Last week, The Talks shed a new light on The Sartorialist's Scott Schuman with a candid interview in which Schuman called Tavi's success a conspiracy, said no one believes in magazines and made several comments that suggested that he and Garance are basically the only bloggers doing it right. In an interview published today with Business of Fashion's Imran Amed, Schuman says the aforementioned interview is "over 18 months old" and he's since changed his mind about Tavi and other bloggers. Opening the door to his business practices even further, Schuman also gives new details on advertising, how much money he makes and his next book. Here are the best bits:
He changed his mind about what he said about Tavi...kind of.
'I’ve kind of changed my mind [about that],' he told BoF, looking back with some contrition and pointing out that the interview in question is more than 18 months old. 'With everybody, our relationships have really evolved. As I got to know Bryanboy and Tavi more, I’ve come to respect their seriousness of it. It’s a struggle to try and build [something] and still maintain who you are.'
Schuman now feels that advertising and sponsored posts are okay if they're done the way he does it/are fun.
'What I don’t like is advertorial posts that are under the table. When I did the Burberry thing – it’s Burberry, a humongous company with such control – and yet I shot that whole thing just like I would shoot everything,' he said, referring to his work for the British megabrand’s “Art of the Trench” social media campaign.
Schuman has also worked on a product collaboration with American skin, hair, and body care brand Kiehl’s, creating a dopp kit with a variety of Kiehl’s products in exchange for a fixed fee...At first, Schuman hesitates when asked whether he was contractually obligated to write about the Kiehl’s collaboration on his blog, but then offers: 'I’m the one that pitched it in. I’m the one who said I wanted it to be about Father’s Day. It was because of me. I wanted to do this photo thing. So it was part of the contract because I wanted to do it. It was a fun process.'
Schuman sells ads on his site himself (a big change since he told The Talks that he has no contact with his advertisers at all)
'I’ve been doing the ads for me and Garance for the last year...Just like it took me forever to learn photography, it took me forever to learn how to sell [ads] like real agencies' on a CPM (cost per thousand impressions) basis, instead of the monthly sponsorship or affiliate commission models used by many other independent fashion blogs.
'American Apparel and Net-a-Porter came from Style.com and they were just buying a month [of ads] for a flat amount of money. But I didn’t think that was right and I knew that’s not how we were going to grow. We were going to have to talk the talk like everybody else.'
He declined to reveal his exact CPM rate, but said that it has been increasing steadily over time, going above the thirty dollar range for the most valuable inventory.
He could be a millionaire, currently or in the near future.
But at his current traffic levels, even with a $20 CPM and only 50 percent of total inventory sold, Schuman could theoretically earn over $100,000 per month on advertising alone, easily earning him more than a million dollars of revenue per year from advertisers that now include blue chip luxury brands like Tiffany, Coach, and Ferragamo.
Schuman was surprised by how well his first book did, has a second one coming any day now.
'It did good,' said Schuman with a smile, expressing his surprise at the success of the book, for which he earned a six-figure advance against royalties. He received two royalty cheques on top of the advance within the first year of publishing. 'I was shocked I even got one,' he says.
'Now the process is much easier, because I know how to approach it. And Penguin is very excited.' With the current book still selling briskly, Penguin is waiting for the right time to publish Schuman’s next book, which could be published as early as 2012.