According to Danielle Bernstein, this season’s hottest accessory is far from a velvet headband. It’s running your business and getting paid. The 27-year-old style influencer, known to her 2.2 million Instagram followers as WeWoreWhat, has built a multimillion-dollar business from being best-dressed and posting her outfits to Instagram. Today, ten years after launching her personal style blog on Instagram, she charges up to $15,000 per branded post, has invested in four companies, serves on two corporate boards, has sold over 10,000 WeWoreWhat swim pieces (generating $3 million the day her collection launched), employs over 20 team members–and she has over 300 pairs of shoes in her Hudson Square, Manhattan apartment. Today, she’s adding tech founder to her résumé, launching Moe Assist, a tech suite for influencers to run their business.
“This is the culmination of my entire career and next step in legitimizing the entire influencer industry,” Bernstein told Forbes. “This is the first tool created for specifically for influencers.”
Bernstein recalls the frustration of starting each week with Moe Peretti, her beloved assistant and chief brand officer for whom the platform is named, sharing schedule and project details from a handwritten notebook. The duo iterated with Excel, Google Drive and more. “Once I cracked the code on how to work more efficiently, I set out to put the tools in the hands of other influencers and content creators so that they could become more productive as well.”
Peretti’s notebook with Bernstein’s engagements must’ve been quite full, from design partnerships with Joe’s Jeans and TopShop to brand partnerships with Bloomingdales and All Saints, plans for Bernstein’s line of Second Skin overalls and press engagements that have included everything from an apartment tour with Harper’s Bazaar to curating a fashion week playlist for Spotify. (Bernstein earned a place on the 2017 Forbes Under 30 Art & Style list.)
Moe Assist, built by a team of 30 professionals over a year, is meant to be the one-stop management suite for Instagram influencers with tools like invoicing, campaign management, content and hashtag inventory and more. Moe operates via subscription at $27.99 per month for all access to Moe’s features including project management and feedback, dashboard, invoicing and payment infrastructure. Bernstein has personally invested $200,000 and raised a $1.2 million seed round with backers like designer tycoon Rebecca Minkoff to bring Moe Assist to market.
“What excites me about Moe is that [Bernstein] is unlocking and solving major pain points that hold up creators,” says Minkoff. “I am so inspired by what she has developed and know that it will only help propel the users further in their career.”
Bernstein first entered fashion with the intention of becoming a designer, transferring from the University of Wisconsin-Madison to New York’s famed Fashion Institute of Technology to do just that. With self-taught photo skills and inspiration from her fellow fashionista undergrads, Bernstein shot street fashion and posted it to Instagram, the then-new photo-sharing platform. Later, she flipped the camera on herself—posting her own looks. Businesses began to reach out, asking her to take pictures in their clothing, and Bernstein signed to Next Model Management. With her agent (who has since gone in-house with Bernstein), the pioneer style influencer demonstrated the impact of a paid partnership in directly attributable sales, thus helping to pioneer the Instagram influencer model.
“Moe Assist shows that being an influencer is a business,” says Melissa Wood-Tepperburg, who runs fitness Instagram MelissaWoodHealth and is Bernstein’s personal wellness coach and a beta tester and early adopter of Moe Assist. “When you’re partnering with the right person, Instagram influencers can really make an impact on your brand.”
For Bernstein, founding Moe Assist is democratizing the business of influence by giving subscribers the benefits of an assistant at a fraction of the cost of hiring one. “The reason that influencers are successful is because we represent real people,” she says. “There is room for others to be successful in this industry. You just have to have the right tools.”
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