Chriselle Lim has been a prominent figure in the influencer landscape for the last decade, growing her presence to include a 2.8 million TikTok following and building a brand portfolio of three fashion and beauty brands, including her recently launched Phlur fragrance brand.
Now the influencer is teaming with Amazon for its Women’s History Month initiative, where the e-commerce giant has tapped Lim, fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg and actress Keke Palmer to help highlight a range of female-owned small businesses across beauty, fashion and food that sell on Amazon.
“I am myself a woman small business owner, so it’s a topic that I feel strongly about,” Lim explained on Zoom while in Paris for fashion week. “It’s something that I’ve experienced building my different businesses. I have three companies and it’s a struggle no matter who you are and where you’re from. Being a woman trying to raise capital and start a new business, you really have to go the extra mile.”
Amazon’s initiative highlights brands like Romer Skincare, Simply Gum, Just Date Syrup and Miles and Milan. Lim, von Furstenberg and Palmer interviewed the brand founders in a content series that will be released by Amazon throughout March.
Lim is coming off the launch of her fragrance brand Phlur, which she recently acquired with beauty incubator The Center and relaunched last month. Phlur is an accessible fine fragrance brand that launches new scents each month.
“Long story short, I was going through a separation and fragrance was a huge part of my healing journey,” Lim said about acquiring the brand. “I never considered myself as a fragrance girl, but I became very intentional with how I wanted to build my life and how I envisioned myself happy and confident again. I think you lose a part of yourself when you lose a big part of your life, so I just became obsessed with fragrance. I would literally have a scent for everything and every mood.”
She explained that she’s leveraged much of what she’s learned as an influencer in running Phlur and her other brands, childcare brand Bümo and her blog, The Chriselle Factor. She said her strategy is looking to “the three C’s,” which are content, community and customers in knowing how to serve and engage with her customers.
Lim touched on the challenges she’s faced as a female founder, noting that fundraising has been the hardest part.
“I actually had men, and also surprisingly women, ask me, ‘You’re a mom, is this a serious full-time thing?’ And I’m like, ‘You would never ask a dad that. You would never ask a man that question.’ As I was fundraising I had heard of these stories, but it’s different when you physically experience them yourself. It’s like wow, the sexism and the stereotypes are real.”
The influencer noted this was one of the reasons she wanted to participate in Amazon’s Women’s History Month initiative in order to highlight and lift up other female founders.
Through the pandemic, Lim has been one of several influencers who has successfully translated their influence over to TikTok. Lim has used her account to continue her fashion content that she’s been known for, but also offer real moments from her life, including her recent separation from her husband.
“I was going through my separation during the pandemic, so not that I was open about my separation at the time, but I would just tell my followers that I was having a hard time and I would be posting inspirational quotes that motivated me to keep me going. I think what I realized is that when you’re open with people with your struggles, you realize that you’re not alone. You realize that more people than not struggle themselves.”
Coming up for Lim, she will continue to be a fixture at the Paris Fashion Week front rows and is working on Phlur’s international expansion. For her, it’s important to continue her balance of her personal and work lives while continuing to love what she does.
“One thing as an entrepreneur and a small business owner I forgot to do for the past 10 years of building is to really just have fun,” she said. “We get to build something and do something that we love and feel so strongly about, and although there are very stressful days and sleepless nights, at the end of the day it’s a choice that we made to be entrepreneurs and build something that we wanted to build. I think when you put that into perspective you’re like, ‘I get to do this, so I should have fun,’ That kind of mentality shift is really important.”
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