THL Talks: Fohr Card Founder James Nord on the Evolution of the Blogger


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Less than a year old, with a social reach of over 56 million people, Fohr Card already seems to be accomplishing the goal set out by its founders, James Nord and Rich Tong, to enable brands to find the right blogger, anywhere, for campaigns, events, and shows.  With a massive database of blogs and clients ranging from J. Crew to Tom Ford, co-founder Nord was just the person to talk to about the emerging role of the blogger in big brands’ marketing campaigns.  As we learned, “pretty pictures” are nice and all, but the real deal, the big picture, is getting a lot of broader as style bloggers come into their own in mainstream marketing.

The High Low:  What goes into an ideal blogger/fashion brand match?

James Nord:  It depends on what the brand is and what they’re looking for.  For us, an ideal match entails a long lasting relationship over the course of 6 months or a year.  The pair engages on a variety of things.  Those are the connections we like to make, where the blogger is someone that the brand is leveraging multiple times throughout the year.  However, some brands come to us looking for scale, looking to do a lot with a lot of different bloggers.

THL:  How do you find the bloggers you work with?

JN:  We’ve been pretty lucky, and gotten good press, so most of our 3500 bloggers came to us.  We actually don’t editorialize the directory.  We don’t deny people access to the directory based on content.  As long as you’re producing original content in beauty, fashion, or lifestyle. and you connect all your social accounts, you can have a Fohr Card.

Fohr CardTHL:  Speaking of “Fohr Card,” where did your name come from?

JN:  When my cofounder and I talked about the business, we’d drink our favorite cocktail, the Manhattan.  We really wanted the name to be “something card,” like a model comp card, but not “style card” or “blogger card.”   When I was researching Manhattans, I came up with this story about Fohr Island off the coast of Germany.  The island’s young men left because there was no work there, they came to New York and became fisherman, and went back to Germany.  They brought back their favorite drink, the Manhattan, and became the national drink of the island.  To this day if you go there and order “a drink” they bring you a Manhattan.

THL:  That’s amazing.  It’s also our favorite drink.  Have you been to Fohr Island?

JN:  No, but maybe we can have Fohr Card’s one year anniversary there!

THL:  We’ll be there.  So, do you count “all-star” bloggers on your roster?  If so, what are the qualities that make them stars?

JN:  We have a lot of big bloggers, like The Coveteur.  What we built the platform for, though, are smaller people who aren’t superstars yet.  We have a lot of people who love what they’re doing but they’re not huge, yet.  We try to focus on those individuals.

THL:  What do you think fashion bloggers need to do in order to get big?

JN:  They need the ability to tell a story, and add to a brand story across all platforms.  What brands want is a blogger to come in and expand on their story and carry a narrative.  The age of just pretty pictures is coming to an end.  You have to be able to give more than that.

THL:  What kind of brands seek out your service?

JN:  We started with what we knew, which was luxury fashion.  Our launch partners were Oscar de la Renta, kate spade new york, the CFDA, Lucky magazine.  Since then, we’ve added Tom Ford, Chanel, J. Crew.  We also have Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s.  So it’s really anyone looking to interact with this community, and do something with fashion bloggers.

THL:  How do you see the fashion/blogger relationship evolving?

JN:  Bloggers are going to become a much larger plan of traditional marketing strategies.  Right now, everyone’s still experimenting.  Again, it’s going to be those bloggers who can tell an editorial story who become really, really successful.  Those are the people brands are going to be looking to work with more and more.  We already tell bloggers to stop creating content and start telling stories.  The collaboration we want to inspire is that kind of storytelling.  It shouldn’t just be here’s this new skirt I got, because fashion is about the fantasy of what kind of person you can become, or what you already are.  Bloggers should be able to tell those larger stories.

THL:  Anything on the horizon for Fohr Card you can tell us about?

JN:  We have a few new products coming out, which we can’t talk about yet!  There should be something coming up in the next couple weeks.  Stay tuned.

Check out our past THL Talks:

Josie Maran on Creating Organic Beauty Before It Was a Trend

Francesco Giartosio of GlassUp Discusses Stylish Wearable Tech and Teasing Google

Editorialist’s Team on What They’re Looking Out For at Fashion Week