• 9 Creator-Lead Brands And What Made Them Successful

    9 Creator-Lead Brands And What Made Them Successful

    In the last few years, many creator-lead brands have made the headlines by explosively carving a niche for themselves in otherwise packed areas. Content creators often bring unique views and approaches to the topic they cover, and that often leads to them being able to understand the necessities of their followers and entire sectors better than established brands.

    With many of these brands becoming wildly successful, it is to be expected to see more and more appearing in the future. However, by looking at the ones who made it so far we can extrapolate some of the characteristics that are necessary to these brands to make it.

    Nelk Boys – Happy Dad

    The Nelk Boys, are a group of Canadian-American YouTubers. They rose to fame in 2015 with outrageous prank videos and vlogs. Founded by Kyle Forgeard and Jesse Sebastiani in 2010, the group later expanded to include members like Steve Deleonardis, and Salim Sirur.

    They are known for their high-energy, controversial stunts, and often pushing the boundaries of legality, the Nelk Boys quickly amassed a large, dedicated following. Their content, characterized by a mix of humor, daring antics, and raw, unfiltered footage, resonated particularly well with a young, male demographic.

    In 2021, the Nelk Boys leveraged their massive online presence to launch Happy Dad, a hard seltzer brand.

    Happy Dad was an immediate success and reached the top 5 most sold seltzers in 2022. The success can be attributed to several factors: the strong, loyal fanbase of the Nelk Boys, strategic marketing that included limited edition releases and collaborations, and the growing popularity of hard seltzers in North America.

    The brand’s emphasis on a smoother, less carbonated drink set it apart in the crowded market, leading to rapid sellouts and widespread demand. Happy Dad not only solidified the Nelk Boys’ status as influential entrepreneurs but also demonstrated their ability to pivot from content creation to building a successful consumer brand.

    Logan Paul & KSI – Prime

    Logan Paul began his career on Vine, a short-form video platform, where he amassed millions of followers with his comedic and often outrageous content. After Vine shut down, he transitioned to YouTube, continuing to produce a mix of vlogs, comedy sketches, and challenges. His high-energy personality and ability to create viral content quickly made him one of the platform’s top creators. Despite facing significant controversies, including a widely criticized video in Japan’s Aokigahara Forest, Logan managed to bounce back by diversifying his career into acting, boxing, and podcasting with his show “Impaulsive.”

    KSI, a British content creator, started his online career with gaming videos, particularly focusing on the FIFA video game series. His charismatic personality and humor helped him build a substantial following. Over time, KSI expanded his content to include music, comedy, and vlogs. Like Logan, KSI also ventured into boxing, participating in high-profile matches that garnered massive attention.

    In 2022, Logan Paul and KSI partnered to launch Prime, a line of hydration drinks.

    Thanks to their over 40 million followers combined Prime was an immediate hit not making it in time to the shelf before it went out of stock again.

    Both influencers have been heavily involved in promoting it in the past two years keeping Prime in the minds of fans even when the product was not immediately available to them.

    In 2023 the drink surpassed $1.2 Billion in revenue demonstrating how it had carved a consistent niche in the sports drinks market.

    MrBeast – Feastables

    MrBeast, whose real name is Jimmy Donaldson, is the most subscribed YouTuber, with almost 300 million people following his main channel. He is known for his elaborate stunts, philanthropy, and high-budget challenges.

    In 2012 at the age of 13, MrBeast began uploading to YouTube initially posting gameplay videos and reaction content. His rise to fame started in 2017 when he gained significant attention for his “Counting to 100,000” video.

    MrBeast content mixes challenges, philanthropic endeavors, and stunts with large sums of money as prizes.

    In January 2022, MrBeast launched Feastables, a snack brand tightly connected with his YouTube brand and cast of characters. Leveraging his YouTube channel, social media presence, and collaboration with influencers, MrBeast created significant buzz around the launch of Feastables.

    The launch included engaging promotional campaigns, such as Golden Ticket Sweepstakes, that kept his audience focused on the products and looking forward to trying them. In the first few months Feastables was reported to have brought in $10 million in revenue and the second year of the company, with an expanded product offering is projected to reach an evaluation of over $200 million.

    Feastables’ immediate popularity and strong sales performance highlight MrBeast’s ability to effectively translate his online influence into successful business ventures.

    Kim Kardashian – Skims

    The poster child of influencers, Kim Kardashian rose to notoriety in the early 2000s and never left it. A cultural phenomenon with over 300 million Instagram followers, multiple successful brands to her name, and a reality show centered on her family that spans almost 20 years makes Kim not need to be introduced.

    In September 2019 Kim launched a new line of shapewear called Skims. While being only available as direct to customers through their website the entire stock was sold out in 10 minutes from the launch.

    By creating a shapewear brand that is inclusive of different body types, sizes, and skin tones Kim Kardashian was able to translate her business idea into an immediate and sustained success. In 2023 Skims was evaluated at $4 billion.

    Thanks to an extensive influencer marketing promotion that saw many celebrities like Paris Hilton, Megan Fox, Kate Moss, Lana Del Rey, Ice Spice, Neymar, and Snoop Dog among many others promote Skims clothing the brand caught a strong support out of direct Kim’s fans.

    Jacksepticeye – Top of The Morning Coffee

    Seán William McLoughlin AKA Jacksepticeye, is an Irish YouTuber and internet personality known for his energetic and humorous Let’s Play videos. He began his YouTube career in 2012, his breakthrough came when fellow YouTuber PewDiePie mentioned him in a video, leading to a significant boost in subscribers.

    As of now, he is one of the most followed gamers on YouTube with over 30 million followers. His Irish accent and enthusiastic personality make him easily recognizable and unforgettable.

    In 2018, Jacksepticeye ventured into the business world by launching his own coffee brand, Top of The Mornin Coffee, named after his most famous catchphrase “Top of the morning to ya, laddies!”.

    Top of The Mornin Coffee quickly became a success, thanks to Jacksepticeye’s effective branding and the loyal support of his fans.

    The brand’s success was further fueled by its commitment to giving back, with a portion of the profits donated to various charitable causes. By aligning the product with his personal values and the interests of his audience, JackSepticEye was able to establish Top of The Mornin Coffee as a popular and socially conscious brand in the competitive coffee market.

    The Sideman – XIX

    The Sidemen are a British YouTube group consisting of seven members: Simon Minter (Miniminter), Joshua Bradley (Zerkaa), Tobi Brown (TBJZL), Ethan Payne (Behzinga), Harry Lewis (W2S), JJ Olatunji (KSI), and Vikram Barn (Vikkstar123).

    They formed in 2013 and quickly gained popularity through their collaborative gaming videos, challenges, and vlogs. Their content, characterized by humor, camaraderie, and relatable personalities, resonated with a young audience, leading to exponential growth in subscribers and views.

    In 2023, to celebrate their 10th anniversary, the Sideman launched their own vodka brand called XIX. While not the first entrepreneurial venture from the group this was different.

    Often YouTubers and Influencers are accused of selling to kids but launching an alcoholic beverage brand would have cut off the main source of sustainment for entertainer-led brands. But it turns out not to be the case with the product landing major distribution deals and expanding to 4 flavors in less than a year.

    Charli and Dixie D’AmelioSocial Tourist

    Charli and Dixie D’Amelio are two of the most prominent figures on TikTok.

    Charli, the younger of the two, catapulted to fame in 2019 with her dance videos on TikTok, quickly amassing millions of followers due to her engaging content and relatable personality. Her rise was meteoric, making her the most-followed person on the platform in a short span of time. She is currently sitting at over 155 million followers.

    Dixie, inspired by her sister’s success, also began creating content and soon built a significant following, branching out into music and other entertainment ventures.

    The sisters’ authenticity, combined with their engaging content, helped them build a loyal fanbase. They leveraged their social media success to venture into various other opportunities, including brand partnerships, music, and acting.

    In 2021, Charlie and Dixie D’Amelio, in collaboration with Hollister Co., launched their own clothing brand called Social Tourist. This brand reflects the D’Amelio sisters’ personal styles and aims to provide trendy and affordable fashion to their young, fashion-forward audience. Social Tourist includes a variety of apparel, from casual wear to more fashion-forward pieces, catering to the preferences of Gen Z consumers.

    Social Tourist quickly became a success, thanks to the D’Amelio sisters’ massive social media following and their strong engagement with fans. The brand’s launch was highly anticipated and well-received, with many items selling out shortly after release. It is a perfect example of how influencer-driven brands can achieve remarkable success by leveraging a strong social media presence, strategic partnerships, and a deep understanding of their target market.

    BuffBunny – BuffBunny Collection

    Heidi Somers, known by her online moniker Buffbunny, is a fitness influencer who rose to fame by sharing her journey to health on social media platforms.

    Starting her fitness journey to combat personal health issues, Heidi documented her transformation through YouTube and Instagram, gaining a substantial following due to her authenticity, engaging personality, and informative content. Her transparency about her struggles, victories, and everyday life resonated with many, allowing her to build a loyal community.

    Over time, she became a respected figure in the fitness community, collaborating with various fitness brands and expanding her influence beyond social media.

    Drawing from her personal experiences and understanding of what women need in fitness apparel, Heidi aimed to create stylish, functional, and comfortable activewear. The Buffbunny Collection debuted with a focus on inclusivity, offering a wide range of sizes and designs that cater to diverse body types and preferences.

    Overall, Buffbunny Collection’s success is a testament to Heidi Somers’ ability to leverage her personal brand, understand her audience, and deliver high-quality products that meet the needs and preferences of her community.

    Michelle Phan – EM Cosmetics

    Michelle Phan is a pioneering beauty influencer and entrepreneur whose rise to fame began with her YouTube channel, which she started in 2007. Phan’s makeup tutorials quickly gained popularity due to her approachable style, creative looks, and professional presentation.

    She became one of the first YouTube personalities to achieve mainstream recognition.

    This success opened doors to numerous opportunities, including brand collaborations, media appearances, and partnerships, at the time not common for social media influencers.

    EM Cosmetics was launched in 2013. Initially a partnership between Michelle and L’Oréal, the brand aimed to provide high-quality, innovative beauty products that resonated with Phan’s audience.

    In 2015, Phan took full ownership of the brand and relaunched it. The revamped collection focused on delivering meticulously crafted products with a blend of innovative formulas and elegant packaging.

    The relaunch was a significant success, thanks to Phan’s deep understanding of her audience’s needs and preferences, as well as her ability to leverage her strong social media presence for marketing.

    EM Cosmetics quickly gained a loyal following, with products often selling out shortly after release. The brand’s success is attributed to its emphasis on quality, Phan’s authentic connection with her audience, and the seamless integration of her personal brand with the products. EM Cosmetics not only strengthened Phan’s position as a beauty entrepreneur but also set a new standard for influencer-led brands in the industry.


    The success of these creator-led brands highlights several key factors that contribute to turning online influence into thriving business ventures. First and foremost, a strong and loyal fanbase forms the foundation for many, if not all, of these successes. Influencers like the Nelk Boys, Logan Paul, KSI, MrBeast, and the D’Amelio sisters have cultivated extremely large, dedicated followings that are eager to support their ventures, ensuring a robust initial customer base.

    Effective use of social media for marketing is another critical element. These creators have mastered the art of engaging their audiences through various platforms, utilizing their substantial reach to create buzz around their products. Strategic promotional campaigns, such as MrBeast’s Golden Ticket Sweepstakes and Kim Kardashian’s influencer collaborations, keep their brands in the spotlight and drive consumer interest and sales.

    Furthermore, an authentic connection between the creators and their products is crucial. Brands like BuffBunny Collection and Top of The Mornin Coffee succeed because their founders, Heidi Somers and JackSepticEye, respectively, have infused their personal values and experiences into their businesses. This authenticity resonates with their audiences, fostering trust and loyalty.

    Additionally, many of these brands differentiate themselves in crowded markets by offering unique value propositions. Happy Dad’s smoother, less carbonated seltzer and Feastables’ engaging promotional tactics set them apart from competitors, creating distinct identities that attract consumers.