These days, you can’t swing a bag of cats around without hitting some sort of social influencer. But how do these people make money from their content?
RewardStyle, a Dallas-based startup, provides a platform for influencers and bloggers to get paid for all the sales they inspire out of consumers.
Though the company has been operating under the radar, it has grown to generate more than $1 billion in sales for its 4,000 retailers and 575,000 brands worldwide since launching in 2011.
It all started when founder Amber Venz Box, personal shopper and jewelry maker, was running her own style blog. She started seeing loads of sales going through from her content but getting no payout from the retailers. Effectively, she had cut herself out of her own business.
She decided to build something, with the help of her boyfriend (now husband) Baxter Box, that eventually turned into RewardStyle.
Here’s how it works:
Bloggers can create clickable links from their content (pictures, text, etc.) that lead directly to retailers and brands. When a reader clicks through and makes a purchase, both the blogger and the retailer can track that purchase and send a commission to the blogger for the lead.
For a long while, this system worked out just fine, and RewardStyle continued to grow in both influencers and retailers. Then Instagram came along.
As Instagram picked up steam as a major platform for influencers, RewardStyle was left with the challenge of connecting sales from influencers to retailers without the ability to track links — as you know, Instagram doesn’t allow links on pictures.
To overcome this obstacle, RewardStyle launched LikeToKnowIt, a platform built specifically for Instagram. Bloggers signed on to the LikeToKnowIt platform have a specific link for their profile (the only link allowed on Instagram) that takes their followers to a unique web page.
This page lists each item that appears in every image of the influencer’s Instagram feed, complete with shoppable, trackable links so that the influencer gets paid out.
LikeToKnowIt also lets users sign up for a newsletter, which pushes every photo they like on Instagram directly to their inbox.
In the past two years since launch, LikeToKnowIt has generated more than $100 million in revenue, with 1.5 million users subscribed to the system and more than 1,000 LTKI posts created every day.
With the fashion space relatively conquered, RewardStyle has now launched other verticals, partnering with home decor influencers and retailers like West Elm.
If you want to learn more about RewardStyle, you can hit up the website right here.