Thursday, March 26, 2020

Beyond The Bows: How JoJo Siwa Built A Business Empire

Beyond The Bows: How JoJo Siwa Built A Business Empire

JoJo Siwa got her start on the reality show Dance Moms, along with her mother Jessalynn. But what makes her special is that she used the show to catapult into superstardom. She dances, sings, has two YouTube channels and is also an entrepreneur who has built a brand worth millions of dollars.


JoJo Siwa performing. JOJO SIWA

Think about all of the reality stars who have come and gone. They’re on a show for a season, they leave and you never hear from them again. They might try to cash in on their fame by selling some products on Instagram. But that dries up over time, as they become less relevant.

JoJo Siwa had a vision, at a young age, of what she hoped to accomplish. She thought big and imagined herself becoming much more than a reality star.


Her manager, Caryn Sterling, shared the same vision and partnered with Siwa early in her career. “She had a jewelry line, and she knew I was an influencer, and wanted me to do stuff for her jewelry line. This is when I was on Dance Moms," Siwa told Forbes. "She said, ‘I want to fly to Vegas and meet you.’ So, she came and watched my performance and said, ‘I want to manage you. I’ve never done this before but you are supposed to be a star. So, tell me what you want and I’ll get it for you.’ I told her and it was a huge goal. And she just said, ‘Let’s make this happen.’”

Their first move was deciding on who she wanted to partner with. Dozens of companies wanted to be in the JoJo business but they decided that Nickelodeon was the right home for her. She said, “There’s something cool about Nickelodeon and I wouldn’t change it for the world. That’s where I’m supposed to be.”

She signed her deal when she was 13 and it has proven to be extremely lucrative for both her and Nickelodeon.

Despite the fact that she was so young when she signed; she immediately took a hands-on approach to her business. She said, “Early on, Nickelodeon wanted to have a meeting, where they discussed big business, and they wanted to do it without me. My Mom and I said, ‘That’s not how it works. We’ve been in this together since day one.’ And in that meeting Pam [Kaufman], who is the head of consumer products, said, ‘Just so you know, if this t shirt doesn’t sell then it’s all over. That was why I didn’t want you here.’ Now, every time I see her I laugh and say, ‘How’d that t-shirt sell?’”

The t-shirt was a huge hit and since then she has launched hundreds of products. Siwa has a global team that supports her and her brand. She said, “There are 500 Nickelodeon employees, worldwide, that support the JoJo brand. I can’t be present in every business meeting because they’re probably having three JoJo meetings right now. People in Hong Kong are probably having JoJo meetings. People in Australia are probably having JoJo meetings because it’s such a huge franchise.”

Because she can’t be everywhere, she has to pick where she wants to spend her time. Siwa said. “I probably spend most of my time with JoJo toys. They are the biggest seller, followed by: accessories, apparel and then bedding. Shoes are included in apparel and Wal Mart just placed their biggest shoe buy ever. It was for over one million pairs of JoJo shoes.”

But her biggest seller of all time are her signature bows. She said, “It all started with the bows. So far, we’ve sold over 80 million bows.”

The pricing ranges from $5 to $16 per bow. Even if you take a conservative estimate, that’s $400 million generated by bow sales alone.

No matter how large her business gets, Siwa will continue to produce as much content as possible. She releases music, TV shows, performs and is also extremely active on social media. She knows that her content is what got her to where she is. She explained, “YouTube is what I’m invested in. YouTube is my life. I love YouTube. Next is TikTok. I love it because you can just make a dance video.”

So, what’s next for Siwa? She is 16 years old and can’t continue to be that sparkly girl, with the side ponytail, forever. Or can she?

She said, “I love what I’m doing right now. I was watching a video this morning where they said, ‘Will she be wearing the bows when she’s 25?’ For me the bow isn’t just something that I put in my hair. I feel weird without it. I won’t just wake up and say, ‘I don’t want a bow in my hair.’ That’s never going to happen. As far as what’s next is that I’m happiest when I’m performing. So, I’m going back on tour. And I’m doing a movie with Nickelodeon. I have a lot of projects lined up.”

Will JoJo still have the same hairstyle when she’s 25? Who knows. But one thing is certain; she will always be delivering the content that her audience wants to see.

Like George Jessel said, “Give the people what they want.”

That’s what Siwa is all about and it seems to be working out very well.

More Nick: Nickelodeon Developing New JoJo Siwa Movie!
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