If you haven’t followed @Coletteleclair_ (formally @colette.prime) on IG– oh man, you’re missing out. This girl is one of kind and I’m going to lay out some bullet points as to why.
Colette has made a career out of making Amazon clothes HIGH FASHION and shopping for women on the daily. (See her incredible shop HERE.) Whatever we need, Colette is going to find it and help us stay on budget. Beyond our own personal Amazon clothing shopper…
Colette empowers women on the DAILY to be proud of their bodies, express themselves with clothes, chase their dreams with intensity and mostly- HAVE FUN. Seriously- her photos are incredible but it’s her personality that really shines.
Colette has taken her army of women (Over 96% of her following is women #goals) on her own personal career journey. From throwing herself into the lime light, to learning photography and recently VIDEO (her videos are KILLER), to being self-taught about fashion… it’s so cool to see. Really shows us that we are capable of anything.
Colette teaches us about fashion– I have stated this already a few times and that’s because I believe that’s one HUUUUGE bonus of following her. You know how a lot of bloggers only talking about what’s trendy? Well, she gives usable tips that are universal for everyone. Like homegirl is the best personal digital stylist we have on Instagram. I’m just going to say it!
She’s been featured in Cosmopolitan, she’s beloved in her community… and NOW we have her on The Violet Fog!
We had an entire conversation that stemmed from the theme: when we create something… it’s about THEM, not US. If you are a Creator or brand- this is an important message.
Colette both inspires and tugs at your heart. Enjoy <3
When Colette and I get to talking, she makes it very clear who Colette Prime is about. “I started out of this place of genuinely wanting to help women. That’s why it started. It wasn’t because I liked fashion. It wasn’t I had a background in fashion… I didn’t. It wasn’t because I found myself attractive. Nothing else made me do it other than I wanted to help women save money and empower them.”
There’s a pause as I’m typing. Colette quietly nods to herself… “All I really cared about was helping women. That’s where it all stems from.” The genuineness of her statement is refreshing. You can tell she means it.
I ask her what the hard part was about creating Colette Prime. “The hard part was Instagram and trying to learn how to be stylish and be a model, a photographer, and at the same time, be authentic and grow a real following.” To be a brand means to wear many hats…
I ask her when she noticed she was starting to gain traction, and again… Colette points out that you must pivot to what your people want, not what you want.
“For a while, I was trying to do the typical “do a pretty photo” with something I would pick out for myself and then people might want to buy it immediately because it was such a good photo. But then I said, ‘No, this isn’t it… I don’t think this is what my followers want. I think they want the real interaction. I think they want to know who I am. Connection.'”
We briefly talk about how there will never be growth without true connection. Without a true value add. “Exactly. When I realized that I said to myself, ‘Well why don’t I just go back to this idea of helping them? Why don’t I actually shop FOR them?’…. The moment I started shopping for them- that’s when I noticed I started to grow. It wasn’t because of good photos. It wasn’t because I did my hair a certain way. It was just because I started shopping for them and I made it more about them than it was about me.”
Colette is front of and center of her Instagram, so she makes it clear: “Of course, I am the face of my Instagram and it looks like, “Oh, it’s just another blogger.” But then you go to my stories and you see all my tagged photos and it’s actually more about them. It’s very clear.”
As someone who has watched Colette Prime since the near beginning, it’s the evolution that’s so fun to watch. “I was having interactions with my followers daily. I was messaging them, they were messaging me back. I was asking them to send the inspo looks of other outfits they liked. I’d be, ‘Okay, I’ll find this for you for at an affordable price.’ Once you shop for someone for five hours, find them a high quality and beautiful piece at an affordable price…. they respect you forever and they come back to you.”
I ask her the range of women shopping Colette Prime. “I don’t just shop for girls in highschool and college, I have women ages 35 to 40 who shop my site. That’s really cool.”
Colette didn’t grow from posting photos but from interaction. From shopping for other women. “Before I was doing this full time, I would post once every two weeks. Because that wasn’t my priority. I remember in the beginning feeling so inadequate because every other blogger that I looked up to or read about said they became successful from posting 2-3X a day. I was like, ‘oh my gosh…. I’m not doing that. I’m not posting but once every two weeks or even sometimes three weeks.’… But on the flip side, I was putting so much energy into another thing that worked. The community.”
As Colette was posting every 2 weeks and growing, it was in the DMs, helping women directly, where she geared a lot of her energy.
“I come off as an extrovert. I can talk to people, I’m one of five sisters, five kids, I have three big sisters. I really love women genuinely and I’m really good at talking to them.”
I ask her simply, WHY Colette Prime? “Before Colette Prime, I had got out of a four-year relationship. My heart was broken and I lost my entire friend group and it was a very sad time where I felt very alone and I wanted to change my life and do something that helps people. Creating Colette Prime and connecting with other women was very therapeutic for me during a time when I was very lonely. I wanted true interaction just as much as my followers did.”
This tugs at my heart strings, because I can think of many times myself when I was depressed and not going out, and interaction was the Violet Fog community was one thing I could count on and enjoyed every day.
“With Colette Prime I look at it like, ‘Oh, I helped them, but they helped me just as much.’ When you help someone, they help you feel better about yourself and you want to keep building and you want to keep growing that. It was very organic because we both needed it.”
I think of the strings of story frames of Colette passionately talking with women about achieving their dreams and rocking their best assets. Not once does she come off as sales-y or in it for the wrong reasons.
“When I focused just on metrics and just pretty photos- I’d lose a hundred followers. Because I focused on what didn’t matter. When I got laser-focused on the women and messaging them, it became easier to not care about the numbers because when I go to bed at night I’m like, ‘Okay I’m helping them. I feel like I’m doing a good job and it’s working.'”
I have to ask her, are ALL her clothes from Amazon?
“Oh yeah. All of them. I started with a full clothing rack when I didn’t even have a closet in my apartment. Now I have five. So yeah, all my clothes! I started with an Amazon wardrobe, but now I live, eat and breathe Amazon clothes.”
TALK ABOUT COMMITMENT- RIGHT?!
What is even cooler, is her integrity. She doesn’t just buy clothes, photograph them, and then return them (which unfortunately many bloggers do.)
“To be successful in what I’m doing, you have to spend money. It’s very challenging. In the beginning, some people’s advice was, ‘Oh buy the clothes and return them.’ You can do that on Amazon. Buy 10 return 10. Here’s the problem with that and why that doesn’t work and why I will never do that: it makes you fraudulent. For instance, let’s say I like a sweater and post about it. I share it and get everyone to buy it and I return it…. What if in three months that sweaters completely unravels? I just can’t do that. I need to own the clothes and really be able to back up what I say.”
And it’s true– there are MANY instances you will hear Colette talking about how long she’s had an item or how many times she’s worn it. “I like being able to say ‘I’ve had this pair of pants for a year, they’re $15 and I’ve washed them five times, I’ve dry cleaned them, and there’s no wear and tear.’ If you’re buying it and returning it, you can’t say that.”
Colette does the greatest job about educating her community about fashion, especially clothes that don’t cost much but can feel like luxury. “My eye is so sharp now– before buying, I can look at a shirt that’s the same price as another shirt and I can say which one’s going to last and which ones not based off the tailoring, the fabric and the designing.”
I tell her she always look so put together… does she really get dolled up every single day? In her real life, does she like getting dressed up even to run to the coffee store?
She laughs as I ask this, “Sometimes it’s a breakdown every week because truly to my core, I am more of this hippie girl who doesn’t want to straighten my hair. Who doesn’t want to brush her hair. Who doesn’t like face makeup. I hate foundation, I hate all the stuff that highlights the cheekbones and all these things. To my core…. I do not like that. I grew up as an athlete, I was a swimmer so I never had makeup on, my hair was always a mess. Getting dolled up to me has been the biggest challenge. Becoming the model as well as the content creator. You probably feel that too. The pressure to look good.”
I tell her yes, I hate putting on makeup!
“It’s probably the least favorite part of the job. I think some people like to be glam and they like getting ready and dolled up and then some people really don’t like it. For me that was the biggest… that was probably one of the hardest things to do… to become someone who was willing to do that every day. I mean, I certainly do have more confidence in a photo shoot or in a story if I tried a little bit. In the beginning I could never do my makeup right and I have this crazy curly hair all the time, which I still do, but I tweak things differently now to look more put together and I do think that helps my presentation. I like to show myself makeup-free, but I also like to show myself put together.”
I tell Colette that one thing I really admire about her is that she asks her community for help. Be it in the form of engaging with a post or bookmarking her Amazon site or tagging her in photos, she is not shy about asking for help. Something I think I could be a lot better about.
“I found that it would bum me out so much when I would I drive down to Carmel from San Francisco to take these photos and I’d spend a night there and work eight hours for two days and drive four hours home and get up these three posts and the engagement would be so low…. but the month leading up to that trip, I have been talking to these girls, I have been shopping for them, I have been helping them. These exact clothes, they wanted to see styled. So I thought to myself, ‘I am allowed to say I need help too.’ Because we’re helping each other through the messages but at the same time I’m in this… this industry of Instagram and it doesn’t reward you back. I just felt like, ‘Hey, if I just mentioned this on my story, that I need some engagement, I think they’ll get it.’ And they do. They immediately will go and engage with my post. Once I did that a couple times I was like, “Oh, these women are… these women are cool.'”
She stops for a second and gives a matter of fact statement: “It’s like… you want something, say something.” #YESQUEEN
“You help people, and genuinely they want to help you too, but sometimes it takes a couple of reminders in this world because we’re so busy, we’re so distracted. They all have really hard jobs, harder than my jobs, and they’re tired too. You sometimes you got to give them a couple of reminders that ‘Hey, I need help too.’ I’ve never received any negativity about that.”
Colette works for an army of women who are like-minded. Along the ride with her.
I tell her one thing that that I really appreciate, is that she calls out other bloggers who are only showcasing products that are crazy expensive. Like over $500. It’s unattainable for 99.9% of people.
“It’s funny because I think deep down they would agree with me. I actually have some big bloggers that follow me that I respect. They’re in the game, they have worked so hard, they have a great engagement, great photos and some of them could easily take what I’m saying as a little jab, a little dig, but they also agree with me.”
It’s really just advice that Colette is giving to other bloggers. To be more thoughtful in what they are promoting. “I think women, we all have that one thing in common, we do want to help each other and we are really caring and generous.”
Again, she brings everything back to the women she creates for: “I’m calling out influencing techniques that I don’t agree with because I think of it as protecting my followers.”
I tell her yes, the community should always come first. And she speaks up on social issues too- like working with male photographers who can sometimes be really creepy.
“I am sending the message that anything I can do to protect you, I’m going to talk about it. It’s me coming from a very protective motherly place.”
With that, we both agree… our platforms are nothing without the women in the community.
“Absolutely nothing. Everything is about them.”
Written by your home girls at The Violet Fog