Identical twins Brooklyn and Bailey McKnight are growing up on YouTube.
The Texas duo began their digital footprint as hair models on their mother's channel, Cute Girls Hairstyles, and in 2013, launched a channel of their own. Now with more than five million subscribers, the 19-year-olds are capitalizing on their followings with a mascara launch and a collaboration with Arizona at J.C. Penney.
"Our whole life we’ve been asked what mascara we use because we got blessed with good lashes," Bailey said. "We spent two years in the creation process of making this picture-perfect mascara for an everyday girl and now we absolutely love it."
Called Lash Next Door, the mascara launched on the twins' official web site in May. Priced at $18 with free shipping, the product is made of two formulas — one for lengthening, one for volume — and is free of TEA, DEA, parabens, sulfates and phthalates.
The twins funded production with the help of their subscribers through Indiegogo, and are donating a percentage of the sales to the United Nations' Girl Up campaign, for which they serve as celebrity ambassadors.
Brooklyn and Bailey also serve as brand ambassadors for J.C. Penney. Last week they unveiled a collaboration with Arizona on backpacks, sold exclusively at the retailer. The backpack partnership is fitting, as the sisters are both heading to Baylor University in the fall, where they plan to study entrepreneurship. The collaboration was also a strategic play by J.C. Penney to tap into the YouTubers' Gen Z following.
"Our channel is based off of the everyday life of the everyday girl," Bailey said. "It's 13 to 18 age group, the girl next door, the girl you see at school, your average everyday girl."
She and Brooklyn's YouTube page features a variety of content spanning challenge-style clips like "The Oreo Challenge" — in which they taste-test Oreo flavors while blindfolded — to a confessional-style video in which Brooklyn opens up about a breakup to a video in which they re-create popular photos by fellow twin YouTube stars. Their most-watched video is a 32-minute documentation of their trip home from getting their wisdom teeth removed. It has over 21 million views.
They've shared rather personal moments on their pages already, and though they're careful not to overshare, they draw the limit just at their home address and phone numbers.
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"It’s been a process with us and our parents and our family members to decide what we do and do not want to share," Brooklyn said. "We show our audience an authentic life, and we are showing sometimes the school we go to or the events we’re participating in or our names, our siblings’ ages, personal information like that. But there are parts that we do try to keep secret like our address, our phone number, the obvious safety protocols on social media."
Before heading off to college, the two are focusing on expanding their business. Sales of the Lash Next Door mascara have been going "super, super well," and they're now looking at new products to add to their web site, which also includes scrunchies. They have their eyes on "entertainment stuff," and have worked with music producer Benny Cassette on a series of singles. The video for one, "Dance Like Me," has more than eight million views.
"We did go on a 16-city tour in October of last year and that was crazy," Bailey said. "We had so much fun traveling around the U.S. and meeting so many people, also getting to perform our music and meet all the fans."
With the launch of Lash Next Door, mascara trumps music — for now, at least. And with college in the near future, the girls will soon have a new stream of content to share.
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