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Leonie Hanne on how she made it as an Influencer in a "saturated" market

"I was attending shows with my 2,000 followers"


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Becky Donaldson
Feature Director
Updated: January 3, 2023
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Before launching her fashion blog 'Ohh Couture' in 2014, super influencer Leonie Hanne worked as a strategy consultant for a German online retailer. But, despite going down the corporate route initially, Leonie, who grew up in Norderstedt, Germany, has always loved fashion. 

Leonie Hanne on her Hello! Fashion cover shoot

"I wanted to make everyone proud, but I did feel I was neglecting being creative," she told Hello! Fashion on her cover shoot. "My career was going really well, but I wasn’t happy. I wouldn’t want to go back, I’m glad it happened."

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Leonie Hanne wears Philosophy di Lorenzo Serafini for Hello! Fashion Magazine February 2023 issue

Hello! Fashion Magazine - February 2023

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Although Leonie loved the idea of launching a blog, she felt the platform was already saturated, "I thought, why me? I felt that I was already too late". So her first foray into fashion and social media was selling clothes on a pre-loved website. She now partners with big fashion houses such as Valentino and Chanel, but back then she was trading in high street brands such as Zara. 

Keen to make plenty of sales, primarily so she could purchase more outfits with the funds, Leonie would strategically style them, making them as appealing as possible. “It really blew up, I didn’t have the strategy in my mind to turn it into a social platform, but I’d list, say, ten items on a Sunday evening and would sometimes have up to 500k story views by Monday.”

People started “following her closet” on the website and she’d receive a flurry of messages. “They would say they liked the styling, but where are my outfits? I’d explain I didn’t have an Instagram account, but then began thinking that if people are interested in what I was doing then maybe I should have one.”

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Leonie wears: Jacket, £1,914, Skirt, £3,365, both David Koma Bangle, £10,250, Rings (right hand, bottom), £7,600, (top), £13,650, all Pomellato

Soon she launched a Facebook page, Instagram account and blog. Within the first few weeks, Mango reposted a look. Soon she had 1,500 followers (she now has 4.5 million); and was invited to Berlin Fashion Week by Zara. "I was attending shows with my 2,000 followers," she laughs. 

Because none of her family or friends were interested in fashion, they didn’t understand Leonie’s vision. "I was almost like an alien. I’d had these dreams to work in the industry since I was small and I don’t know where it came from."

But someone that did understand her passion was boyfriend Alex Galievsky, who she met at HSBA Hamburg School of Business. Having studied with him, she knew he had strong problem solving skills and the ability to multi-task – he became an obvious choice to join the operation.

They are now equal partners, "That has been a major success factor. We both know how much the other person is doing. And we acknowledge that a lot. So it is quite healthy… I’ve seen Instagram husbands come and go. So it’s not something that works for everyone."

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Leonie Hanne x Hello! Fashion Magazine February 2023 issue

Leonie wears: Dress, POA, Huishan Zhang, Earrings, £5,050, Rings (middle finger), £2,150, (index finger, bottom), £5,100, (top), £7,600, all Pomellato

Ten years on and the social media entrepreneur is one of fashion’s biggest influencers with a team of five working across her Instagram account and blog. "We still do a blog post every day, it’s very old-school but I started as a blogger and I still somehow really love it."

She would describe her feed as never over-curated. "A lot of people are doing that, for example wanting a perfect colour scheme." And when things become oversaturated, she tries to shift direction, "I feel like we’re 'first movers', so when I see a lot of people doing similar stuff, I always try to change things up. I do really care for my followers and the brands I work with, so think that is important."

Looking back, she is glad not to have succumbed to changing her appearance. "I’ve seen people around me seeking perfection and wondered if I need to be more perfect, but I have actually realised that it’s quite unique nowadays to be imperfect."

"And I think that if I had the most symmetrical face and a cute little nose, maybe people would like me less, because I’d be less relatable. So the older I become, the happier I am that I always remained natural – and I’m also planning on staying that way."

Photography: Arved Colvin-smith

Styling: Laura Weatherburn

The full interview with Leonie Hanne appears in the February issue of Hello! Fashion, out now…

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