Career Stories 11 September 2017
Woah! Talking blogging business with Fleur de Force

There’s no denying Fleur de Force’s (28) online force is well, huge. Fleur is one of the most successful and earliest vlogging ‘celebrities’ on beauty and fashion in the UK, with a whopping 2 million subscribers watching her every move – on three different YouTube channels.

Since her first video in 2009 (in which she tries to save her Urban Decay Primer Potion – her dog casually chewed on the container), Fleur has been guiding her devoted fan base of millions through the wonderful world of eyeshadow quads, messy braids, and weddings. She also wrote a best-selling book and launched her own makeup line.

What’s left to dream of? Yara had a chat with Fleur about what life is really like as an influencer, her devoted fan base, FOMO and how she deals with competition. Fleur: “I pinch myself every day. I’m so incredibly lucky. Any other YouTuber who says otherwise should quit.”

Yara: ‘Nowadays, a lot of girls start out with an image of ‘I want to be a YouTuber, I want to have free stuff and travel’, but when we were growing up, we didn’t really have those examples yet. You kind of set the standard.’

Fleur: ‘Well, I don’t really know about setting the standard. I started way back in 2009 when YouTube wasn’t really a thing. I definitely didn’t realize you could grow a career on YouTube. Or people would send you stuff. Or travel around the world. I found a few other girls who were making content online at the time and I really fell in love with it and I wanted to get involved. Once I started doing it, I never looked back. I found it was such an amazing way of connecting with people who were into the same things as me. This was a great way for meeting people all around the world who share similar interests.’

Yara: ‘You mean, finding people with the same weird obsessions?’

Fleur: ‘Exactly. At the time, a lot of my ‘real’ friends weren’t that much into fashion. And as much as I loved them, we had other things in common, we didn’t share my passion.’

Yara: ‘And that’s how it started?’

Fleur: ‘From 2009, my channel expanded, and so did the whole industry. Although, back in the days you couldn’t call it an industry. It’s been something pretty special to be part off.’

Yara: ‘It’s always difficult to pinpoint success. But do you have any idea why YouTube works so well for you?’

Fleur: ‘I think a lot of it has been consistency. I’ve been doing it for such a long time and I never really had a break on making content. I’ve always been consistent and I’ve always been quite driven on it. I’ve worked hard on my content. For me, I think that’s what my audience appreciates. They know I’ll always be uploading content. They know they can trust my reviews. I’ve always been very straight with my audience. Obviously, now, there’s this huge thing about disclosure. I’ve always disclosed anytime I work with a brand. And I think my audience trusts me for that. So, I think that’s been a big part of it.’

Yara: ‘It’s interesting that you mentioned that because disclosure has become a big topic. Is everything we see on your channel 100% you?’

Fleur: ‘Well, it’s always edited a little bit. I actually have three channels. You see a lot of real life on my vlog channel. My fashion beauty channel is more static, it’s set up in a sense that you’re not following me around in daily life. But yes, these channels are 100% me. I’m talking about the products I love, I won’t talk about them if they are fake.’

Yara: ‘But you are wearing pajama bottoms in your static videos, right?’

Fleur: ‘Probably, yes! A Fancy top for the video and tracksuits or jeans offscreen. And slippers.’

Yara: ‘What’s been the biggest overall lesson you learned via vlogging?’

Fleur: ‘It has been such a long time and I’ve been through so many phases with YouTube. I’ve grown up on YouTube. I started as I was 21, I was in university and I got married, I got my first house, I got my dogs… All of that happened whilst I was online. I shared it all with everybody and it’s hard to look back and pinpoint things. Like I said, Back in the day, nobody was doing YouTube for money. People did it because they had something to share. And a lot of it was making friends. The biggest lesson for me was that I learned to appreciate my old friends, more than anything else. As everything changed, people changed. That was a hard lesson to learn.’

Yara: ‘Isn’t it absurd for you to realize you’ve got all this personal stuff online?’

Fleur: ‘It’s crazy. I try not to think about it too much because it’s scary as well. When you meet people in real life, I often get more excited than they do. YouTube is a very solitary thing to do, you’re often alone with your camera a lot of the time. Some people think I’m crazy because I can be way too over excited.’

Yara: ‘Oh, that’s hilarious. I have the same thing! Okay, over to the next. If you were given a 100 million dollars, would your business change in any way?’

Fleur: ‘No, I don’t think so. I might get some better camera equipment. Probably, not. I like my camera. You might see me blogging with a nicer sofa, but apart from that… no. I like what I do.’

Yara: ‘Is it you with a small team? Or how do you run your business?’

Fleur: ‘For a very very long time, it was just me on my own. Now I have one girl who helps me with my editing and videos and stuff. It got to the point where I have three main channels videos a week and a daily vlog every other month. So when I’m daily vlogging, that’s ten videos a week. And then I have my bridal channel with two videos a week on.’

Yara: ‘That’s crazy.’

Fleur: ‘That’s twelve videos a week in total, I guess. And yes, I do need a little help.’

Yara: ‘And you have a bridal channel.’

Fleur: ‘Yes I do! With my sister.’

Yara: ‘Do you think it’s a smart move to choose a niche topic to start a channel?’

Fleur: ‘I think in terms of the niche thing, the bridal channel is a bit different. because I started it when I got engaged. We picked it up recently mostly from the perspective that me and my sister really wanted to work again and it’s so fun. And no one else is really doing it. It’s awesome and the reaction to it is just amazing as well. If you are interested in a niche thing and you want to talk about it, yes, it’s a smart move. But if you just want to talk about things that you love, don’t put yourself in a box.’

‘Now I have separate channels. Back in the early days of Youtube, it was like: ‘oh, you’re a beauty girl, you can’t do daily vlogging on that channel because we didn’t sign up for that’, whilst now it doesn’t exist that much. If I had started later, I would just have one channel.’

Yara: ‘But you don’t want to blend them in now?’

Fleur: ‘Hmmm, no. It has been like this for years and my audience has been there for a long time. They’re comfortable with the way how it works. I think it would be strange for me to merge the channels. And I also do like the fact that I have more freedom on my vlog channel to throw in total curve balls and it doesn’t really matter too much. For example, my main channel videos are more polished and the uploading schedule is more set. But whatever you want to do, it’s fine. That’s the great thing about YouTube. There are no rules.’

Yara: ‘Do you have to make sacrifices to live this life? Like, no sleep, for example?’

Fleur: ‘Ehhhm. Sometimes. But I think no more than any other job. We are so lucky to be doing what we’re doing. When people say: ‘Ohhh it sounds like such a hard job’, I’m like: I’m not complaining. It’s simply the best job ever. I pinch myself every day. We’re so incredibly lucky. Anyone who says otherwise should quit.’

Yara: ‘What are you extremely proud of right now?’

Fleur: ‘I actually have a MAC lipstick. It just came out and it has sold out within a week of being on sale. It’s crazy. MAC is one of those brands that when I first started YouTube, I would have never ever, ever, ever have believed I would have been working with them now. It’s my holy grail brand.’

Yara: ‘You’ve been doing this for quite some time. eight years. How hard is to constantly push yourself to come up with new ideas?’

Fleur: ‘It is hard. I struggle. Because now there’s so much competition. Especially in the beauty space. It’s not in the way that there’s direct competition, but everyone is doing so well. They’re smashing it. But you do feel like the pressure is on and you want to come up with something new, something different.’

Yara: ‘Is it hard, the competition?’

Fleur: ‘It’s always important to pay attention to what others are doing. It’s good for inspiration, but you don’t need to get too wrapped up in what others are doing. As much as I love Instagram and Instagram Stories, it’s so bad for FOMO. Often I just take a step back and say to myself: what I do is awesome too.’

Yara: ‘It’s funny to hear because many girls think you have a perfect life. But at the same time, you struggle with the same insecurities and the same fear of missing out and you feel like a loser half of the time.’

Fleur: ‘Exactly. Everybody does. So many people are dealing with FOMO. And nobody’s life is perfect either. It’s such an important thing you have to remember. Whatever someone puts online, it’s just the highlights. The best parts. And that’s nice about daily vlogging, you capture the highs ánd the lows.’

All images are Fleur’s own. The beautiful photo of Fleur wearing a cream jumper is taken by Matt Holyoak.

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