May 18, 2024


Built General Tough

Chiara Ferragni, influence peddling – Le Temps

On April 9, 2021, between photographs of her second child, just born, and her relatives, Chiara Ferragni slipped on her Instagram account the screenshot of a news site announcing her entry to the board of directors from the iconic group of relaxed Italian chic, Tod’s. The emoticon of folded hands, a sign of gratitude, accompanies the image. Congratulatory comments from her mother, sisters, digital celebrities and thousands of anonymous people are pouring in. According to the economic daily Il Sole 24 Ore the same day, the “Ferragni effect” caused the shares of the luxury company to flare up. As for Tod’s capitalization on the Milan stock exchange, it exceeded one billion.

“I sent her a welcome message on LinkedIn,” says 47-year-old lawyer Romina Guglielmetti, so far the youngest member of Tod’s board. A little more than a decade separates the two women, but the first claims to be a “grandmother” compared to this spokesperson for millennials. “Did she answer you?” Silence. She suppresses a smile. “No, I’m not popular enough!” She certainly wouldn’t have had better luck on Instagram, the influencer’s favorite social network, which has more than 23 million followers..

“Together, we will seek to build solidarity projects for those who need them the most, by raising awareness and involving more new generations”, commented Diego Della Valle, CEO of Tod’s. The news surprised even within the board of directors. “She is available, enthusiastic and wants to participate,” says one of the older members. Only the notoriety of the 34-year-old young woman, originally from Cremona, in Lombardy, precedes her. Her career and professional activity are still largely unknown to the leaders of the century-old company, except for Romina Guglielmetti, kept informed by her 10-year-old daughter who follows her on social networks.

“Entrepreneur, influencer, mother of two children: the values ​​she embodies are positive”, appreciates the lawyer. The day before news of her arrival at Tod’s, she posted an image of herself breastfeeding her daughter. “It marked me,” says Romina Guglielmetti. This relaxation allows him to draw attention to herself, but also, in the long term, to reorient his communication in the service of his activity. “

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Blogger and CEO

Joining the Tod’s Board of Directors is therefore only the latest step in a long entrepreneurial journey. In 2009, Chiara Ferragni opened a simple blog dedicated to her sartorial tastes and her travels. The following year, she received her first invitation to Milan Fashion Week. A consecration for a blogger, an activity rather scorned in the world of fashion. She then abandoned her studies in jurisprudence at Bocconi University to devote herself entirely to her online activity. Three years later, she launched a brand of clothing and accessories in her name.

These two entities gave birth to two companies that Chiara Ferragni manages: TBS Crew, which owns the blog “The Blonde Salad”, and Serendipity, which manages the Chiara Ferragni Collection brand. The influencer thus wants to promote a label of “sharing, joy, value and optimism in the real world as well as in the digital world”. And promises to dress “dynamic, international, modern and determined” women. The overall annual turnover of its two companies amounts to some 40 million euros. An income further supplemented by the modeling activities that she performs for other brands. “If we look at her story, she has in fact always been an entrepreneur,” comments Carlo Fei, professor of fashion management at Luiss University in Rome. From childhood, her mother taught her to be determined and to develop her image in front of the cameras. His desire to stage himself coincides with the explosion of social networks. She therefore did not choose at a particular time to make a career. It happened naturally. ”

“Personal branding”

Its original and atypical course enchants Internet users and the number of its followers continues to increase. Over the years, it has also attracted the attention of the biggest luxury and food brands as well as that of the national and international press. In 2015, the American University of Harvard even dedicated a case study to “The Blonde Salad”, “the most popular fashion blog in the world”. The four authors analyze the way in which Chiara Ferragni monetized her site “by transforming it into a lifestyle magazine and by positioning it as a high-end brand”. The blogger took the risk of changing business model by integrating an e-commerce space and by no longer cooperating “with a limited number of fashion and luxury advertisers, inevitably reducing the site’s income”. In the long term, the strategy has paid off.

Considered in 2018 as one of the most influential people in the world and the biggest fashion influencer according to the business magazine Forbes. “She has helped redefine the contours of this industry,” says Moira Forbes, editor of the online publication ForbesWoman, which deals with women in business and leadership. 2018: it is the year of all the successes for Chiara Ferragni, who marries the Italian singer Fedez. In view of the number of shares on social networks and the income it generated, the event is comparable to the nuptials of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle a few months earlier.

Through rose-colored glasses

The documentary Chiara Ferragni Unposted, presented at the Venice Film Biennale in 2019, showcases this union, but also the childhood, personal and professional life of Chiara Ferragni. “I wanted to understand how this young woman had succeeded in entering a new market, in a new world, in such a different and innovative way, by embodying the revolution of social networks,” says director Elisa Amoruso. Understand how she became the most important digital entrepreneur. ” A reputation that also allows it a social commitment, such as this fundraising of several million euros for a Milan hospital overwhelmed by the coronavirus last year.

According to the film, his journey is that of a life in pink: a happy childhood and an unhindered ascent to current global success. No footage ever shows her upset or upset. “She has worked a lot on herself and her reactions are those of a very mature woman who manages to transform difficulties into motivation to do something else”, concludes Elisa Amoruso. Italian critics refute this view of things and consider the documentary to be a “propaganda film”, “the extension of an Instagram page” or even a “long advertising spot” …

One thing’s for sure: around the Tod’s board meeting table, none of those media spotlights will be on. “There is nothing glamorous here, ironically Romina Guglielmetti. The topics that we tackle, such as strategy, accounting, risk assessment seem boring a priori. Here Chiara Ferragni will be able to acquire new skills that only a large, publicly traded fashion company can offer. ” In exchange, Tod’s dreams of conquering the digital world.

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