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: , , , , , , ,


WSW_Cooking

Web Series Wednesday: It’s Time to Feast

Turkey_YTPlay

Top 10 Thanksgiving Videos on YouTube

MenOfNovember

Vuier Uses Its Pay-to-View Service to Support Movember

US_Life_facebook

Facebook Finds 3 States That Are Most Thankful for YouTube

Rumble2

Rumble Launches Mobile Apps, Welcomes New Distribution Partners

ZombieBasement_DD

How to Make a Web Series: a ‘Zombie Apocalypse’ Case Study

MakerStudios_01

Maker Studios and Wikia to Recreate the Biggest Fan Moments of 2014

NewsToKnow

Wednesday 11.26.14: News to Know

Screen Shot 2014-11-24 at 11.28.54 AM

WATCH THIS: Stage17 Celebrates Thanksgiving with Comedic Vlog

Brittani_Louise_Taylor_alist

Jack & Jack, Brittani Louise Taylor to Headline Next...

CampTakoa

‘Camp Takota’ Coming to Netflix in December

MakerStudios_01

Maker Studios Signs Toy Review Channels in Time for the Holidays

YouTube

3 Reasons Why YouTube Gadgets Don’t Work for Brands

Chromecast

Chromecast Adds Comedy Central, Nickelodeon Apps

ConnorFranta

YouTube Star Connor Franta’s Strange Rise on the Billboard...

NewsToKnow

Tuesday 11.25.14: News to Know

Drea

Endemol Beyond USA Sets Premiere Date for Drea de Matteo’s...

AFV 25 Anniversary

‘America’s Funniest Home Videos’ Now Has an...

Mystery Science Theater 3000

More Episodes of ‘Mystery Science Theater 3000′ Land...

erika-nardini

Erika Nardini, CMO of AOL Advertising, to Leave Company

nick_offerman

Netflix Sets Premiere Date for ‘Nick Offerman: American...

Hulu_Header_01

EXCLUSIVE: Jay Mohr and Believe Entertainment’s Game Show...

SmashUp

EXCLUSIVE: Astronauts Wanted Enlists YouTube, Vine Stars to Help...

Beargrllys

Bear Grylls to Launch YouTube Channel with Barcroft Media

Pitbull_01

Pitbull Unveils Two YouTube Series with Endemol Beyond

cricket world cup

REPORT: ESPN Might Go Over-the-Top for 2015 Cricket World Cup

NewsToKnow

Monday 11.24.14: News to Know

vidible

EXCLUSIVE: Vidible Launches Flashlight to Spot Fraudulent Video...

Screen Shot 2014-11-23 at 9.57.34 PM

5 Emerging Cooking Channels on YouTube

NetFlix

Netflix Nabs Tina Fey’s ‘Unbreakable Kimmy...

JessicaJones1_DD

Who Will Play Jessica Jones for Netflix and Marvel?

house_of_robots

CDS Sets Companion Series to James Patterson’s Next Novel...

YouTubeChristmas

5 Reasons Brands Should Use YouTube This Holiday Season

NewsToKnow

Friday 11.21.14: News to Know

Peabody Awards

Peabody Awards Want More Digital Submissions

aereo

Aereo Files for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy

jukinmediafailarmy

Fox Orders Unscripted TV Series Based on Jukin Media’s...

Screen Shot 2014-11-20 at 3.28.02 PM

Dubai Media Launches Sports-Focused SVOD Service