Never give up — even if you fail. My current elleflorence.com business is my second business, not my first, and it has brought me so much joy that I never would have fathomed if I hadn’t given it a second shot. Similarly, I didn’t find my audience quickly, I grew it steadily.
We often use the term “Influencers” to describe people with significant social media followings on platforms like Instagram, Twitter TikTok, Youtube, Linkedin and Facebook. Influencers have become today’s media titans, sought after for everything from product placements to timely trends. What’s the difference between influence and impact? Fans and followers? Sizzle versus staying power?
In this interview series, called, “How To Cultivate Community In A Click to Connect World” we are talking to influencers about how they define success and what we all need to discover about the true nature of influence. As a part of this series, I had the pleasure of interviewing Eleanor Lecocq.
Eleanor Lecocq (known online as Elle Florence) is a young professional, entrepreneur and jewelry designer based in Washington State. She started her Nouvelle Pearl jewelry line in Vancouver, British Columbia in 2016 and moved the business across the border as a dual citizen in 2019.
She has grown a small business and online presence as a creator while working full time in law, maintaining a balance between the analytical and creative sides of her personality. In harmony with this perspective, her video content and designs available at elleflorence.com aim to balance aesthetics and practicality.
Thank you for making time to visit with us! Our readers would love to get to know you a bit better. How did you discover your career path and what got you to where you are today?
Which one? Genuine question — I spend my life asking this question whenever I’m asked about my work, since I have two passions that are huge priorities in my life. I discovered my passion for law by reading cases for fun, learning about business through a legal lens and understanding how lawyers can foster creativity and brand development through savvy advice to help clients resolve conflicts. Simultaneously, as I went through law school and then my legal career, and as a consummate ‘girly girl’ growing up, I soaked everything up about style that I could possibly find. Trying on my grandmother and mother’s jewelry and accessories and styling them in new ways gave me the confidence to navigate adversity and whenever the pressures of my professional career got too much, I had the creative outlet of the jewelry design business I developed to re-inspire me to continue and succeed.
What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned along the way that influences how you operate now?
Be careful what you wish for, and especially, who you wish for. Surround yourself with good people who want the best for you, who you can trust. If an opportunity or person feels like the wrong fit, wish them well or express gratitude for the opportunity but trust your instincts in letting go. I learned this one the hard way!
We’re all searching for some good news. How are you using your platform to make a positive social impact?
Rather than aligning myself with other brands through frequent sponsorships, I personally prefer to focus on building my brand and business through my platform and designing beautiful quality things — this, in turn, empowers me to feature charities on my site and give 10–15% of the proceeds for new collections — this year I’ve donated a portion of proceeds in this way to the Women’s Fund of Hawaii and the Women for Human Rights organization in Nepal. Last year, proceeds benefitted Nurses House, which services nurses affected by COVID-19.
Many of our readers are influencers as well. Others have tried and have yet to succeed. What words of advice would you offer to aspiring influencers, knowing what you know now?
Enjoy your time with a smaller audience because it is a huge opportunity to decide which way you want to take your personal brand. I started off with mostly makeup videos and found my passion focusing more on fashion and lifestyle content. Ask yourself whether you’d continue making content if it was never going to be a big success — if the answer is yes, keep going! Be as consistent as you can and really connect with your audience rather than seeing them as consumers.
Success is often a matter of perspective. I’ve always resonated with Henry David Thoreau’s quote, “It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.” How do you see success — or define success — for yourself now?
The magic formula for me was blending my aesthetic lifestyle content with career tips. I grew an audience of people I would genuinely want to spend my time with! I’m reminded of that every time I meet a follower in real life — it’s pretty magical! It means that when I design jewelry or plan content, I’m able to create from the angle of both what I would love to wear/watch/enjoy and what my followers will enjoy because we are peers and like-minds. On a busines level, it means I rarely design something that isn’t an authentic fit for the lives of my customers too — and that allows my business to stay lean and keep prices more affordable because I rarely have a launch that doesn’t sell out.
What are your strategies to make room for who and what matters most?
This is hard for those of us who are very plugged in, but sometimes you have to push yourself to just put your technology away to spend time with friends and family — what works for me is to either be very productive and plugged in to my legal and entrepreneurial work, or totally unplugged with my phone out of sight or at least not posting anything. Sometimes that can actually make your content more valuable too, if you need to look at it from that angle, than if you are posting all the time. I used to vlog very frequently, but doing so seldomly now and mostly around the holidays helps me to feel excited about it again after a decade of doing it, and helps it to feel special to my audience too.
How do you reduce or mitigate stress?
The airline rule — put your oxygen mask on first. You can’t take care of others/slay your goals/build a brand sustainably if you don’t do that.
I’m going to try a few of your tips, and I’m hopeful our readers will, too. Now it’s time for the big reveal — the moment our readers have been anticipating. What are your “five strategies to cultivate a large & engaged social media community?’ Please share a story or example for each.
- Dream big!
- Never give up — even if you fail. My current elleflorence.com business is my second business, not my first, and it has brought me so much joy that I never would have fathomed if I hadn’t given it a second shot. Similarly, I didn’t find my audience quickly, I grew it steadily.
- Stay true to your style. I’m not very into trends and my style is very classic. Eventually, the trends will come around and feature things you already love. Be a pillar of style, not a leaf that blows with the wind, whatever your style is.
- Once you’ve found your style, don’t be afraid of evolving and switching it up! Sometimes your audience won’t like it at first. My style has gotten a little bit more casual as my life has — your audience will grow with you.
- Set healthy boundaries — what you share online is shared forever, and essentially to everyone. Let that empower you to create content you are proud of, not to scare you into being only a spectator.
What do you do to create a greater sense of connection and community among your fans?
Create traditions and embrace your favorite things as your signatures! I embraced Vlogmas vlogging as a tradition a decade ago and have kept it going. I have many other signatures, from recipes like my waffles and minestrone to my favorite oversized cashmere and pearl combo that your community can enjoy too at many price points.
As an influencer, you are, by definition, a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.
I’m a very small business, but if I can inspire others to support small entrepreneurs, and think about donating a portion of proceeds to charity if they start their own business like I did, I’ll have lit a little spark that I’m very proud of.
We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world with whom you’d like to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He, she or they might just see this. 🙂
I’d love to have lunch with a group of female entrepreneurs and discuss our answers to questions like these and others. Martha Stewart, my friend Olivia Lovenmark who started her own bottled cocktail business, my mom, who was a financial whiz in a male-dominated environment in the 80s, and Melissa Wood-Tepperberg whose workouts I do every day would have the most elegant and riveting champagne lunch!
What is the best way for our readers to further follow your work online?
Check out my youtube channel Elle Florence, my Nouvelle Pearl jewelry and Nouvelle Apparel cashmere at ElleFlorence.com, and my everyday stories at ElleFlorence on insta.
Thank you for these thought provoking insights. Here’s to your continued success!