Retail Therapy: Influencer Pioneer Amber Venz Box Says It's Not About a Bunch of Rich People on Instagram

Browsing for a new suit or dress while standing and pushing through hangers on a rack or clicking through a website are familiar ways to shop stores and brands. There's also another way, and it has roots in Dallas that continue to spread. But it needs some explaining for anyone who isn't a young, hip fashionista. Amber Venz Box, who co-founded RewardStyle in 2011 in her apartment at Mockingbird Station, is proud to say the idea of an influencer as a career choice has taken hold. Her company created a platform where influencers run their businesses of helping people shop. RewardStyle, which pioneered the different way to shop almost a decade ago, sent retailers more than $1 billion in sales for the first time in 2017. That grew to $1.2 billion in 2018 and it's poised to grow again this year. Its 45,000 influencers post social media content about fashion, beauty and lifestyle topics with links that take followers to 4,500 retailers' websites. When a follower buys something, the influencer and RewardStyle both get a commission. The Federal Trade Commission considers influencers who are being paid for recommendations to be advertising and requires that connection to be "clearly and conspicuously disclosed," unless it's already clear from the context, such as inside a shopping app.The word "influencer," she said, was even added to Merriam-Webster this year: "a person who is able to generate interest in something (such as a consumer product) by posting about it on social media.""It's an exciting moment in the industry and a public acknowledgement," Venz Box said.Yep, and she's devoting a new podcast, LiketoKnow.it Influencer Radio, to the topic of how nine successful influencers got into the business, including two who hail from Texas, Courtney Kerr and Jamie O'Banion.She's doing it, she said, because influencers aren't just "a bunch of rich people" on Instagram, "or college girls and teens" on YouTube.Career explaining podcast  Continue reading...

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