NEW YORK, United States —Danielle Bernstein, the 27-year-old influencer behind WeWoreWhat, juggled 18 endorsements last month, including Revolve, Sunday Riley and Volvo. She sat front row at runway shows in New York and Paris. In her spare time, she hammered out details for an upcoming swimsuit collection and edited chapters from her book, which comes out next spring.
An influencer at the top of her game, Bernstein has a team to organise the day-to-day complexities of what’s become a multi-million-dollar-a-year business. For everyone else, Bernstein is launching Moe, a platform where content creators can communicate with brands, generate invoices, manage projects and handle other mundane tasks that keep the influencer economy humming.
The start-up — named after Moe Paretti, Bernstein’s chief brand officer — targets the growing number of influencers who have turned sponsored posts and product endorsements into a full-time job. The service costs $27.99 per month.
Brand partnerships can be complex — one might require daily posts for a week, another could entail documenting an event on social media or posting about a trip overseas. Influencers failing to post or posting the wrong type of content (a Story is different than a static photo) can be a pain point: publishing with a caption that’s “off-brand,” using incorrect hashtags or identifying content as sponsored can jeopardise partnerships and even cause trouble with regulators.
“We’ve almost lost control of our businesses,” said Bernstein the morning she returned from Paris, where she was flanked by two employees and three suitcases containing outfits she’d worn on a six-day trip for fashion week. “There’s no system that legitimises our workflow and our process.”
Plenty of companies manage influencer-brand relationships, including Pixlee, CreatorIQ, Traackr, Upfluence and AspireIQ. But they usually pitch themselves to the sponsors rather than the creators. Fohr, for example, categorises influencers by their follower count and “follower health” to guide brands toward the right candidate for a marketing campaign.
But there’s little in the way of tech solutions developed for the influencers, said Bernstein. She put up $200,000 to get the venture started and raised $1.2 million in a seed round from Raissa Gerona, Revolve’s chief brand officer, and Rebecca Minkoff, among others.
Bernstein named the project after Paretti because the tool is a digitised version of her role, she said. For six years, Paretti has managed Bernstein’s partnerships through a combination of handwritten notes, e-mails, Google documents and Excel spreadsheets.
But as the number of projects has gone up, the two needed a way to streamline and keep track of each deal. They created a project management tool specific to “what a typical influencer campaign would look like.” This means a template with inputs for the number of Instagram posts required, publish dates and times of posts, required tap tags and hashtags and regulatory guidelines. There’s also a dashboard to see a global view of all brand collaborations in one place, project timelines and insights to measure reach and campaign performance.
Next month, a collaboration tool launches that will allow influencers to share a project with a brand so all comments, notes and approvals are contained in one place. This is a pain point for influencers, where “long-winded email chains” between content creator and brand are the norm for securing approval on photos, captions and hashtags.
Moe is a departure for Bernstein, who still posts an “outfit of the day” and records her rigorous self-care regimen for her 2.2 million Instagram followers. She’s also branched into fashion, including a line of overalls and a swimwear collaboration with Onia.
Marianna Hewitt, co-founder of skincare line Summer Fridays, was one of about 25 influencers who received access to an early version of Moe. She counts Vital Proteins, Smith & Cult and DL1961 among the eight brands she worked with in September.
As an influencer, she plans to use Moe to organise her own projects. She’ll also use the platform to approve posts other content creators make for Summer Fridays, she said.
“We try to use so many platforms, Google documents and e-mail, but there’s no real platform that’s built for us because our job is so specific,” Hewitt said.