These five style blogs influence several hundred thousand readers a month. Meet the personalities behind the posts.
Founder: Fred Egan Castleberry, 29
Launched: September 2009
Audience: 45,000 unique visitors a month.
Backstory: Dallas-based Castleberry worked in finance and wedding photography before launching his blog on preppy style. "I didn't grow up in the lifestyle per se of sailing in the Northeast," he admits. "But I think an outsider has more of a fascination with it."
The blogging life: Castleberry mixes fashion and lifestyle entries, turning them into short features. Recent items include stories on Assouline's new tome on the Kennedys and a photo shoot in the vein of Take Ivy, using all African-American models. "I want every image to be beautiful," he notes. "If you're going to garner a big readership, you have to do so in a professional manner."
Business plan: There are unpaid test ads up on the site, which Castleberry is aiming to convert to paid ads soon. "I'm still living off freelance work, doing whatever it takes to pay the bills," he says.
Founder: Christian Chensvold, 40
Launched: October 2008
Audience: Just under 40,000 unique visitors a month.
Backstory: Chensvold was the founder of Dandyism.net in 2004 before turning his attention to starting up Ivy-Style two years ago.
The blogging life: New York-based Chensvold tends to write long-form posts that are full of research, history and cultural context. That means readers can find full chapters of G. Bruce Boyer's classic 1985 book Elegance reproduced on the site (with the author's permission) along with an in-depth interview with True Prep author Lisa Birnbach, published six months before the book came out. "I think blogs play to my strengths as a professional dilettante," explains Chensvold.
Business plan: "I'm not a businessman. The site pays a few bills," says Chensvold blithely, although there are ads from the likes of Paul Stuart, J. Press, Bill's Khakis and Bass shoes on the blog.
Founder: Michael Williams, 32
Launched: December 2007
Audience: 350,000 to 400,000 unique visitors a month.
Backstory: New York-based Williams started the blog as a side project to his full-time job as a partner in the Paul + Williams p.r. agency.
The blogging life: "I always try to write about things that have a certain history or heritage," says Williams. He recently went to Portugal to write about a new IWC watch and was among the very first to bring to light the recently republished cult book Take Ivy. "It's sort of dumb luck to have this weird group of skills. You have to have a certain taste level, you have to be technologysavvy, know marketing and how to take pictures," says Williams.
Business plan: The site has run advertising for Bloomingdale's, Levi's, J. Crew, Gant, Billy Reid and Ramblers Way. Williams also created co-branded product with brands like Steven Alan, Cole Haan and Hamilton Shirt Co.
Founder: Chris Callis, 21, and Woody Hines, 20
Launched: May 2009
Audience: 30,000 unique visitors a month.
Backstory: Callis and Hines, currently juniors at Princeton, launched the site as freshmen roommates. Callis, an art history major, interned at Ralph Lauren over the past summer, while Hines, a philosophy major, interned at a Silicon Valley Internet start-up.
The blogging life: Classic preppy style is the foundation for the site's focus, but that's evolved into a more designer aesthetic. The duo scored a video interview with prominent Princeton professor Cornel West. "He was awesome to talk to. He was totally cool on the style side and fun to talk to on the intellectual side," enthuses Callis.
Business plan: The site has paid advertisements from Paul Stuart, Stubbs & Wooten, Bonobos and Indochino. "It's just a little extra cash for us. Our biggest expense is train tickets to New York," says Hines.
Founder: Nick Maggio, 30
Launched: January 2009
Audience: 120,000 unique visitors a month.
Backstory: Based in L.A., Maggio was previously a trend forecaster for Abercrombie & Fitch. As for the name, he notes: "It's meant to convey that it's okay to be materialistic. Sometimes we just want to go shopping."
The blogging life: Maggio covers a broad range of topics, from fashion, automobiles and BMX bikes to graphic design and photography. "Anything that was made with care," he says. Maggio believes blogs are especially suited to the modern Web user's short attention span. "Blogs are really linear. You start at the top and just scroll down. There's no navigation," he explains.
Business plan: Maggio has yet to sell any advertising on his blog and hasn't made a single cent from the project. However, he's working on a potential collaboration with an L.A. furniture maker.