Join host Jacqueline Jax on todays Jax Daily to learn how a Passion for Fashion Became a Full Time Career on youtube for one creator that couldn’t find her path. Ashley (aka ‘bestdressed’) wasn’t always a fan of fashion. She didn’t become enthralled with it till her sister strongarmed her into watching Project Runway. Even after Tim Gunntaught her the appeals of being best-dressed, she didn’t go for runway fashion — she went for thrift.
What made you pick YouTube as the place to share your content? What did you hope your channel would be when you started it?
Ashley: I grew up watching YouTube, so I always itched to start a channel of my own. When I was in third grade, I actually started my first-ever channel called PipeCleanerStudios where I uploaded animations of a pipe cleaner dinosaur named Charlie and got like two views. Eventually I started recording knockoff CommunityChannel stand-up, but quickly realized how embarrassing that was and deleted my channel.
The second time around, when I started this channel my senior year of high school, I genuinely just wanted an outlet for my love for fashion and a way to participate in the YouTube community I grew up with. I remember writing in my journal that I wanted to be a graphic designer, architect, or YouTuber, but never in my wildest dreams did I think that last option would come true.
What’s next for your channel? Any plans looking to the future?
Ashley: Oh boy, where to start! I always have 10 times more ideas than I have time to actually do them. I have a couple exciting new projects in the works that have been lifelong dreams of mine, so I guess you’ll just have to wait and see… It’s always been a goal of mine to have a business outside of YouTube so I’m no longer dependent on sponsorships or have to worry whether my videos get demonetized, so that’s hopefully not too far on the horizon.
As for my channel, I’d love to continue to push my videos to new and more cinematic formats, make mini documentaries about issues I’m passionate about, direct a music video, start a podcast, finish my second screenplay, and think of ways to use my skillsets and all the opportunities I’ve been handed to help the people who need it most.
When did you start noticing your audience really picking up? How are you growing your audience?
Ashley: It’s been somewhat exponential with a few big waves. I remember two summers ago, one of my first thrift hauls got 200,000 views, which I thought was a huge deal. That helped me get my feet off the ground from less than 1,000 subscribers to around 25,000, which in turn motivated me to start making weekly videos. I haven’t missed a week since. My bedroom makeover is now sitting at over 6 million views, so that’s been a huge contributor, along with some of my more high-effort fashion videos like 50 Outfits for When You Have Nothing to Wear (below) and How to Put Together an Outfit 101.
I’m trying to grow my audience by just making better and better videos, with fewer and fewer sponsorships. Luckily, I’ve never grown from clickbait or lazy videos, so I’m going to continue mixing chatty vids and vlogs with those high-effort, useful videos that often have farther reach.
Some of the big videos I have planned honestly are things I’ve never seen on YouTube before, so they could perform well or completely flop. But I know either way I’m excited to make them, and that’s what matters most. You have to build something you love, then the audience will come eventually. It doesn’t work the other way around.
What do you think makes your content stand out despite all the noise on YouTube?
Ashley: The way I see it, there are two schools of fashion and beauty YouTubers: the old-school picture-perfect guru, and the relatable, “effortless” vlogger. I don’t quite fall into either category. I’m honest about my flaws and awkward moments, but I’m also an absolute tryhard. Not in the sense that I spend hours caking on foundation and practicing my on-camera smile, but in the sense that I spend days editing and perfecting every cut, color correction, and composition. I think it’s that combination of my uncensored personality and thoughtfully edited videos that makes me stand out.
I also feel like whether it’s through a fake smile or self-deprecating jokes, a lot of YouTube videos feel dumbed down to the least common denominator of entertainment. I refuse to do that — I want to show my viewers you can love fashion and have informed political opinions and care about larger issues and have stupid brain fart moments and get straight A’s and have an existential crisis all at once.