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Danielle Bernstein

Founder, We Wore What

It’s hard to say anything new about We Wore What’s Danielle Bernstein. The 24-year-old fashion blogger engages 1.5M Instagram followers daily, with a media presence that extends to Harper’s BazaarTeen Vogue and the New York Times. What we can say is that while, yes, she’s an industry darling, Bernstein doesn’t hold back when discussing the media.

“Print will eventually die,” she says in a way both frank and inviting. “[Because] blogging has completely disrupted it… Advertisers realized they could use bloggers to reach really targeted, specific demographics, and readers craved the chance to connect with someone real.”

But when Bernstein founded WWW at the age of 19 — then a sophomore at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) — professional bloggers didn’t exist. They didn’t make millions, sit front row at New York Fashion Week or rival Hollywood actors in terms of celebrity. Hell, Instagram was barely out of the womb.

It’s fair to say Bernstein has seen it all — has watched the Wild West transform into a regulated business with competition and rules. Here are 6 things you wish you knew about her journey:

6 things you don't know about Danielle Bernstein.

I transferred to FIT after my freshman year at the University of Wisconsin. That school — and New York City in general — really inspired WWW. I was suddenly surrounded by all this amazing street style (something that had been somewhat lacking in Madison, WI) and knew I had to capture it.

But there came a point where even though I’d learned a lot in school, I’d grown so much from blogging that I felt like I could be teaching the classes… So, after two years at FIT, I made a presentation to my dad that said, ‘This is my plan. If I can’t support myself with WWW by the end of the year, I’ll go back to school.’ Let’s just say I never went back.

She put school on hold.

It’s true: I started out photographing other people. Shortly after transferring, I went to Best Buy, bought a camera and taught myself how to use it. I started walking up to girls with great style before and after class, asking to take their photos. Then I’d rush home and spend hours editing and uploading.

But then six months in, I was standing outside New York Fashion Week with all the other photographers when I realized people were taking pictures of me. That was the first moment I considered turning the camera around and making WWW a personal style blog — that I considered making myself the brand.

WWW started as a street style blog.

There are so many different platforms now, and it’s really important to provide unique content for each of them — that’s the only way to grow an organic following. I look at Instagram as a highly-curated, glossy version of my life, for example, and Snapchat like my personal TV show.

So, when I launched my app a month ago, I was aware it needed to offer something new — otherwise, what would incentivize people to download? Consider my app WWW‘s premium content, with beauty tutorials, videos, Q&A’s, giveaways and things I don’t offer on other platforms. We’ve had more than 20k downloads so far, so, I hope that means people are liking it. [Laughs]

She has an app.

I hate the term fashion blogger even though, of course, I am one. But I’m also so much more — I’m a designer, an influencer, a curator. I’m working on a book and collaborations with major brands.

Blogging has become such a saturated industry — everyone and their mother has a site now — that the term simply isn’t as meaningful as it was a few years ago. I worry that [using] it puts me in a box.

She hates the term blogger.

Blogging has become such a saturated industry... that the term simply isn't as meaningful as it was a few years ago. I worry that it puts me in a box.”

I was shocked to find out there were so many men reading my site — pleasantly shocked. But for the most part, my audience is women ages 18-34.

And while it’s important for me to continue reaching that young female audience, I also want to grow with my followers. I’m not 19 anymore — I’m a different person now than I was when I started WWW, and that’s okay. In fact, that’s what I think people like about me: I’m just a real, New York girl living my life and sharing my story. My followers can, in a sense, grow up with me.

Her audience is 30% male.

It’s hard, because my job is 24/7… that’s the best and worst part about it. There are definitely moments when I’m completely drained, usually during Fashion Week, and I break down and cry… moments where I don’t want to do this anymore. But then I pick myself up and keep going.

If I’ve learned anything in my five years with WWW, it’s how easy it is to keep the wheels turning when you’re doing something that you love. I was just as happy running the site when it was a hobby as I am now that it’s a full-fledged business. That’s why it’s so, so important for each of us to find a career that’s organic to us — it’s one of the most important decisions you’ll never make.

She's always — ALWAYS — working.

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