What’s trending? YouTuber LaurDIY says mason jar chandeliers and being your best self online.
YR Media’s Merk Nguyen has got a naked room that needs serious decorating and Nyge Turner is hungry for a blue check on Twitter. So, who the heck is going to help the two reach their social media and decor goals? None other than do-it-yourself YouTuber LaurDIY (a.k.a. Lauren Riihimaki)! She’s been shamelessly geeking over craft kits since 5ever ago and is now makin’ bank showing the world her D.I.Y. projects. Basically, living her ‘90s kid dreams (and ours too). Lauren also shares some tips on how to get to verification / ultimate subscriber status. Hint: be yourself.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity. Check out the full conversation on YR Media’s Adult ISH podcast (episode 6 – Nerd ISH).
Merk: Were you a DIY nerd your whole life?
Lauren: Oh my gosh, yes. I went through all the DIY kits from the early 1990s. Bless my parents! They still have all my “professional” DIY crafts.
Nyge: A DIY closet? We never had a craft closet in the Turner household.
Lauren: I think they just took a closet and booted out my dad’s clothes and let me put all my craft supplies in there.
Merk: When did you realize you could make a living doing this kind of thing?
Lauren: I kind of fell into it by accident. I was in university studying a boring program in Toronto and started a blog as a creative outlet. Eventually that transitioned to a YouTube channel [and one day I] got an email saying I could monetize my content.
Merk: You’ve got high energy in your videos, but who is Lauren off camera?
Lauren: Obviously you can’t be that high energy all the time. I definitely have a calmer attitude. But for the most part, I’m a pretty upbeat and positive person. That translates and [my fans] know it’s genuine.
Nyge: What was your first big DIY project ever?
Lauren: I was like 10 and made this entire Bikini Bottom city. There was the pineapple, Squidward’s house, Patrick’s rock. I’m so sad [my parents] didn’t keep it.
Merk: Well that’s goals right there and perfect for what we’re about to go into. We find experts to help us reach our dreams and you’re here to help us with our #DIYgoals. We’re also going into double-geek mode with #SocialMediaGoals.
Nyge: Can you handle this pressure?
Lauren: I mean my hands are a little clammy, but let’s do it!
Merk: So, my room’s naked. I really don’t have any photos of my loved ones from back home [since I moved], but I’ve got plenty on my phone. What are a couple cheap, crafty ways for me to get a little photo cray?
Lauren: I just ordered a strand [of twinkle lights] for $15 off Amazon. You can get some cute little clips, then get some photos printed, and hang them from the twinkle lights. Pharmacies and Costco do photo prints for really cheap.
Nyge: Walgreens has an app that I used one time in my DIY. I just hopped on the app and picked out the photos on my camera roll and had them printed.
Merk: Note to self…
Nyge: When you live on your own for the first time, you realize all these things you didn’t ever know you needed. What are some DIY items you can use for everyday living?
Lauren: Mason jars are the easiest and trendiest. You can put literally anything in a mason jar and it looks cooler. It’s a good way to see what’s in there but also hold your stuff. They’re paintable, you can tie ribbon around them. You can literally do anything with them and they always look cute.
Nyge: When do you think everybody will be like, “Oh, you’re still on mason jars, bro?”
Lauren: I just bought a chandelier with mason jars on it, so hopefully not anytime soon!
Nyge: You’ve got more than eight million followers on YouTube. What are some tips on making a channel that people actually watch?
Lauren: The first thing is just being yourself. I know that sounds cheesy, but it truly is such a personality-driven website. Anyone can do a cooking recipe video, but it’s only different because it’s you.
Merk: Moving on with our #SocialMediaGoals. Which platform would you say is the one we all need to be on to really feel connected to each other?
Lauren: There’s pros and cons to every one and they all serve different purposes. I’d say Twitter and Instagram are tied for me. Twitter I think is more of like a conversation. Instagram is more of like an art space.
Nyge: If you don’t exist on social media but want to get in the game, where do you even begin gaining followers?
Lauren: I’m not going to lie, it’s hard. So many people are trying to get into the space that’s really oversaturated, but I think it’s just finding what you’re passionate about, building a brand for yourself, and making everything cohesive.
Nyge: Then there’s this infamous mysterious world of verification. You have a blue check. How does that even happen?
Lauren: I woke up one day and I was like, “I’m verified. Sweet!” I didn’t submit myself for anything, but I know now there’s a submission situation.
Nyge: I really don’t even want a huge amount of money or followers. If I just have a blue check, everybody automatically has to respect what I say. I tweet something and they’re like, “He has a blue check. He’s obviously saying something powerful.”
Lauren: I’m not going to lie. There’s definitely some perks. Like on Twitter, there’s a different tab that’s “verified”. So you’ll see an interaction with someone else who’s verified whether you follow them or not.