Creating a voice in a missing market
Fashion is more than a passion for blogger Natalie Craig, creator of Natalie in the City. It’s a way to address a void in the fashion industry, one viral blog post at a time.
By Natalie Craig (as told to Wells Fargo Works)
I started my blog, Natalie in the City, in 2013 as a hobby. I was living in Boise, Idaho, writing fashion columns for my college newspaper, and realized no one really cared about fashion there but me — especially not plus-size fashion — so I began blogging on the side. I’d post photos of myself wearing different outfits a couple times a month, and get about 50 to 70 pageviews a day.
But when I transferred to Columbia College and moved to Chicago, my advisor told me to take the blog further. I wrote up a business plan for how to monetize the site, and started writing for the blog as well. I assumed people my age were leaning more toward visual content and less toward written content, but I was wrong. Once I began writing for the site, in addition to posting photos, my traffic jumped significantly. Because writing was better for the site’s SEO and gave people an opportunity to connect with me, I started getting 300 to 700 pageviews a day.
These days, I get about 2,000 daily pageviews, and have been able to grow my following on social media by writing and posting frequently and consistently. At the moment, I have 20,000 followers on Instagram, 10,000 on Facebook, 4,000 on Pinterest, 2,000 on Twitter, and 2,000 on Tumblr.
But growing my brand and reaching those numbers took time and strategy. I accepted a modeling job in 2014 on the Steve Harvey’s talk show after a senior producer found me through my blog. I made $100 walking on stage, wearing heels and a two-piece bikini. No one had ever asked me to model anything — I’m 5-foot-2 and plus-size! But that television appearance was only the start.
Now I work directly with different brands including Torrid, Lord & Taylor, Meijer, Target, and Macy’s. Sometimes I call them, other times they reach out to me.
Brands pay me to review their products or they sponsor a post, which means I’ll wear their clothes, take photos, and write about their products. I charge $300 for Instagram posts and anywhere from $100 to $500 for a blog post. Overall, the site brings in between $300 to $3,000 each month, and costs me $200 to $700 monthly to operate, which includes professional photography.
I get a lot of requests from different brands to sponsor content, but I won’t just do it for anyone. I don’t want to be a walking, talking billboard, so I’m very selective. For instance, I’d never collaborate with a diet company or product — it’s not who I am or what my brand is about. Body positivity is about accepting yourself for who you are.
In the future, I hope to start offering products on Natalie in the City. I think a T-shirt with an empowering message or a pin to stick on a jacket or backpack would be a cool way to continue growing my brand and make my followers feel special. For now, I’m still just truly enjoying being a part of the body positivity movement and connecting with so many wonderful people.
Talking business with Natalie in the City
Here are five tips to help you develop and grow your business’s brand, according to fashion blogger Natalie Craig.
- See a gap in the market? Fill it.
- Have a business plan.
- Develop a strategy.
- Don’t sell yourself short.
- Stay true to your brand and value your mission.
Images courtesy of Rorie Raimondi.