Austin-area teen is making a ton of ‘gross’ profit | #socialmedia | #children



The scene: Friday at 7:55 p.m. My alarm sounds. Five minutes until the product drops. I need to be a good dad. Time is of the essence here.

At exactly 8 p.m., I log on to Snoop Slime’s website. I order two slimes, per my 11-year-old daughter and her BFF’s request. If history is any guide, these sell out by 8:03.

Bam! By 8:01, my order is complete, the Apple Pay button on my phone saving me crucial seconds on the clock.

“My customers think that it’s kind of special for them to have this product that’s limited in quantity,” said Snoop Slime owner Jungmin Kang, a Round Rock teen. “I feel like having a restock-style business model really excites my customers because they have this sense of urgency when they want to come into my website and purchase a product since it’s not always in stock.”

Welcome to the bewildering world of slime. And welcome also to the most compelling teen entrepreneur I’ve ever encountered.

Kang, 17 — “Jay” to her millions of online fans — started Snoop Slime in 2017. Like many entrepreneurs, she tried a few earlier business ventures that didn’t work out. She became an early “Minecraft” gamer on the Twitch platform, playing for fan tips when she was 8. Her parents didn’t love that one. She tried recording Lego stop-motion videos on YouTube, but it was too time-consuming to make any money.

But selling slime online? That one stuck, with a big boost from her viral video content on Instagram. It still sticks.

Success began to ooze. Then splat! Kang now runs an online slime juggernaut.

In her first year in business, Kang attracted 1 million followers on Instagram. Snoop Slime moved out of her house into a 875-square-foot office. Her sales volume soon required three employees to manage packaging and fulfillment by mail. She brought in her mother, previously a work-at-home-mom, to help her manage the company’s first employees.

One key to the viral success of Kang’s Instagram videos: the multisensory video experience.

Kang serves up a concoction of close-up pictures and videos on Instagram and TikTok. It’s like looking at your favorite dessert prepared by a master chef. Slime is never edible, but you can almost taste the Caramel Frappuccino, Cookies and Cream Fudge, and Peach Fluff offerings from her web page. When my 11-year-old’s order of Strawberry Cow slime arrived, it smelled great.

The tactile experience of smushing slime — a little bit like kneading dough — is a whole mood. Add in Kang’s rapid-fire voice-overs of her TikTok videos with carefully chosen music, and you have four of your five senses engaged. (Still, don’t eat the slime!)

A year ago, when the pandemic hit, Kang noticed the rising importance of the short-video social media site TikTok, especially among her core demographic: teens. She shifted to creating videos for TikTok. Her work quickly went viral. By July, she had 1 million followers on TikTok and moved into her new 1,500-square-foot office space to keep up with orders.

When I spoke to Kang in March, she was already planning another move — by necessity — into a 5,000-square-foot space for her 10 employees. Nearly 2 million followers on Instagram and 2 million on TikTok are driving a surge of weekly slime sales.

The multisensory videos continue. Kang recently produced a TikTok series called “Day in the Life of a Teen Entrepreneur,” with 60-second rapid-fire insights into running her growing slime business.

Meanwhile, Snoop Slime can barely keep up with demand. Her product restocks online on Fridays at 8 p.m. The coolest new slimes typically sell out by 8:03 p.m. The less popular slimes take a few hours to sell out.

I really can’t really get over the following business stats. I encourage you to do some simple multiplication, if you want to know how much money Kang’s business is making just four years in.

Since late last year, she reports selling an average of 20,000 slimes per month, at an average price of $15. The profit margin per unit is around 50 percent. I’ll give you a moment to plug those numbers into your calculator. So, yeah, this 17-year-old has a business that most entrepreneurs can only dream about.

On the one hand, Kang’s story shares some elements typical of other successful business owners. She tried a few things that initially didn’t work. She pivoted during the pandemic to a new platform to reach customers. She struggles to keep pace with the exponential growth in sales, office space, employees and revenues.

But a lot of her story is unusual.

Obviously, there’s the anomaly of her age. She juggles schoolwork as a high school junior. She’s first trumpet in the school band.

Also, this kind of business would have been impossible just five or 10 years ago. What’s new and shocking, to us oldsters, is that she’s a pioneer in the emerging “influencer economy,” or “creator economy,” that lives wholly online. Creators and influencers younger than 25 dominate this space.

Kang never buys advertising. She spent $10 in 2018 and never bought it again. That’s $10 total! Influencers create content and tell stories. They entertain. Kang’s content drives multimillion-dollar annual sales for Snoop Slime. Kang cracked the code on going viral among customers on two social media platforms. When you can do that, you never need to pay for advertising.

Falling down the slime, internet rabbit hole these past few weeks was one of my life’s most bewildering business experiences. Do you have any idea how much of YouTube, Etsy and Instagram is dedicated to slime? Well, I didn’t either. Now that I know, I cannot unknow it.

I learned from my 11-year-old, however, that Snoop Slime is the Gucci of slimes in terms of textural, olfactory, visual and auditory experience. That maybe makes Jungmin Kang the Orson Welles of slime, exploiting the possibilities of new media to build her business empire.


Michael Taylor is a columnist for the San Antonio Express-News and author of “The Financial Rules for New College Graduates.”
michael@michaelthesmart
money.com |twitter.com/michael_taylor





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