For every fashion blogger who's ever wondered, "Can I make money from this?" Amber Venz Box says yes. This one-time personal shopper and millennial is a disruptor in every sense of the word with her Dallas-based company, RewardStyle. That's because she figured out ahead of anyone else how to get retailers to pay her for the fashion content she posted on her blog and across social media. Moreover, she recognized that if she could do it for herself, there was no reason why she couldn't do it for scores of other women.
Venz Box started RewardStyle, a monetization platform for content creators — now known as influencers rather than bloggers — with her then-boyfriend (now husband) Baxter Box in 2011. Over the past six years, the venture-backed firm has grown from a one-woman operation into a global network of 16,000 influencers that have generated more than $1 billion in sales worldwide for its 4,000 retail partners and more than 500,000 brands.
The company's more recent creation is the rapidly growing LIKEtoKNOW.it, an app that makes it possible for users to buy merchandise that their favorite Instagram influencers post. When a shopper likes a picture on Instagram, she receives an email with information about where she can buy the item she liked. Since LIKEtoKNOW.it launched in 2014, shoppers have purchased more than $350 million in merchandise via the service.
Both RewardStyle and LIKEtoKNOW.it are expanding around the world, and in the process, Venz Box is creating an army of 21st-century digital personal shoppers who are making money one click at a time. Some market analysts call it a retail shopping revolution.
"RewardStyle has been massively helpful in helping to introduce bloggers to affiliate marketing," says James Nord, co-founder and CEO of Fohr Card, a New York City-based company that helps connect brands with influencers. "It's done a lot to mature the industry."