Welcome to YouTube Millionaires, where we–in partnership with global creator company AIR Media-Tech–profile channels that have recently crossed the one million subscriber mark. There are channels crossing this threshold every week, and each creator has a story to tell about YouTube success. Read previous installments here.
We’ve all got some kind of natural talent. The gift of gab. Good spatial awareness. A keen eye for hanging picture frames straight.
Kelly Kay? She can organize anything.
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Kay has both a YouTube and TikTok presence, and between the two accounts, she has nearly 12 million followers tuning in to see her putting her house (and everything in it) in perfect, aesthetic order. Since starting her YouTube channel HoneyBobaBear in 2019, she’s documented everything from major room renovations to closet reorganizing to creating and maintaining things like hot chocolate and (of course) boba bars.
She’s not really sure why she digs organizing so much. “I just really love it,” she says. Back before she made her own videos, she was inspired by YouTubers like Alisha Marie and Remi Cruz, who helped show her how to organize in a way that not only made her space look cool, but also showed off her interests and personality. Now it’s her helping denizens of the internet (including nearly 1.5 million YouTube subscribers) turn their spaces from drab to fab.
Check out our chat with her below.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Tubefilter: For anybody out there who’s reading this and maybe doesn’t know you, can you give me a little intro about you? Where are you from and what kind of content do you make?
Kelly Kay: I’m from Salt Lake City, Utah. I create content based around lifestyle, organization, cleaning, motivation, just anything that I feel like doing in that day. I created a community where people can come and laugh, come when they’re bored, or just to have a good time, really.
Tubefilter: How did you originally get into making content?
Kelly Kay: It was back in high school. My inspiration was Alisha Marie and Remi Cruz. They’re YouTubers. I just loved what they were doing. They were so interesting to me and I was like, “Oh my gosh, how cool would it be to be a YouTuber one day?” So I started there and I started making content around cleaning my house, or not house, but my room. Then I just evolved from there.
Tubefilter: How long ago was it that you started?
Kelly Kay: This was back in–oh, probably, I don’t even know. Like 2016, 2015.
Tubefilter: It’s been a while! How have things evolved for you since then? Is this your full-time thing now?
Kelly Kay: Yes! I’m very grateful to say, yes, this is what I do full-time now. I didn’t even think it would be a possibility. YouTube has had a massive impact on my life in a very positive way. All my followers as well, they’ve had the biggest impact. Overall, again, it’s completely changed my life. I’m a full-time content creator now. It’s been really fun.
Tubefilter: What does your average production schedule look like now? Do you put out a specific number of videos per week? I know you’ve been getting into Shorts…
Kelly Kay: Honestly, right now it’s just whenever I feel inspired to post, that’s when I’ll make a video and post it. Usually, to post or to come up with a video and film it and edit it, do all of that before I upload, takes probably eight to 10 hours, sometimes. It’s a long process, but one that I really enjoy.
Tubefilter: I started watching your videos because I’m terrible at organizing. I think the first video I came across of yours, I was trying to organize a coffee bar and it started recommending me some of your videos about making boba bars and hot chocolate bars and that kind of stuff. What appeals to you about that kind of content? Organizing, restocking, that kind of stuff?
Kelly Kay: I don’t really have an answer to that. I just really love it. I don’t know what it is about it, but I love watching it, I love creating it. I think the DIYing behind it has a huge interest to me.
Tubefilter: I feel like it’s definitely become a more popular topic. Maybe since COVID started, people were stuck at home and trying to figure out how to get their houses in order.
Kelly Kay: Yes, for sure.
Tubefilter: Can you talk a little bit about why you decided to start doing short content? I noticed you do a lot of long vlogs and long organizational videos, but you’re really taking off with Shorts too.
Kelly Kay: Yes. Honestly, I didn’t even really think, I just started. [laughs] I love both long-form and short-form, but as of right now, my focus is short-form, and YouTube has helped a lot with that. I think it’s just very fast-paced. You can see a lot in just the little amount of time you have. You just basically–Can I get to the point? I do appreciate my long-form content too, which I love creating, but yes, the short-form right now has my heart.
Tubefilter: Yes. You’re also on TikTok and you have like, what, almost 10 million followers on TikTok now, right?
Kelly Kay: Yes. It’s insane.
Tubefilter: Do you feel like it’s easier to grow on TikTok than YouTube?
Kelly Kay: I would say for right now, with how everything’s going, yes. I feel like there’s a lot more exposure on TikTok. I feel like platforms as a whole could get there. I just feel like they’re not there yet as far as visibility for everyone.
Tubefilter: You started on YouTube originally. When did you expand to TikTok?
Kelly Kay: Honestly, I think it was September-ish when I posted my first video. I’d say end of 2019.
Tubefilter: You were on TikTok pretty early then?
Kelly Kay: Yes.
Tubefilter: Do you post the same content on TikTok and YouTube? Do you ever film videos for each individual platform separately?
Kelly Kay: I do, yes.
Tubefilter: What goes into those decisions? What makes you decide like, “Oh, this is a TikTok video. Oh, this is a YouTube video”?
Kelly Kay: They go hand in hand. I do repurpose videos as well. For example, TikTok, short-form is usually what I like to stick to because that’s what people love to watch: short-form content on TikTok. YouTube is really cool to where you can also post your long-form content too. If I’m wanting to…Let’s say right now I’m actually reorganizing my closet, so right now I’m filming a more detailed closet organization video versus just like the 60-second, five-part videos that I would normally do on TikTok or Shorts.
I treat TikTok and Shorts as the same thing, so that’s the same content. As far as YouTube or even Instagram for example, they have Reels also. They have Stories, they have posts, there’s different things that you can use for each platform that play a part in what I choose to put on what platforms. I don’t know if that made any sense, but I’m sure I did my best.
Tubefilter: No, I got you. Do you have anybody working with you behind the scenes with you, or is it just you doing all your own editing and everything?
Kelly Kay: I’m a one-man show. It’s just me.
Kelly Kay: Yes.
Tubefilter: That’s a lot to handle. Have you thought about expanding your team, or do you feel you’re fine on your own?
Kelly Kay: I feel like for right now, I’m fine. I’m very picky with the content I put out as far as the editing and the way I want it to be seen. Eventually, I do want to get an editor. I see that in my future, but right now I love doing it so much. I’m sticking to it right now, just myself.
Tubefilter: Do you have any other future goals or future plans? What are you working toward this year?
Kelly Kay: This year I have some exciting stuff coming out, but I can’t say.
Tubefilter: No! [laughs] Nah, okay.
Kelly Kay: I’m super excited. I can give you a little…I just wanted to create something to where my followers can have with them in their homes. Super excited for this year.
Tubefilter: Okay. No spoilers, then, but what has the process been like to create what you’re working on? Because that’s a whole different branch of business. Has that been hard for you to get started?
Kelly Kay: If I’m being honest, I’m just a normal person. Figuring this out, it takes a lot. It’s a whole new ballgame that you have to learn aside from just posting videos. It’s creating an actual business now. I’ve learned a lot and I have a newfound appreciation for all types of businesses. Small businesses. I cannot believe the work that goes into creating a business. It’s a lot, basically, is what I’m saying. It’s just been really cool to see. It’s exciting because I’ve never thought to dive into all this stuff, but it’s awesome.
Tubefilter: Anything else you want readers to know about you?
Kelly Kay: Not really. Anyone loves watching lifestyle/organization content, you can find me anywhere at honeybobabear. That’s pretty much it.
Tubefilter: One last question, then. What is your number one piece of advice for an up-and-coming creator?
Kelly Kay: My one piece of advice is to–and this is going to sound very cliche, and me even saying that sounds cliche–be consistent. Things aren’t going to pop off right away. Being consistent and being true to yourself and putting videos that you truly love out there, your audience will find you eventually. Don’t be down on yourself if things don’t pop off right away, because they didn’t for me. That’s pretty much it. Just believe in yourself. It’s possible. If I could do it, anyone could do it. Trust me.
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