Sue Park, aka SSIN, first joined the internet’s beauty community in 2008. Since then, she’s gone from baby blogger to YouTube sensation, amassing 1.2 million subscribers and more than 260 million views in the process. She’s collaborated on product lines and now has the well-deserved title of CEO and staff of five. Lucky for us, she brings the same candidness (and LOLs) to her interviews as she does her videos…
Was there a particular moment that you realised that vlogging could be more than just a passion project?
Maybe since I started making money out of it? (LOL.) At first, I didn’t know that I could make such [a big] amount of money with my YouTube activities. But as I executed some brands’ ads, I realised that this could potentially evolve into a [stable] job. I think it’s been about two years since that happened.
Since then, you’ve worked with a lot of different brands for sponsored videos, and even co-produced products like your BH box. How do you choose which brands you collaborate with?
I am getting assistance from this agency called DIA TV for my branded contents. They introduce me to different brands, show me the list of brands that are interested in [working with] me, and help me communicate with the brands that get in touch with me directly. I usually choose the brands with a lot of my usual favourite products or other quality brands that go along with my concept.
What is the process that goes into making one of your vlogs?
First, there is a planning phase where we decide what to shoot. I usually try to find references on the web, and I keenly follow the K-drama’s trends and do planning. And then we prepare costumes, accessories, and equipment for the shoot. The actual shoot only takes about three hours. For editing, each staff takes charge of one segment, and the process lasts for about five days in total. In the process, I would direct, translate, review the result closely and finally upload the video. I usually conduct the overall planning, approval, and thumbnailing. ParkPD (SSIN’s brother) is the video and equipment director while Serim (SSIN’s younger cousin) is in charge of the editing team. I used to do all this by myself, but now we divide up the work.
You’ve created hundreds upon hundreds of vlogs. What do you do if you’re not feeling creative?
I sleep, or I watch movies, drama or YouTube. If I shoot [a video] when I am not in a good mood, the final product tend to be bad so I would rest right away. It’s actually an inherent problem with my business. In order to get a fixed income, I need to regularly shoot, but I can’t do that sometimes. So I tried to stay positive and try to motivate myself whenever I am down.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
I watch movies [and] dramas, listen to K-pop, and watch music videos. In other words, I consume content, and they serve as a huge source of inspiration. When I watch content made by other people, it stimulates my own desire to create.
Do you have any particular goals you’d like to achieve next?
This question is going to make me talk. It’s actually my biggest worry these days. Nothing lasts forever, and that includes money. I am thinking hard to come up with a new business model that would generate profit continuously. I think coming up with my own brand, rather than doing constant collaboration, might be a way. I can also set up a company that can help other beauty creators like myself. I think it’s also important to set up a structure where I can execute more brand collaborations effectively. This conversation reminded me how I need to stop spending and start saving. I need stop buying Gucci. (LOL)
You’ve been in the industry a little while now. What are the changes you’ve seen in the market during this time?
The YouTube landscape today has totally changed since I started YouTubing three years ago. Three years ago, I was just a student who did it as a hobby, but now I am called a creator, YouTuber, and Influencer. If you think about the meaning of influencer, it means I am a person that have influence over other people. Something I started out as a hobby attracted people, and I connected with them visually and emotionally, making an impact on their behavior. My [cosmetic] hauls led to frequent purchases, and this moved the cosmetic marketing industry. Now the marketers are more interested in online influencer advertising campaigns more than the TV ads. This trend is spreading towards other industries, such as food and beverage, and even public enterprises.
What do you count as your biggest achievement to date?
Reaching a million followers was a pretty significant milestone in my life. But my proudest moment personally was when I gathered a team to work for me. The fact that a few people came together to achieve a certain goal under my guidance made me become a successful business woman in my own terms. I think I became a leader in a true sense at that moment.
Is there anything that you find people assume about you that isn’t true?
A lot of the speculations are, in fact, true. (LOL) It’s because I am pretty straightforward when it comes to presenting myself. I am single. Please set up a date with a Singaporean man for me.
This interview has been translated from Korean and edited for clarity.
Want more SSIN? Catch her in action on VIU’s Lifestyle Bites here!