- Seth Fowler has 1.1 million subscribers for his sneaker reviews on YouTube.
- Between sponsorship and ad revenue, Fowler brought in $485,000 last year from YouTube.
- He cofounded a sock company with about $1 million in revenue in 2022.
Seth Fowler has always been a fan of sneakers.
After studying design in college, he brought his knowledge to YouTube in 2016 with sneaker reviews. In his videos, he discusses the quality of a shoe, its materials, comfort, price, sizing, and more.
After being laid off from his day job at a dog toy company in 2018, he decided to devote his full attention to the self-titled channel.
Fowler had approximately 150,000 YouTube subscribers at the time. He reached 1 million followers in November of last year.
“It made me feel justified,” he told the publication, “like all these years of doing YouTube wasn’t for nothing.”
Last year, the YouTube channel, which now has 1.1 million subscribers, earned approximately $485,000 in gross revenue from advertising and sponsorship deals.
However, Fowler’s budding business empire includes sales on the live-shopping platform Whatnot as well as his own apparel company.
Apthcry, which Fowler cofounded in 2020, aims to “make the best socks ever,” according to Fowler. He claims that the company has been entirely self-funded and is debt-free.
Insider confirmed with documentation that Apthcry generated roughly $900,000 in direct sales in 2022, but sales through Whatnot, SneakerCon, and Takout NY pushed the revenue over $1 million, according to Fowler. He stated that rather than taking a salary this year, he has reinvested those funds back into the company. Insider confirmed that Apthcry in 2023 has sold nearly $800,000 so far.
Making money from a love of sneakers
Fowler learned a valuable lesson when he realized he was undercharging sponsors for ads read during videos with tens of thousands of views. Earlier in his career, when his videos received around 30,000 views each, he charged a $200 fee, and other sneaker YouTubers told him that price could be raised to a couple thousand dollars.
With managers and a larger audience (Fowler has 155,000 Instagram followers and nearly 50,000 followers on both TikTok and X, formerly known as Twitter), Insider confirmed that the creator now earns between $5,000 and $10,000 for an ad read. Whatnot, the online therapy platform BetterHelp, and Sole Premise, which designs travel bags for sneakers, are among his sponsors.
According to Insider, Fowler made $192,200 in revenue from about 35 sponsorship deals in 2022, and took home about $153,800 of that after paying his managers, video editors, and other expenses.
Fowler said he’s worked with about 20 different brands as sponsors this year.
“Whenever a brand like Adidas, New Balance, or Jordan brand reaches out to do some sort of sponsored content, it’s always sick,” Fowler explained, “because I’m like, ‘Wow, I was going to review this product anyway.'” And now you’re paying me to do it, which is fantastic.”
While some companies will send him shoes, he claims that he usually buys them himself, which results in more genuine reviews.
“As time’s gone on, I’ve realized that brands will send you stuff, brands won’t send you stuff, and it really doesn’t even really matter what you’re doing on your channel that much,” Fowler went on to say. “So I’ve always been very honest about my reviews.”
The majority of Fowler’s YouTube revenue comes from ads, which brought in an estimated $292,500 in 2022, according to documentation provided by Insider. As of early October, he’d made about $178,500 from YouTube ads this year, according to Insider.
Christmas is always a busy time for Fowler, who made $30,000 in ad revenue last December. With $38,000 in earnings, September 2022 was his best month to date, though this September was noticeably slower, Insider confirmed.
“I try and save as much as I can, just so that if a bad month comes along, it’s not detrimental,” Fowler told the newspaper.
Moving past sneaker reviews
Beyond the sponsored content he creates with the company, Fowler’s favorite place to buy and sell sneakers is the live-shopping app Whatnot. On the platform, he has about 20,000 followers and also holds sneaker giveaways.
Fowler is expanding his interests into new areas, such as his thrifting videos and his tech YouTube channel, which has 85,000 subscribers and reviews iPhones, Apple watches, and PlayStations.
He’s also used new technologies and platforms, such as 3D printing and YouTube Shorts, to broaden his audience. Not everything clicks or sticks — Yeezy reviews consistently drew large audiences, according to Fowler, but after Adidas dropped Ye and stopped new production of the shoes, he was forced to experiment with different types of content.
Examining the opposing side of influencer marketing
Apthcry, which has 35,000 Instagram followers, has focused on growing the business by marketing through Facebook and Google ads and attempting to enter retailers. According to Fowler, the company is also looking into collaborating with influencers.
As a creator, Fowler has firsthand knowledge of influencer marketing. However, as a small business owner, investing in influencer marketing can be unsettling.
“I know that from the influencer side, there are some ad reads that I’ll try my best, I’ll try and give it the best position possible, but it just won’t hit,” he said. “It’s scary from the business side.”
Apthcry has collaborated on sock collections with influencers such as Qias Omar, a fellow sneakerhead, and artist Amber Vittoria.
However, expanding Apthcry’s collaborations with influencers would be a significant investment for a small company like his. At the same time, he understands that marketing through these creators has the potential to reach the right audience of sneakerheads.
“I know what I get paid from the influencer side, and it’s tough for me from the business side to want to pay that,” he said with a grin on his face.