YouTube Star Remi Cruz Built a Lifestyle Brand With Millions of Followers by Staying True to Herself
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In this series, YouTube Icon, Entrepreneur speaks with the individuals behind popular YouTube channels to find out the secrets of their success.
Growing up, 23-year-old Remi Cruz loved watching the beauty and style tutorials from YouTubers like Blair and Elle Fowler and Michelle Phan.
In high school, after years of being fan, she decided to try it for herself. In 2012, she launched a YouTube channel, MissRemiAshten, to talk about the things she loved, from fashion and makeup to dance and music to DIY projects and, more recently, to cooking, fitness and overall wellness.
Five years and two channels -- one for her completed, more polished videos and the other, RemLife, taking followers behind the scenes of shoots and vlogs about her life -- later, Cruz shares her videos with over 3.6 million subscribers
In June of 2018, after a year of development, Cruz founded HoneyPop, a skincare company. Its first product is an ethically sourced and cruelty free face mask kit whose initial run sold out in just 10 days.
Cruz shares why authenticity is the key to her success.
How much of your time do you spend on a video, and what does that entail?
I have an editor now, but in the beginning when I used to edit my things it would take me typically three days to make a video, from coming up with the idea to posting it. I did a lot of DIY for a while. That was a lot of prop shopping and testing things out and then actually filming and editing too. It usually takes me now about a day or so to a do a video with my editor, and then for a vlog it’s of a couple days with filming and editing.
How would you describe your content strategy?
I'm really lucky in that I've established myself as a true lifestyle creator. It's very personality based, so I feel so lucky that I have an insight in this space. I have a lot of friends and I talk to other YouTubers who feel a little bit stuck sometimes because they are known for one thing, whereas for me, if you watch my channel through the years, it's always been whatever interested me at the time. Now I'm very into fitness and health and cooking, so I've been doing a lot of videos on that. But at one point I was really into DIY projects, doing that every single week, and then at one point it was beauty and fashion, which is what got me into YouTube. I like that you can look at my channel throughout the years and just see how my interests have changed as I've grown up too.
How do you leverage your YouTube channel, and to what extent do you monetize it?
Monetization-wise, I was able to build my own company and also work on other business ventures [through partnerships]. I've been really lucky to be able to work with so many different brands on sponsorships and things like that, brands that I’m still surprised even to this day know that I exist. That's been an awesome opportunity. And then I've also been able to spread my message of self-acceptance and body positivity, and learn about myself while spreading these great messages to all my viewers. I also get to travel around the world -- I've been able to go the Philippines and in Japan and all around the U.S. -- meeting my subscribers and followers and creating personal connections with them.
What advice do you have for other people who want to build brands on the platform?
Stay true to yourself and stick with your gut. So many awesome opportunities come from YouTube -- there's a lot that you're going to have to turn down -- but you have to be honest with yourself. Also just make content that you truly want to watch, so that your brand stays true to who you are.
What do you think is a common misconception about YouTube?
That however long the duration of the video is, that's how long it took you to create it, and there is nothing else that goes into it. There's so much work that goes into it. Honestly it can be very emotionally straining; I'm starting to learn that. With the business side, people don't really know until they’re experiencing it, but there's so much more that goes into the video that you're watching than you have any idea about.
Read on for five of Cruz’s favorite videos.
DIY - Make Your Own Room Decor
"This was one of the first DIY videos I ever made on my channel. In it, I created all of the room decor that I used to decorate my college dorm, and it really helped me to see how much I loved making DIY videos and how much my subscribers loved watching them!"
20 Summer Life Hacks You Need to Try
"This is one of my favorite videos because I remember how much time and effort went into it. I spent four days standing in my parents’ kitchen just testing and filming different life hacks over and over again. I recruited my friends and family, and it ended up all being worth it because I still love it, and it’s one of the most viewed videos on my channel to date."
Shoutout to My Ex - Dance Music Video
"This was the start of a whole new chapter on my channel. A couple of my best friends from high school and I decided to just make a dance music video one day, and we had no idea how much of an impact it would have on all my followers. The response has been amazing, and the videos have helped so many people feel comfortable in their own skin and encourage them to just get up and dance!"
How to Lose Weight and Get Fit for Summer!!
"This is one of the many health-related videos I’ve created on my channel over the past year that I absolutely love. Within the past year, I completely changed my lifestyle and the way I live, and I have been so excited to share the whole journey with all my followers and encourage them to also live their best lives."
the truth about everything
"Lastly, this video is so special to me because I was finally brave enough to open up to my followers about some of the struggles I was going through. I was so terrified of the responses, but was so relieved that so many people shared that they were also struggling with similar things. We were all able to connect and share with one another."