One might be mistaken for thinking Florence Cools‘ actual name is Damoy Antwerp. I’ve been following her account for years, and am embarrassed to admit that this was my presumption up until very recently. The truth is, Damoy Antwerp is the name of the fashion store in Belgium founded by Florence – and is just one of the many hats that fall under her impressive career lineup.
Launching Damoy Antwerp seven years ago, the store has gone on to stock notable brands including Matin, Magali Pascal, and Anine Bing amongst others. And while that would be enough to keep any normal person busy, Florence has also since opened up the Damoy Showroom, as well as founding luxury label La Collection – a modern contemporary brand stocked in Net-a-porter.
But despite her slightly intimidating resumé, Florence remains friendly and approachable – and one can’t help but wish they could be her shopping sidekick on the streets of Antwerp. Instead, we’re doing the (almost) next best thing – and pulling her aside to talk the Husskie Fast 50.
Here, Florence opens up about why she doesn’t consider herself an influencer (despite an IG following fastly headed towards the 100K), work weeks consisting of 60-70 hours, and why Instagram is essential in the marketing of her businesses.
1. Age? 30
2. Height? 1.69m
3. Best beauty product of all time? Mr Smith Blonde shampoo
4. Five beauty products you can’t live without? Except for the blonde shampoo, I also can’t live without Mr Smith “Leave In” cream, the oil serum by Maison Marie Louis, foundation by Guerlain, lipstick “The Brides” by Ilia, and I love to refresh my skin during the day with the Prep x Fix Spray by MAC
5. Hair “done” or messy? Done that looks messy!
6. Favourite fragrance? Sunny Side Up by Juliette Has A Gun
7. Favourite item of clothing? Everything La Collection, but currently really obsessing over my black Jacqueline dress in satin silk. It’s just so perfect!
8. Favourite fashion brand? La Collection, of course!
9. Gym or exercising outdoors? Outdoors for sure! Love early morning runs in the park when the weather is nice
10. Healthy eating or treating yourself? Depends on my mood. I usually eat healthy but sometimes you just have to give in to your cravings… balance!
11. Can you cook? I really try because I would love to be a good cook, but I’m afraid my efforts go to waste a lot of the time. Luckily my husband is the best cook ever!
12. Favourite food to indulge in? Strawberries and French Chantilly cream
13. First thing you pick from the mini-bar? Salty chips
14. Favourite hobby? Since my hobby turned into work, I can get confused on what hobbies are left these busy times – but I really love to wander around cities and find inspiration in museums, architecture, people, old books… Also, in summer you can find me on early sunday mornings at flea markets with my mum
15. A strange fact about you that followers might not know? Maybe that I work 24/7 and I’m not an influencer 😉! Together with my husband, we are founders of Damoy Store, Damoy Showroom, and our Line La Collection – these keep us very busy!
16. Biggest fear? That work might have taken over our lives! On the other hand, I wouldn’t want to change this because my work is my biggest passion
17. Blog or YouTube? I have to be honest that I don’t really check out people’s blogs anymore since the IG area, but I use to go through a lot of blogs, read all about people’s lives…
18. Iphone or camera? Camera 😉It’s heavy and big but I just cannot walk around in a beautiful city and not be able to take high quality pics
19. Lightroom or VSCO? VSCO, although I like to keep most pictures raw
20. Favourite filter? At VSCO – the A4 filter, but only applied very softly for some extra warmth to some pics
21. Favourite way to edit pics? I like to keep it as natural as possible, I do love a darker mood from time to time
22. 9-5 job or full-time influencer? Job! I am the creative director of both our store Damoy and our label La Collection – especially this one asks for my full-time attention and it often happens to have work weeks of 60-70 hours. We are currently really building on all facets of our company and it is both exciting and hard work at the same time
23. How did you first get your start in Instablogging? It started with the founding of our store 7 years ago, probably at the beginning of the IG area. I posted my outfit I was wearing that day to show potential customers what we had to offer and how to style these pieces. Ever since it goes like that…
24. How much time goes into a normal picture found on your Instagram account? Sometimes only 5 minutes if my husband takes the picture, I maybe adjust some light and up it goes …
25. What’s your top Instagram tip? Be yourself and keep it real!
26. Who takes your pics? My colleague Gaetane is the best. She can really give me 10 minutes of her time (during a full day of busy meetings etc) to catch my outfit on film, while complimenting me and saying she really loves what I wear! When on-the-go, it is often my husband Artur who has to snap one or 2 – and I can tell you, he doesn’t like it at all! 😉
27. Do you think Instagram is essential in the marketing of your business? Yes, IG is essential in the marketing of my business. It is the most reachable way to bring your product to the public in a creative, non-conventional way. People love to see how clothing is worn by real people in their real lives, not only to see things on models in fashion shoots or catwalk shows. It makes it easy for the consumer to relate it to their own lives and needs
28. You have a big following, but do you consider yourself an influencer? I don’t really like to call myself an influencer. I’m a business woman with a real life and I just show bits and parts of it on IG, mostly what I wear that day or what has inspired me
29. Career highlight since getting involved with IG? Ever since launching our own label, I feel I can be truly 100% myself on IG. Receiving the immense support of people following means the world, they confirm that what I designed is being loved and that is so valuable to me
30. Best campaign you’ve ever worked on? La Collection campaign Jardin d’Artistes, which I photographed myself!
31. Worst thing that’s happened to you on a photo shoot? I don’t really do shoots 😉😉except as a photographer 😉… but the moment my camera shut down because of the heat while shooting in a 40 degree kinda day in Italy!
32. The best gift you’ve ever received as an influencer? Since I only work for our own company, I can def say pieces from my own line, gifted to myself 😉
33. Last thing you googled? Hotels in Capri. I’m just so inspired when I stay at the island that I so urge to go back!
34. Favourite film? A lot, but the first one that comes to mind is ‘Live the Night’
35. Favourite book? All history books, art history especially. The book that always lays on top of the staple is the one of Rodin – only a glimpse at his work can inspire me for days
36. Living in the city or living by the beach? Living in the city and traveling to the beach
37. Favourite travel destination? I love Morocco, Italy, south of France, Greece… but on top of my to go list right now are India and Madagascar
38. Most Instagram-worthy spot? Paris!
39. Top three essentials to pack when traveling? A sunhat, my camera, and a flowy La Collection dress to wander in for days
40. Going out clubbing or quiet dinner with friends? Dinner with friends!
41. Partner or single? Married to the most amazing man in the world! I’m inspired by him every day
43. What city are you currently living in? Antwerp, but spending a lot of time in Paris too
44. Celebrity/influencer crush? Rosie Huntington! And did you know she really loves La Collection? I was so honoured to find out
45. Pets? My puppy Ozzy (French Bulldog of 2 years)
46. What is your best asset? My creativity
47. Biggest misconception about you and your job? That I/we live a glamorous life where everything we run falls from the sky. We often launch with f.ex prepping our showroom in Paris for Fashion Week, travelling in a truck loaded with clothes and racks in the middle of the night…
48. Top five Instagram accounts to follow? @fashiiongonerouge curated by @deborahbrosa, @modedamour by Annemiek Kessels, @aman (to dream away), @briannamadia (love the adventures of Dagwood and Bucket), and @blackjaguarwhitetiger
49. Favourite quote you live by? That would be one from my husband: “Life is what happens while we are making other plans”
50. Top career tip? Stay inspired and always one step out of your comfort zone!
All images: Florence for Damoy