When Ryan Shakes made the decision to drop out of school and pursue a full-time career as a social media influencer and personality, his family, especially his mother, was not quite sure how to react. “In the beginning, of course, it was a little like iffy, since she didn’t really understand what was going on,” Shakes said. “But as time passed and as the numbers got good, it became clear that this was becoming a bigger thing.” With over 5 million followers and 160 million likes on TikTok, Ryan Shakes is looking to capitalize on the position he is in.

In November 2017, the app Muscial.ly, which allowed for the creation and global sharing of short videos, was purchased by the China-based company ByteDance Ltd. While the premise of the app remained the same, the logo and name were effectively changed to TikTok. At the time of the acquisition, Ryan Shakes had already been making content on the platform for over a year. Shakes recalls that before school each morning, he would create one 15 second video and post to his account. His content, which he often filmed with his younger sister Zayla, was focused on comedy, dance, and lip-sync videos. When the app transitioned to TikTok, Shakes did not expect the rapid growth that his account would undergo.

As Shakes’ account grew to the size it is today, he realized that, if done correctly, he could turn it into a career. Last fall, he dropped out of school and began focusing on monetizing his newfound social media fame. Through partnership and brand deals, Shakes started his rise to becoming a certified TikTok superstar. His biggest success, so far, has been the creation of his ShakeyFam online store. Shakeyfam.com is home to all types of branded clothing and merchandise. In its first month, Shakes reported over $125,000 in sales and has been looking to expand the store ever since.

That expansion is due at the start of November, and it will be bigger than anyone could have expected. Along with a wider release of clothing, ShakeyFam will also be releasing branded slippers and LEDs, called ShakeyShoes and ShakeyLEDs. The most exciting item being released, though, is the ShakeyFam branded wireless earbuds, called ShakeyPods. As a cheaper alternative to headphones like the Apple AirPods, the ShakeyPods are targeted towards students who cannot afford those expensive earbuds.

As TikTok has exploded as a social media platform over the last few years, Ryan Shakes has been along for the ride since the beginning. Being in the position he was in when TikTok was formed, Shakes has built an online empire through bis ShakeyFam brand and is looking to expand in as many fields as he can. Check out Ryan Shakes on TikTok, and take a look at the ShakeyFam merchandise at Shakeyfam.com.

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