Ryerson YouTube guru hits 1 million subscribers



Lauren Riihimaki in her DIY Olaf costume from her Halloween tutorial. (Courtesy Lauren Riihimaki)

Lauren Riihimaki, better known as LaurDIY to her YouTube fans, has hit one million subscribers on her channel.

The Ryerson graphic communications management student spoke to The Ryersonian about her success, the popularity of do-it-yourself videos, and how she handles a full course load while also regularly making videos.

Q: How does it feel to have one million followers?

A: Unreal. Literally unreal, as in does not feel real. The fact that over one million people have decided that they want to see recurring content from me is insane. Because it’s just a number and not a room of one million people I don’t think I’ll actually ever accept it, or realize how many people that really is.

Q: When and why did you first get started with your YouTube channel?

A: I actually started YouTube by accident. In my first year of university, I was dying for a creative outlet and started a blog to post DIY tutorials using photos and text blurbs.

Eventually I decided it would be easier to convey the tutorial’s steps by using video, so I started making videos and posting them to YouTube solely to have them be embedded into the blog. I logged onto YouTube one day, and realized that one of the videos had hit a substantial amount of views — substantial at the time really meant like 200 views. I had also received an email from Google (and) YouTube saying that I could now monetize my content, which was a totally new and foreign concept to me, so I decided to transition my focus over to YouTube and it was history from there.

Q: Why do you think DIY is so popular for students?

A: Definitely to cut back on costs. Students have a lot of bills to pay (Ryerson, I’m looking at you), and if they’re able to DIY an old sweater with $5 studs, rather than spending $30 on a new one, the idea of DIY becomes really appealing. It’s also a fun hobby that isn’t too expensive.

Q: How do you juggle being a full-time student and making videos as a full-time job?

A: It’s been really tough this year. YouTube has become a full-time job, so balancing school has gotten really difficult.

Some of my work online is partnered with brands, so especially when I’m restricted to a specific timeline because of a contract, YouTube will come before school.

But being completely honest, YouTube has definitely taken priority over school because of how successful it’s gotten.

It’s hard to think about spending more time on a paper versus a video when YouTube is going to be my career in seven months. (She admits to making over six figures).

Q: How do you come up with DIY ideas?

A: YouTube has somewhat turned into a seasonal calendar for me that has a huge influence on what kind of content I’m creating. In summer it’s all about the back to school DIY’s, early fall is focused on Halloween, and the early months of winter revolve around Christmas.

Even when there isn’t a specific holiday or event in the near future, my subscribers are always asking to see specific tutorials and offering ideas; they’re a constant source of inspiration for sure. Inspiration can come from anywhere. I’ll frequently run into something, whether it be an article of clothing or a home decor piece, and decide that I could make it for way less and also enjoy the idea that I’ll be able to customize it.

Q:  Who are your fashion/DIY inspirations?

A: Claire Marshall & Sam from BeautyCrush on YouTube are both huge inspirations for me in terms of fashion. DIY inspiration comes from everywhere: cute decor pieces that are overpriced, current trends, street style, it can come from literally anywhere. I would definitely say that most of my DIY inspiration comes from inanimate objects and intangible elements rather than a specific person.

Q: Do people ever recognize on you on campus?

A: All the time. Meeting viewers is one of my favourite things ever because they’re the reason I’ve gotten to do so many cool things and (are) my inspiration for creating more and better content. I can’t thank them enough, so it’s awesome when I get to tell them that in person.

Q: Where do you hope this will lead you in your future?

A: This whole LaurDIY thing has become a full-time job with a comfortable income, so I’ll definitely carry on with it full time and see where it takes me. Doors keep opening and I’ve gotten some amazing opportunities to do some really unique things, so I can’t wait to see what else this journey has in store for me.

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