Youtooz, the company making collectibles of the world’s biggest YouTube stars
There are many ways to support your favourite online creator, whether it’s through a monthly donation or merchandise. A lot of fans will showcase their support by physically branding themselves with a creator’s logo or design, and one company is taking that even further. Youtooz is a Canadian collectibles company that currently makes vinyl figures of YouTubers, streamers, and even internet culture.
Youtooz has grown in popularity extremely rapidly, amassing over 125,000 followers on Twitter and releasing around 25 figures in less than 100 days. The company released its first figure in April 2019, but it wasn’t in the form of an internet personality.
“Our first product was the ‘Dead Meme’, which we released around 2 months before the Misfits,” says Austin Litman, the co-founder of Youtooz. “It was our soft launch and let us make sure our shipping and manufacturing partners were able to handle burst volumes during drops.”
The first figure was based on an internet meme that originated on VRChat all the way back in late 2017, but memes were just the start of what the creators had in mind. On June 28 th , Youtooz released its first batch of content creator collectibles in the form of the Misfits, a group of gaming creators which included Fitz, SwaggerSouls and Toby on the Tele. “The weeks following up to the launch we weren’t sure how well our first official drop was going to go and so it was slowly starting to stress us out,” Litman says. “We spent months on the first release.”
The hard work paid off, as the Misfits’ large audience absolutely loved all three releases, with the figures all selling out entirely in the first 24 hours of them releasing.
“It was incredible,” he describes. “A few hours after the launch everyone hunkered down and got ready for what was a few sleepless weeks afterwards shipping out packages, answering DMs and support queries.”
The team behind Youtooz seem to be entirely community-driven, and are extremely engaging on their social media pages, speaking to each and every fan through direct messages and tweet replies. “Our community and our customers are both things that everyone at our company listens to and cherishes a lot,” mentions Litman.
“We value their feedback a lot too, and we'll often post designs in channels in discord or on our [Instagram] story to see what people think. We often screenshot and discuss DMs with feedback from our community that come into our Twitter or Instagram accounts.”
The community for the company has grown in size after multiple releases across many different areas of YouTube and Twitch. Youtooz has made figures of commentary channels such as JonTron and Memeulous, but also of comedy creators such as Dolan Dark, Ricky Berwick and more.
According to the team, there is actually an artistic aspect behind the figures and the design that goes into them. Austin kindly expands on this.
“The idea behind Youtooz is to capture a person or brand in a certain moment of time. Moments happen often and fast on the internet and in pop culture. Part of collecting Youtooz is not just collecting the personality but collecting those moments as well.”
Not only does this idea have an effect on the design of each and every figure, but also the way that the company works in selling out stock forever. Litman explains that “Our figures will become more varied and intense as time goes on. Just how a certain moment in time is gone forever once it’s over, the Youtooz figures are produced once and then gone forever.”
This design process is done directly with the content creators to frame the perfect moment that they themselves want to “capture and share with their community.” It starts “with a general questionnaire asking about pose, clothing, accessories, mood, etc. From there we’ll create a set of concept sketches, share them with the creator and then work in feedback.”
Once the company and the creator land on a draft that they both love, Youtooz will then “sculpt, model and colour the final model. Once that’s approved, we start producing it. There’s a similar process for the inside and outside packaging on the window box and the protective sleeve.”
The minds behind Youtooz seem to be the most qualified and passionate in the business, who were already big fans of collectibles before starting up the company. Rival companies like Bearbrick, Funko and KAWS are what inspired Youtooz in the first place.
“We wanted to do something high end and designer that we would want to collect ourselves, but of content creators, celebrities, rappers, and generally just pop culture”, he says.
For the future of the company, there is also a lot on the horizon. Rumours of an upcoming mobile game are circulating, and I inquired further about that.
“Not a crazy amount to reveal but we’re working on some simpler hypercasual games for mobile in our own style that we and our community already loves to play.” Litman emphasises that the apps are being made “without all of the annoying ads and monetization.”
He finishes by saying “We have some bigger ideas for games in the future, but we’re starting smaller for now and seeing how it goes.” As for Youtooz as a whole, the team’s main focuses right now are “improving shipping by adding more warehouses around the world and adding more people to our support team so we can keep up with support, DMs and our community so we can handle all of the upcoming releases.”
Heading to the official site right now may overwhelm you with how many figures are currently on sale and being teased for pre-order. The team is exploring many options for figures to create, with the latest crazy idea being 2-foot and even 6-foot tall vinyl figures.
As for the team’s favourite figure so far, Litman humbly admits that “Jontron is also a very special release because of how beloved Jacques is to his community”, with Jacques being the creator’s pet parrot that Youtooz and Jon opted to include in his figure. According to Austin, “framing that moment was an incredible honour for us.”
Youtooz does not seem to be slowing down anytime soon, with dozens of figures on the horizon from a variety of creators and internet culture. Austin tells fans reading this interview to “get ready for Black Friday. It’s going to be epic.”
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