How a YouTube creator makes $1,000 each month from thrifting videos



  • Taylor Hawkes is a commercial real estate associate who makes money on the side with a YouTube channel about thrift shopping.
  • Hawkes started regularly posting to her channel in 2019 and now has 20,000 subscribers.
  • She turned her YouTube channel into a paying side-hustle through ad revenue and brand sponsorships. 
  • She spoke with Business Insider about how she monetizes her channel and got sponsorships on her videos.
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This is the latest installment of Business Insider’s YouTube money logs, where creators break down how much they earn.

Thrift is cheap, but making videos about thrift shopping has become lucrative for some creators. 

Taylor Hawkes, 25, works full-time as an associate at a commercial real estate firm, but spends nearly 20 to 25 hours each week creating new videos and content for her YouTube channel and Instagram.

After graduating from the New England Conservatory of Music and getting a day job, Hawkes wanted a creative outlet. Thrifting had been a hobby since she was a kid, so she started blogging about it in 2016 and regularly posting videos on YouTube in October 2019.

Now her YouTube channel, Taylor Made Style, has over 20,000 subscribers and is a paying side-hustle, with the potential to become a full-time career.

Hawkes creates “Come Thrift with Me” videos, a content category that has surged in the last few years, according to YouTube data. 

She developed her style and audience by posting on Instagram IGTV and Stories, including a “Thrifty Thursdays” series. Once she made the jump to YouTube, many of her followers on Instagram followed her to YouTube, and her audience grew.

In March, Hawkes landed her first paid sponsorship on YouTube with a watch brand. At the time, she had about 8,000 subscribers, according to Social Blade. She made $350 for a 60-second mention in a video. Since then, she’s landed five other integration sponsorships ranging from $500 to $550.

Most of her YouTube revenue comes from ads placed in her videos via AdSense, though, which makes her between $1,000 and $1,600 in pre-tax income each month. Business Insider verified this income range with screenshots of her analytics dashboard.

Creators with at least 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 watch hours can monetize their YouTube videos through AdSense. Factors such as length, watch time, type of video, and audience demographics impact how much money a creator earns.

Hawkes outlined her ad revenue strategy for Business Insider and how she’s landed brand sponsorships with only 20,000 subscribers. 

How she makes $1,000 each month from ads

Hawkes applied to YouTube’s Partner Program about two months after she started actively posting in 2019 and was immediately accepted, she said. With most of her videos reaching over 30,000 views, she’s been able to make a steady income from her videos. While she’s still working full-time, the extra cash from the ads has helped support her and her husband, who had been furloughed as a result of the pandemic. 

Where she places her ads and how many she places makes all the difference in how much she earns. 

On her YouTube, she often posts hauls, a popular style of content where creators buy a lot of clothes at thrift stores, then present it all at the end of the video. 

“If I’m done with my thrifting trip and I’m going to show everybody the haul, I’ll probably put an ad right there,” in between the transition, she said. “Because I know that people will continue watching — hopefully — after they see me thrift.”

Haul-style videos perform well on YouTube, she said, especially when there’s a dollar amount in the title. One recent video, “What $100 will get you at the thrift store?! || come thrift with me || HUGE $100 thrift haul,” has received over 50,000 views so far. Hawkes also had pitched a local thrift store for a partnership on this video, and the store provided a $100 gift card in exchange for photos and publicity it got from the video.

If she visits more than one thrift shop, Hawkes places ads between each visit in the video. 

But she’s careful to not put too many ads in one video to avoid losing viewers. The highest she goes is five, including one at the beginning, two mid-roll ads, and one at the end.

“That way, I’m not weighing people down too much, but still trying to get as much out of AdSense as I can,” she said.

Being a part-time creator limits her income 

While Hawkes has landed several sponsorships early on, being a part-time creator limits the number of sponsorships she can secure. She’s also found Instagram hard to crack for sponsorships.

When she does have time to pitch sponsorships, she shares a media kit with her standard rates for sponsored content, average views, and audience demographics.

She also has to pay to maintain her channel, which includes the cost of thrift store shopping (about $200 per month), filming equipment, and subscriptions for copyright-free music and editing software. 

But Hawkes thinks it’s only a matter of time before she can grow her audience enough to become a full-time creator.  She’s posting one video per week, but plans to increase that to two.

“I may have to put in the work for a few years, but hopefully once that day comes, I can do it full time,” she said.

To learn more about how YouTube creators monetize their content, read these Business Insider stories:

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