The artistic director of the Sanremo Festival, Amadeus, called her “the greatest digital entrepreneur”. We have selected ten sentences by Chiara Ferragni to understand what is true behind this statement and to rediscover the entrepreneurial path, on the internet and on social networks, of the Cremona influencer.
“In the beginning, when I went to fashion shows, they only gave me standing seats”
– What’s the weather like, 2017
The beginning, for Chiara Ferragni, is complicated. Like Everest to climb in flip flops. It’s 2009, Chiara opened with her boyfriend of the time, Riccardo Pozzoli, one of the 1.2 million blogs existing in Italy: it’s called The Blonde Salad, it collects posts on fashion, travel and lifestyle. In her little one, Chiara Ferragni is already a ‘phenomenon’. A disruptive ‘fashion blogger’ who breaks the mold on the web and threatens the status quo. They begin to call it ‘influencer’, “a term that companies, at the time, did not know the meaning of” recalled Pozzoli in an interview with Millionaire.
“Surely not everyone likes me, there are still people who do not consider me a professional and do not understand the importance of bloggers, who have a new and innovative role”
– Fashion Times Magazine, 2011
It is 2011, in two years Chiara has gone from the seat at the back of the room, standing precariously, to the front row of the most important fashion shows, to a breath from the catwalk. He sits next to famous journalists, sent by large editorial groups. He defends himself as best he can, and well. “We do the same things but in a different way, mine is a more natural language,” she says. And she rattles off the data from her blog, impressive: 70 thousand unique visits per day, for a total of 250 thousand page views.
“I remember a car trip with my father and my two sisters, I was sitting in the front. I was looking for the right angle to take a picture of myself and Dad got nervous. “What are you wasting time? What will they ever do to you? “”
– Vanity Fair, 2015
Ferragni immediately understood the power of sharing. The strength of a revolutionary language. A selfie is never just a selfie. It is a way to make yourself understood by the world. For Chiara Ferragni, it was always a way to prove something. “But I never imagined that social media would become my job – she said – and that I would have all this success”.
“When I started blogging, even my peers said ‘in six months no one will know who you are'”
– Corriere della Sera, 2018
And yet Chiara ‘survived’ the decline of blogs, engulfed by Facebook and Twitter starting from the mid-2000s. And then from Instagram. Ferragni in 2013 founded her clothing and footwear brand, Chiara Ferragni Collection, and in 2016 she transformed her blog into a digital magazine and a talent agency. Her photos, her outfits, naturally end up on Instagram, but the ‘social of photos’ is just a precious showcase, the driving force of a more complex company, TBS Crew Srl, of which Chiara in the meantime becomes CEO. “This is no longer a game,” she says, and in the meantime she grinds followers: in 2015 she had 5 million, today they are almost 28 million. Only Khaby Lame, in Italy, is more followed than her (78.3 million).
“The revolution is that on social media you have to be honestly yourself, if you lie it doesn’t work. In the end I do what I feel authentic, I want to continue to tell myself without filters, even at the risk of making mistakes. On Instagram we are all protagonists and spectators at the same time and we must accept to get involved “
– The Republic, 2018
With a very clever question, Fabio Fazio once laid bare the philosophy of Chiara Ferragni. Fazio asked her, some time ago, why a decidedly provocative photo of her on Instagram, in which she appeared semi-naked, had received fewer likes than another image, also published on her profile, in which Chiara was at dinner, immortalized with a simple menu in hands. “In the first I am posing – she replied – in the other there was my authentic life”. That shot at the restaurant, for the record of her, was about her Valentine’s Day dinner in New York, with her husband Fedez.
“I value my followers a lot, if someone stops me on the street I would never say no to a photo, I always read emails and comments. I am very active with them and would like to do more and more in this regard. I would hate myself if I weren’t like that “
– Elle, 2018
Followers have weight. Perhaps Chiara Ferragni taught us that. Codacons understood this in 2021, when it asked to cancel the outcome of the televoting of the final evening in Sanremo, “altered” by Ferragni’s social appeal: “Vote for them”, wrote the entrepreneur to support her husband, Fedez , competing with Francesca Michielin. And the couple climbed the rankings. And the world of art and culture understood this too, when she witnessed a surge in visits to the Uffizi, after a shot by Chiara near Botticelli’s Venus. “Aesthetic canons change over the centuries – the director Eike Schmidt wrote at the time, it was 2018 -. Nowadays, the Italian Chiara Ferragni, born in Cremona, embodies a myth for millions of followers, a sort of contemporary divinity in the age of social media.
“It’s funny that they give me so much power, but if they’re right it’s cool, because I use it to make positive communication. I don’t get up in the morning to denigrate someone “
– Vogue, 2021
One example among many, the most recent: in June 2022, Chiara met Liliana Segre. A photo of her shows them in the home of her life senator. Segre had asked her for a hand: “I saw that you are committed to social media”. So why not use her popularity to remind younger people of the memorial commemorating the victims of the holocaust in Italy? “I’d like to meet you,” said Segre. And Chiara was not long in coming.
“When I started it, it almost felt ashamed. Social networks are the media of the present and the future: brands will work only on social networks, the only ones that allow authentic messages to be conveyed “.
– Corriere della Sera, 2022
And now Chiara will lead Sanremo. Amadeus chose her for the first and last evening of the 2023 Festival. And at the exact moment in which the presenter announced it to the Tg, Fedez on social media picked up Chiara, squatting in front of the television, waiting like a waiting singer of his song on the radio. Except that Chiara is not a rookie: her empire today is worth about 40 million euros. But this is precisely her secret: always presenting herself as the girl next door. Even if you can find her door on the top floor of a building designed by Zaha Hadid, in Milan, where houses cost almost 9 thousand euros per square meter.
“I have always enjoyed creating interest around my working life. How I started, how the first months were, how I started a business. For me it is important to tell it to those who do not know that what I do is not a selfie but the work of a team “
– The Republic, 2019
A working life to study, for many. Chiara Ferragni’s became a case study at Harvard in 2015. Anat Keinan, associate professor of business administration at Harvard Business School, explained why she was chosen: “She was very creative in monetizing her blog and turning it into a real business, a multimillion dollar business. One of the main reasons for her success is this ability to be empathetic and ambitious at the same time ”“ I have always liked to create interest around my working life. How I started, how the first months were, how I started a business. For me it is important to tell it to those who do not know that what I do is not a selfie but the work of a team “.
“At the beginning with the first works, the first proposals, the first invitations to the fashion shows, when I arrived in these places I felt like a fish out of water, they were very snobbish places where I was not appreciated, I felt insecure and I told myself that maybe it was too much for me, that I wasn’t good enough, strong, fair enough. The comment that hurt me the most and that I read everywhere was “who will remember her name in six months”. This was a push to improve myself and try to create something concrete: they had to remember me ”.
– Rai 2, interview by Simona Ventura (2020)
Chiara Ferragni did it. Her name did not disappear after six months, on the contrary, it has become an extraordinary brand. “The greatest digital entrepreneur”. So said Amadeus, announcing the presence of Chiara at the next Sanremo. In the city of flowers, the most luxuriant will arrive. Forget me not.