WORDS BY LARINE STATHAM-BLAIR
It’s likely you’ve heard the term ‘social media influencer’ or ‘influencer marketing’. You might associate it with so-called ‘cash for comment’ scandals of the past. You may even be envious of their lifestyles or question their motives.
But have you ever stopped to consider what it means or what it is that influencers actually do? By definition, they are someone with knowledge or authority on a particular topic. They have a loyal following and can influence their audiences’ purchasing decisions. Put simply, they are third-party marketers or brand ambassadors; and clever ones at that.
It can be easy to forget that behind these beautifully-curated social media profiles are real people. And they don’t come any more real than Eleesha Quinn. This Bundaberg-based social media influencer is a breath of fresh air. She’s warm, funny and self-deprecating.
What makes Eleesha so successful is her humility. She didn’t start
@the.quinn.girls with the intention of becoming a brand ambassador. Her Instagram page, which has more than 200,000 followers, started as a means to keep in touch with loved ones when she moved to the tiny mining town of Tieri, in Central West Queensland, with her husband and three daughters.
“After leaving school in Bundaberg, I worked at Jeanswest, SeaFM and on the Elizabeth Arden cosmetic counter at Malouf Pharmacy. Then as a stay-at-home-mum I started taking photos of my girls for family and friends,” Eleesha said. “One of my girls asked me why I was never in the photos. She thought I didn’t want to be pictured with them, so I started getting in the pictures too and it just grew from there.”
Now back home in Bundaberg, Eleesha said people often ask how or why her following grew so astronomically. “I honestly can’t ever say, because when I look at my page, all I see is my family. I’ve just always wanted to come across as 100 per cent ourselves and genuine.”
Eleesha has some advice for anyone comparing their lives to those of strangers online. “This is my personal magazine; the highlight reel. It’s the pictures from my camera roll that I choose, just little snippets from our family life. Of course I’m not going to share the deeply personal stuff or choose the worst pictures, where our eyes are closed. And I don’t take pictures in life’s bad moments, when I’m yelling at the kids or something has gone wrong.”
Eleesha said the first request she received to be a brand representative came as a complete surprise. “I just thought it was the coolest thing since sliced bread to be getting free clothes,” she said.
During the past six years, Eleesha has participated in influencer marketing campaigns for a range of family-friendly clothing and lifestyle brands, big and small, including Old El Paso. As her daughters have gotten older, her page’s focus has shifted slightly from mum life to home life, where she’s promoted brands like IKEA and Lounge Lovers. Today, as she and her husband embark on an extensive home renovation, Eleesha is a proud ongoing ambassador for KIA and Bunnings.
It’s no longer just a side hustle or hobby. With her well-honed marketing, styling, merchandising and photography skills, Eleesha has grown The Quinn Girls to be a full-time business that takes hours of dedication to skilfully plan and curate content. And what beautiful, wholesome content it is.
When real estate agents Ryan and Tegan Weekes (read more on page 12) presented Eleesha Quinn with a partially renovated two storey coastal home with good bones, the timing couldn’t have been worse. She and her husband had just finished designing plans for their dream home. Everyone else turned the house down because of how much work needed to be done, but Eleesha saw its potential and convinced her husband they should ‘flip it’. So in September 2020, they set to work transforming the outdated log cabin into a trendy, minimalist coastal abode (on the cover and contents) with the help of Eleesha’s brand partners and Nathan Groszmann Constructions. Now about halfway through the project, they’ve fallen in love with the house and are considering making it their family home or letting it out for holidays.