Creator, Meet Operator 📳

Why Seek Discomfort’s ex-CEO launched a coffee brand with a 21-year-old travel creator

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Why This Creator and Operator Chose to Work Together

Simon Kim, left, and Bryan Spunt, right, met over two years before they decided to work together on a coffee and matcha brand called Sunnyday / Jeffrey Sun, Sunnyday

In 2022, Bryan Spunt left his role as CEO of Seek Discomfort—the clothing brand started by YouTube supergroup Yes Theory—to begin developing something new: Sunnyday, an organic, sustainably-made coffee and matcha company on a mission to get people “outside and into nature.”

Sunnyday officially went live on Monday. One of its founding team members is 21-year-old travel and outdoor lifestyle creator Simon Kim, who is Sunnyday’s Head of Community and Creators.

We talked with Spunt and Kim to learn more about what makes a good creator x operator team.

For Kim: While the creator found moderate success with his small business (a clothing brand) in the past, he struggled with the operational side—finances, order fulfillment, and “knowing how to price products,” he said. He ended up taking a pause due to burnout.

  • After working briefly with Yes Theory in 2021, Kim got an up-close look at how Spunt helped build Seek Discomfort with the creator group and had a “great grip” on its operations. The two kept in touch over the next two years, and in July 2023, Kim joined Sunnyday.

  • “There was a sense of confidence because I’d seen Brian work in these different stages, and I had a long-lasting relationship…before we even got into business together,” Kim told us.

For Spunt: The operator believes that the future of direct-to-consumer brands will be built with creators who are “incentivized off of the business’ success” as partners.

  • Even if Kim does not command an audience the size of Yes Theory’s (yet), Spunt thinks he’s a perfect match because of his genuine love for the outdoors—a key theme for both the Sunnyday brand and Kim’s videos.

  • “His ability to tell stories, to connect with people and build community…those were all things that I knew I wanted to have at Sunnyday, but I didn’t know how to do myself,” Spunt told us.

What do you think makes for a solid, lasting relationship between a creator and operator? Hit reply and tell us your POV.

These Creators Leveled Up in 2023

To close out the year, The Publish Press staff has hand-picked six creators we feel have made an outsized impact on our industry in 2023.

On Wednesday we shared our first two Staff Picks, Sam Denby and Kevin Espiritu.

Next up: Travis Hunter and Mai Pham.

Photography by Travis Hunter

Travis Hunter (@DB3_tip) is a superstar D1 football player who’s making a name for himself off the field as a creator with a podcast, two YouTube channels, and a popular TikTok account. 

Why we chose him: Not only because he’s among the Top 10 earners across college sports, but also because of his unique ability to build a media brand and tell his story. Read more about how he’s doing just that here.

Photography by Stow Kelly and Eric White

Mai Pham (@maiphammy) has built a steady following of 3 million subscribers over the last 12 years by posting relatable vlogs spanning everything from relationship drama to solo travels. Now, she’s evolving into a fashion mogul with her clothing brand, Alchemai.

Why we chose her: Pham has built a cult following for Alchemai through a private Instagram account selling merch drops and exclusive content. Those drops now account for 60–75% of her overall business. Read more about how she’s redefining creator merch here.

FYI: This project is a partnership between The Publish Press and .Store. Learn more about .Store on the Staff Picks 2023 home base.

MrBeast Launches the Next Social Blade

Viewstats lets users see A/B thumbnail test results, Shorts video performance, and more / Viewstats

MrBeast teamed up with Chucky Appleby, who works on thumbnails and data at MrBeast’s HQ in North Carolina, to launch ViewStats, a database of YouTube channel analytics.

How it works: Similar to other databases like Social Blade, ViewStats shows YouTube analytics for channels and creators with searchable user tools. 

New features exclusive to the site include thumbnail A/B test results, video views differentiated by length, and an estimated rank for videos (e.g. 1/10).

Looking ahead: The platform plans to introduce tools that will help creators with ideation and thumbnail design, Appleby told Tubefilter. They’ll be powered by MrBeast’s team.

📽️ From The Studio

Our new collection features a vintage inspired hoodie and tee, two new hat colorways, and (ofc) a restock of our popular blue and white two-tone hat. Check out the full collection here.

🔥 Press Worthy

  • Elliot Choy returns after a long hiatus to drop a new collection for his apparel brand, Copyright.

  • YouTube creators can now offer 10 free channel memberships a month.

  • Is this simple social shortcut your most valuable asset in your creator journey?*

  • Josh Richards hosted a live shopping show with Amazon.

  • The NBA held its inaugural “Creator Cup,” an all-star game including sports creators Jesser and Jenna Bandy.

  • Health creator Dr Idz is releasing a book on debunking health misinformation.

  • TikTok’s In the Mix concert with artists including Cardi B and Charlie Puth is streaming on Disney+ and Hulu.

  • Twitch introduced (then rolled back) a new sexual content policy.

*This is sponsored advertising content.

📚️ Thank You For Pressing Publish

The content we’re looking forward to reading, watching, and listening to this weekend.

  • Read: Controversial conspiracy theorist and content creator Alex Jones returned to X (formerly Twitter) last weekend after being banned in 2018. The Washington Post spoke to the digital marketer and activist who previously helped deplatform Jones—and explored how the online media landscape has allowed him to still thrive.   

  • Watch: What happens when students begin writing papers with ChatGPT…and get As and Bs in history class? Vox interviewed students and teachers as they investigated how education curriculum will adapt to a chatbot-filled world.

  • Listen: The end of the year comes with all sorts of “best of” lists, and the All Songs Considered podcast did their part by sharing their favorite albums of 2023.

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