How Instagram 'It' Girl Chiara Ferragni topped Forbes’ Influencers List.

It’s a social media fairy tale. In 2009, a glamorous law student from Milan launched a blog The Blonde Salad – to showcase her inimitable style and covetable wardrobe.

Chiara Ferragni went on to become a fully-fledged businesswoman with a digital platform – theblondesalad.com – that offers “360 degrees of lifestyle experience”. Fast-forward not quite a decade and she has just topped Forbes’ List of Most Powerful Influencers.

How has this meteoric rise to Instagram It Girl occurred? It is thanks to her savvy fashion sense, the juggernaut that is social media and a generous dusting of good timing.

For timing was certainly on Ferragni’s side. The fashion blogger phenomenon was just emerging in 2009 – and big brands were quick to catch on. Ferragni has since collaborated with such names as Gucci, Dior, Mango and Louis Vuitton.

A year after Ferragni launched The Blonde Salad, Instagram burst onto the social media scene, catapulting tastemakers and influencers onto an even larger platform. A 2011 profile in Teen Vogue thrust her website past the 1,000,000 unique visitors per month mark. In 2015, Ferragni joined the ranks of the top tech entrepreneurs when Harvard Business Review selected The Blonde Salad as a case study, projecting annual revenues of at least $9,000,000.

Today, Ferragni’s statistics are mindboggling. She has over 14 million page views on her website each month, some of which convert to e-commerce sales for both her eponymous line of clothes, shoes and accessories and other labels. Her wares are on sale in 350 shops worldwide. She has two flagship shores in Milan and Shanghai, and she plans to open a further 20 stores in China in the near future.

Ferragni works hard to ensure that her influence doesn’t wane. She posts at least six times a day on Instagram, giving her 10.4 million followers a glimpse of her world through carefully curated images. It’s all there: her travels, her parties, her clothes and her love life. You can even watch her fiancé, the Italian singer Fedez, proposing to her on YouTube.

The fairy tale isn’t yet over, either. For as long as she is deemed aspirational by her followers, as long as she wields influence over how they dress and live, Ferragni can continue to weave her magic. She puts it perfectly herself: “People love to dream through me.”

November 2017