Welcome back. Andrew Schulz just shared that he made three times the amount he invested to produce his latest comedy special, Infamous. If you ever wondered whether comedians could make it on their own without streamers backing their performances, there’s your sign.
FaZe Clan Goes Public
New York’s stock traders saw more hoodies and Air Force 1s on Wednesday than they have in the history of the market—or at least since Nike went public.
FaZe Clan, the bro-centric gaming and lifestyle company, went public on the Nasdaq via SPAC merger under the ticker FAZE. The deal was valued at $725 million at the time of the listing, down from an estimated $1 billion last year.
On Friday morning, FaZe stock was trading around $10/share, down more than 20% from its debut price.
As the first creator-powered, Gen-Z native company to trade publicly, FaZe Clan has been gearing up for this SPAC deal since it was announced last year:
- It hired a new president and brought on new board members (including Snoop Dogg).
- It started implementing plans to shift its business toward entertainment and lifestyle.
- And as for financials, FaZe brought in $53 million in revenue last year, up from $38 million in 2020.
How does it make that money? Most of the company's revenue comes from sponsorships, content production, merch, and esports competitions. FaZe Clan has established a highly engaged fan base of approximately 500 million across its creators’ combined social platforms, enough to outpace major sports leagues like the NFL (with 184 million fans).
FaZe’s 93-person roster consists of celebrities, esports athletes, and creators (but only one woman). The company says about 80% of its audience is in the coveted 13–34 age demographic, making it alluring for advertisers who’ve struggled to reach that group through traditional media.
With the stock market on a downward spiral since spring, many SPACs (at least the ones that haven’t been called off) have flopped in public markets. While this is a big win for creator brands gaining legitimacy in the public eye, FaZe faces an uphill battle in convincing weary investors that they can translate internet stardom into profitability.
Art YouTuber Makes $50k in 2 Days
About 150,000 people follow Sarah Renae Clark across YouTube, TikTok, and Instagram. She’s making a compelling case for listening to every last one.
In 2018, the art and color theory creator released a digital color guide called The Color Catalog. To date, she’s sold over 20,000 copies of the guide through social networks, paid advertising on Facebook and Pinterest, and influencer affiliate deals.
Earlier this month, Clark launched a hard copy companion to The Color Catalog called The Color Cube.
Why? “The feedback came from all of my current customers, but also through comments on YouTube from people who saw The Color Catalog in my videos but chose not to buy it because it was only available as a digital product,” Clark said.
Clark logged $50,000 in revenue (more than she usually makes in a month) within two days of opening pre-orders.
“I think the main reason that this launch was so successful is because this was a product about my audience, not about me. I think creators often look to create products that are about their brand and their channel first—things like shirts or merch with their logo on them. And those will sell if you have a huge audience, but they won’t sell as well if you’re a smaller channel.”
Clark shared more product tips for small channels in our exclusive Q&A at the end of this newsletter 👇
In a super-niche market, you can determine what your followers want more precisely by communicating with them directly. Clark’s story suggests giving the audience what they quite literally ask for pays off.
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Your Videos Just Got More Shoppable
QVC, but cooler—actually engaging shopping and video integration is something brands have been after for a long time. This time, it might just work.
This week Shopify and YouTube announced a partnership that will allow eligible creators to link their Shopify store to their YouTube channel. Creators will be able to display products below videos, during live streams, or at the end of videos.
Display inventory will sync to your shop so viewers can see stock in real time. YouTube will also give US-based creators the option to enable on-site checkout, meaning viewers can purchase products without leaving YouTube.
This monetization opp just changed brand deals and product marketing for creators. Expect to see brands amend their creator term sheets with requests to push products in these integrations. As for creators, we see a future where products fit more seamlessly into editorial.
🔥 Press Worthy
- Applications open for LinkedIn’s US Creator Accelerator program (which will have an appearance from our very own Colin & Samir).
- Tech creator Rene Ritchie becomes YouTube’s new creator liaison.
- Vlog Squad member Jason Nash starts his own podcast.
- Ryan’s World releases new shoe styles with Skechers.
- Katie Feeney will cover MLB All-Star Week on YouTube Shorts.
- Make more money from your video content with Maestro.*
- Good Good Golf collaborates with Rick Shiels.
*This is sponsored advertising content.
Q&A: Sarah Renae Clark
The following interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.
Can you tell us about the production process for The Color Cube? How long did it take? What were the production costs? Has it been an ROI-generating venture?
The Color Cube is based off a digital product that already exists, which I created years ago—and that took many months. So I thought this would be a quick reformatting and off to print with a manufacturer. In reality, it was about 6 months from idea to pre-sales. It required finding a good manufacturer, getting samples, creating all the right files and templates, getting more samples, creating digital mockups, getting a prototype made… and a LOT of emails and staring at the same 500 cards over and over to make sure there were no mistakes before printing 6,000 sets for sale.
What was an unexpected challenge throughout production on The Color Cube? Anything you learned from making The Color Catalog that you were able to apply to this project?
I originally pictured The Color Cube and cards being much smaller. But the thickness of the cards meant having to either change the box shape (which I wanted to be a cube) or to rethink the whole project. I ended up resizing the box, resizing the cards, and had a video call with the manufacturer to brainstorm different padding options for the box to hold the cards nicely and make everything work. I think the end result is even better than what I first imagined.
The Color Catalog helped us learn more about how people would use The Color Cube. I spent hours reading through the hundreds of reviews and comments on social media for feedback and ideas while I was in the idea phase. It was this process that led to the idea of darker and lighter values of each color on the back of the cards to help with shading.
In the launch video, you mentioned that many were asking for a hard copy of The Color Catalog, which sparked the idea to get started on the cube product. Were there any customer acquisition costs associated with that? Or has your built-in audience been the main customer?
I’ve only been active on YouTube for two years now, but my YouTube channel really exploded the growth of my audience—and as a result, the sales of The Color Catalog and my other products—far more than anything I’d tried in the past.
When designing the Color Cube, how did you avoid redundancies with The Color Catalog, and make sure it was a complimentary product?
I made sure I was confident in how the products could work together and which features should be added before taking it to production. I also made sure that my marketing and videos demonstrated the products as a set, and showcased the process of using them together, and even created a discounted bundle if they are bought as a full suite.
When people understand the “why” behind a product, and behind my vision for how it can help them be more creative, I’ve learned that most of our audience are excited to get their hands on everything, and don’t want to just choose one or the other.
What has been your favorite part of building The Color Cube?
Receiving the first physical prototype of The Color Cube was a surreal moment because it’s when all those ideas and hard work suddenly feel tangible. The years I’d put into The Color Catalog, into all the color palettes, and now into the idea behind The Color Cube—it was in my hands. It was exciting, and hard to describe.
Has the production process changed how you’d like to do future product launches? What have you learned?
This wasn’t my first product launch, but I learn something new every time. A few tips:
- Get samples of everything. It’s worth paying for samples if necessary, to make sure your end product is exactly what you are expecting.
- Pre-sell. Pre-selling before manufacturing allows you to get a more accurate number of the orders to expect so you don’t order too many items and end up with a garage full of unsellable products. And the cashflow can help fund manufacturing costs.
- Connect with other creators. My digital products were successful because I connected with other creators who shared my passion and showed my products to their audience as well.
- Create lists. Take note of everything you do during your production and launch so that you can easily recreate the process for future products and launches. My latest launch felt so much easier overall than my first, even though it was my biggest.
- Use video. Video gives your audience a chance to connect with you as the creator of the product and to see the product in a way that photos can’t. My biggest selling products have always launched with videos, even before I had an active YouTube channel.