Jennifer Powell is no ordinary model agent. While working on the women’s board for Next models, Powell started representing social media talent, and started managing some of the Internet’s most influential fashion bloggers. One of the first industry insiders to realise the potential marketing value of online talent, Powell is an important digital influencer — helping bloggers to build up their following, monetise their output in order to become brands in their own right.
Powell first helped Next models expand into online and social media talent eight years ago, after the blogger Rumi Neely, of FashionToast.com, approached the agency. “Rumi was really smart about it and realised it was a business for her, so she came to us,” Powell told the New York Post.
With girls like Neely racking up audiences of 75,000 unique views a day by 2010, Powell realised blogging was the industry’s next significant marketing platform. “When you have a person with 2 million Instagram followers, that’s direct consumer advertising,” Powell told CNBC. “It’s a no brainer.” The main way Powell turns blogs into immediate profitable businesses is by orchestrating collaborations and endorsements with top luxury fashion labels, and ultimately looking at how to build the influencer’s brand and create their ancillary businesses.
Today, Powell heads up a portfolio of around 20 bloggers, including popular sites like Fashion Toast, Kayture, Sincerely Jules and We Wore What. With Powell’s help, they have formed business relationships with almost every fashion and beauty brand — luxury and mass — and many of Powell’s talents have taken home deals worth over six figures.