Sydney Fashion Blogger is just a girl, standing in front of her iPhone, asking you to love her outfit. Although SFB – whose real name is Antoinette Marie – is a stylist and full-time creative producer by day, at the time of this interview she had over 200,000 followers on photo-sharing app Instagram. Companies dream of that kind of social media following; this is just one girl with an iPhone and a killer wardrobe.
Designers send her free clothes, hairdressers love to do her hair, and she’s on every guest list in the country. Girls chase her down the street, and even construction workers yell, “Hey, Sydney Fashion Blogger! I follow you on Insta,” when she walks past.
She also gets hundreds of emails every week from fans in Paris, Dubai, Cairo, Saudi Arabia, Rome, Beijing and London. When Cosmo got a look at her staggering social media stats, we really wanted to know one thing – how did she do it?
SFB may be über-glam, but she’s also private and humble. For the record, we’ve seen inside her Facebook and blog records, and every follower is legit – she hasn’t bought a single one. She’s an honest-to-Zuckerberg social media success story.
If you follow her, you’ll know a few things: she’s crazy-beautiful, her handbag collection is amaze, she likes a good quote and goes out a lot. But what nobody knows – until now – is how she’s achieved worldwide fame.
How have you gone from 4000 followers in 2011 to over 200,000 today? You’re basically a social media wizard.
It started casually! I was working in advertising, and I’d send my boss a photo every day for inspiration. When she got too busy and stopped reading my emails, I posted them on Facebook, and people begged me to start a blog. So I did.
That must have been early 2011.
It was. Then I was invited to that year’s Mercedes-Benz Sydney Fashion Week. I went to the Alex Perry and Rachel Gilbert shows, then stayed the whole week, just meeting people. It was only two years ago, but nobody really knew what a blog was! They kept asking me “What’s a blogger?”
Who did you meet at Fashion Week?
I don’t like name-dropping, but a lot of cool people, like designers and buyers. Especially this street-style photographer who shoots for Gucci and other fashion houses. He followed me and so did his friends. My followers grew that way. So simple! Meet a cool person, get them to follow you, repeat.
So what happened next?
I was approached by a magazine in Italy to do styling. That’s how I broke into Europe, and that’s why I have a lot of Italian followers. They actually found me just by Googling “Sydney fashion bloggers” and my name came up first. Literally, because I own that name, when people say “I want a fashion blogger in Sydney,” I’m the top of the search. So it’s about friendships, search engine optimisation [SEO], and tagging things properly.
There are always going to be haters who say “she must have bought her followers.” What would you say to them?
A lot of people buy their followers, but you can tell the difference. If you bought your followers, they’re just empty accounts, so when you post a photo you don’t get any likes. You can only legitimately increase your reach if people like your photo, their friends see it, and there’s a knock-on effect like that. I’ve got proof that all of the stuff I’ve done is 100 percent viral. I’ve done no paid advertising on Facebook, and everything has just grown organically.
For most people, something goes viral once in their life. But every single post of yours goes viral.
Yes! I almost always make the popular page on Instagram, which means I could get 2000 new followers with every new picture I post. That’s how it jumped up from 5000 to 99,000 in January, then 170,000 in March, 200,000 now – and who knows what next.
So, it’s 8.30pm on a Tuesday and you post a photo of you in a full-length gown. Are you actually going out somewhere, or do you sometimes just dress up for fun?
I’m always going out! I go to a lot of charity galas and functions. Plus, I’m from a big European family, so there’s always a wedding or an engagement party to go to! If I’m at a fitting, then I’ll always say so.
Why don’t you show your face? It’s a good face.
Because I want the clothes to be the focus, I don’t want it to be about me personally. That way, people can imagine themselves wearing the outfit, even if they don’t look like me. It’s all about the fashion; I’m just a mannequin.
SBF’s life on Insta:
*Swoon SFB in one of her many ball gowns.*
Katniss braids and BLING!
A dress fit for fashion royalty.
Selfie, with Chanel of course.
In the lifts at her office job: work wear with a twist.