Sway Group is widening its sphere of influence.
The content marketing agency has acquired iFabbo, a network of beauty, fashion and lifestyle influencers, to deepen its pool of digital talent and forge relationships with beauty and fashion brands. The deal brings iFabbo’s roughly 3,000 leading influencers, including an estimated 75 percent of the top beauty bloggers, to Sway Group’s array of more than 90,000 bloggers and vloggers. Terms were not disclosed.
“Our influencers are getting older, as happens to all of us, so we were super excited last year to meet [iFabbo founder] Sinead [Norenius-Raniere]. We are both female founders who started our companies with no outside funding. We connected and immediately saw a way for our two companies to work together. What is so amazing about iFabbo is that its influencer base is primarily Millennial, which is a terrific counterpoint to our network,” said Danielle Wiley, chief executive officer of Sway Group. “Sinead and iFabbo are also just so well-connected in the beauty and fashion worlds, so we are super excited to add that to extend what we do and build our client base.”
Norenius-Raniere, who established iFabbo in 2012, will guide iFabbo as an advisor to Sway Group. She bought iFabbo back from Women’s Marketing Inc. in March after selling it to the media company in 2014. Sway Group and iFabbo are headquartered in San Francisco.
“I wanted to find a home for iFabbo with a core focus on the influencer space. We can expand our network and really build the community with the education and support of the Sway Group,” said Norenius-Raniere. “I will continue to recruit influencers into our network and work very closely with Danielle [Wiley] to expand our product offering and think of creative ways to engage with fashion and beauty brands.”
Sway Group specializes in sponsored digital campaigns and has executed nearly 930 campaigns since its launch in 2011. It began with 25 high-profile mom bloggers and rapidly grew from there. Two years ago, Sway Group made its first acquisition — and only until iFabbo — with the pick-up of blogger community SITS Girls. “We have two missions that live side by side. We really pride ourselves in high-quality content no matter what the brand is, and our other mission is elevating women and making sure they are paid fairly,” said Wiley.
IFabbo specializes in influencer product seeding and developed back end technology to seed quickly. The technology helps direct merchandise to the appropriate influencers. Skin-care items to fight acne, for example, are targeted to people with acne-prone skin. Around 60 percent of iFabbo’s influencers concentrate on beauty, and 40 percent emphasize fashion and lifestyle topics. Its network stretches well beyond the U.S. borders, and has a robust presence in the U.K. and Australia.
“It’s really important that we get the right product to the right bloggers both from a brand perspective and from a blogger perspective. They hate getting shipped products that absolutely aren’t a fit for them,” said Norenius-Raniere, who noted that, with the Sway Group partnership, “Our incredible bloggers will have a tremendous opportunity from a paid perspective. We didn’t do a lot of sponsored campaigns in the past.”
Dermalogica, Strivectin, T3, Foreo, Becca, Dr. Brandt and Rodan + Fields are among the beauty brands that have relied on iFabbo to get their products in the hands of influencers. Sway Group has completed campaigns for beauty brands and retailers such as John Frieda, Ulta Beauty, Dove and CVS, but aims to strengthen its ties to the beauty and fashion sectors with iFabbo in its portfolio.
Sway Group is broadening its reach as digital media becomes a bigger component of most marketers’ advertising mixes. “We are seeing as an influencer agency that we are increasingly reached out to by brands, and they are not going through their PR or advertising agencies,” said Wiley. “Influencer agencies are getting a seat at the table and that opens up more funds for these campaigns, and does show this content is super valuable and is deserving of an official piece of the budget pie.”