Millionaires: Meet TikTok’s “Costco guys”

By 06/12/2024
Millionaires: Meet TikTok’s “Costco guys”

Welcome to Millionaires, where we profile creators who have recently crossed the one million follower mark on platforms like YouTube, TikTok, and Twitch. There are creators crossing this threshold every week, and each of them has a story to tell about their success. Read previous installments here.

This past January, A.J. Befumo and his son Big Justice went to Costco.

The video they recorded there got 10 million views on TikTok, almost overnight. Their follower doubled, shooting up by more than 10,000 people.


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It was then that they decided: they were “Costco guys.”

And in the six months since that first viral video, they’ve filmed dozens more, driving tens of millions of views and pushing their account up over 1.2 million followers. They’ve established their own lingo with their follower base–is something a “boom” thumbs up, or a “doom” thumbs down?–became Cameo‘s top creators, brought in mom Erika and sister Ashley to work on content, and just signed with Night Media.

So, what’s the whirlwind been like for them?

@a.j.befumo We’re Costco Guys‼️ #costco #father #son #family #bigjustice #boom ♬ original sound – A.J. & Big Justice

“The thing is we learned somewhere along the way what our audience wants, and we give it to them every day. We call it the Boom. It’s happiness. It’s laughter. Just like when someone is sick and goes to the doctor, just like when someone’s hungry and they go out to eat, when someone needs some happiness, they come to us, and we give it to them,” A.J. says. “It’s happiness, it’s laughter, it’s positivity, and we call it the Boom. It’s really been great. It’s been very rewarding.”

He credits Big Justice with being the catalyst for their growth on TikTok. He originally started the account to promote his work in the mortgage industry, but then Big Justice asked if he could make an appearance.

“I asked him, ‘Can I be in a video?’ I think we were at the table. He tried a burger, and I was introducing him, and he got millions of views. He was used to getting 10 views,” Big Justice says, with A.J. immediately laughing. “He was like, ‘All right. This isn’t my work channel anymore. This is our channel.'”

That was in 2022. Together, they plucked away at making videos until January, and that big viral moment. Now they’re riding that wave as far as it’ll take them, making as much content across TikTok, YouTube (73K followers), Snapchat, and Instagram (114K) as possible. They’re also, as we mentioned, on Cameo, where they currently film between 3 and 5 videos per day for fans.

As for what’s next? No spoilers: “There’s a lot on the way,” A.J. says. “There’s a lot more A.J. and Big Justice coming your way, and we’re bringing the Boom.”

Check out our chat with them below.

@a.j.befumo BOOM! 💥 Or DOOM! ☠️‼️ #father #son #mother #daughter #bigjustice #boom #hamburger #food ♬ original sound – A.J. & Big Justice

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Tubefilter: To start with, let’s pretend that somebody’s reading this and they’ve never seen your videos, they don’t know who you are. Give me a little bit of introduction about the two of you and how you ended up on social media.

A.J.: Do you want to jump in first?

Big Justice: It all started about last Christmas. We posted a video and now it’s about 30 days and about 2 million views. He started video trying to boost his other business.

A.J.: I was in the home mortgage business.

Big Justice: He was in the home mortgage business, so we started making videos for that. Then I asked him, “Can I be in a video?” I think that we were at the table. He tried a burger, and I was introducing him, and he got millions of views. He was used to getting 10 views.

A.J.: [laughs]

Big Justice: He was like, “All right. This isn’t my work channel anymore. This is our channel.”

Tubefilter: Just instantly, huh?

A.J.: When you know, you know.

Big Justice: We were doing 1,000 views, maybe we got to 100,000 every once in a while. It took about 30 days, we got 10,000 followers off that video, and a million views. That was what boosted us. Then, on our mom’s birthday, we wanted to get meatballs, that’s what she wanted.

A.J.: That’s now about a year later. When we went up to New Jersey, that was around Christmas of ’22. We worked on our channel for about a year, and now this is in January of ’24.

Big Justice: We had about 13,000 followers. Then, my mom wants meatballs for her birthday. We go to Costco. We said, “Oh, let’s record. Let’s go to Costco.” It gets 10 million views.

Big Justice: We had over 10,000 followers the next day. Then, I don’t know, we made the idea that’s like, “Let’s do, we’re Costco guys.” Then we did the whole script. We got it all ready and now we’re the Costco guys.

A.J.: That’s the story. [laughs]

Tubefilter: I think the meatball video was the first one I saw, right as it went viral.

A.J.: I think the catch on that one was, “Are we going to be over or under $350.” We got so many guesses, and everyone stuck around to the end to see.

Big Justice: Yes, at least one million views on every single one of our Costco videos.

A.J.: We had our first ever Costco Snapchat, we got 400,000 views.

Tubefilter: Oh really? On Snapchat? Wow. Interesting.

Big Justice: We did one the other day, the Mother’s Day one. That’s already at 200,000 on Snapchat.

Tubefilter: That’s pretty interesting to do that kind of traffic on Snapchat. Are you doing this full-time now?

Big Justice: Yes.

Tubefilter: No more mortgages? This is your job now?

A.J.: This is my job now. I’m still holding my position there, my job there, but I told the company, “Look, I’ll manage what I built there, but I’m no longer actively building on now over here.” They get it. They understand.

Tubefilter: When did you go full-time? When did you have that discussion?

Big Justice: When we had many followers, and we started doing other stuff like Cameos, and we started getting great deals, so we just went all in on this.

A.J.: It was about month ago.

Tubefilter: About a month ago? Got it. Yes, I saw you guys do Cameos together and separately. That’s really interesting.

A.J.: For a point in time, we were the number one Cameo in the world. Quite truthfully, it’s by choice that we’re not right now, because Big Justice is still in school and plays on two baseball teams, so there’s only so much we can do.

@a.j.befumo Everything At The Costco Food Court‼️ #costco #costcofoodcourt #costcoguys #father #son #family #fun #bigjustice #boom ♬ original sound – A.J. & Big Justice

Tubefilter: I was going to ask–what is your production schedule like?

A.J.: Yes, we do have to manage that. I usually pick him up from school at about 2:30.

Big Justice: Usually, Thursdays we record.

A.J.: Yes, Thursdays, we record, weekends, we record. We get the recording in. I would say we’re probably recording at least an hour a day, two hours a day. We’re probably recording about 10 to 15 hours a week. Then I’m able to handle the editing team. I’m able to handle the posting, and the comments, and all that. I would say at this point…We were at one point spending about two or three hours a day on Cameo. That’s why I say by choice, we backed up on that.

A.J.: It was crazy. We really worked our way out of that one. I would say right now we got about three to five Cameos a day, and that’s manageable. That takes us about a half hour.

Tubefilter: What made you join Cameo in the first place?

A.J.: They relentlessly reached out to us. [laughs]

Tubefilter: Really?

A.J.: They do not take no for an answer. The first three times they reached out, I wasn’t quite sure it was for us. Then they finally said, “Just give it a try.” They’re awesome. I’m happy we got our rep over there. Shane, he’s amazing. They really support us very well. Really, if there’s ever anything going on, like if someone is saying that maybe they weren’t happy with the volume on their video or something, they basically say, “No, no, no. A.J. and Big Justice are awesome. It was a mishap. We’re going to rerecord it.” Everybody’s happy. Another five-star review.

They have great technology. They have great software. It makes it so easy to work with them.

Tubefilter: Oh, yes?

Big Justice: One time, we did 20 Cameos–

A.J.: Oh, no.

Big Justice: –and we were at shower time, I’m ready go to bed, and it’s 9:00, and then everybody texts us. “The sound didn’t work. The sound didn’t work.” And we had to do them all again. We were up till 10 o’clock.

A.J.: Yes, sometimes the Apple device picks up the microphone as a headset instead of a microphone, so that’s what happened, but we got through it. We banked it out.

Tubefilter: Technology. So you do that. You do Snapchat. Can you talk a bit more about your multi-platform presence?

Big Justice: Snapchat, we’re at 20,000. YouTube, we just hit 40,000, and TikTok we’re about to hit 1.2 million.

A.J.: The thing is we learned somewhere along the way what our audience wants, and we give it to them every day. We call it the Boom. It’s happiness. It’s laughter. Just like when someone is sick and goes to the doctor, just like when someone’s hungry and they go out to eat, when someone needs some happiness, they come to us, and we give it to them. It’s happiness, it’s laughter, it’s positivity, and we call it the Boom. It’s really been great. It’s been very rewarding.

Tubefilter: It seems very important to you guys to make positivity part of your content.

A.J.: Oh, no doubt about it. We get asked very often how we deal with haters, and our answer to that is–

Big Justice: We’ll post another video tomorrow.

A.J.: We’re posting another video tomorrow.

Big Justice: When we’re out in public, there’s people that whisper, but they’re scared to take a picture with us. My daddy’s like, “You guys must want to take a picture.” It’s so funny.

Tubefilter: That probably makes people feel comfortable to come talk to you.

A.J.: Hey, if you can make somebody’s day, that’s awesome. Their faces light up, and– You sense it now at this point. You sense that they’re over in a corner, and looking over and keep looking back. Then we’re like, “Yes, it’s us. Come on over.”

@a.j.befumo Back At Costco‼️ Think We’ll Be Over Or Under⁉️ #costco #father #son #family #fun ♬ original sound – A.J. & Big Justice

Tubefilter: A.J., have you been interested in content before? You’re the one who entered this with your mortgage company. What’s your background with social media?

A.J.: I have always loved being in front of the camera, and I wish social media was available to me at this guy’s age. I was a professional wrestler for many years, and I didn’t want to go to the WWE for that. That wasn’t for me. I didn’t want to be on that schedule. When I wrestle, I really want to wrestle on my own terms. I want to choose my own opponents. I wanted to choose where I was going to wrestle. I really wish I had social media back then. I think I could have been very successful.

I am so grateful right now. I am so thankful and so grateful to be where we are right now because growing up and being Big Justice’s age, I had this passion. I had this desire that I wanted to entertain. I wanted to make people happy.

My family is so awesome. I absolutely love my family. I got the greatest upbringing ever. But they just didn’t understand this passion. They were very business-oriented. That’s what they do. That’s what they understand. They didn’t understand this passion I had. I don’t think we really had the resources back then. We didn’t have social media. Now I have a son that shares that same passion. For me, to be able to have these resources to provide this for him, the world is his. The world belongs to Big Justice, and I want to be here to support him as much or as little as he wants.

Tubefilter: I think a lot of people can connect with the experience of having interests their family didn’t understand. The fact that you are now being embraced by this community online and that you’re able to work with Big Justice, and the two of you have this bonding instead of it being a division, is very cool to see.

A.J.: Thank you. It’s a dream. We’ve been smiling every day.

Tubefilter: Where do the two of you get your video ideas from?

Big Justice: Brain.

Tubefilter: [laughs] Are you inspired by any other creators? Do you ever take suggestions from your audience?

Big Justice: A bit of both.

A.J.: A little bit of both. I guess sometimes we do see some inspiration out there and say, “Hey, you know what? We can A.J. and Justice this up.”

Then, some of our audience does, for instance, there is one right here right now that we recorded yesterday where we did a review of cookie dough, and someone from our audience said, “Next video, cook a batch and eat a batch raw, and tell us what’s the Boom, and what’s the Doom.” Yes, our audience does give us some ideas.

The truth is, everything is an idea. I don’t stop. I can’t get to all the things I want to record. I gave Michael [Gordon] our list this weekend of everything we want to record. I don’t know how I’m going to get through it all. The ideas just never stop. The ideas just never stop. They’re always flowing.

Tubefilter: Which is great. That’s a great position to be in. When did you sign with Night?

A.J.: I guess that’s about a month ago now. We’ve been here about a month, and it’s been awesome. We did a collaboration with Tommy, The Food Guy. I don’t know if you’ve ever interviewed Tommy, if you’ve ever met him, awesome guy. Been there with us from the beginning. Love the guy. He said to us, “Okay, look at my profile and make your profile just like mine. Put that email address right there in the profile.” We do that. The minute we do that, we got reached out to by– I can’t account how many agencies.

There was one agency– I got to tell you because I forget who they are at this point, but they were great. We enjoyed connecting with them. We were about to go with them. This was a Thursday, and all of a sudden Sydney from Night reaches out to us and says, “Michael wants to meet with you.” I wrote back, “Well, we got to hurry up, because we’re about to make a decision.”

She’s like, “Okay. One o’clock tomorrow, we meet with Michael.” We were blown away. Thank god that we put that email address there. Thank god that Sydney reached out that day. Friday we made that decision, and here we are. There’s no looking back. We couldn’t be happier.

@a.j.befumo Here’s What To Eat At Pt. Pleasant Boardwalk‼️##newjersey#food #beach #boardwalk #father #son #family #fun @Flatbill Sports @NOBULL ♬ original sound – A.J. & Big Justice

Tubefilter: You probably can’t talk about too many spoilers, but have you gotten production support, anything else so far?

A.J.: We have a bunch more coming up. We have to do some with sneakers and stuff.

Big Justice: Sneakers, I’m so excited for.

A.J.: We’re going to be doing a little bit with that. Night Media has given us everything we need. A lot of the production stuff we’re able to handle on our own. We do have our own editing team. We do record on our own. We do have the resources we need for that. Anything that we need along the way though, as far as hosting support, as far as the proper way how to put the content out there, Night Media has been– Oh boy. We couldn’t be happier.

Tubefilter: Tell me a little bit about your college tours, if you can.

A.J.: Well, we were invited by someone that’s part of the channel now. This all started out as a young fellow named Angelo.

Big Justice: President Angelo.

A.J.: He’s now president.

Big Justice: He’s the president.

A.J.: Probably. Angelo is a sophomore over at Florida Atlantic University. I got to tell you, another thing that was just like a stroke of luck like we talk about this email address. We get 2,000 messages a day. All of a sudden, I see this message from this guy Angelo, “Come to Florida Atlantic University, do Boom or Doom in the cafeteria.” I think, “All right, great. This is a great idea.” I meant to get back to him, but then I didn’t for some reason. I don’t know, we got busy with something.

Now I’m at Florida Atlantic University getting a haircut, and the barbershop is right in the main walkway, and it’s all glass all over the place. We’re right there getting our hair cut and a kid, Italian kid, curly hair stops, looks, jaw drops. He runs to the barbershop. “A.J., Big Justice, it’s me, Angelo.”

Now, Angelo’s with this crowd that’s all jumping up and down. “Can I get pictures with them?” Angelo’s like, “Sit back, sit back. I’m trying to do business.”

Anyway, the kid’s awesome. We go to FAU, we do the Boom or Doom.

Big Justice: It blows up like 5 million views.

A.J.: It blows up.

Big Justice: Then, this guy from–

A.J.: Miami.

Big Justice: –-Miami, he reaches out to us. That video also blew up. We got a million views.

A.J.: Now we’ve been getting reached out to by multiple colleges to come to their dining hall to do a Boom or Doom. We’re trying to make a tour out of it. We’re going to see what happens with Big Justice with school and baseball and everything and try and fit it in.

Tubefilter: You guys are going to have quite the schedule.

A.J.: It really helps that Erika, the mother of Big Justice, and Ashley, my daughter, Big Justice’s sister, are now involved and part of the channel. They did not embrace it at first. They did not embrace it at first. At first, there was a little bit of fear. There was a little bit of, “What did you guys do here? We’re not normal anymore.” [laughs]

Tubefilter: How did that change for them? How did they end up coming in?

A.J.: I think they started to realize, “Okay, this is it. This is what these guys are doing, and nothing’s stopping them.” Also, I think being a part of some of the brand deals with us, being part of some of the creation with us, being part of all the benefits that come with this, the restaurants, everything else, they started thinking, “Oh wow, this is a fun life.” Also, the fact that the mother of Big Justice is now working with us full-time, I think that was a big one too.

Big Justice: It was a Boom!

A.J.: It was a Boom.

Tubefilter: What has been your favorite part of this whole experience of becoming creators and being online?

Big Justice: Meeting Preston. I watched him, I watched his brother Josh. I looked up to these people. Then, they reached out to us and they’re like, “Do you want to come meet us?” and I’m like, “What?” Then it’s a Friday after baseball. They’re like, “Okay. We’re talking about Sunday.” I’m like, “What?” It’s so crazy.

Tubefilter: What about you, A.J.?

A.J.: For me, it’s the happiness that we’re able to bring. For me, it’s seeing everybody when they see us and the way their faces light up, and the happiness that we can bring to this world because we know it’s needed.

Tubefilter: What are you looking forward to in terms of where things go from here?

Big Justice: Keep bringing happiness to people, keep making the videos, and hopefully it never stops. I hope when I’m older, I keep making them. We’ll keep making them.

A.J.: I just want everyone to believe in the Boom. I want everyone to believe in the Boom, because when we do get those negative comments out there, that’s somebody that isn’t happy inside. We want to bring that Boom, and we want to bring that happiness, and let everyone realize that we’re meant to be happy. We are really meant to live happy, and I want everybody out there to live happy.

Tubefilter: Absolutely. Perfect. I think that’s it from me then. Is there anything else that you guys would want to talk about? Anything else you want people to know about you, your family?

A.J.: I would want everyone to know that there’s a lot on the way. There’s a lot more A.J. and Big Justice coming your way, and we’re bringing the Boom.

A.J. & Big Justice are repped by Viral Nation.

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