Danielle Bernstein launches a WeWoreWhat credit card
Influencer Danielle Bernstein is betting that if her followers buy a WeWoreWhat sweater, they’ll sign up for a WeWoreWhat credit card.
Bernstein partners with fintech startup Imprint to launch a co-branded WeWoreWhat Visa rewards card. Initially, the card will be linked to a user’s bank account, with a credit card due later this year.
Imprint, which raised $52 million in funding according to Crunchbase, earns money on every card swipe through fees processed by the merchant. Bernstein isn’t profiting from the deals themselves, but rather from a sponsored deal with Imprint to help promote the partnership, and of course, sales of WeWoreWhat. Cardholders will receive cash back and other benefits.
Fashion and beauty retailers have used co-branded credit cards to retain customers and increase sales for decades. Celebrity-branded cards have a more mixed track record, with some being pushed back for high fees and aggressive marketing tactics. The Kardashian Sisters’ Kardashian Kard, for example, was closed a few weeks after its launch in November 2010.
Credit cards are still relatively uncharted territory for influencers. Bernstein launched WeWoreWhat as a blog and expanded it into a standalone clothing brand last year after collaborations with Macy’s and swimwear brand Onia. The hope is that the WeWoreWhat credit card will serve as an additional marketing tool for the brand.
“In today’s creator economy, it’s no longer about growing your follower count, it’s really about tapping into and engaging and further growing your existing community,” Bernstein said.
The map will also test the loyalty of Bernstein’s followers. In recent years, influencers have expanded beyond the platforms that made them famous, from clothing and accessories brands to side gigs as brand consultants.
Influencer credit cards will likely follow the same trajectory as these ventures, with some thriving but most quietly shutting down without much impact, said James Nord, founder of influencer marketing firm Fohr.
“There really won’t be a problem getting a good number of people to sign up early,” he said. “But as it extends beyond that…how far does that influence go outside of your heart if you’re a fashion influencer?”
The future of influencer contracts
Bernstein, who has 2.8 million followers on Instagram, sees engagement “pretty in line with what you’d expect” for an influencer with her reach, Nord said.
She has sometimes been a divisive figure. Critics accused her of copying small label designs for her own brand. When Bernstein first joined TikTok, his videos were flooded with negative comments. Critics, however, have not hindered her success: her subscriber count continues to grow and she continues to launch new business ventures.
While Bernstein herself will likely be the main promoter of the card at first, she said WeWoreWhat’s brand marketing strategy has relied heavily on an ambassador program to include influencers beyond Bernstein.
“[WeWoreWhat marketing] won’t always have to rely on me to be front and center, which I think is the only truly scalable option for this type of brand,” she said.
The Pros and Cons of Branded Credit Cards
For the brands themselves, the primary benefit of credit cards has always been to encourage spending.
“Brands get more loyal consumers for free,” said Daragh Murphy, chief executive of Imprint. “It’s really important today when there is so much competition to find consumers and retain them.”
But store credit cards have also gained a reputation for high interest rates and other unfavorable terms. Credit card issues of all kinds have been criticized for marketing to people with poor credit, as well as young people who may not understand how credit affects their finances.
The bank-connected WeWoreWhat card does not require a credit check, has no annual interest rate, and no registration fees. Terms for the credit card are still being worked out, although they do not include annual fees, foreign transaction fees or balance transfer fees, a spokesperson said. Cardholders will receive 10% cash back on purchases from Bernstein’s WeWoreWhat brand, 5% on purchases from a “curated list” of partner retailers and restaurants, and 1% on everything else.
For his part, Bernstein said the marketing around the card will aim to teach people how they can use it.
“The storytelling and educational content will be most important early on, being really able to articulate and explain how easy…safe…reliable it is to use,” she said.