Now worth an estimated $104 billion, the creator economy has flourished in recent years. Of the world’s 50 million self-proclaimed creators, an impressive 41% are now making an annual living wage of at least $69,000. A handful of them have capitalized on their content and influence to raise brands valued at over $1 billion.
When Huda Kattan first started Huda Beauty, it was a blog where she shared her passion for all things makeup and beauty. Over time, she built a community that now tunes in religiously to hear her thoughts on the latest trends or products. This began with her recognition of the power she wielded—a passion, an audience and an opportunity. Along with her two sisters, she created her own brand and launched her first product, a pair of false lashes. She followed that with multiple beauty products. With over 250 employees working around the world and expansions into the fragrance and skin care market, Huda’s brand is now valued at $1.25 billion.
At 19, Emma Chamberlain, a YouTube star with over 12 million followers, leveraged her love for coffee and founded Chamberlain Coffee. While there were plenty of learning curves involved in the process, her global brand now boasts merchandise that is regularly sold out owing to fan frenzy. The rapidly growing brand was even relaunched in 2020 with a new look and a new collaboration with Blazer Capital.
In both the cases of Huda and Emma, we see creators who, recognizing the opportunity to take more personal ownership of their content, successfully took the leap and launched their own brands.
There may be questions racing through your mind. Can I really make my own brand? What if I fail? I already have it good; why risk what’s already working? And I understand. These are the questions you should be asking. But when you recognize an opportunity in your passions, you should take it. And there are many benefits to launching your own brand:
You can retain control
From conceptualization to ideation and messaging, when you create your own brand, you retain control and determine the path forward.
You can foster a unique trust with your audience
When an audience trusts you, they are more likely to trust a brand founded by you than the one you simply endorse.
You can own equity in your work
The creation of your own brand can minimize your chance of running into risk and financial burden. Rather than cutting into your marketing budget due to restraints such as those that arose during the pandemic, you can reduce this dependency when your interests are safeguarded.
So, how do you go about launching your own brand as a creator? Here are three keys for success:
Capitalize on the story of your brand
Many creators mistakenly assume that their sales will be directly proportional to the number of likes or followers. But fame itself isn’t necessarily an influence, especially when it comes to selling products or launching a brand. Your audience might enjoy your content, but for them to resonate with your brand and engage in a transaction, they need to feel like a part of your story. They need to know why you created this brand, why it is important to you and why you are the best person to launch this product or service. Whether it’s a cause you believe in or a product you think will serve a community—your audience needs to understand your narrative. Once you establish the importance of “why,” you also need to leverage the power of the “how.” The more your audience feels they’re a part of your journey, the more likely they are to resonate with your brand, spread the word and provide you with valuable insights.
Understand the bigger mission
Your brand is bigger than just your followers. To build a brand that can scale worldwide and have nine- or 10- figure valuations (and potentially be sold), you need to create a brand that serves an audience beyond your follower base. While your audience can provide a great jump-start to create traction, you also should be careful not to make your brand 100% dependent on your social presence. You want the people who know you to recognize your brand but also create a feasible stand-alone brand holding appeal for those who don’t. You may also consider collaborating with other creators and influencers to expand your reach.
One more pro tip: Make sure to leverage the advantages of a customer list. By building an email and phone number list for your brand, you can turn your followers into leads and potential customers. This can help you engage, share content and turn leads into customers. You may, for example, consider offering your audience a chance to join a text club with weekly exclusive content around your brand, which can expand your engagement beyond social networks alone.
Get the right team
Setting up your brand and positioning it for success is no easy feat. There are many moving parts, so unless you’re a metahuman, you aren’t going to want to do it alone. Customer support, sourcing, fulfillment, finance and marketing are a few key roles you will need to fill in your journey. Whether or not you have any experience in these areas, there are benefits to employing a team while maintaining the creator and visionary seat yourself. The more you keep your creative energy focused on creating content that resonates with your audience, the more likely your brand will succeed. All other aspects of brand building can be hired out individually or by collaborating with an e-commerce brand building company that can streamline the entire operation.
Taking The Leap
As an influencer, why should you set up your own consumer brand? Because you’re already halfway there. Influencers find themselves in a unique position most prominent brands dream of—with an audience that already trusts them. The question you really should be asking yourself is: Why not?
As featured on, Forbes.