- Sarah Ashcroft started her blog in 2013 after trying to land a job in fashion public relations.
- Today, she’s the founder of SLA the Label, a clothing brand that earns millions in annual sales.
- She told Insider how she turned social-media followers into customers.
Sarah Ashcroft started influencing her followers well before “influencer” became a teen’s dream job: In 2013, she launched a blog called “That Pommie Girl,” where she shared outfit ideas and clothing inspiration.
Ashcroft, in London, scaled “That Pommie Girl” into a YouTube channel and Instagram account. And over the years, she’s collaborated with notable brands, including Missguided and Skims. She also worked with the online clothing site In the Style to create her first partnership collection in 2017.
Since then, Ashcroft has taken her influence and turned it into a clothing line called SLA the Label, which launched in 2019. Her company’s first drop sold out within 24 hours. By the end of her first year, Ashcroft sold more than $1 million in products, documents verified by Insider showed. Last year, that number jumped to $2.7 million (2.1 million pounds).
“It’s just amazing how something so simple has just grown so big,” said Ashcroft, 27, who has more than 1.4 million followers across social media. “I never imagined a blog would’ve become something like this.”
Insider spoke with Ashcroft about starting her blogging career, turning followers into customers, and expanding her brand into a multimillion-dollar company.
A job application turns into an opportunity
Ashcroft said she always had a passion for fashion, and in 2012, she enrolled in a yearlong fashion course at the Fashion Retail Academy of London.
By the end of the course, Ashcroft said, she gained experience in styling, buying, and visual merchandising, but she decided to pursue fashion public relations. During her job hunt, employers frequently asked her whether she had a fashion blog, Ashcroft said, because they were looking for someone with a fresh understanding of blogging.
“I went home one night, and I decided to start one purely so that in an interview I could say I have a blog,” she said.
Ashcroft started “That Pommie Girl” in September 2013, and six months later, she said, the affiliate partnership site rewardStyle (now known as LTK) approached her with an opportunity to monetize her posts. Within her first month on the affiliate platform, she added, she earned almost $1,900, which inspired her to quit her retail job and focus on blogging full time.
Turning industry experience into a brand
While at LTK, Ashcroft’s account manager was shocked at her conversion rates, Ashcroft said. “Whatever I wore, my followers and readers would buy it, too,” she added.
Over the years, Ashcroft leveraged her high conversion rates to partner with an extensive list of brands, including L’Oréal, ASOS, and In the Style, she said. And her experience with In the Style gave her the bug for designing clothes, putting collections together, and working behind the scenes.
“I thought to myself, ‘Imagine if I put all this effort into my own brand,'” she said. “That’s how SLA was born.”
Changing it up is the only way to grow
As Ashcroft’s social-media following grew, she noticed fans would get excited to see her airport outfits and athleisure attire. When she began designing her first line for SLA, she tapped that interest and launched loungewear, she said.
Additionally, Ashcroft relied on analytics to learn what her followers liked, and she recommended that other founders do the same. Ashcroft said she researched her own pages’ analytics, as well as the numbers through LTK, to determine what products her followers would want.
But more than a year into the pandemic, Ashcroft predicted that her followers had grown tired of loungewear. In July, she launched Luxe, the new high-end branch of her business that sells dresses, blazers, and trousers.
“COVID-19 completely and utterly changed us,” Ashcroft said of her company and goals. “When it got to the end of lockdown, I was ready to bring out my sequins and my sparkles.”
The success of SLA’s Luxe line proved Ashcroft’s prediction correct: Her followers were ready to get back to a glamorous normal, which brought her yearly sales to $2.7 million, Ashcroft said.
“Quality was always our biggest goal because we want our clothes to last,” Ashcroft added. “We want someone to order a piece from SLA and it be in their wardrobe for years.”