Born in Cremona, in 1987, Chiara Ferragni is the mind and face behind The Blonde Salad, the blog that she started in 2009, when she was a law student, and through which she reached such a success to become a case study for the Harvard Business School.

In an interview with Forbes, which crowned her as #1 Top Influencer in the Fashion category, she said: “I really started The Blonde Salad at the best time possible. That’s when the world started talking about the fashion blogger phenomenon, and brands started approaching me from the very beginning.”

Since then, Ferragni, while working on sponsored content and ad campaigns with design houses ranging from Guess to Gucci, proved to be an entrepreneur cable of building a fashion empire with: 10.3 million-plus Instagram fans; a fashion website that employs 20 people and that competes with traditional media platforms; its own line of apparel and accessories available in 350 stores, including in flagship ones in Milan and Shanghai 20 stores scheduled to open in China in the near future; and impressive revenues to match. Indeed, Ferragni does not leave anything to chance and is already working on her legacy, grooming her younger sister Valentina (1.3 million Instagram followers) as the next social media style star.

“I think influencers right now are the new media,” Ferragni said from a penthouse hotel suite during New York Fashion Week in September, “in the past, people were so interested in reading fashion news out of a magazine, and now they get all this information from social media, through influencers.”

Ilona Catani Scarlett

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