Saturday 23 June 2018

Meet the Influencers: when a blog is a lucrative career

Finger on the pulse: Fashion and lifestyle bloggers use social media to interact with their followers. Back, left to right, Louise Cooney and Ciara O’Doherty; front, left to right, Tara O’Farrell, Rosie Connolly and Nuala Gorham. Photo: Gerry Mooney
Finger on the pulse: Fashion and lifestyle bloggers use social media to interact with their followers. Back, left to right, Louise Cooney and Ciara O’Doherty; front, left to right, Tara O’Farrell, Rosie Connolly and Nuala Gorham. Photo: Gerry Mooney

Claire McCormack

It's a job that didn't exist a few years ago - but now a group of ambitious, creative, fashion-forward millennials is proving that exciting careers can be built online.

Blogging is changing the face of the historically elitist fashion industry.

Those breaking the mould at home include: Ciara O'Doherty, a TV presenter, stylist and one of Ireland's most recognised fashion bloggers; Louise Cooney, fashion, travel and lifestyle blogger; Nuala Gorham, a multi-award winning style and beauty blogger; Rosie Connolly, make-up artist and fashion stylist; and Tara O'Farrell, a make-up artist who has worked with some of Ireland's best known-faces and international stars, including US actress Kim Cattrall of Sex and the City fame.

From sharing personal style inspirations and offering unique perspectives on the latest trends to collaborating with some of the industry's leading fashion houses, this group, candidly dubbed 'Influencers', is amassing thousands of followers on a daily basis.

The digital natives constantly interact with their followers, who they call 'friends', across a range of social media platforms - including Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, Twitter -and regularly upload intricate, multi-faceted posts, videos and photographs on their blogs.

Despite the 24-hour nature of the venture, bloggers are reaping dividends as national and international brands are keen to cash in on each individual's unique flare and mass appeal.

Many of these innovative young women, and some men, have quit their day jobs to focus on their blogs full-time.

But it has been a long, challenging road to the top.

Ciara O'Doherty, 26, says nobody was blogging in Ireland five years ago when she set up her first page in her college flat in Galway.

"I just decided to set the blog up because I love fashion, but it started as a completely creative pursuit.

"I'm now at the stage where I'm earning money through my blog but my content is still very original."

Most bloggers say they are very careful about what brands they endorse.

Nuala Gorham, 27, from Connemara says it's really important to endorse the right products for your site.

"I collaborate with brands that I genuinely love," she said, adding, "it's important not to get caught up in the money because you will weaken your social channels to your website. We treat out readers like friends."

Rosie Connolly, 26, a former personal shopper at Arnotts, Ireland's oldest department store, discovered her passion for blogging while on maternity leave.

"I started documenting my pregnancy style and it went viral; I started gaining about 100 new followers a day on Instagram, so it grew organically," she said.

Meanwhile, Limerick native Louise Cooney set up her blog while working in marketing in New York. "It was definitely a hobby to begin with but I can see the career potential," she said. "It's such an exciting new industry - watch this space."

These young women, all in their mid-20s, are represented by the Andrea Roche Digital Media Influencer Agency - the first agency of its kind in Ireland.

Sunday Independent

Style Newsletter

Stay on top of the latest fashion, beauty and celeb gossip in our Style newsletter.

Also in this section