She loves her miniature bulldog Moose, her couches are piled high with DIY throw pillows, and from looking at her Instagram, she’s somewhere between the lull of California coasts with glitter for sand and and saturated sunsets in shades of bubbly Fanta, and the hubbub of Los Angeles. Do you know her?
Maybe you’ll recognize career achievements. She is a member of the star-studded Fantana squad, alongside Jordan Fisher, Eva Gutowski, and Coco Jones, so it’s fitting that sponsored posts surrounding the drink are embedded throughout her Instagram feed. She has 7 million YouTube subscribers and counting, commanding another 6 million on Twitter and 4 million on Instagram. She’s one half of the creative duo and power couple Laurex alongside fellow YouTuber Alex Wassabi, whose videos on his personal channel and Wassabi Productions have netted him almost 13 million subscribers. She serves as a brand ambassador for MUDD and has been featured in Seventeen Magazine, Business Insider, and a host of other publications for her incredibly popular and accessible lifestyle and DIY, or “DO IT YOURSELF” creations and tutorials. Remember her now?
If not or unfamiliar with the YouTube star, her name is Lauren Riihimaki, better known by her channel name LaurDIY, and she’s the self professed “DIY Queen” in her rap video of the same name, not to mention Internet queen. Riihimaki opens up about pursuing a passion for the arts and entertainment over a more traditional route, risk-taking, innovation and creativity, and how she sets and exceeds expectations for herself. Though she’s not always sure of the next step, doing what she loves and inspiring others is ultimately more rewarding than the assured success and safety net of following a well-beaten path.
“I guess, well, I think the beginning I’ve always liked and loved doing it,” Riihimaki said in a red carpet interview at the Teen Choice Awards. “I’m like, ‘This is amazing, like, this is such a cool hobby.’ And then once it eventually translated into a job possibility, I’m like, ‘This is so cool, like this is so amazing.’ But I think the first time that I was like, ‘This is totally way beyond what I thought it was going to be,’ is the first time I got recognized out in public. They’re like, ‘Oh, I love your videos so much, like your videos are great!’ I was like, ‘Wow, this is so weird! This is not, this is like past digital, it’s is crazy.'”
She aims to connect with other creative personalities and artists in the industry, as well as further her business and grow as a person in both skill and knowledge.
“Obviously you want to grow your audience, like what has that been like in terms of because this is also a business?” Riihimaki said in the interview. “Yeah, yeah, for sure. Well, I think everyone’s looking to, like, grow and reach new audiences to share your content with because, like, I find that in my community, we’re all passionate about the same things. So it’s awesome being able to connect with other people that love DIY, that love doing, like, lifestyle and making their own Halloween costumes and stuff like that. So I definitely want to grow as much as possible for sure.”
Her audience consists of both those who enjoy DIY and educational tutorials and others who are drawn to her and her creations for entertainment value.
“I think there’s kind of a divide,” Riihimaki said in the interview. “There’s people who are subscribed for the educational content, so the people who are really just there to see like what I’m DIYing, how I do it, the steps that I go through, and I think there’s people, and there definitely is overlap between these two groups, but I think there’s also the people that are there for, like, my personality that like to follow me around like when I go traveling and like stay up to date with my relationships and stuff like that. So I think there’s the personal element that draws them in, but then also the educational element and then there’s definitely overlap.”
After leaving school, she enjoyed the freedom to fully immerse herself in creating videos and the time-consuming process.
“Um, well beforehand when I was doing, when I was in school as well, it was any time I had free time was dedicated to doing anything YouTube-related,” Riihimaki said in the interview. “But videos can take anywhere from 20 to 40 hours between coming up with concepts, sourcing materials, filming, actual DIY, and then editing is the biggest bulk of the process. So editing as well and and putting it out there and then doing all your social media and stuff is definitely a big process. But now it’ll be nice to like actually schedule my day around that. Yeah, I’ll have some more free time and a lot of a lot of decision-making to do.”
With her parents supporting her decision and her numbers rising daily, she sees limitless potential for growing her audience and continuing to do what excites her and ignites her passion.
“I think there’s still two points where they’re like, ‘How far is it going to go? Like, what else can you do?’” Riihimaki said in the interview. “Because from the beginning, it was like ‘Hi guys, I hit 1,000 subscribers.’ They’re like, ‘Oh my god, that’s so many people.’ The there’s 100,000. Then it was 1 million. Then it’s over 7 million. So, I think no one really knows, like, where this is going to go. It’s been, like, I’ve exceeded all expectations I ever had from starting a channel. So, like, who knows?”