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: , , , , , , ,


Social_alist

YouTube Is the Most-Used Social Network Among 14-17 Year-Olds

QueenBee

Ora.TV Unveils New Reality Series from Tonya Lewis Lee

Shakira

Shakira to Star in New Web Series from Fisher-Price

NewsToKnow

10.24.14: News to Know

Yahoo_new

Yahoo, Live Nation, Citi Debut Interview Series with Katie Couric

Nik Wallenda

Discovery Unveils Multi-Platform Plans Ahead of Nik...

Crowd005

Hollywood Studios to Make $6.8B from SVOD Players Like Netflix, Hulu

aereo

Broadcasters Win Nationwide Preliminary Injunction Against Aereo

oculus_alist

Oculus Rift Movie ‘Zero Point’ Coming This Month

devin supertramp

Turkish Airlines to Fly Devin Supertramp and Other YouTubers...

Screen Shot 2014-10-23 at 2.42.57 PM

Tumblr’s New Video Player ‘Works. Finally.’

JukinMedia

Jukin Media Signs with WME

fremantlemedia

FremantleMedia Makes Branded Content Hire

NewsToKnow

Thursday 10.23.14: News to Know

CokeVsPepsi

Coke vs. Pepsi: Which Wins on YouTube?

VideoElephant

Video Content Exchange VideoElephant Raises $1M to Expand into US

VIS_MagnetMedia

Magnet Media Hires Another Director of Business Development

logo_nytvf_color

NYTVF Launches Production Arm to Help Indie Creators Land Series Deals

complex3

Complex Media Unwraps Vertical-Focused YouTube MCN

Lexus Short Films

Latest Lexus Short Films to Exclusively Premiere on Twitter

Netflix Bloodline

Netflix Sets Premiere Date for Kyle Chandler-Starring...

WSW_11

Web Series Wednesday: Seriously Out There

Screen Shot 2014-10-22 at 4.25.14 PM

FIRST LOOK: Tiffany Shlain’s ‘The Future Starts...

Rokuapp

Roku Raises $25M as Connected-TV Space Heats Up

ooyala_02

6 Money-Making Lessons from Ooyala for Your Online Videos

Walking_Streets

StudioNow Buys Bluwave Productions

NewsToKnow

Wednesday 10.22.14: News to Know

Bill Burr

Netflix Orders Animated Comedy Series from Bill Burr and Vince Vaughn

Screen Shot 2014-10-22 at 10.56.04 AM

YouTubers The Slow Mo Guys Will Slow Down New Rovio Game...

mondo media fusion TV

Animation MCN Mondo Media to Make TV Series for Fusion

Screen Shot 2014-10-22 at 10.27.04 AM

YouTuber Todrick Hall Lands Docu-Series with MTV

Jeremy Lin Whistle Sports

Whistle Sports Sets Up Basketball Vertical

Beachfront_Media

Beachfront Builder Now Supports Chromecast, Fire TV, Apple TV

Yahoo_new

Video Remains a Focus for Yahoo, Which Beat Q3 Earnings Expectations

ouija_alist2

Universal Is First to Have Sponsored Promotion On Snapchat

Justice League

Warner Bros. Unveils Development Slate from New Digital Studio

kian_lawley

O2L Star Kian Lawley Goes ‘Missing’ as Part of...

watching-laptop

Total Digital Video Viewership Is Way Up (Study)