I do not want to be a YouTuber, which is saying a lot for the kind of kid I was. Allow me to briefly explain: I loved taking videos of basically whatever; I have one from just filming a SpongeBob episode because I was paranoid they’d cancel SpongeBob, and I wanted to be left with this one episode for reasons I’m not aware of.
The point is that I’m into documenting things and being creative, so YouTube might seem like a natural path. It’s not, mostly because I don’t want to share my creativity with too many people.
(But Reed, you write for Grrlpunch.)
This is different; you can’t see my face. I didn’t share that SpongeBob video with the world (it helps that it’s also copyright). But for some people, publishing all they’ve done with their face on the front is a perfect way to get their creativity across. It’s also, in some cases, the tip of the iceberg.
Devon Lee Carlson has a YouTube channel, but she was also only seventeen when she and her family developed Wildflower Cases, a business that started out as a few rhinestone phone cases and has expanded into hoodies, denim, pins, and crazy collaborations with entities like The Neighbourhood. The business started from Devon’s mother Michelle trying to create unique cases for Devon and her sister, Sydney. Friends at school liked them, and they sold a few here and there.
Of course, it helps to live in Los Angeles. Devon, her sister, and their mother all ran into Miley Cyrus while out for food, Miley liked Devon’s case, and the star advised them to get a website up ASAP. Miley tweeted some stuff, and with publicity like that, the business shot into existence and has remained a worldwide phenomenon since. They continue to expand their markets in to places like Australia and Singapore, and they’ve claimed partnerships with big brands like ASOS and Anthropologie.
The company still keeps its humble beginnings in sight; it’s still completely female-owned, and everything is handcrafted in limited edition, with new designs popping up every month. Devon has, of course, moved out since the company’s start, but she remains a staple in the Carlson household by visiting frequently, as documented on her vlog-style YouTube channel. The entire family tries to attend all events Wildflower is invited to, and the company is often never marketed with just one of the women as its face.
I’m a very family-oriented person. I will definitely admit that I watch YouTube (I don’t know if I need to be ashamed of that or what), so I can vouch for the fact that a lot of people that desire YouTube fame find it in LA, and this requires leaving their families. Devon Lee Carlson, despite her fame with both the family business and her own modelling pursuits, keeps her family close; this is one reason I feel that I can connect to her, even though obviously I’ve had none of the experiences she has had.
However, I’m able to bring these values of hers into my own life; I’m going to college soon, and I am a baby. I need my family, but by following Devon, I’m able to see that success can come from physically branching away from the family unit, as long as you keep the same connection with them emotionally.
Also, Devon’s personality is freaking adorable. So.