Welcome to YouTube Millionaires, where we profile channels that have recently crossed the one million subscriber mark. There are channels crossing this threshold every week, and each has a story to tell about YouTube success. Read previous installments of YouTube Millionaires here.
This installment of YouTube Millionaires is brought to you by Epoxy.
To her fans, Tati Westbrook isn’t just a makeup, beauty, fashion, and lifestyle creator–she’s the GlamLifeGuru. Westbrook’s channel, on which she shares her personal cosmetic advice with her viewers, has slowly but surely built up a big-time following. Nearly five years after launching her first video, Westbrook now has more than one million subscribers, and we talked to her about what that milestone means.
TF: How does it feel to have 1 million subscribers? What do you want to say to your fans?
TW: It’s absolutely surreal, I’m so incredibly grateful and humbled with the support from the community. To my friends…every single person watching, you matter to me, I see every view, read every comment, feel every like, and it feels incredible to have such an amazing online family.
TF: Why did you start your YouTube channel in the first place?
TW: I know the popular answer is to say it was a hobby, but honestly when I uploaded my first video five years ago, I wanted to make it my full time job. My mission was to teach women from around the world how to feel pretty by playing with makeup and to make some friends along the way. I’m extremely lucky to have found so many friends.
TF: What do you think makes you unique and stand out in the crowded world of YouTube beauty vloggers?
TW: Beyond the insanity of uploading five days per week, I guess I’ve been able to turn a perceived weakness into a strength. When I first started, the space was dominated by teens and I caught a lot of negative comments that I was “too old for YouTube”. Now, as the space has matured considerably, I’m positioned to engage with an incredible audience. I really try my best to review products for all ages and types, not just for what looks good on me.
TF: You mention on your channel’s “about” page that you create unbiased reviews. Why do you consider those important?
TW: I have to remain as unbiased as possible, otherwise I’ll have no credibility. It’s an enormous responsibility. I have the privilege of this being my job, so I can buy any makeup item I want anytime I want. But for a viewer, who has budgeted and saved their money to go shopping based on my recommendations…I can’t let them down, ever.
TF: How do you handle brands’ requests for sponsored content?
TW: I rarely accept sponsorships, because I’ve had bad experiences working with companies who I thought I could trust. In fact, I’ve turned down a lot of money that could have been life changing for me and my family. If the product isn’t good, or it’s just “not me” or not something I think my audience would enjoy, then I don’t feel comfortable wasting their time for a quick paycheck. I’m only going to represent products or brands that I genuinely love and that I know my audience will love as well. Authenticity is key.
TF: How does your app play into your overall video and community-building strategies?
TW: My app was designed by the amazing team over at Victorious. I couldn’t be more grateful to those guys. My app isn’t about strategy or even building my brand, it’s about building a community for my viewers. For them, it’s an empowering, hate-free zone where they can create their own content and exchange ideas about products
TF: What’s one thing you’d do differently if you could re-start your channel or create a new one?
TW: I’m incredibly grateful for where I am now, but If I could go back in time, I wish I had been more fearless. In hindsight, I only dipped my toes into the pool, but I should have done a cannonball into the deep end. If I could have those first two years back, I would have hit the ground running harder and faster and just ignored all the negativity.
TF: Your most popular video is a review of $90 lipstick from Christian Louboutin. Why do you think that clip is so popular?
TW: That was the very first video in my “WTF … Luxury Makeup” series, so it has the benefit of another ten videos driving views to the playlist. What makes it different, I guess, is the strong vlogging element, where my viewers get to follow-me around as I wear the product throughout my day and report on it’s performance that night. I think the reason the series has been embraced by the community is because it’s so raw and unfiltered. I say what viewers are thinking and I make the same mistakes with application that they might encounter. And besides, who isn’t curious about ridiculously overpriced items right?
TF: How long do you see yourself making YouTube videos?
TW: As long as I still have a community that enjoys watching, I’ll be 90 years old, rocking a fierce winged eyeliner, with big hair and still sharing my favorites 😉
TF: What is one goal you want to accomplish on your channel for 2016?
TW: It took me five years to reach a million subscribers, I’d really love to cross two-million in 2016.
TF: What’s next for your channel? Anything fun?
TW: Well, I’m going to Paris in a couple weeks with Lancôme. For someone that started out filming makeup videos in my bedroom, that feels pretty epic. Beyond that, I have a notebook filled with content ideas and ways to improve my channel. I really feel like I’m just getting started.
This installment of YouTube Millionaires is brought to you by Epoxy, the premier company that helps multi-platform creators and digital networks distribute videos, engage with fans, measure success, and grow their communities across the social web. Check out Epoxy’s new Sharing Studio, a place for quickly creating and distributing native social content from your YouTube channels.