Welcome to Creators on the Rise, where—in partnership with global creator company Jellysmack—we find and profile breakout creators who are in the midst of extraordinary growth.
Kawaii Kunicorn–aka Holly–has always loved stories.
She went to school for English literature, and not so long ago, she planned to channel her passion for storytelling into something else she loved: voice acting. She got into a workshop with the voice actress behind the titular character in Sailor Moon, and had high hopes for a career behind the mic. But breaking into that field was harder than she expected.
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So she found another way to get her voice out there. She started a YouTube channel.
Holly’s channel has changed significantly from her first uploads in 2015. She knew going into the YouTube sphere that she wanted to make videos for kids, so her earliest clips involved toys like Shopkins and My Little Pony. She would–as she puts it–“wiggle them around” on camera, voicing over the movements to tell a story.
Those uploads helped her start building an audience, and since kids are a vocal bunch, it wasn’t long before they started asking her to make videos about things they liked.
For those not in the know, Roblox is a massive gaming platform that lets people build their own custom worlds and games, and visit and play one another’s. Players can build everything from the simplest structure to intricate, expansive locales–and some even come with choose-your-own-adventure-style plots where visitors can play through a preset story.
That, as you might guess, is right up Holly’s alley.
She’s now been making Roblox videos for almost seven years, and in that time has built an audience of nearly 2 million subscribers by chronicling hundreds of in-game adventures about things like a cursed evil prison, being stranded on a desert island, and getting detention from a robot teacher.
We’ll let her tell you all about it below.
Tubefilter: If someone’s reading this and has never seen your videos, who are you and how did you get into YouTube?
Holly: My name is Holly and I got into YouTube in 2015. I’d done a cartoon voice acting workshop with the voice of Sailor Moon, who was a regular at the cafe that I worked at back home. I was obsessed with her. I thought she was so cool.
So I did this voice acting workshop and thought I really wanted to be a cartoon voice actor because that seemed like the coolest thing in the world, but that is really hard to do for lots of reasons. I ended up starting a YouTube channel instead where I could make my own little stories and do silly voices.
When I first started YouTube I was mostly doing videos with toys where I would make up little stories and then kind of wiggle the toys around. [laughs]
Tubefilter: So I’m a gamer, but like an Apex Legends and Dead by Daylight gamer. I only know Roblox from the outside. Can you explain a little about it and how you got into it?
Holly: Oh, Roblox. I got into it because the kids who watched my channel were suggesting it. I started doing some gaming videos in maybe 2016, I think. I’m always in the comments section, reading what the kids are suggesting, and I got a lot of suggestions for Roblox, so I started playing it.
I liked it for a lot of reasons. I like that there are these roleplay spaces where you can kind of do what I was doing before where you have room to make little stories, but it’s in a digital space. And being able to meet with kids on servers is such a funny thing, to like be playing this game and then have kids be able to run up to you and say hello.
Tubefilter: Did you set out to become a kids’ content maker or were you just making videos that you were interested in and you happened to draw a young audience?
Holly: I wanted to make videos for kids. I think that’s a fun audience to have. The first channel I came across that I really, really loved in that space was CookieSwirlC. She’s massive. But I just loved her content and that seemed like fun to me.
Tubefilter: In Roblox, how do you walk through creating a story? What are your creation steps?
Holly: It depends! Depending on what the game is, sometimes I’ll just play in the space for long enough to see if anything starts to happen. Because like, sometimes—especially in a game like Roblox, where people are roleplaying—sometimes things will just happen that are a bit funny, and you can structure them into a story.
Then recently I’ve been really loving…A lot of creators have started to make what they call “story games” where they’re kind of like choose-your-own-adventure games where you make a few decisions and little animations play out. I find these really fun because the stories are often a pretty basic skeleton of a story, and then I can add things on top of it to try to make it a bit fun or silly.
At the moment, I’m planning a more scripted Roblox series I’m really excited about. Timo, my YouTube partner, is building a space in Roblox we can use as a set, so that we can have scripted story content, which is something we’ve done a little bit of before, but it’s a lot more time-consuming. So this time we’re gonna build a little world to use.
Tubefilter: Some of your videos are very long—like 20 minutes to half an hour or even longer. How much time goes into that behind the scenes?
Holly: It can vary a lot. Like a gaming video, you know, I might spend a couple hours playing the game and then the edit will take a couple of hours and then doing an overdub only takes usually…an hour? And then on the longer end, we put out music videos, and those are probably the most time-consuming content we make. We work on the lyrics and the music with a friend of ours and then usually put the video together over a couple of months. Those ones usually take three to six months.
Tubefilter: You mentioned Timo—does he have his own channel?
Holly: No, we work together.
Tubefilter: Got it. So how do you split the work on your channel?
Holly: So Timo is way better at the technical stuff than I am. Everything like that, he’s amazing at. And also to just bounce ideas. I think doing YouTube by yourself could be a bit lonely, so yeah, having someone to work with is fun.
Tubefilter: Do you have anybody else on your team? An editor or anyone?
Holly: No, that’s Timo—Timo’s doing all the editing at the moment. Other than that, we have just our friend who we write music with.
Tubefilter: Very cool that you guys write your own music.
Holly: It’s pretty fun! Yeah. Those have been fun. We haven’t done one in, I think, almost a year. I think the last one we did was “Mining Forever,” a Minecraft song. It was great and we worked so hard on it, but sometimes they just don’t get seen.
Tubefilter: Yeah, YouTube can be funny that way.
Holly: Yeah, totally.
Tubefilter: I noticed recently you’ve dipped your toes into doing Shorts. How has that been working for you?
Holly: It’s been fun. I’ve just been experimenting with putting a couple of things up. When we’re filming videos and finding bits that we think might work well, I just kin of clip them out and see how it goes. And yeah, I don’t know—YouTube’s always coming out with something. Some of it I use, some of it I don’t use, some of it I try.
Tubefilter: Your channel started growing almost exactly two years ago, in June 2020. So right as COVID kicked in. And you’ve had consistent views since then. Do you remember if there was a specific video or series that really took off with people or was it a rise in all your videos?
Holly: It was a rise overall, I think. It’s kind of an unfortunate side effect of kids not being at school and being inside because of COVID, I think. Just a lot more traffic on the platform. I wish it wasn’t like that.
Tubefilter: How did you end up going from YouTube as a hobby to deciding YouTube was going to be a career?
Holly: I don’t know! I did it without making any money—or making like five cents or whatever—for a year or two years. A year and a half, maybe. And then I decided to just take the plunge with it and see if it could be a thing.
Tubefilter: Was there anything that made you take the leap or…?
Holly: Well, Timo was very optimistic. And he’s very encouraging. He thought it could be a thing. I was pleasantly surprised.
Tubefilter: You mentioned to me before that you took a break from YouTube for a while and then came back. Can you expand a little on that?
Holly: We took a break from posting for a while and I think that was really good in terms of having a bit of space to think about what I wanted to do next. I think a common experience on YouTube can be getting into the habit or the cycle of putting out heaps of content and not always allowing yourself time to think. I think taking a little break was really great because I realized that we didn’t need to put out as much content and I could put more time into the content we were making and then feel happier about it, which is a nice thing.
I was also working on some other projects off YouTube, like I’m trying to write a middle-grade mystery novel at the moment. I wouldn’t have had time to do that if we were still putting out…like, we used to put out five videos a week. Now we put out one or two. So it’s much more manageable and it doesn’t feel like I’m trying to always keep up.
Tubefilter: Another thing I noticed is you’ve got a really robust merch shop.
Holly: Yeah, it’s funny. We’ve only recently put out our first proper product. We have a unicorn plushie that we’ve put out. I’m really stoked on it, it’s so cute. Before that, we just did like print-to-order T-shirts and mugs and that kind of thing.
I don’t really push it much, if I’m honest. Sometimes I feel a little bit weird about buying stuff, when it comes to kids.
Tubefilter: I feel like that’s probably something a lot of creators with young audiences think about.
Holly: Yeah! And yeah, I don’t want to create some sort of idea that you only get to be part of a community if you have this, and this, and this. I don’t like it. But I still want to make some things available if anyone wants them. I just don’t want to push it too much. But I am really stoked on the plushes. I’ve got one on my bed.
Tubefilter: Now that I’m thinking about it, I think you’re the first creator I’ve spoken to for this column who makes content exclusively for kids. Are there any other challenges or things you’re conscious of when you’re making content for and interacting with such a young audience?
Holly: Totally. It’s a bit of a trip to think about. Like, I want to put out the best content I can, that I would feel happy with kids I know and love watching. But that does feel like a responsibility sometimes. I don’t know. I guess I try to do my best and listen to feedback if I get it.
Tubefilter: Kids are very honest with that sort of thing.
Holly: Oh my gosh, totally.
Tubefilter: Where are you in terms of this being a long-term job for you?
Holly: There’s nothing else I’d rather do. So as long as I can do it, that’s what I wanna be spending my time doing. But I’m also really excited about trying to write this book and I’m hoping that maybe could be something I could do in the future. That’s another way of trying to make content for a similar kind of audience. Like when I think about the story I’m trying to write, I’m thinking of a nine- to 12-year-old reader. And that’s who I think of when I’m making videos as well. I like making content for that age group. I think it’s a lot of fun. So if I can find other ways to do that, I think that would be my wish.
Tubefilter: What does the average day look like for you now in terms of making content and balancing the rest of your life and everything else?
Holly: At the moment I am spending a couple of days a week working on video content and a couple of days a week doing writing. And then I try to keep my days pretty open so I can take advantage of moments of concentration when they arrive. But yeah, I do a lot of tippy-tapping, do a lot of reading, do a lot of walking around my little neighborhood and looking after my friend’s dogs—and, at the moment, keeping an eye out for mushrooms, because it’s mushroom season here.
Tubefilter: Do you have any other plans for your channel for the next year or so?
Holly: Well, another thing we’re working on is this really cute coloring book we’re doing with a friend. We’ve got a friend who’s an illustrator who we’ve done a few things with before, and at the moment he’s putting together a whole book of illustrations for us. We’re hoping to get that available before Christmas this year, so that’ll be really fun.
Tubefilter: Last question. Do you have any advice for up-and-coming creators who are looking to make content for kids?
Holly: I don’t know if it’s specific to making content for kids, but I think it’s really easy, on YouTube, to get caught up in the algorithm and cause-and-effect. “If I do this, does it make this happen?” I think all of that can be a bit of a distraction to trying to make content you like. So I think my advice to anybody who is doing YouTube would just be: Try not to lose sight of making content that you actually like.
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