If you needed any more proof that YouTube stardom is real, consider this: Makeup artist turned YouTube celebrity Michelle Phan has officially launched her own makeup line. And Phan didn’t just team up with anyone to create the line of 250 products: Em Michelle Phan, as her brand of beauty products is officially called, is made by L’Oréal Luxe, whose other celebrity-driven makeup lines include Giorgio Armani, Ralph Lauren and Yves Saint Laurent.
Michelle Phan became a celebrity on YouTube after she began posting makeup tutorials on the site in 2007. Some of her most popular videos include tutorials to look like Barbie, Lady Gaga or Snow White. Altogether, Pham’s videos have been viewed more than 756 million times, and over 4.5 million people subscribing to her YouTube channel. Those fans inspired some of the products included in her makeup line, Phan said in a press release.
Think what you might about YouTube stars launching their own makeup lines, but success stories like this aren’t just a sign that some of the site’s most popular characters are crossing over into mainstream culture. They also show that, as YouTubers become celebrities, they start to look elsewhere to supplement their income.
There have been a lot of discussions in recent months about the money YouTube shares with its partners, with some claiming that popular video producers can really only be successful if they move their views off the site. Others have tried a more hybrid approach. Freddie Wong, for instance, reaches a huge audience on YouTube with his Video Game High School franchise, but he also distributes the videos on his own site to target hardcore fans and attract additional sponsors.
And then there are merchandise sales. YouTube officially allowed all of its partners to sell their own merchandise on the site starting last year, and producers can even link to merchandise from within their videos. Some YouTubers have started to take this even further with the launch of a kind of Pinterest for YouTube stars.