With a glue gun in one hand and a DSLR in the other, DIY YouTuber, Lauren Riihimaki, has mastered the craft of the camera. After longing for months for a creative outlet to showcase her originality, Lauren stumbled upon the diverse, yet entirely exclusive, world of YouTube. Inching closer to 200,000 subscribers, she finds the platform of self-networking ‘vlogging’ to be very rewarding; especially when personally interacting with viewers and working collectively with fashion retailers. I caught up with Lauren to speak with her on the direction of YouTube, how she made her channel distinctively unique, and advice for those looking to take full advantage of this progressively growing medium.
Style Nine to Five: What influenced your choice in selecting YouTube as a platform versus another form of traditional blogging?
Lauren Riihimaki: I used to spend hours browsing similar lifestyle/DIY blogs, looking at tutorials for various projects or recipes. And although I very much enjoyed those blogs and tutorials, I would sometimes leave with questions about missing information or steps in the tutorial. Your typical DIY tutorial will feature a series of images that show the key steps to completion of the project, but sometimes I just left feeling like I needed more. So when D&I was in the early stages and my primary method of sharing projects was the use of photo tutorials, I tried my best to fill all the gaps and answer all the possible questions. Fast forward to a random night spent browsing YouTube for a hair tutorial, it dawned on me that there’s no better way to demonstrate the process of something, whether it be a cooking recipe, friendship bracelet or makeup tutorial, than a live demonstration. So from then on, tutorials went live to ensure the entire process of the project left the viewer with a full understanding.
SNTF: Tell us the story behind LaurDIY.
LR: In my first year of University I realized that my program didn’t quite satisfy my constant need for creativity in my life, and that I needed some sort of outlet to express myself. So it was then, in the depths of my University residence room, that my blog was created. The idea of using YouTube as a platform to give a more in-depth tutorial for the DIYs I was producing, came a few months later along with my online personality as “LaurDIY”. As I got further engrossed into the YouTube world, I realized that there was so much opportunity for sharing all the ideas and tutorials that I had been compiling. I’ve spent hours glue-gunning, glittering, nailing and creating, and I’ve loved every minute of it. Needless to say, my craving for creativity has been more than satisfied. And to be completely honest, I have no idea where the name “LaurDIY” came from! I knew the direction I wanted to take my channel was mainly going to be along the lines of do-it-yourself projects, so I guess I just tacked that onto the end of my nickname… and voila! “LaurDIY” was released into the world of YouTube.
SNTF: Describe how being a YouTube guru has helped develop your style even more so.
LR: Before YouTube, lookbook.nu was my go-to website for style inspiration. I would spend hours browsing all the photos, occasionally saving a picture or two for future reference. Enter YouTube, and you’re being introduced to YouTubers who dedicate their whole channel to showing you how to style specific pieces, outfit ideas for different events, and shopping hauls showing their audience what they’ve picked out. Although I would be classified as a “DIY YouTuber”, I also love to do styling and haul videos, showcasing my personal style. Putting together a lookbook is tedious but also fun in a challenging way (and typically results in a mass destruction of my closet). The video may only be a total of 3 minute, but behind those 3 minutes is a whole day or two of challenging yourself to find the most unique, suitable and “you” outfits.
SNTF: What are some fashion brands that are consistent in your hauls/favourites, month-to-month?
LR: As the world of online shopping grows, so does my love for the convenience of shopping from my bed. I’ve definitely been introduced to some amazing online stores that offer unique inventories that you wouldn’t be able to find at your local mall. Some of my current favs that may have popped up in haul videos consist of SheInside.com, Missguidedus.com, Romwe.com, Runwaybandits.com and Chicwish.com. It’s crazy what you can find online for killer prices! In terms of favourites videos, I earned myself a big fat “F” for fail, when it comes to consistently posting “favourites” videos, but if I were to post an “August Favourites” video right now, I would be mentioning Brandy Melville (an all-time personal favourite), Urban Outfitters and Forever 21 (I’m pretty original – I know..).
SNTF: What’s the secret to usable, flawless footage? Camera, equipment, etc.
LR: Usable, flawless footage is an element to filming that all of us YouTuber are constantly working to improve. But some basic tips for great footage are using an HD camera with a flip out screen (I absolutely love the Canon T3i and the flip out screen is totally necessary for ensuring the set up is prime), filming either in front of a window using natural light or purchasing studio lights, and being natural in front of the camera! That last one takes some time to truly achieve, but there’s nothing worse than editing a clip that sounds like it’s coming from a nervous robot. Having a back drop that’s aesthetically pleasing and interesting but not too attention-grabbing is also something to think about.
SNTF: What is your advice to those looking to start up their own channel, or to whom already have one, regarding strategies to differentiate themselves from the mass of YouTubers’?
LR: For those looking to start a channel, I definitely encourage it! YouTube is an amazing online community that can be enjoyed as a laid-back hobby or can offer the potential to become a life-changing career. There is a set of basic guidelines for creating a successful channel, but it’s important to remember that success isn’t guaranteed… especially overnight! A lot of new YouTubers get discouraged easily at the slow growth of their channel, but you should be making videos because it’s something you enjoy, not because of the number of subscribers you have. In terms of differentiating yourself from the crowds of girls who are trying to break into the “YouTube Guru Era”, my best advice is to be yourself! I subscribe to a lot of girls because of their personality and the way they carry themselves on camera. They’re confident, quirky and have a clear understanding of who they are, and it shows! YouTube is really unique in the sense that you start connecting with the gurus that share their personal life, experiences, and style and daily life routines! So be yourself, because viewers want to connect and relate with you.
SNTF: Why do you feel more blogging is done by video streaming at an increasing rate?
LR: Blogging is effective, and always will be, but vlogging offers many new elements of interactivity between the content creator and viewer. Not only do you get a live replay of the event being documented, but the audience has the opportunity to observe how the creator commentates and reacts to the action happening around them. Vlogging is making the content personal, so when you put a face, voice and personality to the activities being presented on whichever platform used ie. YouTube, WordPress, Blogspot etc., the viewer can connect with you and will continue to build a relationship with your online personality as you continue to document things. It’s an odd feeling, but you somehow manage to almost get “attached” to the personalities that fill your computer screen on a weekly basis.
SNTF: Where do you hope YouTube takes you in the future?
LR: To be completely honest, I would love to be a YouTuber full time. I’ve never had a job that is so exhilarating, rewarding and all around amazing. For those of you who have only experienced YouTube as a viewer opposed to a content creator, a lot of time and effort go into producing the videos that may only result in a 3 minute lookbook or DIY tutorial (I swear!). But as of today, just over a year into my YouTube channel, I’ve had some incredible opportunities to work with brands and publications across the world, so I can’t imagine the possibilities to come!
By: Jenn McNaughton, Toronto, @jennmcnaughton
Are you an employer? Post your job here.
Are you a job seeker? Find fashion jobs here.