As influencers seek to diversify their platforms, influencer management is proving a viable option.
Patrick Starrr, the beauty vlogger who counts 4.3 million subscribers on YouTube, has quietly added management to his résumé. Over the past year Starrr has formed a management agency, The Beauty Coop, and has signed on seven up-and-coming influencers and personalities. Among them are Zackary Vang, Cohl’s World, and Jose Jimenez, aka @laviedunprince.
Earlier this month, Vang and Cohl’s World debuted a cosmetics collaboration with Buxom. The collection was Buxom’s first all-male line, and was the first brand collaboration for both Vang and Cohl’s World. Starrr, who met Vang and Cohl’s World at Benefit’s annual Brow Search last year, shot and edited the Buxom campaign images, as well as Buxom’s announcement videos. The content received a 69 percent increase in engagement on Cohl’s World’s Instagram and a 59 percent increase in engagement on Vang’s feed.
Influencer marketing is a fast-paced, relatively new phenomenon, and though social media has proven lucrative, it is ridden with uncertainty — algorithm changes, outages, political challenges. Influencers, therefore, are seeking platform diversification, which for many, means starting their own brands, releasing merchandise and, in the case of James Charles, touring. Others, including Starrr and Tina Craig of Bag Snob, who launched an influencer management agency called Estate Five last year, are going from in front of the camera to behind the scenes.
They have the chops to do so. Starrr’s YouTube videos rack up millions of views — his most popular, which has 14 million views, features Kim Kardashian West — and his five-collection collaboration with MAC Cosmetics is tied with Rihanna’s for the brand’s largest partnership.
“I have so much knowledge coming off the heels of MAC,” said Starrr. “It’s very glamorous to have brands reach out to you and believe in you. These kids [Vang and Cohl’s World] are now valuable in the industry, so having the ins and outs of the industry along with my team and my experience, I said, why not utilize that and pass it on?”
The Beauty Coop is a beauty influencer incubator-slash-agency run by Starrr, his agent Katie and their lawyer. Starrr continues to be represented by a management company, though “there’s no conflict of interest there,” he said.
The mission of The Beauty Coop is derived from LVMH-owned brand Benefit, with which Starrr has been partnering for five years.
“[Benefit’s] mantra is ‘the brand that plays well with others,'” said Starrr. “If Benefit is the brand that plays well with others, Patrick can be the same. And if you look at the climate of social media and what it takes to be a star, it seems like people are pulling teeth and clawing at fame. That’s not my philosophy, growing up Filipino and growing up with humility. To be a team player is something I learned.”
As an influencer manager, Starrr has taken it upon himself to teach the members of his Coop how to Instagram and YouTube properly. That includes providing them with the right equipment.
“I took it upon myself to give them lights and a camera and a memory card and have a full Starrr Studios day with my editor to learn how to film, shoot and edit for eight hours out of my own expense so they could really learn,” he said. “This is what it takes to be an influencer. You have to film, you have to edit, you have to upload. And they see the reward, which is this campaign.”
He encourages his clients to “lay good eggs” and stay away from drama or controversial content. The YouTube beauty community has, after all, seen enough of that in recent weeks.
“It’s really no secret that there has been drama in the beauty community in the past, but if you look at that, it’s out of selfishness [rather] than selflessness,” said Starrr. “The reason why the Patrick Starrr brand and the MAC collaboration and my PR team are being recognized on the red carpet and having the most celebrity collaborations is because of the selfless attributes that I have been given by my parents.”
The Patrick Starrr brand is “not forever,” he said, though he’s still unsure of what his long-term goals beyond YouTube and influencing are. In the meantime, “the turban is still on the head,” so to speak.
“I think [The Beauty Coop] could be super successful,” he said. “This is going to be very boutique and very personal. The last thing I want to do is have a lot of turnover and quantitative personalization and quality. I want to be able to tend to everyone. It’s fun. We have a good time. We have dinners, we’ll hang out, they’ll come over, we’ll touch base every now and then, see what their next goals are. This is something I never posted on my channel. I know once this article goes up, my DMs and emails are going to flood.”
More on influencers from WWD:
WATCH: Bretman Rock Explores Crystals and Tarot with WWD