How Arielle Charnas Built a Brand Through Social Media

Arielle Charnas is one of the most well-known fashion influencers in the game, with more than 1.2 million Instagram followers, a blog and a subsequently successful fashion line called Something Navy. Her Nordstrom collection debuted last September, raking in a reported $4 million in sales in a single day, which president Pete Nordstrom claimed to be one of the “most successful launches for any brand” at the store. As her partnership with the department store comes to a close, Charnas is moving on to her next project with what is considered to be one of the biggest financial backings secured by an influencer to date. 

Silas Chou, an investor in fashion giants such as Tommy Hilfiger and Michael Kors, is joined by Rent the Runway co-founder Jennifer Fleiss and three investment groups in a $10 million funding round to turn Charnas’ fashion line into a lifestyle brand. According to AdWeek, the brand will start by selling apparel online and will eventually expand to accessories, home decor, children’s clothing and beauty products, with its sights set on opening brick-and-mortar locations in the future. 

As we know, social media can be a massive driving force for brands. But Charnas has been able to turn her following into dollar signs, shaping a full career that has no indication of stopping growth anytime soon. 

“Social media is everything for me. It’s how I made a career. It’s how I built my business. It’s how I created a brand. I don’t know what I would do without it. But it really took off when Instagram launched. The blog was great and it was sustainable, and I think that after a few years, it kind of plateaued where I had my frequent website visitors, but I didn’t have as big of a reach as Instagram has allowed me,” said Charnas in an interview with Fashionista.

For many people, Charnas’ life is one to envy, but it has not come without a well thought out strategy. Below are some tips on how she’s built and maintained her loyal following. 

Selfies over Supercars: Rather than posting images of extravagant trips, glamorous events or the wealth we know she has achieved over the years, Charnas opts for natural settings like photos in her home taken on her cell phone. Her relatable approach to being an influencer has allowed her to connect more deeply with her audience and establish a sense of comradery that big-spending influencers are not always able to achieve.

Ask for Feedback: Part of her brand’s success can be attributed to her ability to crowdsource and include her followers in the design process. Through social listening, Charnas communicates directly with the consumer while developing her pieces and can react accordingly. In addition to more accessible feedback, her Instagram stories have also proven to be viable for selling products, generating waitlists of more than 200 people and same-day sellouts of specific items for brand partner Bandier.

Stay on Top of Trends: Although her brand started as a blog, Charnas has been able to evolve with the ever-changing tides of the social media sphere. By creating an Instagram, she was able to tap into a new market and gain more exposure. In addition to launching her new lifestyle brand, Charnas is launching her own podcast where she looks to zero in on personal stories to reach new audiences and increase engagement. Compared to 2018, the number of people who have listened to at least one podcast in their lives increased by 20 million this year, and an additional 14 million people describe themselves as weekly listeners.

The successes of Arielle Charnas and Something Navy are indicators that influencer marketing is here to stay.