There’s a reason the hashtag #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt has nearly 26 billion views. If there’s one thing the popular entertainment app has taught us, it’s the power of social media marketing. Advertising on billboards and in commercials can cost thousands of dollars, and for many small businesses, that’s not a realistic option. The app has evolved over the past couple years (remember when doing anything other than dancing on TikTok seemed odd?), and it’s become clear that if a smaller brand wants to build awareness, reputation and recognition, they have to place their trust in a social-savvy audience.
The ability to go viral on the popular entertainment app has given small businesses the opportunity to be discovered by their ideal target audience, not only largely increasing their number of sales, but helping them build an authentic community.
Keep reading for eight small-medium businesses that blew up because of the app.
@slicedotca 💅🏻Pop off, besties 💅🏻#tiktokmademebuyit #tiktokevent #smallbusinesscheck #tiktokforbusiness ♬ my love – rae
Brought to you by serial entrepreneur, Celine Guo, Sunday Glow offers the Personalized Korean Mask Box. Available as a subscription that lets you try new masks and a complimentary beauty tool every month, this brand works with local dermatologists, skincare experts and beauty gurus to find the best-in-class products. The best part? People of different ethnicities, skin types and ages are part of the testing process, and only masks that receive a minimum of 8.7/10 star ranking make it into the box.
Before ordering, customers are asked to take a 10-question Skin Quiz that evaluates skin tone, type and skin concerns to make sure you’re getting the best skincare for you.
Sunday Glow has now sold to over 100+ countries and exceeded six figures in revenue just within their first year of business. Glow off, queen.
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When she was diagnosed with Lupus in May 2021, Haley spent long hours in the hospital where she found her love for jewelry making. Hoping to create a positive out of her situation, she turned her hobby into a business, Haley Made, with the aim of creating pieces that bring happiness to those who wear them (hence all the cute butterflies and smiley faces!). Each piece is hand crafted, using high-quality materials such as real freshwater pearls and 18k gold plating.
Fun fact: when they launched their Choose Your Destiny collection – which is full of tarot card-themed necklaces – they initially offered to send out a random necklace, so that the “surprise” tarot card could symbolize the receiver’s future. How cool is that?
XXL & Co.
What was initially as a gift for someone with super-long locks turned into a business idea that started in founder Tina Nguyen’s apartment in Downtown Toronto. Once more orders started to roll in (and after a couple viral TikToks), Tina moved back home where her parents helped her expand her business. Her mom would help cut and choose fabrics, while her dad would handle deliveries and quality control.
Now, they have a team of 15 who work out of a warehouse bringing oversized scrunchies to the world! XXL & Co.’s story isn’t just about hair accessories, it’s one about family – which is why we love their brand so much.
Looking for new Indigenous businesses to support? Social entrepreneur and Supply Chain Management Professional Mallory Yawnghwe has got you covered. Indigenous Box is a subscription box and corporate gift service that brings light to Indigenous entrepreneurs and artists that ships right from amiskwaciwâskahikan (YEG) in Treaty 6 territory.
This box helps create opportunities for emerging, under-represented and established Indigenous businesses alike. More than a box, it’s a movement of Canadians coming together to support their communities. From jewelry, to books, to home goods, to fashion, there’s something in this box for everyone, and more brands/products are always being added.
Everyone secretly loves cookie dough – it’s fine, we won’t tell anyone. But what’s not always so great about indulging in this treat is the ingredients and ultimately, how eating too much of it can make you feel. In an effort to have one of her favourite treats be both delicious and nutritious, Erica Rankin founded Bro Dough, a healthier, plant-based and protein-packed cookie dough that doesn’t skip out on the flavour.
Using a special heat-treated flour and removing the process of adding eggs makes Bro Dough totally edible.
After their first TikTok went viral in 2021 and Erica’s entire inventory sold out, Bro Dough went from being a one-woman-show to a brand that works with a manufacturer to produce thousands of product, and is now carried in select retailers across the country.
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As an artist/illustrator, Malik’s work largely focuses on love and beauty, with a goal of capturing a divine feeling for viewers from inspiration drawn from his environments.
Malik has been painting and selling art since the age of 13 and had his first solo art show at the age of 17. His work has moved beyond just prints as he launched a line of apparel featuring his artwork. Since posting his first TikTok in February 2021, he has amassed nearly 50K followers who watch along as he showcases his painting process.
The Renewable Box
What better way to start living an eco-friendly and sustainable lifestyle than by having everything conveniently packed into a box for you? Viviana To grew up learning about the climate crisis, and along with it, the lack of awareness the topic truly had. Combining her business degree and dedication for the environment, she created The Renewable Box – an easy way for beginners to take their first steps into their sustainability journey.
In addition to creating unique boxes, she uses her TikTok platform to spread awareness, educate and inspire others to take immediate climate action in any way they can.
Local Laundry was born in 2015 out of the idea of “what if all laundry was local?” Meaning, Canadian-made, representing Canada, collaborating with the community, giving back to local charities and, most importantly, being made to last. Now, co-founders Connor Curran and Dustin Paisley are working to make clothing better, with a goal of donating $1M to local charities across Canada by 2030.
The brand has collaborated with popular organizations like Calgary Flames, Shaw Communications and more.