Several influencers who begin their careers as social media moguls tend to gravitate towards entrepreneurial work. These influencers don’t necessarily have the largest number of followers on Instagram. Rather, they have harnessed their existing success as influencers to market their own brands to their loyal followers.
In many instances, these women have transcended their ‘influencer’ images. They have expanded beyond their niches in the influencer world to become full-fledged business owners.
Below we’re going to introduce 8 badass ladies who are not only wildly successful super influencers. They are also brilliant entrepreneurs.
Arielle Charnas (SomethingNavy)
Arielle Charnas’ chic yet casual feminine style is what her followers love about her. When she started her blog, SomethingNavy.com, in 2009 before there was Instagram. Over the years, she has traded her Aldo and Steve Madden shoes for Manolos and Louboutins. Arielle now has 1.1 million followers on her Instagram account (@ariellecharnas).
Her followers have quite literally watched her grow up. Arielle has always invited her Instagram followers to take a close look at her personal life, via photos, Q&As, and captions. They saw her fall in love with her husband, Brandon Charnas, get married, have their two daughters, and slowly become the full-fledged fashion designer she is today.
Initially, Nordstrom collaborated with Arielle Charnas to create the Something Navy x Treasure & Bond line in 2017, which drove over $1 million in sales in just 24 hours. Following the huge success of her collaboration, Arielle went on to create her own brand, Something Navy, which is exclusively sold at Nordstrom.
Arielle has now designed three collections for Nordstrom, and they have all been huge successes. In fact, her most recent collection dropped earlier last week. Like with the launch of Arielle’s other two collections, the Nordstrom website crashed due to high traffic.
Chiara Ferragni (The Blonde Salad)
Chiara Ferragni is one of the first and, arguably, the most successful fashion influencer in the world. Long before establishing her own brand, Chiara was busy working on her blog TheBlondeSalad.com. According to Ferragni, brands started reaching out to her very soon after launching her blog in 2009. Chiara got into fashion blogging when it was still an unexplored area. Her appeal caught on quickly in the luxury fashion world, which is when she started receiving lucrative deals with brands like Dior and Louis Vuitton.
After several successful years as a fashion influencer, the Italian social media mogul launched her own self-titled luxury brand, Chiara Ferragni Collection. Chiara’s fashion label is now sold in several luxury retailers around the world, including Barneys New York and Saks Fifth Avenue. She also has flagship stores in Milano, Shanghai, Paris, and Chengdu.
Chiara Ferragni has proved that she has transcended her influencer image. Not only does she have her own successful brand, but Chiara has also been the subject of a Havard Business School case study, scored front covers for Vogue Spain and Vogue Turkey, and has been named one of Forbes’ top 30 under 30.
Considering Huda Kattan is one of the most successful influencers in the world, you probably expected to see her on this list. Huda has built up a massive Instagram following of over 28.8 million followers on her account @hudabeauty.
Before becoming a successful influencer, Huda Kattan worked as a celebrity makeup artist in Los Angeles. Her client list included celebrities like Eva Longoria and Nicole Richie. Additionally, she was also employed as a makeup artist by cosmetics giant, Revlon.
Huda’s journey as an influencer started in 2010 when she started her beauty blog, Huda Beauty, where she posted her makeup tutorials and beauty tips and tricks. It didn’t take long for her blog to gain popularity.
Huda launched the Huda Beauty brand in 2013 through Sephora, and at the time, the only product she sold was fake eyelashes. Since then the Huda Beauty brand has become popular all over the world – it’s now sold in several retailers including Sephora and online retailer, Cult Beauty. She has expanded her brand to include several new products including eyeshadow palettes, eyeliners, liquid lipsticks, foundations, and more.
If you’re into all things beauty and fashion, chances are you’ve seen photos of Negin Mirsalehi on Instagram. Not only does she have 5.1 million Instagram followers, but she also secured a spot on Forbes’s European 2018 30 Under 30 list and developed her own best-selling haircare brand, Gisou.
Negin and her boyfriend launched Gisou, her hair care brand, in 2015. Her hair care line, which includes hair oil, texturizing spray, hair masks, and more, is made with bee products. Mirsalehi’s family, who have been working as beekeepers for 6 generations now, inspired her to create Gisou.
As reported by Forbes, Negin even declined a brand ambassador job with a leading hair care provider, for which she would have been paid $800k, in order to pursue her completely self-funded haircare company. Gisou is now reportedly worth millions. 👏
It may be surprising to some that Gisou is so successful considering how expensive the products are (i.e $60 hair masks and $80 hair oil). However, according to Revolve, one of the retailers that sell Gisou, the product sells out almost immediately after restocking it – it’s one of their beauty best-sellers.
Jen Atkin, a renown hair stylist to the stars, reached widespread fame after appearing on several A-list celebrities’ Instagram accounts. For a while, she was best known as the Kardashian/Jenner clan’s hairstylist, which is likely how she built up an Instagram following of 2.6 million. Atkin also has a successful blog, maneaddicts.com. However, over the last year or so, she has started gaining more recognition for her entrepreneurial work.
Atkin is the founder of the hugely popular Ouai haircare line, which most of you beauty enthusiasts are probably familiar with. Ouai was launched in 2016, and since then, it’s turned into a thriving business. This is partly because the company has done an incredible job marketing the products on social media. From super influencers to celebrities, it seems like Ouai hair products are everywhere.
Ouai is also very focused on building a community for millennial women. For example, “In November of 2016, Ouai launched an on-site consultation service in which users can take a quiz that leads them to product recommendations. To date, the quiz has been taken approximately 70,000 times, enabling the brand to collect first-person data and feedback from customers while moving product,” wrote Fashionista. Ouai is very customer-centric, which is one of the main differentiators between Jen’s company and other leading hair care companies.
Although the brand’s sales figures have yet to be confirmed, experts estimated that Jen Atkin’s brand brought in $15 million in net sales last year. That number will likely be much higher in 2018.
Leandra Medine (The Man Repeller)
Leandra Medine started her career as an influencer in 2010 when she launched her blog Man Repeller. Her blog, which still receives millions of views every month, covers women’s fashion. Namely, fashion that women love and men hate (think frills, shapeless dresses, and sequins).
She also has a very strong presence on Instagram – @manrepeller has 2 million followers and her personal account, @leandramcohen, has 749k followers.
Leandra has created two shoe brands: MR by Man Repeller and Leandra Medine. MR by Man Repeller was carried exclusively by the luxury online retailer, Net-a-Porter, while her self-titled shoe line, Leandra Medine, is sold in luxury retailers around the world, like Harvey Nichols and Barney’s New York.
Leandra has been named one of Forbes’s “Top 30 Under 30”, and is also the author of “Man Repeller: Seeking Love. Finding Overalls”.
Natasha Oakley & Devin Brugman (A Bikini a Day)
Natasha Oakley and Devin Brugman are two best friends that simply started posting photos of themselves on the beach, wearing their favorite bikinis. The two best friends used their joint Instagram account, @abikiniaday, to post photos of a new bikini every day. What originally started as a fun hobby turned into a burgeoning business for both Natasha and Devin.
Natasha and Devin now have a combined following of roughly 4 million Instagram users. With their large social media followings and after working with thousands of swimwear companies over the years, Devin and Natasha launched their very own brand, Monday Swimwear, in 2013. Their swimwear line has been worn by several celebrities (like Kendall Jenner) and constantly sells out on their e-shop.
Their vast knowledge and experience in the swimwear industry have allowed these two ladies to create swimsuits that are of unprecedented quality. Their products are made to fit women of all shapes and sizes and enhance the female figure.
Kayla Itsines is one of the biggest names in fitness right now. The Australian fitness influencer has her own blog, e-shop, app, cookbooks, and fitness programs. Kayla, who has been a personal trainer since 2008, gained international fame with her fitness program, the “Bikini Body Guide” (BBG), a 28 minute HIIT workout program.
Although she may have started as a fitness influencer on Instagram, Kayla Itsines has managed to create her own fitness empire over the last few years. Her business is now worth millions and she’s only 27.
Every aspect of her business aims to encourage women to be strong and live healthy lives. On Kayla’s Instagram page, you’ll see that she posts many BBG transformation photos that have been taken by her fans.
Kayla now has 10.5 million followers on Instagram and has been featured in an impressive number of publications, such as Shape, Women’s Health, Daily Mail, Cosmopolitan, Marie Claire, ET, and more.
As reported by Forbes, Kayla has a unique approach to the way she operates her business, saying: “I strive to focus my account on the inspirational transformations of my clients, rather than it always being about me and my life. Relatable and engaging content is fundamental for the continued growth and a loved social media account.”