Canadian ethical blogger opens up about earning $2.31 per hour in 2019

Jan 13 2020, 12:27 pm

There are more than 600 million blogs in the world, covering almost every topic you could imagine.

Fashion and lifestyle content continues to be popular among global audiences looking to influencers for wardrobe advice and sustainable style inspiration. In Canada, the average person throws away 81 pounds of textiles annually, and much of this ends up in the landfill.

Marielle Terhart is an Edmonton-based ethical fashion blogger passionate about slow fashion, as well as advocating for broader size inclusion and radical body acceptance. Terhart, who has been in the business for four years, feels that the blogging industry needs more standardization and transparency. 

She recently released her year-end review for 2019 on Patreon and detailed her hours worked (685.5), expenses, paid work, and gifted garments — resulting in earnings of $2.31 per hour.

 

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$2.31 / hour, that’s how much I made this year, running this space ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ But what about all the free clothes? Well, if you include clothing as income (to be very clear, it’s not) that would bump that my hourly wage up to $4.08 / hour which is less than 1/3 of the minimum wage where I live. And while publicly sharing these numbers is scary, not having these conversations feels worse ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ So today, on my Patreon I am sharing my Year End Review publicly for anyone that’s interested, outlining who has paid me, how many hours I have poured into this platform and yes, the dollar amount of clothing I was gifted this year broken out piece by piece. Transparency as an influencer is almost non-existent, and I deeply think we need to start having these conversations more – how backed into a corner we are financial, who controls these narratives and who is profiting from this model ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ I hope you are left with greater understanding, compassion for those showing up in this space and awareness of the resounding bias that exists. To the discomfort of this topic, to the person who cut me to my core denoting that “shouldn’t I be killing it, because my content is beautiful”, I hope we’ll all carry this sentiment a little more closely in our hearts: ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Someones worth in the ethical fashion space has nothing to do with how well they’re being paid, because more often than not, they aren’t. . . . Photo taken for @honest_door | @21stcenturynonsense . Thank you to every person tagged in the image above for offering me transparency, guidance and insight to be able to have this conversation. Your support and friendship is so deeply appreciated. . #slowfashionforall #ethicalfashion #theartofslowliving #lblcollective #livemoremagic #chasingslow #ethicalfashionrepresentationmatters #slowfashion #habitandhome #exploreedmonton #igyeg #yeggers #yegphotographer #psblogger

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Terhart has 21.7K followers on Instagram, and many were under the assumption that blogging was her full-time gig. This disconnect felt so big that Terhart wanted to close the gap between perception and reality, so she laid it out, dollar for dollar, hour for hour. 

The amount of time that the creative spends working on her blog varies, but it’s typically between 12 to 15 hours per week — on top of her full-time job. She runs her own business, managing social media for small companies, events, and non-profits, as well as doing photography for brand and empowerment shoots. 

One of the biggest misconceptions people have about running a blog, Terhart says, is that it’s a full-paying job. “In the world of sustainable fashion, the reality of making any sort of liveable income is unlikely and requires years of labour for no pay to get to that place,” she told Daily Hive.

 

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As a writer and photographer, Terhart shares on her blog her lived experience as a plus-size person and the ways we can all strive to be kinder to the skin we’re in. “I wanted to create a space where the research and energy that I was putting into making ethical clothing more accessible for more bodies, was easy to find and parse,” she said.

She admits that blogging is a tough space to be in because you are held to the standards of having the answers and doing all of the research. “In reality, you’re just a person trying your best, usually for free.”

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To anyone considering becoming an ethical fashion blogger, Terhart says, “If you’re in it for the money — seriously, consider any other industry. But if you’re here because you think your voice matters, and you’re able to speak to something no one else is, you have the endurance to give yourself to this space and movement.”

 

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As influencer marketing grows, Terhart believes we need to advocate for the collective as well as ourselves. “I hope being transparent about my ‘influencer income’ is helpful to others considering working in this field,” she concludes.