HOW DO FASHION BLOGGERS MAKE MONEY? style blogger, BLOG INCOME, day jobs, AD RATES, MONETIZATION. IFB & POLYVORE INTERVIEWS. problogger jobs, style blogs, how much money do bloggers make, making money online, personal blogs, affiliate programs, ad campaigns, affiliates, banner ads, sponsors for blogs, freebies, web traffic income, adsense

How do personal style blogs make money? What do bloggers really do for a living? I spill the beans to Independent Fashion Bloggers, a wonderful community for sartorial scribes.

The take-home message: with some ingenuity and flexibility, you can make your own way in any niche. My IFB interview is here and below. I hope my answers are helpful; leave me a comment if you have questions!

HOW DO FASHION BLOGGERS MAKE MONEY? style blogger, BLOG INCOME, day jobs, AD RATES, MONETIZATION. IFB & POLYVORE INTERVIEWS. problogger jobs, style blogs, how much money do bloggers make, making money online, personal blogs, affiliate programs, ad campaigns, affiliates, banner ads, sponsors for blogs, freebies, web traffic income, adsense

There are so many paths for fashion bloggers who go pro, this week we’re featuring a blogger who not only caters to a specific niche but has also leveraged her blog to work in television and write books. What’s even more exciting is her niche is distinctly Japanese-Goth-Punk-Fetish. La Carmina has been a long-time IFB member, her blog is a delight to read with her adventures in travel and with her darling Scottish Fold.

Tell us a little bit about La Carmina.
Pirate. Harajuku girl. Absinthe addict. La Carmina Blog chronicles my flamboyant adventures in… Japanese Goth Punk fashion, young Visual Kei boys, cosplay and fetish balls, maid and robot cafes, scandal, drama, and the cutest Scottish Fold cat in the world.

Blogging has blown open doors to design, writing and TV work. I’ve written three books about Japanese pop culture and food, and am one of the main journalists for CNNGo and Lip Service. My “First Mate” Naomi and I started a coolhunting / TV production / promotion company — La Carmina & The Pirates. I’m fortunate to travel to various cities for appearances, book tours and on-camera work. My TV hosting credits include The Today Show, Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern, No Reservations, NHK, Pepsi, Sony, Canal + France, Norway TV and CNN.

How did you monetize La Carmina?
The short answer: my income sources vary constantly, and come both directly from the blog and from related projects.

La Carmina blog has a fair amount of traffic, so I sell direct ads, use Google Adsense, take part in affiliate programs, and have sponsors. My RSS, search and YouTube are monetized too.

When I receive promotional items, I disclose them as per FTC regulations. I am very choosy about the companies I work with; I only recommend products that I personally like and that fit my subcultural / Goth / Japan audience. Because of this, I’ve never received a complaint about sponsored content.

La Carmina blog is not only about fashion. I also report on alt concerts, nightlife, films, travel. Since I’m a journalist, access and accommodations tend to be compensated (press passes, advance screenings, hotels etc) — and all this is disclosed.

Various collaborations stem from my blogging activities. I partnered with a Gothic t-shirt company, make appearances (book tours, conventions), and write (I’m a main contributor to CNNGo and Lip Service, and have three books published).

Finally, producers have found La Carmina blog and hired me to be on TV shows. I worked on eight programs this year, in various roles: on-camera host, production coordinator, consultant, casting director, promoter. I started a company La Carmina & The Pirates, that provides “fixing” services to broadcasters worldwide.

How has blogging affected your career?
Beyond belief. When I began my blog in September 2007, I was Yale Law student at crossroads — I needed to be in a more creative field. Blogging was the perfect way to share my love of Harajuku fashion and alt subcultures. Upon graduation, I had books and other projects in the works, so I decided to pursue this road instead. And never turned back. I grew up in Vancouver with no media/entertainment connections whatsoever, so my blog let me break into tight-knit industries such as TV hosting. Every day, I’m amazed at the opportunities that arrive in my inbox; my adventures keep getting weirder, and I love it!

What are you working on now?
All of the above. I love finding new ways to partner with inspiring people in fashion, music, film, etc. I think cross-media collaboration is the way to keep pushing forward. Right now, the TV hosting work is going very well, and I’ve been speaking to various production companies about development. We’ll see how it goes.

What is the most important piece advice would you give aspiring bloggers?
From a technical standpoint: use WordPress on a self-hosted domain, pay attention to design and SEO, write high-quality posts regularly, and build up your social networks.

There’s no need to emulate the path of mainstream personal fashion bloggers to be successful. Be your quirky self, and concentrate on a niche or lifestyle that you love. Since I blog about Japanese/alternative subcultures, I partner with brands like h.NAOTO and Lip Service (which I much prefer to JC Penney and Forever 21)!

But what’s the magical formula? Create a world that your readers want to be in.

I also participated in a fashion blogger interview for Polyvore, the nifty site that lets you arrange outfits and make mood boards. Do you like the Japanese Pirate Lolita coordinate I created above? My interview is below and on Polyvore’s blog. We have a collaboration coming up — excited!

Interview with a Fashion Blogger: La Carmina
Today we’re interviewing Carmina, the Japanese Goth/alternative fashion blogger behind La Carmina Blog. In addition to style blogging, Carmina is now a fashion designer, author of 3 books about pop culture and has co-hosted TV shows on CNN and Travel Channel.

Tell us more about La Carmina Blog.
La Carmina Blog is a peek into “Spookyville,” my Tim Burton universe. Readers get to know me and my “pirate friends” through our colorful photos and ridiculous videos. My crew has a well-defined aesthetic and lifestyle — Japan Visual Gothic. Regular readers know our lingo and obsessions, like “nightcrawling” and infomercials and pumpkin pizza. And who can forget my earless cat, Basil Farrow?

Our haunted world’s addictive; many people have flown to Tokyo for a taste. Andrew Zimmern (Bizarre Foods) and Antoine de Caunes (Eurotrash) even brought along their TV crews to see how we party. And I invite you to join the fun. Don’t worry: we may look scary, but we don’t bite. Maybe…

How did you discover Polyvore? And what do you like most about it?
A few years ago, I noticed Polyvore sets on websites. I assumed they were painstakingly made using Photoshop. But then I created a Polyvore account, and realized how easy and intuitive the program is to use. Polyvore gets my creativity flowing. I love how one can assemble dream outfits and create inspirational mood boards. All without taking out a credit card or scissors!

What are your favorite brands/designers?
I love Japanese Gothic Lolita and Punk underground brands; I have a long list of favorites on my blog. In a recent set, I included an h.NAOTO Sixh parasol, Moi-meme-Moitie blue/black Gothic bell skirt, and silver crucifix jewelry.

What’s your trend forecast for the coming season?
All I know is my own spooky world. My friends and I are currently fond of dramatic doll eyelashes, Visual Kei hair, and anything Pirate.

How would you like to impact the fashion world and can Polyvore help you?
I think the essence of underground fashion is freedom and DIY creativity — and I try to express this in my La Carmina Blog. Polyvore is brilliant because it encourages personal experimentation. Be as wild as you want. You can even make fashion combinations that aren’t possible in real life!

Got any feature requests for the Polyvore team?
I’m big on backgrounds and decorative flourishes — I think they add mood and narrative to the outfits. Perhaps there could be an easier way to search for backgrounds, or a collection filed by category (Halloween, Rococo, etc). I can’t wait to continue collaborating with Polyvore!

Got any questions about professional blogging and income? Leave me a comment. I try to be as transparent as possible about my work…

Japanese Word of the Day: Tomorokoshi = Corn
Song of the Day: Jay Tholen – Mangosteen Tageur. (First Mate Naomi Rubin made this mesmerizing music video with the drawing program Alchemy. She live-drew while listening to the song, then added the impressive intro and outro titles. Bravo!)

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Filed Under Fashion, Press


  1. Mari
    Posted December 1, 2010 at 7:53 pm | Permalink

    An inspiring article

  2. Greg
    Posted December 1, 2010 at 7:53 pm | Permalink

    ‘Create a world that your readers want to be in.’ Great .

  3. Jennie
    Posted December 1, 2010 at 7:56 pm | Permalink

    Great article! :)

  4. Carlos
    Posted December 1, 2010 at 8:08 pm | Permalink

    Im just starting to blogg about Vegas subculture. I work wardrobe in Vegas theater and fashion shows and sell shirts. Still need more $$$! Any advice?!

    • lacarmina
      Posted December 1, 2010 at 9:44 pm | Permalink

      Just keep putting up quality content, and networking… do it because you love it. The money comes after (if at all)… honestly, it’s very hard to do blogging professionally…

      • Carlos
        Posted December 2, 2010 at 12:34 am | Permalink

        ah, Domo arigato ! Your words of wisdom are much appreciated, i’ll keep them in mind everys step of my blogging journey :) Cheers to the both of yah!

  5. Sakura
    Posted December 1, 2010 at 8:25 pm | Permalink

    It’s very inspiring!I’ve tried many times to keep my blog but always fail!Ty 4 the advices!:)

  6. Sarah
    Posted December 1, 2010 at 10:27 pm | Permalink

    how could i make money being a blogger? :3

    • lacarmina
      Posted December 1, 2010 at 10:27 pm | Permalink is a wonderful resource! It’s hard and takes a lot of work, research and luck however…

      • Sarah
        Posted December 2, 2010 at 12:59 am | Permalink

        I would be willing to go through it!! :D Im very resourceful!

  7. Glitch
    Posted December 1, 2010 at 11:48 pm | Permalink

    Truly inspiring.(lol @ the jab at jc penny and forever 21) So great that you get to work on something you love so much. A goal we all probably share.

  8. Vary
    Posted December 2, 2010 at 1:34 am | Permalink

    nice picture!

  9. Teknicolor Dahlia
    Posted December 2, 2010 at 3:57 am | Permalink

    Very inspiring post, I love it!

    And I’m in love with this Polyvore site. I think I’ve found a new passtime XD

    • lacarmina
      Posted December 2, 2010 at 9:19 am | Permalink

      Polyvore is addictive! But it’s a creative past-time — I love it.

  10. aibeil
    Posted December 2, 2010 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

    im so addicted to polyvore site now!!
    Thanks so much for introducing the site :D

  11. SiouxsieL
    Posted December 4, 2010 at 4:52 am | Permalink

    I just received a promotional package for some type of exercise girdle. I am going to find strength in your post and decline blogging about it, and stick to the products I like.

    • lacarmina
      Posted December 4, 2010 at 10:49 pm | Permalink

      Hahah you won’t believe some of the promo pitches I’ve gotten… the UGG boots company offered me money and free shoes. No thanks!

  12. Affiliaterevenue11
    Posted December 6, 2010 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

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  13. Yaniboo20
    Posted July 9, 2011 at 1:50 am | Permalink

    I love fashion more than anything and want to be a blogger as well. But i live in a small city and have no connections really . how much do you make? and what can i do to get started

    • lacarmina
      Posted July 10, 2011 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

      I have a ton of advice in this section:

      I suggest putting your heart into a number of different projects, get
      as much experience as you can, meet people, and the dark will
      illuminate at some point… And people are notoriously flaky. You
      gotta rely on yourself. That’s why I did all my own writing, photos,
      web design etc from the start. ;)

  14. Josephine
    Posted November 7, 2011 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

    Hi fellow bloggers, I have a hot suggestion for you… Join Fashion Traffic, a network of bloggers and fashion advertisers devoted solely to fashion!
    We provide bloggers with fashion photos ready to grab from our site to your blog.
    It’s doing exactly what you love: blogging about fashion, and making some money while you’re at it.

  15. Jessica
    Posted August 8, 2014 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for this article, really helpful for amateur bloggers like me! I did some research on the highest paying affiliate programs and the best one I found so far seems to be the one offered by – They’re said to give you 100% commission on all purchases. Maybe you can do a comparative review on them and other programs? Again, thanks for the information!

  16. Fei
    Posted August 8, 2014 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

    Wow, so much useful tips, thank you! I actually found another affiliate program for fashion bloggers: partnership program They’re said to promise full commission on sales and from what I heard it really is so, no hidden fees or anything. Can you do a review on them or a comparison on them and other popular options? Thanks again for the article!

  17. Fei
    Posted August 13, 2014 at 6:48 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for this article, really helpful for amateur bloggers like me! I did some research on the highest paying affiliate programs and the best one I found so far seems to be the one offered by – Maybe you can do a comparative review on them and other programs? Again, thanks for the information!

  18. Jessica
    Posted August 14, 2014 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for the article. I tried different affiliate programs, some were great, others not so much, the best one for me so far is picVpic partnership program. Very easy to set up, pays a lot, creates good content. Really recommend it.

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