By Beza Getachew
Third-year graphic communications management student Lauren Riihimaki sits cross-legged on the ground with a black t-shirt spread out in front of her.
“Today, I’m going to show you how to make a skull cut-out shirt.
All you’ll need is a shirt, scissors and something to draw on it with,” she says.
She pulls out a pair of scissors and before long, fabric scraps cover the floor.
“Okay – and that’s it,” she says, modeling the final product for her viewers to see.
With 142 videos uploaded on YouTube, Riihimaki’s channel, LaurDIY, has accumulated over 12 million hits.
A quick YouTube search of the do-it-yourself (DIY) acronym will retrieve countless instructional videos showing viewers how to create various at-home projects.
Riihimaki’s DIY tutorials focus mainly on home decor, fashion and beauty.
With over 352,000 subscribers, Riihimaki has built up a solid following since she started making videos in 2012. Last year, she signed a contract with the fashion and beauty web video network StyleHaul. Because her channel has become so popular, she releases at least one video per week.
“There’s a huge business side [of YouTube] that no one knows exist – it’s crazy,” Riihimaki says.
Riihimaki makes enough money producing videos that she could drop out of school and live comfortably off her earnings.
She’s been interested in arts and crafts ever since she was a little girl. It’s a hobby that she never grew out of.
“My parents were always buying me a new craft book or kit. That’s what I did in my spare time,” she says.
Her channel has opened doors to major opportunities. This past summer, Riihimaki’s videos caught the attention of American magazine, Seventeen.
The publication asked her to be one of five college ambassadors for the school year, which entails giving readers monthly tips on beauty, fashion and surviving university.
As a former subscriber to
Seventeen, the offer came as a surprise to Riihmaki.
“I was like, ‘Seventeen is contacting me? Someone from Seventeen
actually knows who I am?’ It was a huge shock,” Riihimaki says.
With over 35,000 Instagram followers and 10,000 Twitter followers, Riihimaki has utilized social media platforms to successfully create her own personal brand.
“I’ve never had a passion like this before,” Riihimaki says.