Work

HOLIDAY SEASON Behind the Scenes Q&A

With the holidays coming up and already being a month into the fourth quarter, I wanted to write this behind the scenes post. I am going to be as transparent as possible. Obviously it can be tricky since some things are contractual and I don’t want to roll specific brands under the bus. And I also don’t want to speak for every blogger/influencer (I know, gag, I hate the word too)– this is just my own personal preferences and experiences.

I asked for questions on my Instagram and was blown away by the sheer number. There is definitely a lot of confusion/curiosity around this whole thing. I didn’t even really organize the questions by the way– I just typed them up here as they came! I’m keeping this pretty focused on my holiday strategy (which is my biggest quarter of the year), but if you want to know more about the blogging process, I wrote two posts that you might be interested in: Blogging Tips & Part 2

Blogging Behind the Scenes Holiday

How long does a typical blog post take you from start to finish?

Every post differs and it depends on what the post involves (and what we’re counting). If it’s an outfit post, there’s probably an hour of pre-shoot prep (sourcing outfit online, steaming, trying pieces on to create the outfit, finalizing accessories), ~30 minutes to shoot (I try to zip through it because I find it so awkward, ha). And then about an hour to put the post together (optimize photos for the web, find links for clothing items/alternate items if they’re sold out, and writing the post). This obviously isn’t taking into account hair/makeup, traveling to the location, etc. Lots of tiny details go into everything, even low key shoots.

If the post is sponsored add in at least a couple of extra hours split up over time (phone calls, negotiations, drafts, product sourcing, etc.).

If it’s a collage, it’s at least 2.5 hours depending on how many items I include. From finding the products (at least an hour) to putting together the collage (at least another hour) to formatting the post. Here’s how I do the collages by the way!

Gift guides take longer. I’m going through more sites, spending a long time curating the guides to make sure they’re coordinated.

How do you choose who to partner with?

I’m lucky that I CAN be super picky about who I partner with. I mostly trust my gut. Over the years I’ve had to be more “cut-throat” about it and I try to get as much information as possible BEFORE agreeing to anything, even if I already love the brand. If the campaign seems over the top or includes an element I’m not comfortable with or don’t love, I pass.

For example, this summer I was going to do a shampoo campaign and tested it for a few weeks and everything. When I went to sign the contract, I realized they wanted me to feature a specific big-box retailer’s shopping bags in the Instagram post and I turned down a near 5-digit deal over it. It bothered me that I LIKED the shampoo (loved it even) but was going to be forced to include a secondary brand (that would have been a stretch for my brand). So I passed. 

A lot of factors go into deciding who I work with. In no particular order:

1) Do I like the PR person/team and are they a JOY to work with (there are a few agencies with so much red tape that the communication/approval can be a nightmare)

2) Do I like the product/brand or is it one that I want to learn more about myself

3) Is this a brand/product I think my audience would want to know more about

4) Are they able to meet my rate

5) Does the timing work with my editorial calendar and is it clear of exclusivity issues

(There are TON of other factors though that my manager and I go through but those are the big ones. I only forward her offers that I think are a good brand fit for me and then she only comes back with offers that are at least my asking rate. That cuts out like 95% of campaigns that come my way!)

Would love to see more things that you end up not liking and why.

I prefer to keep things positive when I can. It’s so much easier to share things that I really love than to showcase things I didn’t. And 95% of the time, it’s a personal issue (like size/fit) and not something that my audience would benefit from knowing!

Especially during the holidays, I’m going to be churning out extra content, and especially consumerism products, that I want to make sure the space/airtime is going to brands/items that I DO like/recommend/want to buy!

How frequently do brands send you free products? What do you do with the excess?

I’ve been VERY strict with brands when it comes to mailers. Moving twice in 24 months helps because a lot of agencies have definitely lost my address, ha. But most of the time, unless it’s for a paid campaign, I say no. It’s a much cleaner transaction if I can just buy what I want frankly. It’s awkward when things don’t fit or look right and then I feel guilty and kind of “stuck” with something that I don’t even like.

I went to an event somewhat recently and a PR person just handed me a GIANT tote filled with her client’s products. While the gesture was “nice,” I was so overwhelmed by the number of things in there and it didn’t make the brands look great collectively. Nothing was my size and I was kind of so annoyed that I was handed something that I then had to pack and lug around with me that it soured my taste on everything in there!

Some people get VERY frustrated when I mention that getting free stuff isn’t that great. I totally understand because it looks amazing. But what you don’t see is hours of breaking down boxes, having to figure out WHAT to do with unwanted product (like WHY send me 40 shades of foundation?), etc. It’s actually a lot of work. I’d say 5% of things sent to me blindly are things that I actually like/would use/buy again. When brands/PR agencies send it out, they’re not doing it out of the kindness of their heart but because it’s free press for them. All very transactional so it can be annoying when it’s unsolicited.

How far in advance are you working?

It depends! Brand deals can happen in five days or over five months. I try to know what I’m doing blog-post wise by the week. And then I generally write the post within three days of it going live so it feels timely and not “stale.” (Unless it’s a campaign in which case a draft can be due two weeks prior for brand/agency approval.)

Now, I also have a lot of things going on in my head. I have my holiday “game plan” up there, but I’ve honestly been doing it for so many years that it’s kind of second nature. I am definitely less stressed this year than the year before and so on.

How early do you have your campaigns/partnerships lined up?

Generally speaking, I’d say most partnerships unfold within a month. But some are longer and some are (way) shorter. Things can be rushed for a myriad of reasons. A product is launching and the brand decided last minute to do a social campaign. Another blogger dropped out and they’re filling that space with me. There was a delay in shipping that “crunched” the timeline. My management team and their agency spent a long time on nailing down the contract, etc.

How do you schedule your days? Traditional M-F or switch it up?

I used to work every day and thought I was going to lose my mind. Now, for the most part, I keep to a regular M-F schedule. Sometimes I end up working more or less, but that’s the beauty of creating your own schedule. (Or the downfall of essentially being a contractor.) Some weeks are INSANE and some weeks are slow. I’ve learned to 1) enjoy weekends and try to disconnect from work as much as possible and 2) relish the slow weeks (don’t feel guilty) because it’s there are crazier weeks to come.

My general schedule is that I shoot outfit posts on Monday and Wednesday. So those mornings are spent doing full hair/makeup + getting outfits finalized and steamed. I shoot for three to four hours each of those days (more or less depending on how many campaigns I have to shoot in addition to regular outfit photos).

The rest of the days of the week can be a little bit of a grab bag. I write blog posts every day. I draft campaigns. I answer emails and DMs for hours every day. I source products for upcoming posts. There’s a lot of “admin” work that comes with owning a business (taxes, paperwork, etc.) and then a lot of weird stuff that comes with blogging (like breaking down boxes and steaming clothes). I wear many hats throughout the day.

How do you negotiate your fees?

My manager does it for me!!!!! I lost my old manager earlier this year and got assigned to another one at the end of January and then she went on maternity leave this August. So it’s been a littleeeeee weird this year. Luckily, they’ve all been amazing so I feel lucky in that department.

I get a lot of emails directly to me and I forward them to my manager with a little note. I’ll fill her in on my personal relationship with the PR person or brand manager, what I’ve done with the brand in the past, organic posts where I’ve included the product/brand, if I’d want more or less than my asking rate, etc.

Then she takes it from there and comes back with an offer. Then I tell her if it works for me or if I want more money (haha) or would be willing to do fewer posts for their budget, or whatever. Then she goes back to the brand and that continues until everyone is aligned.

Is it stressful to make everything look perfect?

During the holidays in particular, YES. I don’t want to shy away from the fact that it’s my job! So when I’m working with a brand, I want to make sure they’re getting exactly what they want. I try to balance being real/authentic with still delivering beautiful photos. Unlike a magazine where the brand provides the collateral for the ad, regular content and ad content is created by and starring me. It’s a weird balance for sure.

How do you make sure your photos are out before the product sells out?

This is really hard. I don’t have insight into inventory with brands so sometimes I take a good guess and hope for the best. If something is sold out, I may hold onto the photos for a week or so to see if it gets restocked or I’ll try to find something similar.

But it’s a shot in the dark for sure.

Do you decide what products to feature or do brands ask to highlight something particular?

Every brand is different. Some want a look that’s head to toe featuring that brand. Some give guidelines and some parameters and then I can pick everything else. And some brands don’t care and just give me complete creative control.

For holiday, a lot of time the brand has something specific they want to push. If it’s really something I don’t like or doesn’t feel “me” but there’s something else from the brand that I do, I always ask if it’s possible to switch. If it’s not possible, I pass. But in my experience brands are pretty receptive to the suggestions, especially since they know that I know myself and know my audience! Ultimately everyone wants a successful campaign.

How do you take images of all the content before the holiday has happened?

It’s unfortunately/fortunately all staged. Yes, it’s weird. I totally acknowledge that. Last year I set up a Christmas tree the first week of November JUST for blog photos that wouldn’t be going live until Thanksgiving.

While it’s weird and feels fake, it ultimately lets me enjoy the time I spend “in real life” with my friends/family. I’d prefer to stage holiday content for blog purposes and then not have to feel like my actual life is a photoshoot. (If that makes sense.) A big thing is that I have a photographer who I hire. It’s not a husband/boyfriend/family member who’d be there anyway. It gives me the best of both worlds and I way prefer my set up, even if it comes across as staged. I need to do that for my own mental sanity and privacy!

What does shoot prep look like?

A typical holiday shoot entails getting outfits and props ready. I try to make sure my outfit coordinates with the product and spend time going through my closet/shopping online for it. I also take into account what kind of photo I’ll be taking. Am I outside and will I need a coat? Will I have to sit on the floor and would jeans work better?

I also tend to have to get/prepare props. Last year in our super dark apartment, I STRUGGLED with the tree. Mike and I were both “over” the apartment and didn’t bother getting a tree. I had a fake one in my office and would literally break it down between shoots, drag it to the living room, re-decorate it with different ornaments just to have a different “look” for the campaign. This year, I’m doing multiple trees. (Because I’m excited to have a house to decorate yayyyyyy! and also because it’ll be so convenient for the blog.)

Do you go out after taking outfit pictures or do you go home and change into lounge clothes?

I shoot at least three outfits each day I’m with my photographer! So I typically stay in the last outfit for a while. But if I’m going to be working out later, then I change into workout clothes. And sometimes I have another event/appointment where the outfit I shot last isn’t appropriate so I change again.

My closet/room turns into a MESS (picture Abercrombie and Fitch’s dressing rooms circa 2003 on Black Friday ha) after a shoot with clothes/accessories/shoes everywhere.

How do your hours differ during the holiday season?

They’re pretty much the same, maybe an hour or two more of work a day. I generally spend more time shooting with my photographer and I typically have more events in the evenings that I have to take into account, too. It’s less about the time that things take and more about how ON TOP of things I have to be. No room for error and my organization/strategy has to be tight. I’ve been doing this for years though, so I feel pretty good about it.

Do you do more business through your blog or Instagram?

It’s kind of 50/50-ish. I’d say throughout the year it comes out in the wash but there are some months where everything is on Instagram and other months where my blog is the main focus campaign wise.

How much money do you make on average for each sponsored post?

I’ll be as specific as I can be. I will say that I take a lot of things into account when charging brands (how many pieces of content they’re asking for, what the messaging is going to look like, what the branding requirements are, what’s the timeline, what’s the exclusivity, who have they worked with before, have I enjoyed working with them before, etc.).

I pretty much won’t do anything under $3,500. That’s the bare, bare minimum and I rarely accept that rate. I also prefer to do FEWER campaigns for higher rates. Like, I’d rather do one $10,000 than ten $1,000 campaigns. I don’t want every Instagram to be sponsored so I charge rates that ensure I’m doing as few campaigns as possible.

I would say the normal bell curve for sponsored campaigns (with varying “packages” of content) goes from $7,500 to $20,000. There are some campaigns that are bigger than that and some that are smaller.

How much do you make per click?

Every retailer is different. But I don’t make money per click, it’s actually per order. So if a brand has a 10% commission rate and someone clicks on my link and buys a pair of shoes that cost $100, I make $10. The lowest rate, I’m pretty sure, is 7% and some commissions are 50% (but in my opinion those are all weird products and brands desperate to be featured on blogs). The mean is probably 10%.  My conversion rate is about 2%– so it takes 50 clicks to make a sale. I don’t try to kill myself on commission because frankly doing one sponsored post is a lot easier than trying to make that flat fee in commission. For years, my goal had been to have what I make in commission to more than cover all yearly operating expenses (my salary, new equipment, software, travel, contractors, accounting fees, etc) and whatever is left is basically a bonus and then sponsored content is on top of that. Now I’m doing more than that but it’s still a nice cushion. I make at least $10,000/month on commission (after returns) for the first half of the year and then every month from July-December goes up exponentially, peaking on Black Friday.

Who’s on Carly Team?

I realized last year that I don’t want full-time employees, at least for right now. It’s a lot of responsibility and I feel most comfortable with as little overhead as possible. I moved Carter to a part-time contractor, so I pay her a flat fee every month like on retainer for all of my photos and video content. It’s more expensive than paying an hourly rate but the benefits are worth it because I have her on a set schedule every week, if a trip or something big pops up it’s covered, and I get priority for her schedule.

Then I am signed to an agency that represents a lot of bloggers and digital influencers and assigned to a specific manager’s roster. I mentioned earlier that my current manager is on maternity leave so I’ve been working with her assistant. They make 15% of all sponsored content I do and it is SO worth it. They free up so much time, save me from costly mistakes in contracts, protect my brand, and negotiate higher rates than I could on my own behalf. And be the “bad cop” chasing down payment, ha. They collect all of my fees and I get one 1099 from them at the end of the year, this ALONE makes my life easier.

I also have a financial advisor, accountant, and attorney whom I use as needed throughout the year.

Would you benefit from an assistant?

YES, but I’d want like a personal assistant, not a blog assistant. At the same time though, I’d feel so awkward about it. There will likely be a time when I reevaluate this, but whenever I’m breaking down boxes or driving to the mall again to make returns or steaming a rack full of clothes, I do think about how nice it would be to have an extra set of hands. Not that I can’t do it myself, but help would be nice 😂 My dream would be to hire my mom because I COMPLETELY trust her, but she doesn’t live here.

Sometimes I feel so alone, mostly in the mundane tasks that are not hard but are extremely tedious and I’m just like, “Ugh! I want help!” It’d be hard for me to figure out a schedule for said role though so for now, I’m on my own!!!

Okay, I think I covered the major questions! Thanks for sticking around through this lengthy post!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

69 Comments

Emily V

Thank you for your transparency! It was great to get an insiders look at you’re world 🙂

Reply
Laura

Really really interesting to read about your job and the inside scoop of pieces of it!! Totally different from what I do (IT in corporate America) so it was really fascinating!! Thank you for sharing! 🙂

I just moved so unpacking all the boxes has not been fun, so I can only imagine dealing with boxes of free stuff every day gets old fast!!

Reply
Ashley C.

LOVED this post! I especially love your insight into how much bloggers/influencers make, on average, from each campaign. I’ve read a lot of these “behind the scenes” type posts and no one else ever addressed that question in a straight-forward way. It’s always been intriguing to me, since you can’t just go onto LinkedIn or Glassdoor and see average salaries for bloggers/influencers. Thanks so much for sharing!

Reply
Katrin

I loved this post! As someone who works in PR, it’s interesting to see the “other end” of the campaigns we plan.

Also, I’d happily pack up fiancé and dog and move to America to be your personal assistant (I picture this very Sex & the City Movie I).

As for all the free stuff that’s send to you: I can understand why people think it cool BUT it sounds like a horror scenario for me: a never ending stream of packages all over my house with stuff, I didn’t ask for and don’t know what to do with – and just as you cleaned everything up, the next package arrives!

Reply
Erin

I agree, I would NOT want to be sent unsolicited sh!t. Especially given your recent commitment to eliminating single-use plastic, that has to get frustrating.

Reply
Hanisa

Hi Carly
I miss Carly from 2 yeas ago. I love your posts and I know it is your job but do not let to take over your life. Before your posts were like -look what I find out- and now are more like- let me tell you- style. Do some mistakes, have fun, look at this as a community of girls like you.
love

Reply
carly

So, honestly, go back and read posts from two years ago! Two years ago people were saying they missed the Carly from two years before that! But the posts haven’t actually changed that much- I’ve just grown up.

Reply
Janna

Ahhh, this was such a cool read. I appreciate that you ACTUALLY name specifics. Most people say „real talk“ and then dance around the numbers and just say „less than you think“ or something. You just take questions seriously in a way I can‘t quite describe, but it is so rare. Your goal is that we understand, not just to project something, if that makes sense. Thank you for that!

Reply
Megan

Thank you for sharing, Carly. It’s so interesting to see the ‘behind the scenes’ of something that looks as though it runs like a well oiled machine. Oh, I wish you could hire your Mum! She seems like a dream!!

Reply
Ann Rogers

Fantastic post. It’s so nice to not have to go through all of these websites/stores to shop. Especially if you have multiple engagements year round that require different outfits to attend. As far as the content that is given/shipped for free you might want to contact the local women’s shelter and/or organizations where those who have nothing or far less than most who are struggling. What is an inconvenience could be a welcome gift……

Reply
brett

This is an awesome blog post! When I read this post it just reaffirms how transparent you try to be while still being professional and positive. Something I value about your brand.

Reply
Emma

Carly, this post was fascinating! I admire your transparency!

I would love to know your thoughts on the difference in advertising disclosure regulation in the US vs UK. I follow a few UK bloggers on Instagram and, as a consumer, I appreciate how they’re required to disclose gifted products/trips/etc (in addition to regular paid ads). An American blogger I follow had posted Insta stories about a trip she was on, and then a few weeks later posted a vlog about it where she disclosed that it was a gifted trip. Whereas a British blogger I follow went on a gifted trip recently and marked all of her posts/stories with #gifted (and was very open about the fact that it was a gifted trip, in general). I remember a lot of the UK bloggers I follow were complaining about these regulations when they first started (they’re much stricter than just #ad lol) but as the viewer, I love the transparency!

I’d love to know your thoughts on that sort of “influencer” advertising regulation from the blogger’s perspective. I don’t thing I’ve come across an established blogger who speaks as openly or transparently about the industry as you!

Sorry this is a novel of a comment lol!!

Reply
carly

I think the more transparency the better. Honestly this is another reason why I would prefer to just buy things on my own. It DOES become complicated with gifted items and regulations haven’t totally caught up. If anything, It’s also made me so so aware of product placement EVERYWHERE. Like a tv show I was watching CLEARLY had an “ad” for an SUV brand (with the character showing a feature of the car and everything) but no disclosure? It’s interesting and I try to stay as up to date as possible.

Reply
Susan

Carly, If you value transparency, can you elaborate on your decision to put a space between the # and ad on your story the other day? As I am sure you know, this made it un-clickable. Why not just ad or #ad? The deliberate # (space) ad felt like you were being tricky.

Reply
carly

Wasn’t trying to be tricky with followers (it still says “ad” and I always add the PAID PARTNER TAG (when I can, very occasionally I’m unable to because the brand doesn’t have it set up on their end), but I do think Instagram makes stories un-seeable when the hashtag is operable.

Reply
supal // @supaldesai_

I love the transparency and you’re so good at explaining everything even to people who are seasoned bloggers. I would just add that every blogger should be picky. The worst is doing a collaboration with a brand that you don’t share the same ethos with or just “settling.”

Reply
Grace K.

I so appreciate how transparent you are in this post–I’ve never, ever seen another blogger talk about actual figures. I think those amounts makes total sense considering how long you’ve worked to build up both your audience and our trust. Thank you for sharing all of this, Carly, especially since you’re under no obligation to do so.

P.S. I saw this post go live at midnight but deliberately “saved it” for my morning read with coffee because I knew it was going to be such a good one!

Reply
Abby

Really great post Carly 🙂 thanks for sharing! I think for us non-bloggers your whole world is so mysterious and exciting (even though for all of you it’s just normal day-to-day!) so this was really wonderful to read! Can’t wait for all the holiday content!!

Reply
Vreni Pigorsch

This was such an insightful post, thank you!!! I’ve always been fascinated by the behind-the-scenes of blogging. Thank you for being so candid about your work life! Good luck with your workload this Q4 – you’ve got this!

Reply
Jenn

This is so great! Appreciate your transparency. I obviously don’t know you but have been following for a long time and thought “I’m so proud of Carly! She’s built a very successful business”.

Reply
Karin

I loved this post, thank you for sharing!! I agree with many of the other comments in saying how much we all value your transparency and openness. It’s rare to see such honesty online these days and I really appreciate your willingness to share your experiences. Your behind the scenes posts are great because it shows what life is actually like behind the lens. It’s not always picture perfect and there’s a lot that goes into managing your career and balancing it with your life. I love that you disclosed actual figures when talking about how much you could earn from a campaign, it’s so refreshing! If anything, it makes me trust you and your brand more, knowing how honest you are about not just your opinions of brands, but all the work that goes into selecting a brand to partner with. Knowing how much you make doesn’t put me off, it just proves that you’re a hard worker and know what you are worth.

As far as what to do with the unsolicited things you receive from brands, you might want to look into donating some things to a women’s shelter if possible. They are always in need of clothing and hygiene products.

Thanks so much for this post, I’m definitely looking forward to all of your holiday content!

Reply
Sarah

This post was absolutely fascinating! Thank you for your transparency!

Not sure if possible but I would love to see a q&a with your manager (once you get your regular one back) about the business of being an influencer/blogger manager.

Reply
Chels

Carly! I appreciate the transparency in this so much. I’m sure it’s not easy sharing specifics, especially because people feel entitled to know how much social media influencers make but would never ask friends or coworkers their salaries. It’s an interesting point to me. Also, as someone who works in PR and with influencers a lot I see how “the sausage is made” sort to speak more than the average consumer but hearing it from an influencer’s perspective is so enlightening.

Reply
Sabrina

Thanks for such an in-depth and honest look at everything! It’s fascinating to learn about different careers & lifestyles.

Reply
Julianne

WOW! You really delivered on this post. As a book blogger myself, I so appreciate the detail and candor you put into this post, especially as the holiday season approaches and bloggers are going to be doing more ads. Would love to continue to hear you answer questions. I’m saving this post for future reference! Thanks soo much.

Reply
Bailey Carver

WOW! Thanks so much for sharing all of this. First of all you are amazing and absolutely killing it. It was really fascinating to learn about your balance between commission versus sponsored content income.

Reply
Elizabeth

I appreciate this post SO MUCH. Hardly any bloggers are transparent about the realities of this world, and everyone wonders. I know talking real numbers is probably nerve-racking, but it is APPRECIATED. I also am glad to know the mechanics of clicks and purchases – makes me want to be more intentional about how to support you, since you do so much for us! Thank you thank you.

Reply
Becca

I agree! I remembered learning about three years ago bloggers get a commission from things I found on their sit and tried to make sure they got that commission. I 110% think you should get paid because so many great brands/products I would never know about! Also, know that I’m not in college or grad school anymore I feel like I know less and less of what’s trendy ha!

Reply
Raven

Thank you for being so transparent! I’ve never seen a blogger be so honest about partnerships and income. Loved the inside view!

Reply
Shannon

Love this post! I think many don’t appreciate (myself included) how much goes on behind the scenes. Also cool to know more about the other professionals you work with – as an almost lawyer, working with bloggers/influencers would be a dream!

Reply
Riley

Carly- this was SO helpful for anyone who works for themselves (I think!) There are some many things in here that I found helpful/of which I took note, even though my job is much different than yours. Thank you so much for sharing- this was one of my favorites 💙

Reply
Alex

Hi- I genuinely asked why you don’t hashtag ads on Instagram correctly and you blocked me. Wasn’t meaning anything negative by it, so not sure why it warranted a block. Thanks.

Reply
carly

Sorry about that! Got inundated with negative questions so I was just going through IGs that didn’t have profile pictures and who didn’t follow me quickly and blocking people assuming they were trolling.

Reply
Alisha

Seriously. The space between the # and “ad” is not following the guidelines of the FTC…

Reply
tracey boots

I am curious what the difference between the # and ad makes? I would rather know it is as ad so regardless of wether there is a space or not doesn’t bother me. So truly curious in why it matters. Why is it a guideline for the FTC? As long as a blogger lets me know that their post is somehow an ad or gifted I could care less how they do it .

Sarah

It’s so obvious when a slew of people from GOMI come over here to post comments on a topic, then go back to GOMI and talk about all the comments she’s getting about that topic 😂😂😂 y’all aren’t slick

Reply
Elizabwrh

This was so interesting to read! I’m in a completely different job (SLP in schools) and both of my parents also work traditional “activity” jobs that I’m fascinated by anything online based. I’ve been following you for several years now and really enjoy watching you grow. Thank you for your honesty and transparency about not only the process of starting a blog/personal brand, but also how much you make. It’s so important to acknowledge that there is so much more to your job than taking pretty pictures and unboxing gifted items, especially that it requires a lot of knowledge and skills one might not assume from looking at Instagram alone. Well done, and good luck with your busy season!

Reply
Emily K

Thank you for sharing!! This was fascinating and definitely provides some great transparency. Its so great that you consistently work to make sure you’re only promoting products that you actually like 🙂

Reply
Kelly Dellinger

This is fascinating!!! Thank you for taking the time to share the intricacies of your world with us. So cool to see the BTS!

Reply
Erin Lucy

Thanks for sharing Carly! This was such an insightful post and your transparency is greatly appreciated. I find the whole process very interesting!
<3
Erin

Reply
Kim from 3 peanuts

What a great post Carly! It is so interesting to hear all of this. I got out of the blogging thing when it got complicated like this. I can only imagine what this is like. I am a rewardstyle affiliate but I rarely even post links nowadays. This post made me think maybe I should do more or maybe I shouldn’t. You work really hard, my friend. Thank you for sharing.

Reply
Kaitlin

I had NO IDEA a blog post took so. Much. Time.

Seriously! I’m not sure why – maybe because of the public opinion of bloggers not always being thought of highly I assumed it didn’t take “that much” time. My eyes were opened by this post.

I love your blog. Thank you for all you do! I like getting general style inspiration from blogs even though I don’t buy from posts (own too many clothes/trying to be more minimalist).

I work 12 hour hospital shifts which seem like a lot to people unfamiliar but I can’t imagine have to go to work the typical 5 days a week and running errands with more people around (ie grocery shopping on Sundays. The nightmare).

This was an awesome glimpse into your work and I hope it makes more people appreciate the time/effort it takes even when it appears “simple” bc readers don’t see behind the scenes.

Reply
Rosie

What do you do with all the products that you get sent and don’t like/cant use? Like the “40 shades of foundation” that you mentioned.

Reply
Libby

This has been one of my fave q+a’s ever! I appreciate the transparency, and all of the knowledge you have! The behind the scenes tasks are definitely the majority of the work, and it is so interesting to see what that looks like! I hope the holiday season finds you well, and you kill it this year!!

xx Libby
https://premedwearspearls.blogspot.com/

Reply
Ashley

I really enjoyed this post. I got interrupted twice with calls/text and still felt the need to finish it. Very interesting stuff. I would love to see a post about your prep work for a shoot. Like we’re talking photos of you steaming, the aftermath of your closet, etc. I think it could be a fun diary style entry. Love your content!

Reply
Michelle

By far my favorite post on this blog. You’re the only blogger I know who’s posted about blogging and actually given real figures. Kudos to you for being so open and honest.

Reply
Carla

If I ever won the lottery, I’d try to hire Meesh too! She’s the best! Looking forward to you going home so we get a dose of Meesh!

Reply
Mary Kate

Carly, this post was SO interesting. The business of blogging is much more than I expected. I think you’re the only blogger I’ve consistently followed over the years – since you first moved to NYC!

Reply
Melanie

This was so, so interesting! Thanks for posting. I loved how you brought up the downsides of receiving all that free stuff (which looks awesome from the outside, but I don’t think I’d want it either after your post!). One question that’s always been in the back of my mind… when you’re shooting, WHERE do you change clothes?? Definitely makes sense to do a couple outfits during one shoot but the logistics seem complicated!

Reply
Lauren G. Campbell

This was so incredibly eye-opening – thank you so much for sharing, Carly! Keep on hustlin’!

Reply
Flem

Hi-
I have been a huge fan of yours for 7+ years and you have always been a role model for me because I am about 6 years younger. I just wanted to tell you that I think you should be very proud of yourself for keeping your blog and brand authentically you even as your business has skyrocketed. Obviously you have matured and grown so much as a person since the beginning, but I still feel like the voice that I hear in your posts today is the voice that I heard when you started the blog so many years ago. As a person who has followed 25+ blogs since they first started, you truly are one of the few who I feel have not changed their identity and brand to make more money. A lot of the OG blogs that I have read for years have lost the voice of their founder because the founder has changed roles to being the face of the brand while hiring employees to write all of the blog posts. I understand that the founder or face of the blog does not have time anymore to write blog posts, but now the blog no longer has the voice of its founder. It has the voice of the staff person who writes the posts and in my opinion if I wanted that voice then I would want that writer to have her own blog that I could follow. I know that you could probably make more money if you scaled the business and hired several people to work on your blog daily, but I really respect and admire your decision not to do that. I feel like I am talking to an old friend every time I read your posts! Next time you feel overwhelmed or feel like you need a little motivation then just remind yourself how far YOU have gotten yourself while still staying authentic- xx

Reply