Student blogger turns her lifestyle into a business by partnering with local and national companies

| December 1, 2012 | 1 Comment

by Ligaya Scaff

Point Park News Service

In a popular Glam and Graffiti blog post, Stephanie Campbell solves a common dilemma most young women will eventually face––what to wear on the first date.

In another, she shares her secrets for the best strawberry banana smoothie.

Readers also receive an insider look into the fashion industry through first-hand coverage of major events like New York Fashion Week and previews of designer collections.

As founder of fashion and lifestyle blog, Glam and Graffiti, the 21-year-old senior at the University of Pittsburgh has not only gained a loyal following and acclaim as one of the top fashion bloggers in the city, she has also paved the way for a career in digital marketing and a future as a prominent online personality.

“My office is complete as long as I have my phone, laptop, Internet access, and inspiration. I love that about blogging; you can write and share anywhere! ” Campbell wrote in an email.

Discovering her passion

Some people develop the entrepreneurial spirit later in life, but Campbell was faxing press releases and learning the ropes of her mother’s marketing and public relations business while still in elementary school.

As a child, she watched her mother host a segment on QVC and became captivated by the television shopping network’s lighthearted, sisterly style of selling to an audience.

“Six-year-old me was fascinated by her and the other hosts: their glamour, their poise, and charismatic personalities,” she wrote. “With frank, fun and non-scripted, bare personalities, each host offers a viewer more than a sale, but the honest words of a friend…I grew up and realized I could do the same.”

On a family vacation last August, she observed attentively as her mother’s fiancé’s son created a website for his passion in music. Inspired, Campbell wrote her first blog posts on summer style in Nantucket and soon realized the branding potential of her online voice.

“I began to think about how to work the blog as a business,” Campbell said during a phone interview.

The new influencers

According to Ashley Boynes-Shuck, a local social media consultant, fashion bloggers can work with designers and retailers in “ mutually beneficial partnerships” that slightly mimic celebrity endorsement deals.

With popular blogs, designers might send a blogger free clothing with the hopes that the garment is featured in a post.

“I think that social media and the platform of blogging allow for better networking within niche industries, specifically the fashion and entertainment industries,” said Boynes-Shuck in an email.

Through her own blogging and social media consulting work, Boynes-Shuck has gained numerous networking and public relations opportunities for her business, including TV appearances, public speaking gigs and magazine and website interviews.

“The Internet and social media make the world a smaller place, so it is much easier to brand oneself, build a loyal audience and connect with the right people,” she wrote.

As a reader of Glam and Graffiti, Michelle Then, a 23-year-old leadership development associate, enjoys the posts that feature “up to date fashions” and “designers and their stories.”

She said social media and blogs are a  “main influencer in purchase decisions.” Thus, advertisers and brands are hoping to reach consumers through an online tastemaker like Campbell.

For instance, Campbell has received gifts of the latest threads from companies and invites to events like the recent Nicole Miller runway show at New York Fashion Week.

“Every young girl interested in fashion dreams of going to Fashion Week,” Campbell said.

In addition, she raises her influence and funds by advertising for companies like South Side boutique Jupe, offering American Eagle Outfitters product giveaways and contributing articles to prominent online shopping communities like Luckymag.com.

She further monetizes her blog by using such tools as Fashion Traffic––an advertising hub that connects brands and retailers with online fashion publishers and writers.

A relatable voice

Critics often judge the authenticity of fashion bloggers who might insert mentions of their sponsors or partner brands into posts. Yet, Campbell’s charming girl next door quality has readers engaged with how she effortlessly styles the latest American Eagle Outfitters skirt with consignment store finds.

“Her blog is popular because she has a style that an everyday girl can mimic with the right pieces in her closet,” said Sabrina Haran, a 21 year old University of Pittsburgh student who reads Glam and Graffiti because of the “real world” advice.

Through outfit photos that feature wardrobe choices like bright blue suede sneakers or multi-colored pants, Then enjoys how Campbell showcases her  “unique sense of style.”

“[Blogs like Glam and Graffiti] are written from an expert on the subject matter, or someone close to it, and I can have a sense of trust and relation with what they are talking about and take their advice and relate it into my own style,” Then said.

Ellen Langas, who Campbell refers to as her “mother, boss and role model,” currently turns to bloggers for stories within her marketing, communications and publishing company, NouSoma Communications.

In a phone interview, she said Campbell writes in a witty, “self deprecating” manner that “resonates with women.”

Blogging her way to the top

As for the future of Glam and Graffiti, Campbell sees herself branching out into other business models and content areas.

“I can see myself developing my posts, getting deeper into the fashion industry, interviewing key fashion players and venturing into e-commerce,” Campbell said.

Beyond the retail and brand partnerships, her active academic career, prolific writing, and ubiquitous web presence has, in part, led to an opportunity every college student covets: a full time gig before graduation.

“Once I graduate, I will be working full-time at American Eagle Outfitters,” she shared. “AE has been very supportive of my blog and I am excited to continue writing throughout my career.”

Even with new doors opening, she does not foresee abandoning the blogging medium anytime soon.

“My primary goal was not to give up,” said Campbell, who revealed that finding the right pace and continually posting are key challenges of maintaining her online persona.
“A successful blogger always keeps writing.”

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Category: Fall 2012, Fashion, Lifestyle

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