HIBT Lab! The Sorry Girls: Kelsey MacDermaid and Becky Wright - Transcripts

June 23, 2022

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YouTubers Kelsey MacDermaid and Becky Wright – better known as The Sorry Girls – have always had an affinity for production. When they met as film students back in 2010, little did they know that the DIY videos they were creating for fun would eventually lead to full-fledged careers co-founding and leading their own media company. But building to where they are now, with over 2 million subscribers and counting, didn’t exactly come with a blueprint… This week on How I Built This Lab, Kelsey and Becky talk to Guy about pursuing the uncharted territory of a YouTube career, their philosophies on navigating brand deals, and their take on growing a business in the creator economy without compromising on values.  Check out The Sorry Girls on YouTube and try your own hand at DIY: https://www.youtube.com/c/TheSorryGirls/featured  See Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.

Transcript

I'm Gregory Warner, host of the podcast, rough translation on our new season. Were telling stories about the cultures of work the 9-5. It's a myth and rest around the world. I came into this totally prepared to defend my American productivity at work. The new season of the NPR podcast. Rough translation. Many of you might already use slack to make work happen. But for those who don't, I want to share an example of how slack has empowered us here at how I built this. So slack is kind of our digital headquarters. The how I built this team has used slack to communicate for years because we're a distributed team and it's become essential to us, especially during Covid when we all began working from home. But it's not just us. Companies big and small use slack to achieve pretty impossible feats and you can watch those stories over at slack dot com slash stories again, that's slack dot com slash stories slack where the future and how I built this works when building a business.

There are tons of moving parts. One that's often overlooked is having the right network thankfully with a T and T business, you can pick the best wireless plan for your small business and offer your employees the features they need plus the best A. T and T. Business plans include nationwide five G wherever business takes you A T and T. Business has the features you need visit A T T dot com slash B I Z U Y W Five G requires a compatible plan and device five G may not be available in your area, visit a T T dot com slash five G for you. For more details. Hello and welcome to how I built this lab. I'm guy raz. So just the other day I was trying to figure out how to get a coffee mug stain off of my coffee table. I thought, and I thought, and I thought, and then I thought, wait, there's probably a Youtube video on that and guess what indeed there is. So basically you put a damp towel on the coffee table, you gently run a warm iron over it and voila, the ring usually disappears, but please, I am not an expert. So don't blame me if it doesn't work for you.

The point is, there are a lot of people out there who know how to do a lot of things, things they happily put on Youtube and if you can find an audience, those skills can help you build a business, which is exactly what the sorry girls have done. Calc McDermott and Becky. Right, are the sorry girls, they'll explain the name in a moment. It's a Youtube channel dedicated to do it yourself projects and home makeovers. The channel now has over two million subscribers and their small media company now employs about 10 people full time at the time. They were both film students in toronto Canada and their first video was really just a one off. It was never intended to turn into a business. They simply wanted to make a video showing people how to create a Halloween costume, It was a pink and a blue highlighter. As in the stationary item. I think we were inspired by literally what was on the desk at the time. Wait, say that again. You made costumes of a highlighter.

Like imagine like neon blue tights, a little blue tube dress that we sowed. We cut out letters that said highlighter down the side and folded paper into the shape of the little cap, but once pink and one is blue. And those were also our names for the rest of the first year of college too. Pink and blue, pink and blue highlighter. People didn't know our names yet. So Put this out on YouTube is 2010 and who sees this video? I don't even know how we knew S. C. O. At the time, but I believe we called it something basic, like easy last minute Halloween costume idea. And because there wasn't a lot of that on Youtube at the time, I believe it got a lot of clicks now. A lot back then is not a lot now, but for being our first Youtube video, how many would you say it got kind of in the first month, Kelsey, I don't know exactly, but maybe something around 10,000 or even 1000.

It's like pretty good for your first video with no background. And this is 2010 when like not every single person was watching YouTube yet. So did you instantly say to each other, let's do this. Let's keep making videos. No, no, not really. We, I don't think did much else for that the rest of that year besides a follow up video explaining how we made the hat to the costume a little bit more for people that had questions, but it was kind of a one and done this was fun. Now let's go back to doing school. And I think it was the next year again when we picked up with Halloween where we started creating again and things started to take off. So you were in film school, presumably both of you thought, oh, you know, we'll pursue a career and I don't know, working on films. Yeah, that's exactly it. That's right. And did you think that maybe you'd be producers or directors or editors, what did you think you would do in film?

I was always really interested in the art side of film. So production, design, costumes, set, design, any of that kind of stuff. I really wanted to go into that one day. Eventually I found myself always just wanting to organize things. So being on the producer side of things was, I think what interested me. Alright, so you put this Halloween video out, Get, you know, 1000 plus view is pretty great and you just leave this channel dormant. You do nothing for almost a year after that, right? There might have been a how to make banana bread video, but let's just call it dormant. Still a good way to experiment because you are in film school and why not? You know, make your own stuff and see what it looks like. Yeah, definitely. Getting our hands on and actually making things was one of the exciting things about being in film school and having the Youtube channel.

Alright, Halloween 2011 Rolls around and you decide to do this again to make a video showing how to make your own Halloween costume, yep, this is round two and this year black swan, the movie was super popular and fast fashion wasn't quite yet a thing. So if you wanted to be the black swan for Halloween, you needed to make it and we thought it would be an amazing Halloween costume. So since there's two of us, we were black swan and white swan, We did the tutu's, we made the crown, we went all out and we again uploaded this tutorial to Youtube and the videos shows the entire process right? Like shows you stitching and cutting and pasting sequence or like a whole process. Right? It does, yeah, I think if I were to do it again, we would definitely film it a little bit better now, but if you go back and watch, it's kind of a cringe e voiceover to how we did it, but no shame there. You got to stop by the way if you made those first videos and they were perfect. We wouldn't put you on the show. You have to make crappy stuff at the beginning. That is a necessary part of the process of building a business. It's like a rite of passage for sure. It's a rite of passage.

Yeah. Alright, so you make the second video and does it get similar kind of traction compared to the first one? This one did much better than the first one? I think it I want to say it got around 100,000 views that year which again for being really only our second big video on a Youtube channel is is a major at the time. And was that because you were using words like black swan and Halloween, D. I. Y. That was that one of the reasons, yeah, I mean it really was the hit movie of that year, everyone was talking about it and then it was setting it up to be kind of the hit costume that year and it wasn't something you could go to the store and just buy a pre made costume for maybe like you could now, so people took to the internet to look up a tutorial and how to make their own and we were there with a tutorial for you, wow. I just do not remember that Halloween. I don't remember seeing a bunch of black swans. I just don't. But but I don't know maybe I wasn't paying attention.

But I guess 2011 was the year of Black Swan Halloween. So once that happened, was there an intentional conversation between the two of you where you were like okay let's do something here. Let's make more stuff on Youtube. Yeah. I think it was around that time that we also got approved for the Youtube partner program. Which means that we could start making money through our Youtube videos which wasn't really a goal at all. But it was definitely just an exciting advancement. And with that video people were asking can you show us D. I. Y. Home decor? They were just requesting other video and content ideas.

So we were like okay this is fun, this is exciting, let's keep going. And then what other videos were making? Right after that? I think because we had shot the black swan one in our small basement apartment by our college. I think people could tell that we were in kind of an apartment and wanted to know more like who are you, where do you live? Show us around your place. It looks cute. We want to know how you made those magnets on the fridge behind you. And so it really started by just reading the comments and thinking oh we could make a video answering that question or we could make a video showing them how we made that thing in the apartment. So it started out like, really focused on just craft making. Yes, very simple, very budget friendly too. I mean, we were both in college and a lot of our audience was too, which usually puts you on a tight budget, limited supplies, limited skill set even.

So we wanted to share the knowledge that we had in the budget. We were working with, What kind of crafts were you making? Definitely mason jars were having a huge, a huge go at that time, anything made with the mason jar was popping off. So we did salad, it was a salad bowl. It was a bars that serve drinks and it was candleholders. It was vases. It was anything you could make with a mason jar that was huge for a while for us. And this really kind of evolved organically simply by reading comments and people saying, hey, can you do something on this or on that? Yes, I don't think we really had too much of a plan at that time. There wasn't a set schedule back then. It was kind of whenever we could, whenever we thought it'd be fun to make another video on another question or sort of trending item in the space at the time, we were down to do it. So eventually people were like, yeah, I want to, I want you guys to do more D I.

Y stuff like how do you transform a room? And from what I understand you guys did not know how to do this stuff initially, like you were Children of contractors and home builders, right? Like this was all new to you. Yeah, I feel like I grew up in Household where at least my dad really liked to work on the house, he also doesn't really have any formal training, but he's just passionate about creating a nice home. So I would want to paint my bedroom when I'm 12 years old and he wouldn't let me just do it because he wanted it done right, so I'd have to kind of help and sit there and watch and it was painful to not be able to just do it the way I wanted to do it. But in the end it made for a nice bubble gum pink bedroom, so walk me through the process of educating yourself about do yourself because now you do serious stuff like you're putting up drywall and stuff, but how did you teach yourself how to do that stuff? I would say it's a good mix of watching other tutorials online and trying to educate ourselves, but for me at least it's a lot more of just trial and error. I just like to give my best go at something and if it doesn't work then that's the best way to learn how to do it better the next time. But yeah, I have no official training in most of this stuff that we're doing these days, It was very slow progression. I think the first time I picked up a drill ever was when I was in college and then you slowly work your way from there. When we were working with wood, you know, I definitely only used a hand saw to start, but years later you get more comfortable to use a power saw and that's a really big scary move for you. But I think the thing that was really successful for us was showing that online that this is our first time using this and we're going to show you how it's not so scary and it really made it feel more accessible to people out there as well.

And at what point in sort of putting these videos up, was it pretty soon after you became Youtube partners that you thought let's make this our full time jobs. It actually took a little while. So we started film school in 2010. We were creating the videos throughout school. We graduated in 2014 and we actually went into the film world. So Becky went and worked in the Art Department on commercial sets and film sets. I was working as a production coordinator for commercial production company and I think we just got so busy in the film world and the Youtube channel was still growing that it was like, we need to make a decision, we either need to be in the traditional film world or we need to pursue our Youtube channel and we made the decision to go and be full time with just our Youtube channel. Alright, so you have this Youtube channel called the Sorry girls. I think I'm mispronouncing. Sorry, sorry, sorry. It's literally the word story, but it depends where you're from, what you say. Sorry, Sorry, I'm sorry.

Yeah. How did that come about? Why you called the Sorry girls? Well, when we way back then made that first fateful highlighter video, we're going to put it online. Everything was done, ready to go. And we realized, oh wait, we actually have to have a channel to put this video on. And we were signing up for a Youtube channel. And it comes to that question where it asks you, what are you gonna call this channel? And at that time there were so many other creators that had just resorted to using a bunch of numbers and characters and their names because finding a unique name online can be difficult. So, we thought we wanted to come up with something that was unique to us and something that might be timeless because we had no idea what was going to happen after this first video. If we're going to use the channel after this first video. So we think we're hesitant to call it something about Halloween or a costume because it might not be that.

And we kind of wrote a list of what are things about us that might not change and the fact that we were Canadian came up a lot. So one of the going names was the a girl's perhaps because we say a lot in Canada, but E h e H girl people would be like it could be weird, right? You wouldn't know. So the story girls was one of the other ones which seemed to be the better move at the time and that's what we went with. Yeah, but we're not sorry for anything just to be clear, not just because it's Canadian to kind of preemptive in your apologies, just like I'm sorry, like you go into a store and you're apologizing for asking to buy something so accurate, I haven't really considered it like that, but you are right, right. Yeah, yeah, my wife's Canadian, so I know that you go to a store in Canada, you're like sorry, but you're asking to buy, you're going to spend your money, they're like you're apologizing for that, but that's just Canadian so true or when somebody bumps into you or you bump into standalone piece of furniture, you say sorry, you apologize to furniture sometimes. Alright, so you have this channel and at what point because you're both working in the film industry because you've got to pay rent in Toronto at what point did you, were you guys able to say wait a minute, You know, we're doing pretty well here, maybe we should just clear jobs and do this full time, turn this into our job. I think for me it wasn't so much that I necessarily had a certainty that this was going to work out and this was going to be the thing I was going to do, but it was more that we had seen other people take a pause from Youtube um for an extended period of time and try and come back and their online presence just wasn't the same. It's kind of like a train you need to catch on as it's going. Whereas working in the film industry was really exciting. But I felt like the opportunity could potentially always be there. Should I come back to it one day, but Youtube, I did not feel the same certainty at all.

And since it was really taking off, we thought, okay, let's maybe try it for a year since it kind of feels like an hour and ever opportunity and if it doesn't work out then we can head back into our previous passions were going to take a quick break but back with more from the sorry girls, Kelsey McDermid and Becky Right in just a moment, Stay with us. I'm guy raz and you're listening to how I built this lab, hear that it's the sound of another sale on Shopify the all in one commerce platform to start run and grow your business scaling your business is a journey of endless possibility, Shopify is tirelessly reinventing tools of growth for millions of businesses helping them succeed every day. In fact so many of the companies we've featured on how I built this started and then scaled their businesses using Shopify and they talk about how much they love how Shopify has the tools and resources that make it easy for any business to succeed from down the street to around the globe. Supercharge your knowledge, your sales and your success. Go to Shopify dot com slash built all lower case for a free 14 day trial and get full access to Shopify entire suite of features, grow your business with Shopify today. Go to Shopify dot com slash built right now. Shopify dot com slash built. There are so many more things to do during the summer and you want to free up as much time as possible to enjoy them. So if you're a business owner the last thing you want to do is sort through tons of unqualified candidates resumes when you could be renovating your home or relaxing with friends. That's why you need zip recruiter to find great candidates. They do the work for you and now you can try it for free at zip recruiter dot com slash built zip recruiter uses its powerful technology to find and match the right candidates up with your job. Four out of five employers who post on zip recruiter get a quality candidate within the first day so soak up all that summer has to offer and let zip recruiter do the work ready for the U.

R. L. It's zip recruiter dot com slash built. That's where you can try it for free again. That's zip recruiter dot com slash B. U. I. L. T zip recruiter. The smartest way to hire. Hey, welcome back to how I built this lab. I'm talking with Kelsey McDermid and Becky Right, better known as the sorry girls.

Alright, so in 2015, what was the plan was the idea? Let's just let's make content, let's just make a lot of content and videos and see where it goes. Yeah, I would say so even so now the internet is ever changing and it was really hard at the time to say where the natural career path for this kind of job goes because there was no one who had really retired from a Youtube career at that time. Like there wasn't anyone to look at that had done the whole path. So it's hard to say where we can go with this. But we were excited about what we were doing right now and the channel was really growing. We were kind of experimenting on other platforms too and every day was just okay, how can we be better at what we're doing right now and just make more and cooler things. Tell me how you started to evaluate what worked and what didn't. I mean you initially were responding to people's requests to make videos, but very quickly, thematically, it became about D. I. Y projects because you had to be focused, you gotta be focused on one thing, right? Otherwise, you know, no one knows what you are about.

Um So when you were kind of thinking about what kind of videos to make, how much, you know, sort of analysis were you doing around what worked and what didn't, There's definitely a lot of paying attention to what's trending at the moment, what our peer group seems to be interested in, but I think a lot of the success of what we've been doing comes from just doing what we are naturally passionate about at the time, and our audience seems to respond really well to that, so kind of fading out of the Halloween costumes and maybe the fashion stuff a little less to just because we were so genuinely passionate about home decor and design, and the audience really loved that. I mean, we started our D. I. Y. Journey by just shooting our hands essentially and showing us making something with like, a simple voice over and then we got more confident to have our face on it and explain as we were going, and now, I mean, we're creating things that feel more like full blown shows where we have a whole storyline to the D. I. Y process as well, and that's just because it's been what we're passionate about making at the time and it's really worked well. How did you grow your audience? I mean part of it has to be luck, right? Like I'm lucky. We have a very large audience and people ask me, how did you get your audience, what you do? And we didn't do anything.

There was no like, tricks it just over time, we did a lot of work, we do a lot of work, we work really hard on making a quality show. What about you? I mean, is it a similar story? Is it just grinding and grinding and slowly, but surely people finding out about you? I think that's pretty much it, I mean, we never paid for like ads or anything. It was just, it was taking opportunities that came to us, whether it was to be on like a local talk show, talking about a D I. Y project or just creating those videos that we were excited by, that we knew the audience was going to be excited by, you know, when we met our manager in Toronto who again, we were not seeing managers of Youtube channels back then, but meeting him, opened up the doors to more opportunities, saying yes to brands that came our way. I think just a combination of a bunch of things and working hard and treating it like it is our full time job and where we're making our money is how we were able to grow it. I also think too, we were we were really focused on finding that niche that was unique to us. I think that's how the channel kind of blew up at the beginning, as well as being in the right place at the right time when there wasn't someone there already, there wasn't a lot of D I. Y and home decor channels back at that time. So to be a place where people can go, who are looking for that kind of content.

Yeah. So at what point did you guys start to sort of strategize and say, well, okay, we can make videos and maybe make some revenue from the Youtube ads, but we know that it's very hard to make money from the ads alone unless you're mr beast. Um so when did you, how did you guys start to have a conversation around turning this into a sustainable business? I think it was around the same time, 2015 when we decided to leave our film jobs, we decided we wanted to go all in. So we went to city hall, we incorporated shortly after that. We got our first office, which was a tiny little 200 square foot space in this kind of three story complex. And we just treated it like a full time job, which I think a lot of people don't see that from Youtubers. You expect that you just make up your own schedule, you work whenever you want. You don't work whenever you don't want. But I think also because it was Becky and I, there's two people we needed to agree on a time to come together. So saying we're going to work monday to friday 9 to 6 at the time. Like that's going to be our time that we were going to go in.

That's where we're gonna work. We're gonna film, we're going to edit and we're gonna just be consistent at it. All right. Let's talk about the economics of turning, you know what initially started out as Youtube videos into a full business, a media company, which is what you have now. Sorry girls, Let's break it down first. Let's talk about advertising. So you've got about two million subscribers Um, to the channel, but our views alone to your videos enough to sustain your business. Is there enough ad revenue just from that to support? Because I think you've got like eight or 10 employees now. Is the ad revenue enough or not even close? Yeah, not really. Not really close.

Um, we have a lot of overhead now. It just has slowly, slowly built as we've needed different members of our team to help sustain everything that we have going on. We have a bigger office now upgraded from that 200 square foot office to like a 2000 square foot office and yeah, there's a lot of overhead. So adsense is just one piece of the pie. I asked this and we've had some, youtubers are kind of broken it down for us and it's eye opening because actually, I mean, of course there's some Youtubers who can rely entirely on advertising, but can you give us a sense of sort of ballpark revenue that you bring in a year? The company over a million under five. That's pretty great. I mean, that's amazing for a small business that you created on a Youtube channel and knowing that we employ, you know, eight people and have offered jobs to eight different people is really cool to say we can do that. Yeah, the actual amount of money you make on an ad is fractions of a penny. Right. I mean, you might get a million views on the video and the ad revenue is really not that much. Yeah, I think it really depends, it also depends per creator, from what I've heard from our contacts at Youtube and just other creators are CPM is actually kind of high and I think it's just because of the, this is the cost per 1000 viewers, we should say the CPM.

So I think based on who our audience is, what our type of content is, how much you make is going to vary depending on creator. So, you know that there's that revenue stream, but it's not enough to sustain a company. So you've got to do other things to turn this into a sustainable business. And one of the things you do are these brand partnerships, tell me how you got into that and how you, I mean how did that begin? Well, I think this happens for a lot of people that start making careers online is when you build up an audience even of a small size, you start getting emails to your inbox, asking you to promote certain things. And the first couple offers you get might not be for the most exciting companies for the largest amount of money, but it's a really good place to start and just showing that you're able to work a brand seamlessly into your content is a way that a lot of people start and we since then have grown more into kind of an outreach where we actively go look for brand partners for our videos now, but in the beginning stage it was definitely, you know, if we got an offer maybe once every few months, we were really excited about that. Yeah, and obviously because of what you do, because you're, you know, you're renovating rooms, you're showing people how to decorate rooms, there are natural partners, right? Like paint companies and furniture companies and I think IKEA is one of your sponsors, right? Yeah, they're very like all over the place and I think what's kind of cool about what we do is there's also that lifestyle element, just learning more about Becky and I and how we live our lives, so even something like thrift stores, yes, we can shop there for decor, but also we like to dress from their stores and only shop second hand, so brands can be integrated in so many different ways. Help me understand your approach to branded content, right? Because running a Youtube channel, especially a successful one when you have people now it's a dance, it's delicate because on the one hand, you don't want to alienate your viewers, right? But the other hand, you need to create a sustainable business model.

So there are some Youtubers will just do any brand partnerships, will do whatever it comes through the door and there are others who have a different approach around that. How do you know if it's the right brand partner, what is your criteria? We definitely do not agree to every single brand deal that arises. I think that we look at our values. We look at if it's going to be a value to our audience, if they're going to find it an interesting brand and informative brand, we look at the brand's values, we always look into what their sustainability practices are, how they operate. These things are all important to us when we're choosing a brand. And then, you know, there's also a little piece of the pie that has to be the right, the right monetary value in order for us to include in the video, then I also want to thank the audience is out there for watching ads for listening to brand integrations because they really are clearly the lifeline of creators that are trying to create content for free for audiences. So you've got the brand partnerships and the ad revenue. What other sources of revenue are there? I mean, I know it's a sort of fundamentally what you're trying to do is to help educate people and it's a mission, but also you've got to create a sustainable business. And there's a business side of the story is really interesting and I think lots of people who are trying to do something like this find it particularly helpful. So besides the revenue and the brand partnerships, what are other ways that you can generate revenue for the business?

Yeah, we've been experimenting with lots of different options out there, you know, some other platforms, not Youtube specific are offering different routes of monetization, which has been an exciting development. Some things we do consistently are affiliate links. So since we do mention products a lot and use a lot of items in our projects, sometimes we're able to share a link that offers us a tiny little cut back for people clicking that link and maybe purchasing the product, it's not a huge piece of the pie, but it's something that's kind of always there and consistent, which is great. Then there's also licensing. So if somebody wants to use our content for whatever reason. We recently had an airline license it to be short form content in the entertainment system or um we do speaking engagements as well, but we're constantly working on developing those other revenue streams, things that don't relate so much to our Youtube content because, you know, we might not always be able to be the faces of this channel, we're just trying to create something that will last longer than this, you know, I noticed on your website, you have a shop and I love it, but I also look at it and I think, wow, there's so much more you can do here and I'm sure you're thinking about it because, you know, you can sell things on your shop products that you curate. But what's cool about your shop is it's basically templates, it's like D I. Y templates and most of its free, a lot of these templates are free, like if you want to make a tissue box cover, you give away the template for free or a template for a face mask and then people can make it themselves. It seems like, I'm assuming part of your strategy or long term strategy is to build out an even more robust shop. You know, creating a shop, creating products, creating merchandise is definitely something that we see a lot of other creators do, definitely something that's always been on our mind, but I'll be honest in that I think our values have gotten in the way a little bit of us being able to do that. Um we are, you know, pretty sustainable, pretty eco friendly. This is something that we just really believe in and it hasn't ever felt right to create t shirts or just sweaters or hats.

So when you say it conflicts with your values, do you mean that you guys are, you're sort of wary of being overly commercial and selling a bunch of stuff on your site? I think we just don't want to promote over consumption and buying things just for the sake that maybe our name is attached to. It, wow, mind blown, mind blown. So while we definitely would love to explore the idea of a shop one day, it is something we're actively talking about. We want to make sure we're doing it the right way and that whatever product providing is something that's actually useful to the person purchasing it, something that's made using the best resources possible sustainable way, because again, our name will be attached to it and we want to make sure it feels right. Basically what you're saying is you don't want people to just buy a bunch of stuff. Yes. Yeah, it would be pretty, you know, it might be easy to just take some money when you're in a position like ours, but that has never felt right to us. So we would want to create something that is special and well made that people actually need because we don't want to sell stuff to people just for the sake of it. We've got to take a quick break to thank our sponsors. You're listening to how I built this lab back in a moment.

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hey, welcome back to how I built this lab. I'm talking with Kelsey McDermott and Becky wright. Better known as the Sorry girls. You know, I think a lot about the creator economy, because we've done a lot of episodes now about it and I find so interesting is that how it can lead to so many other businesses, right? So for example, in your case, there is a world where because you've already built up a brand and a reputation through your videos, you create a business that renovates homes or redesigns homes or redecorating homes and business that is a franchise that is based on your design principles. I mean, there are all kinds of things you could do with that brand, yep, that's definitely come up in conversation at some point when we're trying to explore what can we do with what we have so far and and really, I mean, you've chronicled your journey of learning as you've moved forward and now 10 years in, you've developed a reputation as, you know, arbiters of interesting tastes and ideas and design schemes. I mean, people go to your site to learn about these things and to see what you've done. So, so you don't have as much to prove. I mean, I will say with the rise in other creators in the space that we've seen over the last couple of years, we are definitely always on our toes and aware of how our industry is changing and I, you know, maybe it's just impostor syndrome or maybe it's the hate comments that get to you, but you know, we have to keep proving ourselves. I think that I'll just say with every new step you make, I think you advance yourself into like a new bracket of people to be compared with. So as our content got more and more show, like we were now compared with the people on HD Tv making these, you know, million dollar series and as our designs got more and more in depth, we're now possibly being compared with people that have full and architectural degrees and I don't have that. So I think there's always a new level of people to aspire to and maybe find yourself compared to Yeah, I know I hear you on that.

I've been doing this for 25 years and I still get nervous about my interviewing skills every single day? So I hear you? I mean, I think it's what keeps people good at what they do. So, um, in the long run, is there any value in like, for example, trying to make a television show or is it not really necessary? I mean your reach with Youtube is enormous, but is there value in like, I don't know, doing an HD Tv show or you know, working with one of those, those companies, there's definitely value I'd say and interest because the people that watch tv can be a very different audience than the people that are online and watching Youtube or on Tiktok whatnot. I think we'd want to just make sure that we find the right partner that feels like it represents us. We've kind of built this brand image and have this whole history online that whatever we go for off platform, we want it to feel like it really represents us and embodies kind of what we've created so far. So, okay, so there are a lot of different ways you can grow and it seems like you're really grinding into those possibilities now. I'm sure you get a lot of people who want to become Youtube creators who get in touch with you and they'll say, how do I do this? How do I start or you know what's the secret? And of course the secret is work really hard and do it consistently um, and just grind away, but I mean, do you think there's room on Youtube to capture attention around design, aesthetics? Is there room to stand out now?

Or do you think it's overly saturated every time I start to think there's not, there's a new creator or channel that pops up that started three months ago and somehow now has more views than we do. So I think there's always space for new voices and I think that's really what it is, is finding your own voice and what you can bring to the table that's unique to you. I've noticed this in the last few years, a lot more D I. Y videos are women. And it it makes so much sense because if you are watching a video and it's it's a man, a lot of people watch that and they think, well that person is not speaking to me in any way, it's not that you can't do that, it's just he's not speaking to me, that's right. And even now, after 10 plus years of creating online, sometimes I find that we have to check ourselves too because we've built up such a wealth of knowledge and skill set after doing this for so long that I want to make sure that our content is still hitting that approachable, like attainable level of education that if you're watching it for the first time and you don't know that I've had whatever. Eight years of practice with the saw that I can still teach it to you in a way that you understand it and feels relatable. You know, from what I gather, the goal here is to produce content that's useful that people can walk away with and use and integrate into their lives. But one of the peculiar things that happens to creators, whether you're making video content or like this show, audio content is give it away for free and then you get people who are just mean and you're just like, wait, I'm making this for free. It is ad supported and you get it for free and you're sending me mean stuff comments. How do you feel about I mean, does it ever rattle you? Yeah, I mean, you know, sometimes when we get a particularly bad comment, it can affect everybody in the office, not just Becky and I but anybody on the team that has worked hard on, you know, the content that we're putting out there, but I think we're getting healthier and healthier about how we understand it and deal with it.

You know, if somebody wants to say something that mean, I think it says more about them than it says about us and also comments our engagement. So even if it's a negative comment, it's engagement. They showed up, They saw the ads. So thanks for stopping by. Boom. Thanks for stopping by. You know, I mean, we're living at this very strange moment. We just got through the pandemic. We're still kind of in it and there's a supply chain crisis and there's also a just a massive shortage certainly here in the United States. I'm assuming Canada of workers available, there's just such a high demand, you know, I hear stories, I'm sure you do have people waiting, you know, 56 months for a piece of furniture to arrive or people to come and repair something at the house. So I have to imagine there's been a huge spike in D. I.

Y. All over north America and probably even overseas. Have you noticed that? Do you see any evidence of that? Yes, absolutely. And actually even before I think supply chain became the issue you're talking about now, it was really at the start of the pandemic when everyone went working from home, I think people really started to consider their home spaces and there were from home office is way more than they ever have since they were spending 99% of their lives in home now. They were looking at their spaces thinking I want to do something to this room, how do I do it? And then they found us online, which was a funny place to be in seeing as like the world was going through something so horrific. And then hearing people losing businesses and jobs. But somehow our views were still keeping up if not doing better as the competition for eyes ear balls and eyeballs right grows because we're all competing for the same thing, right? I want people to listen my show and netflix wants people to watch their stuff and Apple Tv does and Disney does and Youtubers do, and ultimately, that's what we need, that's the commodity we're all after. But as the competition heats up, especially on Youtube, is it becoming harder to grow the audience now?

Has, have you noticed a slowdown? I think maybe the way we talk about growing an audience has changed a little bit. There was definitely the push for subscribers and your subscriber number being your biggest thing at one point. Exactly, that's right. Um, but I think that people are maybe physically hitting the subscribe button a little less than they were five years ago. But eyeballs on videos and the diversity of where we're now getting views from, I think is still growing, which is really great. I think there's no slowdown in what people are willing to watch and where as we keep seeing, there's so many different tv networks and apps popping up every day and there's people watching them, which is a really good sign when you think about the opportunities that people have now to make their own essentially media brands, right? You don't need to go through Canadian broadcasting company, You don't have to go to the CBc, you don't have to go to NBC in the U. S. You don't have to go through that. You can do it yourself, right? It's it's pretty remarkable that in theory, anybody could build something with a big audience if they do it well enough.

And get lucky in your view, are traditional media outlets. Less important for people who want to build an audience and want to build a brand. I don't think they're kind of the be all end all gatekeepers that maybe they once were because people can definitely make a name and career for themselves totally on their own. I mean, we did it, but I will say they still do hold a certain weight. It's funny we, after a few years of doing our Youtube channel had a mass like millions of views, which is huge. Right? And we find ourselves on a local morning show that's on quote, unquote traditional tv. And all of a sudden people are like, wow, you're really doing it. I saw you on tv this morning, that's amazing. You're like, wait, we have 300 million Youtube views and you're telling me I'm on local tv and all of a sudden it's a big deal. Exactly, Exactly. So there is still some importance there.

I would say. I also think that for us what is interesting is that it offers a new audience. I don't think you necessarily even want to start on traditional television because, you know, we've reached a point where we've had a few television contracts put in front of us and we have to turn them away just because they're so restricting and it's not viable for us to do anything in traditional media when we already have something that we've built that is so strong. So for us at this point we're seeing it as a nice addition to grow our channel and even just try something new because you know, we love to try new things, but it's not something we necessarily need to do or have to do. Yeah. So if you're looking out in 10 years time and you're thinking about how to evolve the business, what do you see it becoming? Well, I think our, our current pillars right now definitely lie within education and design and I think as long as that remains a passion of ours, that's likely where things will go in the future. Maybe it's building out education to have course offerings or I don't know, a book maybe. Um, and then design definitely just wherever the design space is going, I think we'll be there trying to offer eco alternatives, um, budget friendly alternatives just because that is a going passion of ours. But I think like I said before, it's so hard to anticipate what the future could look like for someone that has a career in online entertainment. Yeah. And we definitely have to walk that fine balance of, we've gotten to where we are by just a little bit flying by the seat of our pants.

We've, you know, yes, we've really worked really hard. We've rented office spaces, we've worked with big companies, we've hired a team, but also we haven't ever been like, this is our business model for the next five years. So I think this is the first time that we're starting to figure out what that could be in the near future. Mostly just because we want to set ourselves up for success when in the past maybe the stakes were a little bit lower, we were younger and as we're getting older we're like, okay, you know, this is clearly our path. So we need to make sure this will work for us in the next five or 10 or 20 years. And I think it's really building up things outside of just video content creation or at least video content creation with maybe our faces in it because right now the company keeps chugging because Becky and I show up and film videos and it'd be amazing to reach a point where, you know, maybe there's properties that were purchasing or designing or like Becky said books courses. I think that the options are kind of endless. But one of our goals is to figure out what we can build that won't rely on our faces showing up to the office at nine a.m. That's the thing because you are both the business, but you're also the brand. And so I guess the question you have to ask yourselves is how do we decouple ourselves in the brand, How do we keep this brand and business growing without us as the face of it, definitely. That's a big question mark that we're always working on and I think that's why it's important to create things, whether you know, it's a video or some other kind of product content idea, it needs to be something people find valuable and actually want, because you know, if our faces maybe aren't attached to it, will it succeed, Kelsey Becky! Thank you so much.

Thank you so much. This was fun. Thanks for having us. Hey, thanks so much for listening to how I built this lab. Please do follow us on your podcast app. So you always have the latest episode downloaded if you want to follow us on twitter. Our account is at how I built this and mine is at Guy raz and on instagram, I'm at Guy dot roz, if you want to contact the team, our email address is H I B T at I D dot wondering dot com. This episode was produced by Carlos estevez with editing by john Isabella. Our music was composed by Rammstein, Arab louis. Our audio engineer was brian Jarboe. Our production team and how I built this includes Alex chung chris Mancini Elaine coats, J C Howard Liz Metzger, josh lash Sam Paulson Catherine cipher and Carrie Thompson neva. Grant is our supervising editor, Beth Donovan is our executive producer, I'm Guy raz and you've been listening to how I built this hey everyone.

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