Eryn Smith, owner and maker of Oh My Lolly in Fort Worth, Texas, recently went so viral on TikTok that she had to halt new orders until she can catch up.
The popular social media platform allows users to upload video clips that are less than 60 seconds long. It's set up to show those clips to people who may not know about your page, which encourages new people to follow and interact with you.
One of Smith’s recent posts on her TikTok page (@OhMyLollyPop) about some of the struggles she faces as a small business owner — who personally makes all the custom lollipops she sells — got more than 162,000 views. It led to so many lollipop orders that she had to put up a post on her website reading, "Thank you! Thanks to the overwhelming support, orders are no longer being taken until I have caught up! If you're ordering for something in the future let me know!"
In a response video, she said, “That last video, I've been getting a lot of love from that. And although my intentions weren't to get donations or orders, you guys just, your kindness was overwhelming and I've been [very happy] the last two days because of the amount of love.”
And it’s not the first time she has gotten such a strong response from one of her posts. A July 16 video she posted highlighting her teal lollipops filled with sprinkles had more than 170,00 views. While one from July 5 highlighting her lollipop-making process had more than 300,000 views.
Overall, her page has amassed 31,500 followers.
Her online shop offers unusual lollipop flavors, such as Margarita Pops, Watermelon Tajin Pops and Lavender Latte. Each set is almost too beautiful to eat.
Smith recently took some time to answer some questions about using TikTok as a brand, and what it’s been like to get such a positive reaction from her posts.
Can you tell us a little bit about your candy company, such as when you started the company, why you started it and what you sell?
I own “Oh My Lolly!,” an online shop where I make custom lollipops for all events. I was a cake/cookie decorator for almost 10 years for a large retail company and I loved what I was doing, but needed a change.
It may sound crazy, but I got my inspiration from a dream where I owned a lollipop shop and the business took off from there.
Now, I own a lollipop shop and pride myself in having artisanal lollipops at an affordable price. Customers can completely customize their lollipops by flavor, color, images, text, ribbon, sprinkles — the list goes on. I want people to have as much fun making it as it is to enjoy it.
So you recently went viral on TikTok. Can you explain what happened, and why you decided to post the video on that platform?
I have gone viral a few times which is crazy and I am always extremely grateful. The most recent video was a vulnerable post. Without going into too much detail, I had my first encounter with a dishonest customer. I posted my video on TikTok on a whim to educate and vent, especially as it is a huge community for small businesses. A lot of people do not understand how small businesses work and I like to provide insight when I can.
What was the reaction to video? And how did you feel when you realized you were getting that kind of reaction?
The reaction was more than I could handle! It was just an outpouring of love from the TikTok community. That’s honestly what surprised me the most. Small business owners were sharing their struggles as well and were offering solutions. Everyone was in it together. I started receiving donations and so many orders that I had to warn people of the delay in normal shipment time. I hope soon I can pay it forward like they did for me. To receive that many orders and donations from strangers was so heartwarming.
Has the experience changed anything about how you plan to use TikTok going forward?
Yes! I am going to post more than ever before to keep up with the engagement and take the time to reply to as many people as possible. Responding lets your followers know you see them and care what they have to say. That’s something this has taught me as well.
How would you explain TikTok to another candy maker who may be interested in using the platform? How does the experience of using it in relation to a brand differ from something like Twitter or Facebook?
TikTok allows more freedom for the creator, in my opinion. It’s not as restricted as Facebook or Instagram, so you can post your product videos as well as add personal updates.
I follow a handful of other small businesses and they have grown so much by just sharing tiny details of their everyday job. TikTok allows you to be more interactive with followers and share things more frequently.
What advice would you give to a fellow candy maker who is interested in starting a TikTok?
Do it! It is so much fun to make videos about what you do, and customers love to know what goes on behind the scenes and the person making them.
Anything else you would like to add?
Don’t be afraid to dream big and appreciate the people who helped get you there.