at the chance. I started writing for a few other sites, and eventually, decided to start my own blog so I could be the one deciding what to write.
MC: How would you describe your blog, So Much Pretty?
BLG: I think my blog is just like me: fun, punchy, a little bit sassy. I take on fashion and beauty from a very beach-beauty oriented point of view. I live in sunny LA, so I like to focus on things that are relevant to our trends and our climate and our state of mind.
MC: On your blog, you review beauty products and you have been in the beauty industry for eight years. What's your most memorable experience reviewing a product?
BLG: [In the beginning,] I got so excited about trying out products and trying to impress the PR reps that I forgot to check ingredients - and I suffered because of it. I'm allergic to benzoyl peroxide, and a skincare product I tried had a high concentration of it. I was puffed up like a balloon for the entire day, stuck inside the house!
MC: How did you come up with the idea for The Fashion Front line?
BLG: It actually came to me in a dream. I literally dreamed about an online fashion competition, and I woke up and started the project. It's been a labor of love ever since.
MC: Can you describe the Fashion Front line and how you selected each competitor?
BLG: It's basically a style showdown in which eight bloggers take on a theme - for example, - and come up with an outfit for that theme. I think it's really exciting and a great way for bloggers to inspire each other for outfit ideas, plus its a bit more interesting than your typical "Outfit of the Day" post. I chose competitors based on their different tastes, blog reach, and location. I wanted a good variety so no two looks would be too similar to each other.
MC: On top of your work as a blogger, you're a full-time student. Can you describe how you balance blogging with school?
BLG: And I work! Can you believe it? Reviewing products is a tough task. There are tons of brands coming out with tons of new products every day. Its really easy to get behind, but I treat blogging just like studying: I schedule it in every day. And I ask for help. I've actually had writers for So Much Pretty in the past, and I just brought another one on board to help me out.
MC: You seem to be very entrepreneurial minded with blogging ventures -- is it possible to make money from blogging?
BLG: It is. I haven't made a lot, but I have made some. You can add e-commerce to your site - some brands have offered me a commission on products that I help sell, but I haven't taken them up on it. There are also opportunities for sponsored posts, sponsored tweets, content for pay, where your readers have to pay for certain content, such as video blogs, and advertising. Advertising is the most common source of income, and where I've made my money.
MC: You describe yourself as a "broke ass college student," what creative things do you do to make money?
BLG: I've actually made some money from advertising on the blogs, but I do have a part-time job. I work in the beauty industry doing online marketing - a job I actually garnered through networking with my blog. The company loved what I was doing with my blog, and wanted me to come on board and help them out with their brands. It's really true that if you do what you love, the money will come.
MC: What advice would you have to students looking to gain exposure for their blogs?
BLG: There are so many great networking events, social media outlets, and other bloggers out there that are ready to help you get the word out. Don't be afraid or embarrassed about talking about your blog. , Twitter, and Facebook are some of the easiest ways to promote, and they're all free.
Clothes to Free, appearing Thursdays, is a weekly fashion-on-a-budget column by Money College blogger Alysse Dalessandro.