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Finance & the Fashion Blogger: “Haul Videos”

by Ashley on May 26, 2010

After the response on my first few Finance & the Fashion Blogger posts, I thought I’d try to make it a regular series– talking about my own interest in finances, how I use different tools to manage my money (and save for shoes!), observations I’m seeing in the blogosphere, and more.  I hope you enjoy them as much I’m enjoying writing them– and if you have anything you’d like to ask, please feel free to email me!

The gorgeous Jennine recently tipped me off to an article in the NY Times about the rise and popularity of “haul” vloggers.  I wasn’t aware of the phenomenon before (though as Jennine commented, it’s kind of always existed within fashion blogging to some extent), but then my charming Beau confirmed it– he’d recently heard a radio piece on these videos.

Haul videos are, in short, online videos of women showcasing their recent purchases, where they got it, often discussing how much it costs.

It’s interesting in reading articles about this phenomenon, because ‘haul’ videos aren’t exclusive to fashion shoppers and didn’t even begin with them.  They began with boys & their toys– called “unboxing” videos, it featured geeked & teched out boys unboxing the newest video games & electronics before using them.  The new haul videos aren’t limited to young women shopping either–apparently they’re quite big within the crafting and scrapbooking communities, where crafty gals and guys will showcase their most recent hauls of paper and supplies.

It seems like the press has caught in the past few months to the trend of young women doing it and spending money on fashion & beauty items, though, especially based on the number of articles I’ve found about it within the past 3-4 months.

The phenomenon behind it is really intriguing– many articles dismissed or overlooked important factors (I thought), such as teenage vlogger’s working 2 jobs to support their shopping habits.  (While I wish I could shake them and say, “Learn to save now! Learn it, because in 4 years, you’ll wonder where all of that money went!” I know I was the same way at that age & can’t condemn them.)

Thoughts, Reactions, & Questions

  • My first reaction was that these videos would contribute to excessive buying– but it seems from most reports, that women feel disinclined to spend money, because they’re receiving the same thrill from seeing another’s purchase.
  • Is it unfair for the media to sensationalize these videos because they’re made by young, pretty women, who are spending a lot of money (and perpetuating this idea of women’s shopping habits)? Afterall, if you Google Unboxing Videos, you don’t find as many news sites reporting on the subject.
  • How do you feel watching these videos? I find myself morbidly curious about them– overall I don’t like the products I tend to see, so it doesn’t inspire me to want to go buy things.  On the other hand, I get really curious about the exhibitionist side to it.. how does it feel to create a haul video, to receive the comments back bonding over your purchases.  Do you regularly watch haul videos?

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