We’ve all watched them – Elle & Blair Fowler, Bethany Mota, Troye Sivan. What started out as teenagers sharing reviews of products and their recent hauls on YouTube has turned into a million dollar enterprise filled with clothing and cosmetic lines, home goods lines and celebrity status. Not only that, but some of our favorite musical acts such as Justin Bieber and 5 Seconds of Summer have been discovered via the video sharing site.
Haul videos have been a sensation among the beauty community, where ‘gurus’ share products they recently bought on a shopping trip, whether it be beauty products or clothing. There has been some speculation that this has a negative impact on adolescent girls’ self-esteem, as they feel like they can’t “keep up” with these gurus. They feel like they need to spend money to have the products to be just like these gurus. While they can influence your purchase habits (I know I have found some of my best makeup products because of haul videos), no one should try to emulate these gurus who have become partners of YouTube and are getting paid for the videos they post. It’s essentially become a job.
The other major categories of beauty videos are review videos and tutorials. I know personally, when I am researching a product before buying, I will watch reviews on YouTube to get an opinion on the product and to see people actually using the product rather than just the product on the store’s website or on Google Images. These especially help on products that are a bit of a splurge. Tutorials are great for when you want to achieve a specific look. Makeup guru Michelle Phan is known for her makeup tutorials that range from something as simple as a makeup tutorial for wearing glasses, to something as extreme as a Lady Gaga makeup tutorial. Others, such as Kayley Melissa are known for doing tutorials on much requested hairstyles from television shows such as Gossip Girl or doing easy hair tutorials that one can replicate for school or work.
Bethany Mota (you might know her from this season of Dancing With the Stars) has capitalized from her success as a YouTube guru. She began her channel when she was in her early teens with the handle “Macbarbie07” after MAC’s Barbie themed collection in 2007. She has over 7 million subscribers and over 598 million video views. She has her own clothing and bedroom collection at Aeropostle, a fragrance and a now a single! She has covered Fast Company and Seventeen magazine, and now she is competing on Dancing With the Stars with Derek Hough as her professional partner (#MOTOUGH, anyone?). Her bubbly and cheery personality is why people like her, because she’s not stiff or too formal, but comes off as down-to-earth. From her videos, she seems in total awe of her success. She has recently been named one of “The 25 Most Influential Teens of 2014” by Time magazine (Lorde, the Jenner sisters, Austin Mahone, and Shawn Mendes are also on the list). Not only that, she racks in about $500,000 to $750,000 in ad revenue a year.
There are thousands of beauty gurus out there who show hauls, favorites, reviews, tutorials and tag videos. In an industry where not very much differentiates your content, the one thing that differentiates your brand is personality.
There is one other category of videos that has carved the way for ordinary, talented people to make it big. Many YouTubers have been discovered by celebrities in the music industry who have acted as mentors to them. One of the most famous YouTube musicians is Justin Bieber, who was discovered and mentored by Usher. He has stolen the heart of many teenage girls, won several awards and put out many albums. Currently, he is in the middle of his comeback, rumored to come out with new music come next year.
Another group, 5 Seconds of Summer, were originally known for their covers on YouTube. One Direction discovered then and they opened up for them on their Midnight Memories tour and their Where We Are tour. They are now writing and performing music on their own. They brought home an AMA last night for Best New Artist, and performed a cover of “What I Like About You.”
The last, Troye Sivan, released a set of 5 songs this year, including his hit “Happy Little Pill.” He has done collaboration videos with Bethany Mota and Tyler Oakley, and still remains true to his YouTube roots, still producing videos on a regular basis. He has over 2 million subscribers and his videos have been viewed over 138 million times.
YouTube has proven on several occasions to open doors for users of the site. YouTubers have been able to partner with their favorite stores and do collaboration videos to share with their viewers. They are able to get opportunities that would have never been available to them, such as being featured in Seventeen magazine, or on Dancing With the Stars. All it takes is one moment of insane courage to turn on the video camera and talk as if you were talking to your friends. Little do you know, you are talking to thousands of viewers through a computer screen.