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A 15-year-old 'slime' influencer made $1,000 in sales in a week after TikTok star Addison Rae reviewed his homemade products and it shows the app's e-commerce potential

Ricky Waite
  • Slime accounts on social media, in which users post videos of themselves playing with the squishy and stretchable compound, have gained the attention of millions of internet users. 
  • And slimes and other arts and crafts products have seen a bump in engagement on social media in recent months as at-home consumers look for new sources of entertainment while sheltered in place.
  • Slime creator Ricky Waite said his TikTok profile blew up after popular influencer Addison Easterling reviewed one of his slimes earlier this month, driving over $1,000 in slime sales on his Etsy shop and adding 40,000 followers to his TikTok slime account in a day.
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Ricky Waite is a self-described "slimer."
The 15-year-old posts videos of slime on social-media apps like TikTok and Instagram (where he has over 200,000 followers) and sells his own brand of slimes — made from ingredients like pva glue, borax, and fragrance oils — on Etsy.
"To balance school and slime is pretty difficult because I've posted every single day on my Instagram account for I think two years," the high school sophomore told Business Insider. "I'm staying up sometimes until 1 a.m. doing my homework, but I still have to find time throughout my day to sneak a little bit of slime time."
Slime accounts, in which social-media users post videos of themselves playing with the tactile toy, have been trending on platforms like Instagram and YouTube for years.
"Slime" is one of the most popular keywords used by YouTube creators to draw in audiences from video searches, and "#slime" has appeared in over 5 billion videos on TikTok. One of the category's top creators, YouTuber Karina Garcia, has over 9 million subscribers on her slime channel. She sells her own line of slimes at stores like Target, Walmart, and CVS, and says she's earning millions each year from ad revenue, product sales, and other income streams like events.
Compared to Garcia's slime empire, Waite's Etsy shop is an upstart, with just a few hundred sales to-date. But the young creator remains committed to growing his profile in the internet slime community, attending slime conventions and even coordinating his own in Sonoma County, California. (He told Business Insider that he hopes his slime business will be a differentiator on his college applications in a few years.)
And Waite recently achieved TikTok fame after one of the app's most popular creators, Addison Easterling (with more than 41 million followers), posted a video reviewing his slimes.
"I think I had like 20 followers that day, and it just quickly went right up to 40,000," Waite said. Easterling's post also drove over $1,000 in slime sales on Waite's Etsy store, according to revenue numbers reviewed by Business Insider.
"When Addison gave me the shoutout, I was planning on doing a product restock online," Waite said. "Once she posted it, everyone was asking, 'Oh my gosh, can I buy your slimes?" I restocked on Friday and I sold out in about 24 hours."
Waite isn't alone in using TikTok as a marketing tool to draw in potential customers to an Etsy storefront. Painters, book binders, and sculptors have been using videos, livestreams, and the app's comments section to connect with customers and drive sales on digital marketplaces like Etsy.
And TikTok has recently been testing e-commerce features for a subset of its top influencers, including a "shop now" button. The company's ability to support the e-commerce needs of its creators will be important for keeping them engaged with its app moving forward as competitors like Facebook introduce new products to make social posts more shoppable.

How a 15-year-old's homemade slimes ended up in a video post by one of TikTok's biggest stars

Brands would typically pay top dollar to have an influencer like Addison Easterling post a video about their product to her followers.
For Waite, getting his DIY slime brand into Easterling's video was as simple as sending her a direct message on Instagram (the merchandise company Fanjoy used the same approach to connect with Easterling about launching her custom clothing line).
"She posted a video with her little brother Lucas and they were playing with some homemade slime that they made," Waite said. "Right after I saw that, I ran to Instagram and I quickly sent her a DM just saying, 'Hey I'm Ricky, I own a slime account on Instagram and I sell slime. I'd love to send you slime.'"
Waite said he also sent an email to her management team, but Easterling responded directly to his DM within minutes thanking him for the offer and including an address where he could send the slimes. She posted a video with her brother reviewing Waite's slimes on May 2, but didn't mention the "rlslimes" brand by name.
"She didn't tag me in the video, but she still posted my slimes and she did a live video where she was playing with them," he said. "No one knew that they were my slimes, but I was still obviously very excited because she's one of the biggest names in all of TikTok."
Waite then sent her another "thank you" package of slimes, including a custom 32-ounce slime inspired by Easterling's own "pouty face" branding. He added a card that included his social media and Etsy handles, which Easterling referenced and tagged in a new video on May 7. Waite didn't compensate Easterling for her posts beyond gifting slime products for free.
"Addison is definitely the all-time biggest person who has ever reviewed or even talked about my slimes," Waite said.
The popularity of Easterling's multiple slime reviews had a ripple effect across the entire TikTok slime community.
"When Addison posted her video quite recently, it was amazing to me," said Jordan Cowie, a 16-year-old TikTok slime creator with over 200,000 followers on the app. "It was one of the best things on TikTok because here was an extremely popular creator and she and Lucas were having so much fun with slime."
"TikTok can be a powerful support for your business," said Cowie, who also operates a slime shop on Etsy called Limery Slimery. Cowie said joining TikTok last year helped her dramatically boost the number of orders she gets on her Etsy store.
"My sales started increasing," she said. "I had 40 orders in the span of a week, which for me was unheard of. It has allowed me to expand my business so much. I just bought an extremely expensive industrial grade mixer."

Slime — and other putty-like products — are having a moment on social media as at-home consumers shelter in place

While Waite's slime account took off on TikTok after Easterling's product review generated 20 million video views and over 3 million likes, other DIY slimers like Cowie and more traditional toy companies in the reusable compound category have also seen their audiences grow on TikTok in recent months as at-home consumers become more interested in DIY and arts and crafts.
"This category is really on trend right now for a lot of reasons," said Lori Mannion, senior director of brand marketing at Educational Insights, which sells a squishy and moldable slime competitor called Playfoam. "For us we see a unique opportunity — and increase in demand — to give parents things to keep their kids busy at home right now."
In April, Educational Insights spent $10,000 to hire 10 TikTok creators (including Easterling's TikTok-famous mother Sheri Easterling) for a Playfoam influencer marketing campaign. The company said its influencer campaign drove over 10 million views, increased searches for its product on Google and its Amazon storefront, and drew new fans over to its TikTok brand account. 
"We're really in our infancy with TikTok," Mannion said. "We target moms, and we started to see more and more moms start to migrate onto the platform. Maybe it's even amplified due to parents staying at home right now and spending more time with their kids, collaborating with them more on social platforms. We thought it was time to go even bigger this year."
For more information on how creators and companies are using TikTok to grow their businesses, read these other Business Insider Prime stories:
  • How artists are using TikTok to drive thousands of dollars in sales and find new customers: With more than 2 billion downloads globally, TikTok has become a viable sales tool for artists looking to promote their art on the e-commerce platform Etsy.
  • A teeth-whitening brand studied TikTok's algorithm to decide which influencers to hire and ended up gaining 100,000 followers in a week: A teeth-whitening brand studied TikTok's algorithm to decide which influencers to hire and ended up gaining 100,000 followers in a week.
  • Inside YouTube star Brent Rivera's content company, which created a superhero for TikTok and wants to become the next Disney Channel: Amp Studios is a talent incubator and content group founded by 22-year-old YouTuber, Brent Rivera, and his manager and business partner, Max Levine.
  • A Sony Music exec explains the label's TikTok strategy and how it responds when a song like 'Break My Stride' catches fire: Business Insider spoke to the marketing team at Sony Music's Legacy Recordings to learn about its strategy for promoting trending songs on TikTok.
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* This article was originally published here

https://www.businessinsider.com/tiktok-slime-influencer-makes-thousand-dollar-sales-addison-rae-review-2020-5
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