Profit Through TikTok? How One Business Built Their Lifestyle Brand on Gen Z's App
When he first enrolled in Mrs. Blankenship’s Dance 2 Partners class at Rocklin High School, Srinjay "Sai" Verma couldn’t have predicted what an important role dance would play in his life for the years to come.
Through the class, his passion for dance intensified and he became a student director his senior year. Upon graduation, Sai was offered the exciting opportunity to dance with Chapkis Dance, a high profile studio known for mentoring and connecting talented dancers to very promising dance opportunities within the entertainment industry.
Via Chapkis Dance, Sai got the opportunity to dance in the music video for the song “BOP” by DaBaby. The video has well over 300 million views on YouTube, and through this experience, Sai was able to make incredible connections with the people on set, as well as all the other well-connected dancers within Chapkis.
These connections gave him entries to many other social gatherings and networking opportunities with various influencers and artists in SoCal, and his personal journey with dance and networking within the SoCal/hip-hop/TikTok community inspired him and his partner Jake, to create Soul Proprietor LA, a lifestyle brand built from the notion that anyone can shine and achieve success when they commit to the passions deep within their soul. The brand sells merch featuring designs that fit this exact message.
This concept of committing to your passions and taking risks greatly appeals to the TikTok community, whose videos are short and entertaining, and generally built on a whim. Many famous TikTokers themselves feel that their success came rather rapidly and unexpectedly, and had to make the bold choice of moving to Los Angeles and making a career out of TikTok. For this reason, some of Soul Proprietor LA’s biggest ambassadors are Addison Rae, Bryce Hall, and Josh Richards, TikTok stars who deeply relate to Soul Proprietor LA’s message.
Left to Right: Jaden Hossler, Josh Richards, Blake Gray, Tessa Brooks & Bryce Hall, Larray
Sai’s success with Soul Proprietor LA is due largely due to how he harnessed the power of connections and social media. Social media, and TikTok in particular are the best ways to gain influence in this day and age. TikTok is an incredibly effective platform that appeals to younger generations, and its algorithm is unique in the sense that it allows every individual who posts, an equal chance of going viral. It accomplishes this by curating an individualized “For You Page” for each TikTok user based on the content they enjoy, even if they don’t follow the creators. This exposes viewers to new influencers that they previously wouldn’t have known about. YouTube recommends videos in a similar fashion, but the difference is that TikTok only shows videos that are shorter and more engaging (a handy tool to keep many young people’s relatively short attention spans), and it doesn’t require viewers to click on the video; it simply shows it to them as they keep scrolling.
During these tough times, many people have turned to TikTok for much needed entertainment, light hearted humor, and even activism. This new generation is especially conscientious regarding politics, human rights, environmental issues, and the mental health issues that are a result of increased isolation and digitalization. Since small businesses are usually far more sustainable, ethical, and perpetuate interpersonal relations, Gen Z is a great target consumer for their services. Owners and employees have started to make humorous and educational TikToks focusing on entertainment over soliciting, and oftentimes get a lot of new customers when they go viral. Businesses even promote their own advertisements on TikTok through corporate accounts. Small business owners should definitely consider harnessing this new side of social media to help stay afloat during this pandemic.
Alongside dancing and broadening his network in LA, Sai is a dedicated Sacramento State student pursuing a degree in computer engineering. He’s interested in spreading Soul Proprietor LA’s message in the Greater Sacramento region, and particularly in Rocklin. By partnering up with The Residential Hermes, he wants to give back to the community that originally inspired his business journey. We are incredibly excited to work with this intelligent, optimistic, and talented Rocklin alum as his company shares our organization’s mindset towards helping out creative entrepreneurs and watching small businesses make an impact.