LaurDIY: The Millennial Martha Stewart
Lauren Riihimaki, better known as LaurDIY, is a world-renowned content creator and YouTube sensation with over 15 million followers across all her social media platforms. A lifestyle vlogger, Lauren’s specialty is DIY crafting—everything from fashion to decor.
She’s more than just another YouTuber, though. With her clean-cut image, young fan base, and her ability to move product; she’s an advertisers dream. In 2017 she launched her own merch, collaborated with brands, like Fanta and MUDD Jeans, and licensed her brand to companies like PopSockets.
Tom Ward: Were you always crafty as a kid?
LaurDIY: Yeah, super crafty. I was an only child growing up, so I think that was some of it. When friends were busy, family wanted me to have quiet time, so they’d stick me at the kitchen table with a bunch of paint and watercolors and paper.
Ward: Who did you look up to? Martha Stewart? Who did you watch on TLC?
LaurDIY: I actually didn’t watch a lot of TLC. I wasn’t really a TV kid. I think I was the generation, like before Martha Stewart. I kind of missed that demographic. Growing up, Lauren Conrad was a huge inspiration for me. She was on The Hills and stuff. And she really transitioned herself well into that women’s lifestyle category. I feel that it’s Martha Stewart, Lauren Conrad, and for the younger demographic, I’m trying to slide in there as LaurDIY.
Ward: When you were starting out you talked about your anxiety a lot. This is almost the perfect career for you, because you don’t have to be surrounded by people. You’re kind of in your room, doing your thing. Did that help you? Like, “This is my safe little world. I can do a million takes, without anyone criticizing me.” Did you feel comfortable immediately?
LaurDIY: No. I don’t think any YouTuber starts off by being like, “I can 100% be myself right now.” When you look at everyone’s first videos; they’re awful. And it’s so awkward. So, when you look at the evolution between your first video and your current video; you can see someone’s personality bloom.
Ward: Your first video, the Ariana Grande hair and makeup tutorial, got hundreds of thousands of views.
LaurDIY: That’s actually not my first video. My first video is privated because it’s so painful. Laughs. But my second video is a DIY t-shirt deconstruction, where I cut a skull into the back of a shirt. And that was my first really good DIY project that I was like, “This has the potential to go viral.” It didn’t. But it did really well.
Ward: And within a year, or so, you had a million subscribers.
LaurDIY: I think it was two years because I remember that I hit one million subscribers while I was in class, and I was getting in so much trouble because my friends and I were watching the countdown and freaking out in class. Laughs.
Ward: You’ve got a very clean-cut image. How thought out is that? You’re not on Instagram in bra and panties; you’re not doing Logan Paul stuff; there’s no LaurDIY controversy. Brands love you. How conscious is that when you’re posting or portraying yourself? How you dress, everything. Is it all thought out?
LaurDIY: Not at all. I’m not involved in any drama. I’m pretty low key and chill. Everything I do in real life, off camera, is pretty parallel with me on camera. Like, I don’t really drink that much. I might go out once a month. It’s pretty easy to be clean-cut and family friendly when it’s my lifestyle.
Ward: You’ve had a monster 2017. You’ve got Fanta. You’ve got MUDD Jeans. You’ve got merch. And your YouTube channel is growing like crazy. What are you most proud of?
LaurDIY: Honestly 2017 was such an incredible year! I think 2017 was the year that licensing really came together for me. One of my first launches was with PopSockets. And that was the highest selling day that PopSockets had ever had, when mine launched. And onesies.
Ward: Who is the market for onesies? I was watching Floribama Shore last night…
LaurDIY: Laughs. Oh my God, you’re watching that? Laughs.
Ward: Yes! Laughs. Guilty pleasure. But they’re all wearing onesies. Are they a thing?
LaurDIY: Yes they’re a thing! Laughs. I put my whole family in them for the holidays. But seriously, it’s a novelty sleepwear item that everyone is down to wear because they’re so comfortable. They took off and now everyone’s wearing a onesie!
Ward: Talk about your MUDD Jeans partnership. That’s an interesting one because I remember that back in the day, MUDD Jeans were the shit for women. And then they went away, and now you’re bringing them back. Why was that an interesting partnership for you?
LaurDIY: MUDD has been really involved with online influencers. This is actually the third campaign that they’ve done with little “MUDD Squads” of online influencers. They’ve got some really cute stuff that they’re bringing back.
Ward: Finally, talk about the Elmer’s Glue sales.
LaurDIY: Oh my God! Someone told me that their sales are up 3000% percent because slime is just so big. And that clear glue or the glitter glue is the base of just about almost every slime.
She is part of the reason that glue is flying off the shelves. The reason that kids are flocking to the stores to buy products to make her latest creation.
LaurDIY is a woman who can command an audience and move product. She can sell jeans, soda, or glue. That is why she’s so valuable to advertisers.
It’s not going to be long until we start seeing LaurDIY products at Target. Maybe I can pick up a onesie, like those guys on Floribama Shore.