Business of Beauty: Welcome to Kandeeland - VideoInk

Business of Beauty: Welcome to Kandeeland

/ Jul 10, 2013

Kandee

Often, success in this brave new digital and social world seems directly proportionate to how mean or “snarky” a personality can be. (Think news sites like Gawker, the ruthless annals of Reddit, or the Twitter accounts of any one of Bravo’s Real Housewives). Which is why YouTube beauty sensation and makeup artist Kandee Johnson is such a breath of fresh air. There’s absolutely no snark in her makeup tutorials, hairstyle how-tos, or product reviews.

Watch enough of her videos, and you might suspect that the bubbly, positive persona Johnson — or KandeeJ as she’s known to fans — presents in her videos is a caricature. But talk to her for a few minutes (or even an hour), and you’ll find that she really does pepper her speech with an infectious giggle and frequent exclamations like “Oh gosh!”

Nevada-based Johnson’s main YouTube channel boasts over 1.4 million subscribers and more than 203 million views. Some of her most popular clips, like this tutorial on how to apply glitter lip stickers and this transformation into the Queen of Hearts character from Tim Burton’s “Alice in Wonderland,” have over eight million and three million views, respectively. Welcome to Kandeeland, a world where being genuinely nice and life-affirming leads to integrated sponsorships with brands like Kia, and guest spots hosting the Golden Globes for L’Oreal.

kandeejohnson3

To Brand or Not to Brand?

Johnson is currently repped by Maker Studios, whose roster of beauty talent includes Andrea Brooks of AndreasChoice and Camila Coehlo of Makeup By Camila.

So far, the 10-month engagement has boosted Johnson’s income through commercial appearances like the Kia series with Chester See, but even with Maker’s representation, she says YouTube still isn’t quite paying all the bills. “It’s definitely part of my income, but it’s not like I don’t have to do anything else,” Johnson says. “I blog and I do some TV show appearances and hosting.”

She’s also a single mom raising four children, sharing glimpses of that side of her life on her second YouTube channel and supplemental blog. In the midst of it all, Johnson manages to get new content up on her main channel almost weekly — a departure from when she first launched in 2009 with a constant stream of daily content.

“In the beginning, I did a video almost every day and it was insanity,” Johnson says. “I’d shoot these crazy costume videos that would take me two hours to film and then hours of editing to cut down to 10-12 minutes. If someone had told me that I’d be up until three in the morning every night making YouTube videos, I would’ve have thought they were crazy. But that’s what it was like.”

Johnson’s goal now is to do two videos per week, a task she equates to a 16-hour day for each video, since she serves as “camera man, lighting person, and editor.”

With this much investment, you’d think that Johnson would be a bit more focused on monetizing her efforts. Though she’s worked on some non-paid projects for makeup brands “she’s loved for years” like Urban Decay, MAC, and Makeup Forever, she doesn’t do paid product reviews or beauty endorsements on principle.

“I’ve had every brand approach me for years now, but it’s been a question of staying true to my audience,” Johnson says. “YouTube is like having a conversation with your friend — and if your friend says ‘this is brought to you by McDonald’s’ that feels very strange. And while I do think that turning down some of the opportunities was not a financially wise choice — particularly at certain times in my life — I didn’t and don’t ever want to talk about things I don’t believe in on YouTube.”

 kandeejohnson2

Keepin’ It Real

It’s this acceptance of what is real — without succumbing to negativity — that seems to fuel Johnson’s YouTube popularity. While her clips offer step-by-step instructions for how to make a lemon sugar scrub, or do a celebrity-inspired eye, or even attempt a runway look, viewers also eat up the bittersweet moments of life that she shares in between.

“My life is not perfect. I got married when I was really young, got divorced and then married and divorced again,” she says. “And I have struggled as a single mom. Some people on YouTube want to portray that their life is just awesome, but sometimes mine is not. I don’t wallow in that though, I try to inspire people, and I think that’s what makes them come back.”

For Johnson, she says the inspiration is what keeps her coming back — even more than the ad revenue. “I got an email shortly after I started, from a girl who was planning to commit suicide,” Johnson says. “She said she’d been watching my videos because she wanted to be beautiful when people found her. But eight hours later, she was still watching and eight hours later she was still alive, and she said ‘I’m alive because of you.’ When someone says you helped inspire them to keep living — that’s how you know you’re doing something right. So I’ll definitely keep at it.”

Tags: , , , , , , ,


vimeo high maintenance

More Episodes of ‘High Maintenance’ Coming to Vimeo...

Luke Cage Marvel Netflix

Marvel Finds Its Luke Cage for Netflix

john_mccarus01

John McCarus Named Chief Strategy Officer of Media General

hispanics online video

DirecTV Starts OTT Plans with Spanish-Language Video Service Yaveo

joebereta

Joe Bereta to Leave ‘SourceFed’ for Defy Media

Zealot Networks

ITV Invests in Ex-Maker Studios CEO Danny Zappin’s Zealot...

NewsToKnow

Monday 12.22.2014: News to Know

interlude

Interlude Teams with Warner Music to Make Interactive Music Videos

Sony The Interview

Sony’s ‘The Interview’ Could Go to Crackle,...

Top5_Music

5 Emerging Music Channels on YouTube

Tv_cordless

FCC Makes Proposal to Expand Definition of MVPDs to Include...

US_OnlineVideo

The US Online Video Market Is Getting Competitive —...

MysteryGuitarMan  Beyond

‘MysteryGuitarMan’ Joe Penna to Take Viewers...

NewsToKnow

Friday 12.19.2014: News to Know

fargo hulu

Hulu Gets Another FX Show (The Big One)

MeandHer

CNE Brings The New Yorker to The Scene

Zealot Networks

Danny Zappin’s Zealot Networks Takes Majority Stake in...

tumblr_480x400

VHX Now Has a Video ‘Library’ and Mobile App

hulu4

Hulu Nabs Exclusive SVOD Rights to a Lot of FX Shows

Vevo01

Vevo Arrives on Xbox One as Its App Viewership Spikes in 2014

Cameron Dallas Expelled

Cameron Dallas Movie ‘Expelled’ Tops iTunes

Johnny Dynamo

WATCH THIS: Indie Series ‘Johnny Dynamo’ Is Back on...

AllTime10s

Diagonal View Teams with BuzzMyVideos to Bring Popular YouTube...

TheCreatorShow

YouTube Has a New Show to Spotlight Creators and New Features

YouTubeMusical_DD

YouTube Music Night: Meet Your 2015 Musical Obsessions

DIY_Selfie

YouTubers Dispense Music-Video Style Tips in New Vevo Series

netflixTV

Netflix Scores Huge Pay-TV Deal with Dish Network

Legendary 2

Legendary Names Carlos Sanchez VP of Distribution for Latin America

NATPE

NATPE Promotes Jordan Ryder to Oversee All Event Programming

21st Century Fox

21st Century Fox to Buy Interactive Video-Ad Startup True[x]

Channel Frederator Network

Channel Frederator Network Continues to Grow

Marriott International

Marriott Inks More YouTube Talent Deals, Casts First Short Film

TerryCrews

Terry Crews to Host Jukin Media’s ‘World’s...

OITNB_Alist

Seen Any Good Movies Lately? Netflix on Android Has

bryant_hernandez

Esquire to Release New Golf Series on Digital Before TV Premiere

NBCDigital

NBC to Stream Live on Digital, but Don’t Celebrate Just Yet