Illustration by Matt Chessco

    When fashion blogger Dede Raad was pregnant with her second child, she frequently added to an Instagram story highlight called Bump Style, showing how she comfortably accommodated her developing baby bump in bodycon dresses and oversize cardigans. Although Raad is undeniably chic, that kind of content isn’t out of the ordinary for expectant influencers. What really set her apart was her unflinching honesty after her son was born: In a follow-up highlight, Raad walked first-time moms through what they should expect when they’re admitted to the hospital, and talked candidly about ice packs, epidurals, and disposable underwear.

    Raad’s openness and relatability are two big reasons why she’s collected over 1 million followers on Instagram and why her blog, Dress Up Buttercup, has its own sizable audience. The Houston native started daydreaming about having her own fashion- and travel-focused site when she was an underutilized event planner for a Texas oil company. When she was downsized out of a job, she started a temporary photography business (which she has jokingly described as “so bad”) before transitioning into full-time blogging. Within 18 months, she was earning as much from her new website as she’d made at her oil gig. Today, six years later, Dress Up Buttercup has serious name recognition, and Raad truly welcomes her large readership into her life, whether she’s launching a branded capsule collection at Nordstrom, collaborating with luxury hotels, or wearing a $12 top while making pizza at home.