Why I Haven’t Monetized My Blog

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I think it’s time I addressed something about the “business” side of this blog.

Monetizing to me, means getting sponsorships, paid content, and banners/advertisements.

It seems that the goal for almost every fashion blog in existence has the goal of making money, whether it’s apparent from the get-go or something that just naturally happens.  This is by no means a bad thing; monetizing your blog is a great way to gain passive-ish income from doing something creative in the field that you like.  This even extends to people who get Instagram famous or get a bunch of subscribers on YouTube.  And while my blog has certainly gained traction within the past year, I still don’t have any plans to truly monetize it.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m always open to it.  So far we’ve done one sponsored post, with Vulture Suits , where I received a MTM suit in exchange for an honest review.  But other than that, nothing else has really happened. Monetizing a blog that’s very niche, very personal, and extremely specific is pretty difficult. Here’s my thoughts on the matter.

This is blog is different 

Unlike other blogs like The Modest Man or Teaching Men’s Fashion, my blog isn’t geared toward beginners.  There are no dedicated posts to trends or compilation lists of the best jeans/sneakers/shirts to wear when  going back to school. This content has been done to death.  Now, I think that that stuff is still valuable information; I’m just not going to waste my time by covering something that I don’t have to.   Plus, why would I compete when these guys have been in the business way before me?

Honestly, we don’t even follow a set schedule on this blog.   There aren’t clickbait articles about the “top 5 trousers for summer” like every one does every year.  Instead, content is based on random ideas that pop in to my head.  Am I going to a menswear event? Cool, I’ll write about that!  Guess, I just thrifted a cool pair of pants and need to tailor them; guess that’s next.  Other times, we write about a vintage garment that I’ve noticed has gone unspoken about.  That’s where articles on  high rise trousers, vintage sport shirts and gauchos came from.

We do wear seasonal stuff and give advice on how to wear certain things (or how to achieve a certain style) but those are all things come up naturally.  I don’t like to focus too much on straight dictation of rules; I prefer to just talk about what I’m wearing and point out the details.

We’re picky

A lot of the monetization comes from the fact that bloggers advocate a certain look and tell how you to get it.  Most of the time, these are partnerships/sponsors who give money for that particular article, affiliate links for similar products,  or it’s legitimately free product.  Well, if you know me (which I’m sure most of you do at this point), you’ll know that I don’t really push for specific products or stores.

Because we wear vintage for the details, it’s pretty hard to find a place that recreates those details.  I’m not going to put an affiliate link for a J. Crew suit when the look I’m advocating uses wide lapels, pleats, and is entirely from the 1960’s.  Like I said in an old blog post , It’s about recreating a look faithfully.  A 1960’s sack suit will look completely different than a modern one from H&M or Banana Republic.  I don’t to have that comparison in my blog, so therefore I can’t advertise that.

We get emails from time-to-time asking us to review different suits, shirts, and shorts.  But I can’t bring myself to work with them if I can’t even visualize myself wearing them!  There’s nothing wrong with basic menswear, but I’d much rather review gurkha shorts than a regular slim-flat-front pair.   But then again, I have a lot of clothes. I’m trying to only make specific purchases that will enhance my wardrobe.  I don’t need more dress shirts (and if I do get some, they better the 1930’s repro spearpoints!).

I also want to make sure that the products are relevant both to myself and to my followers. Remember that this blog is incredibly niche.  You guys probably won’t care for a minimalistic watch if you guys already collect vintage timepieces; I don’t even wear watches myself!  Same goes for those shirtstays, cufflinks, or skinny ties.  Pretty incongruous for this blog.

Obviously there are brands that I’d love to have advertise with us. Skoaktiebolaget, Drake’s, Kamakura, and  Luxire are just a few.  However, I sincerely doubt that I have readership to give them a great ROI for their ad.   Also, a guy who thrifts his wardrobe to look like it was bespoke probably doesn’t have a reader who has money to buy the actual bespoke item. For now, they will be aspirational brands that I will always be open to work with.  It might be just a pipe dream.

It’s Pricey to Implement

Here’s the real kicker: I don’t have money to do it.  Yeah it might not sound like a lot to you, but in order to implement monetization and adsense, I’d have to first purchase my domain, purchase hosting (most likely change platforms to make it cooler), and get an adsense account.  Those monthly costs do add up and since my blog doesn’t have any leads for revenue, it will be operating at a definite loss for a long time.  Even though I do have a full time job and love menswear, I don’t love it enough for me to inject some capital into.

After doing all of that, then it becomes a real business. I’d have to constantly make sure that my views are going up and that people are clicking on my ads.  I’d also have to try and guarantee sponsorships to have consistent money flow.  Lastly (and most importantly) I’m pretty sure that this would affect my editorial voice, since it would make “sense” to have content that will draw in more advertisers and revenue.  I really have enough on my plate as it is.

As a Hobby, we have freedom

Obviously there is nothing wrong with making money.  Hell, I’m glad that The Modest Man does quarterly reports so I can have a good idea of what to expect if I went that route.  I think he’s pretty successful to be financially independent thanks to his blog/Youtube and he’s done a lot of cool things.  But that’s not really my goal.

I like being able to write about whatever I want, whenever I want.  Taking pictures of random stuff I’ve found at thrift stores, the latest 1930’s suit I acquired from Reese’s Vintage Pieces, or random events that I’ve dressed up to is what I do best.  Like I said earlier, there isn’t a set schedule for content. I’m pretty amazed that I get to write a blog post once or twice a week, honestly.  But you’ll always notice that there really isn’t a theme or any products being peddled.  Almost everything is one of a kind.

This blog is basically a huge hobby for me, and I really don’t want to pay to do my hobby.  I also don’t want to restrict my hobby.  Once it becomes a business, then it’s no longer something that I can do on my off time; it basically becomes my life.  I definitely like the creative freedom to write about whatever the hell I want.

But We Are Open to it!

Now while I don’t have plans at the moment to monetize, I am always open to it.  Please note that this isn’t asking for any handouts or solicited offers; this is just me thinking out loud. I would definitely consider upgrading my site to support ads if I had a couple of brands (that I know and trust) that would become dedicated sponsors.  Die, Workwear and Put This On operate on that type of model (as far as I know) and they are definitely an inspirations to me.   I’ll repeat the list: Drake’s, The Armoury, Skoaktiebolaget, Berg & Berg, and similar brands are who I could see being a cool sponsor.  While they definitely adhere to classic menswear (or rather contemporary classic menswear), I believe that they still carry the same weight and style that is relevant to myself (especially since I look at them for inspiration a lot) and is reflective of my personal aesthetic. However, I can definitely see that most of these guys aren’t very keen on vintage styles.  I’m still trying to fight the uphill battle of making 1930s-1940s style relevant.

On that note, I also thought it would be cool to work more directly with vintage dealers.  I’ve shopped at various vintage stores in SoCal (and even other eBay-only ones) and having them as dedicated sponsors would be cool and totally in line with the theme of Street x Sprezza.   Many people ask me where I get my stuff, so it could potentially be helpful to have some advertisements or even a banner to the places I shop at most. I will say that I almost always put links when I talk about these stores and I always recommend them when people send me an email or a message.

I’m even open to product reviews, when they are applicable.  White sneakers (deck shoes, converse, trainers) are a classic piece of menswear that work with almost everything I wear: 90s throw back, workwear, and contemporary sartorial casual.  Related products like selvedge denim, boots, and dress shoes (loafers, oxfords) are equally as great and will definitely pass the test of relevance.  Again, a “fashion-forward sneaker” or a fast-fashion dress shoe is not what I would do.  However, I tend to find this stuff on my own (either eBay, thrifting, or I get emails) and it really isn’t a huge concern of mine.

Lastly, there’s always reproduction brands.  As vintage menswear becomes more and more scarce, good repros like SJC are the way to go.  However, it doesn’t have to stop there. Tailors like Yamamoto-San of CAID and denim producers are still fighting the good fight.  I’d definitely pay to actually own these garments for myself. However, I’d definitely be open to having them advertise or even sponsor a post.  Remember that it always has to be relevant to what we’re about here.

With that said, I think I can be a bit more lenient on having ads in our podcast (once the damn thing launches).  I’ve only listened to a few, but it seems like much less of a hassle, especially when content is concerned.  Reading  straight copy (instead of  being an adver-torial) from Leesa mattress or squarespace is something I can get behind. But that’s way down the road. We haven’t even uploaded the first episode yet!

Conclusion

This blog is literally an extension of me, and I want it to stay that way.  I don’t want to get bogged down by sponsors or advertisers, nor do I want to change my content to be able to make revenue.  Right now, I write about the most random shit: vintage chore coats, wide legged Uniqlo pants , and 1930’s-1940’s ties.    There’s no attention to seasons, trends, or sales; it’s just whatever I feel like writing!

Monetizing my blog is definitely going to take extra work and time to do right, and I honestly don’t feel a desperate need for it at this moment. Hell, it’s something I dread doing, because it drastically changes the vibe of this blog and I don’t want that to happen.  Right now, I don’t spend money on my blog and my blog makes no money. It’s a status-quo that works out for my creative control.  Plus I’ve got you guys to think about! I don’t want this to go the way of the other bloggers, where every other post is basically an advertisement for a product that you don’t need.

With that said, I’m definitely open to it, if I’m sure it will work out for all three of the parties: the advertiser, my self, and my followers.  Podcast ads can be pretty general, but I don’t want to be sent useless products for me to review nor do I want something that is totally not in line with the ethos I have placed on this blog.   Again, tailoring shops, artisinal makers, and repros are probably the types of companies I’d work with, just because I  shop there and talk about them already!  It really won’t make too much of a difference, which is why I am not looking to monetize right now.  It’s not a big deal.  I like how things are right now. 

I hope you guys are on the same page with me.  As always you can leave a comment with your own thoughts or you can email me directly at inquiry.streetxsprezza@gmail.com.  Perhaps I’m being too narrow minded and there’s an angle that I haven’t thought of. Either way I’m looking forward to hearing your thoughts on this matter.  I just want to ensure that the blog remains what it is known for!

I won’t deny and say that  extra income would be nice.  Just sayin’.

Always a pleasure,

Ethan W.

@ethanmwong 

Street x Sprezza 

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3 comments

  1. Tommy Hail · September 20, 2017

    It makes sense. I honestly appreciate that you aren’t taking sponsors for products you know that you and your readers don’t care about. Staying true to yourself is good.

    Like

  2. Nenad · September 20, 2017

    Most bloggers have become advertisers for their sponsors and stoped talking about what really matters and that’s men style. You are doing great job focusing on style.

    Like

  3. A lot of these are similar to why I haven’t monetized my own blog, either. Though they’re slightly different because we generally exist in different genres / niches. But please continue to try and make 30’s and 40’s clothing fashionable because it’s gorgeous; coming from an avid lover of both pre and post war fashion herself, it’s great to see others (especially Men) with an interest!

    Like

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