If you’ve ever searched for any beauty advice on You Tube you probably already know famous blogger, Michelle Phan. She is only 25 but she already ranked 10th in the world for most visited videos and ranked 20th in the world for the number of subscribers with 600 million hits across her YouTube videos. When she was 24 she was able to let her mum retire.
The official video make-up artist for Lancôme, Michelle Phan is currently touring Australia for the Lancôme’s month of colour.
Michelle Phan story
While having her own blog Michelle Phan discovered that more and more readers were requesting videos of the make-up how-to pieces she was discussing on her blog. Launching her first video on YouTube in 2007, the tutorial received 40,000 views in the first week. 2 years later Lancôme asked Phan directly to partner with the brand when they stumbled across a video in which Phan was talking about a Lancôme product that had received 500,000 views.
Leaders in Heels: How did you feel when Lancôme first approached you?
Michelle Phan: It was a fairy tale dream comes true. Two months before I made my first video back in 2007 I applied for a job at a Lancôme counter in a Department Store and they never called back. I was so upset. My mum told me “don’t cry because there is always a new opportunity tomorrow, you just have to be patient”. 2 years later I get an email from Lancôme that they were so impressed with the video and wondered if we could work together [this reminds me a little bit my story and how I got to the beauty industry <Kasia>]. Mum was so right. If I got the job at the Lancôme counter I would had not made the video as I would be busy working. Everything falls into its place and everything happens for a reason.
There is always a new opportunity tomorrow, you just have to be patient
Leaders in Heels: When you first set up a video channel did you make it for fun or did you think it could be a potential business?
Michelle Phan: When I first started there was no such business. People didn’t really make makeup tutorials. Beauty bloggers were just doing it for fun. No one really thought about this as an actual career. I did it mostly for my readers and my subscribers because they really needed help.
My biggest dream was to help my mum retire early because she immigrated to America when she was young and all she has ever done was work to support me and my brother as she was a single mum. I am showing Asian American girls that if they have a dream they should keep pursuing it. I am a living testimony. I started everything in my bedroom and with the webcam. I didn’t have any intentions of making money. There is a lesson to focus on being happy and not on money. At the end of the day happiness will bring you real wealth that you can never buy.
At the end of the day happiness will bring you real wealth that you can never buy
Michelle Phan is a self-taught make-up artist with her background in art.
Phan encourages following own interests. “If for example someone loves baking they could make video tutorials on baking. People will love it and YouTube can pay 50%-50%. Having a balance of your hobby and doing what you love and also having a little bit of extra money out of it is a great way to expand and profit from own hobbies”.
“The biggest challenge now is transitioning from making beauty videos to doing other things”, says Michelle Phan: “having a jewellery line, having a business and a production company”.
Tips from Michelle Phan on Making Videos
For people looking for tips in video recording Michelle Phan suggests investing in a decent camera. “Finding inexpensive, good quality camera is very accessible these days. Good lighting is also essential. It is also important to learn and find your own style of editing your videos”.
I would like to express a huge thank you to the talented journalist Carah Liu for getting Leaders in Heels questions asked during the time-limited interview with Michelle Phan.