8 min read
Linktree User, Influencer
Colette Prime on turning her side hustle into a business
If you thought you knew what fashion influencers were all about, think again. It’s time you met Colette LeClair, or Colette Prime as she’s known online.
Colette is a self-taught fashion editor who’s digital savviness has turned her blogging into a full time business. And of course – she’s a Linktree user too!
Meet Colette Prime. She's one helluva stylish web-nerd!
At first look, Colette is a fashion influencer/blogger/model. And an extremely stylish one at that. But Colette’s followers know she’s a whole lot more than that.
Colette is an Amazon Influencer. That means she connects her followers to products she curates from Amazon Fashion. When they buy, she earns a commission on those products – simple as! All of the apparel in her trend-forward shoots, on her site and in her Instagram feed are her Amazon finds.
And she doesn’t work for Amazon – she’s an digital entrepreneur using their tools to run her own business. Genius may be her middle name (she’s even a chartered accountant to boot..!).
We had the pleasure of jumping on the phone with Colette over in San Francisco. Talking to Colette is one of those experiences where you come away thinking “hells bells, this woman is going places!”.
High fashion on a lemonade budget? We're in!
Linktree: Colette, this is your full-time gig now, right? Tell us how you got here!
Colette: “Yes, as of January it’s been full-time for a year! But I’ve been shopping for clothing off Amazon for six years – from when I was a broke college kid. I went to a Southern school where the closest mall was an hour away, so I had a lot of free time and a lot of sorority functions to find dresses for on a budget!
“In 2017 I went to Coachella Music Festival and from that I was featured on a blog. My dress was from Amazon – it was $12! I could tell that people were more interested in it so I started the blog in 2017.”
"I went to Coachella and got featured on a blog. My dress was from Amazon - it was $12!"
“I was working as a Certified Public Accountant and for a while did both at the same time. A couple of months into my blog, Amazon invited me onto its Influencer Program. At that time it was only really YouTubers with huge audiences on there – so I was quite surprised. It was new for them to take someone with such a small influence – I probably had 2,000 followers at the time, but the blog had been driving traffic to Amazon and they look at the numbers.
A short time after joining the Influencer Program I quit accounting and took up a Pilates job on the side. I did them both part time for about six months and then went full-time Amazon Influencer.”
Pretty fast to full-time!
“Yes! When I hit 10,000 followers on Instagram, I remember it was in June or July of 2018, that’s when I went full time. Once you hit 10K and you get the swipe up functionality, that’s a big deal for sales. Until that point I didn’t even have categories on my Amazon storefront until that point.
Every. Single. Piece. Amazon.
These days, your store front looks like a department store. It covers all bases. How are you finding those products?
“I don’t think anyone would be able to jump straight in there and find these products. I’ve been doing this for so long that I built up this fine history on Amazon.
“For the first two years, I would probably return half of everything – maybe it was poor quality or didn’t match the image. Because of that, you go back to the same brands that you trust and when you find them, Amazon recommends more. So you start to get a really good algorithm – it’s like a really good rhythm.
“Whereas if you just go on Amazon once a month to find something, you’re not going to find what I am, because I’ve built up this buying history and this relationship with the buyers. I have a list of 40 of my top brands that I go back to every single time and I own something from every single one of those brands.”
"You start to get a really good algorithm - it's like a really good rhythm."
What does your day-to-day look like now?
“It was challenging in the beginning – my accounting background meant I knew numbers and Excel – I had to go from someone who had no creativity to someone who was full-time doing what I wanted, when I wanted, how I wanted! I just dove into it 110% from the start – I had so much work to catch up on. I did everything I could to learn about photography and fashion. I invested in equipment and the right camera. I started taking my own photos. On weekends I’d spend eight hours in a park taking photos of myself in my clothes.
“I’d watch fashion runway shows at night to see how they’re styling. Then the next day, I’d put on clothes and style them for two hours, taking photos on my tripod in my bedroom on self-timer and then I download the images and go through them. “That doesn’t look good. That looks good. This is why this goes well.”
“So I did that 50% of the time. The other 50% of the time, I spent asking my followers about what they wanted to wear. Through them, I was constantly getting inspiration. I would have 50 requests in my direct messages on Instagram. They’d send me a photo inspiration from Pinterest. “Can you find a dress like this?”
"Once you help someone shop, you make them feel good about themselves and in return, they go to work and they tell their 10 coworkers about it."
“I was getting requests for all types of women, all body types, from all over. I was learning what they’re interested in which directly led to growth. Once you help someone shop, you make them feel good about themselves and in return, they go to work and they tell their 10 coworkers about it – they’re proud of it because we worked together and they saved money. In the beginning, I thought I’d just share my finds, outfits that I really like from Amazon. But then it turned into me shopping for them and sharing what they’re interested in, building a site based off of those requests.”
Right from day one, Colette put her audience first when planning her business.
Tell us about your community. I know that it’s mostly women and you’re quite protective of that – why?
“I really spend time with my followers. At the start I could spend five hours direct messaging one woman, trying to find an outfit for her that she might not even buy. But I figured if I could at least help her and show her that I had the time for her, then we could really build something and it worked.
“Once I find a woman an outfit, she tells her sisters, friends, coworkers. It’s been very word of mouth since the beginning. I wanted to post their photos and make them feel like the influencer, because they were the influencer. They were influencing me, I was building my site off their requests so it only felt fair to include them in the process and post them in the dress that I found for them.
"It felt like a community that I had to protect because I built a relationship with them. I took a big risk and they took it with me."
“I wanted to be very clear that if you send me a photo of yourself and I post it, it’s not going out to 25,000 random people that you don’t know. It’s going to be a community of women that are like-minded and are stylish, too.
“I’ve made a site that has really taken care of women. I still get into the direct messages everyday. I’ve just hired an assistant who is coming on-board part-time and help deliver some of the things I can no longer be doing day in, day out. ”
So you’re using Linktree to drive visitors to your Amazon store but also connect them with your blog?
“I show my Linktree probably everyday in my Instagram Stories. I know in the beginning, I just had the Amazon site because it was hard to get the girls to go to the blog and then go to the Amazon site. They were confused. Then I learned about Linktree and thought, “this is genius”, I can just link everything I want.”
Do you have any housekeeping tips for an Amazon storefront?
“You have to check it every day. Certainly for me, it’s every day because I’m at the point where the sellers on Amazon aren’t paying great attention – so I’ll put up a shirt and they’ll have five of each size and sell out in a day. If I just leave that shirt up on my site people will think I’m not paying attention as its all sold out. My tip is honestly to be on top of it every single day.”
Anyone else getting Daenerys vibes?
You’re off to Coachella soon – what’s the plan there?
“It’s more than just the music for me. I get to see my demographic in three days. It’s a lot of fashionable, stylish women and so I need to know what they’re interested in and they give me a lot of inspiration. I like to go and take photos. In my opinion, Coachella is the future of the Fashion Week.”
And in our opinion, Colette is the future of fashion business! We adored talking to her – as such a great example of someone who turned a passion into a full time business, tapping into a digital moment. Now go and see her amazing work for yourself:
Deanna is part of the Amazon Influencer Program. We’ve recently collaborated with Amazon so that you can drive more traffic to your storefront from your Linktree. Find out more here.