Communications Student Builds His Brand One Blog at a Time
By Alissa Falcone
Office of University Communications
August 19, 2014 —
It all started with a blog.
Eighteen months ago, Ian Michael Crumm launched his eponymous style blog with the goal of showing, in his own words, “what I wear, what I love, what I do and where I go.” And that was just the beginning. In that short time, he’s built what started with his blog into a full-blown lifestyle brand that has spread throughout Philadelphia and is now reaching the rest of the country.
On his newly created blog, he posted pictures of himself in his favorite outfits, highlighted trends and his current moods, and provided information about clothing and accessories. Just seven months later, his blog got picked up by DETAILS Network, which provides a launching pad for menswear, grooming and lifestyle bloggers to contribute content to the DETAILS magazine website.
By then, Crumm had already started freelancing menswear articles for local publications like Philly Current and Racked Philly (his column is called “I.M. Crumm, Style Concierge), and even national outlets like EDGE Media. A co-op turned extended internship with Philly Chit Chat, the local society blog by photographer HughE Dillon, introduced Crumm to more movers and shakers in Philadelphia.
During this time, he started contributing to Philly.com’s style blog.
Next, it was time for others to write about Crumm. He has been mentioned in online posts by national outlets like AdWeek, Elle and Lucky, and he’s been interviewed or mentioned in multiple pieces for local publications too, including Philadelphia magazine, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia City Paper and Philadelphia Style Magazine. Crumm has appeared on television (local channels like CBS Philly, FOX-29 and PHL-17) either as a model or as a commentator on fashion trends and “who wore it better” segments.
And then Crumm moved outside of the news media, making appearances or forming partnerships with local Philly institutions. In a few weeks, he’ll judge a fashion contest at one of Philly’s most chic events, Dîner en Blanc, for the second year in a row. He’s attended benefits and galas and was asked to dye shoes for a promotion at one of his favorite Philly menswear boutiques, Ps and Qs (he got to keep the shoes too!). He’s cast models, styled photo shoots and brought in favorite photographers for outside jobs with businesses such as Hotel Palomar, whom he recently partnered with to write an online “hyperlocal shopping guide” for guests.
Ever the entrepreneur, Crumm says he’s working on more television appearances and brand collaborations that will focus more broadly on lifestyle content rather than just menswear, but he still intends on keeping his blog. Recently, he joined the DETAILS Ad Collection, Condé Nast’s first male-targeted digital display ad network that allows the bloggers to generate ad revenue from brands such as Kiehl’s and Jaguar. His highly read blog also means that he regularly receives products from brands and PR firms hoping for a mention in a post. In fact, he just had to hire a manager and producer to assist him with his blog and outside projects.
On top of it all, he’s still a full-time communications major and marketing minor expected to graduate in 2016.
“Technically, this is work, because it’s turning into a little business, which is fun to watch and go through,” he said. “I do love it. My head is spinning most days, but it’s good.”
Crumm has built a name for himself off of the blog he created and, well, named for himself. And he hopes to keep expanding his reach in the future, using connections he’s made and lessons he’s learned from various internships in public relations, journalism and events.
No matter what happens in the future, Crumm knows that fashion will be a part of it; after all, this is someone who can say he’s “been collecting clothes since I was in the eighth grade.” The New York Fashion Week regular has one closet and two wardrobe cabinets packed with accessories and clothing that rotates each season. But he only has one pair of sweatpants: black skinny ones from the 3.1 Philip Lim x Target collection that he was photographed wearing in a blog post featuring a Miley Cyrus T-shirt.
“I’m more comfortable in tailored clothes — I feel better in them. Some days I’m more toned down. However, I love color. I normally prefer at least a button-down, or if I’m wearing a T-shirt, then it’s with a blazer. I wear jeans but I’m leaning towards other slimmer pant styles,” he said.
It’s no wonder that when he interviewed designer Zac Posen and Neiman Marcus fashion director Ken Downing for Philly.com, both fashion luminaries complimented his outfit. But what about the accessories?
“There are a lot of rings. I love colored sunglasses. And there’s always a bag — and the bag changes. It could be daily, could be weekly — just depends. I like to keep things rotating,” he said. No kidding. “Rotating” applies to his professional life, as well: his past, his present and his potentially bright (and colorful) future.
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