This YouTuber has amassed 1.6 million subscribers by creating a balanced, empathetic and wellness-oriented lifestyle. On a platform that sells quantity for quality, Niomi Smart’s unique brand is as much about giving as itself.
This month she released her first book, Eat smart, a guide to eating well and being in good shape. Within minutes of the announcement, the book rose through the ranks, becoming # 1 on Amazon. (Although it is only available in the UK and some countries currently).
The 24-year-old Brighton-born author tests natural beauty products, shares healthy recipes, runs for charity and supports causes on her YouTube channel. Her most recent video featured StandUp Cancer, a UK-based charity working on cancer research and prevention. More than just a photoshoot, Smart’s involvement is seemingly genuine and stems from the experience of life. When a friend died of skin cancer, Smart was shocked and saddened; she transformed her routine, diving into a plant-based lifestyle and prioritizing her health after a few years of indulgence in college, munching on cakes and cookies.
âI started eating like this just two years ago. I felt so much more creative in the kitchen, concocting recipes with new ingredients, and I literally wrote them down in a notebook, âshe said in a Skype interview from London. “I made 80 recipes before I knew it.”
Some of these recipes pay homage to its British heritage, such as a vegetarian version of the classic English breakfast or a Wellington made with lentils. Others are more indicative of Smart’s love for travel and discovering new flavors, such as vegetarian laksa, Indian dahls, and spicy noodles.
While Smart admits that the internet, and even YouTube, has countless health and wellness bloggers, she has carved out a distinguished, unlabeled space for herself. She doesn’t brag about being vegan. She does not deplore viewers for having fallen from the health car. His cheerful videos are more of a glimpse into an alternative lifestyle, even if you are shamefully eating a Twinkie while watching him.
âI just want to inspire people. If they just want to take a few of these ideas, recipes and incorporate them into their diet now, that is fine, too.
The book reads more like a collection of recipes shared with friends than a formal cookbook – all, of course, printed on responsibly sourced paper. With splashes of London lifestyle photos, it’s pretty but accessible, much like Smart itself.
Its audience is also unique, especially in a teen-led YouTube world. Smart says more than 80% of its viewers are actually over 18. These are mainly older women, with some disposable income and looking to build a more conscious lifestyle.
âI’m even surprised because the most active online are usually younger,â she laughs. “But no, I also have a more mature audience.”
The book and YouTube go hand in hand with his third entrepreneurial venture, SourcedBox, a subscription box service for healthy snacks.
In January 2016, she announced the new venture with fellow YouTuber Marcus Butler and friend Max Head-Lee. Self-funded, the company has not disclosed any profit or income to date. But Smart says the startup “is doing well and we couldn’t be happier with the numbers.” The team is trying to find a way to attract more customers beyond the UK and Europe.
âWhen I went to the stores to buy snacks, the choices were quite limited,â says Smart. âThey would either be very expensive or the brand would say it’s healthy when it’s not. The labeling is so misleading.
So they decided to create a monthly subscription that made it easy for people to discover new, healthier and more environmentally friendly brands. âMany of the brands featured in SourcedBox are startups and young brands. It’s great that we can help them stand out from the crowd.
Priced at just under Â£ 20, it’s pricey, but Smart says: “It’s frustrating, but better, responsibly sourced ingredients mean healthy snacks will generally be more expensive than the lot. usual for chips and chocolates at the corner store. “
Although the company had Smart and Butler’s many online subscribers, Smart admits that some of their clients have no idea who they are and know anything about their careers on YouTube. âAnd that’s perfectly fine. We always wanted to reach a wider audience.
Reaching a larger audience also means addressing some remaining issues: namely, being able to ship to more countries around the world, especially the United States. âWe’re getting requests from some remote corners of the world, but for now we are focusing on the UK and Europe,â she says.
Going forward, Smart suggests they can experiment with different types of boxes, catering to different palates and more customization. But for now, they’re focusing on the current model and tweaking it.
Smart’s career has gone beyond food, however. Beauty and lifestyle products regularly seek approval from the Londoner. She only accepts them if they embody her values: organic, natural, eco-friendly and cruelty-free products to name a few.
“It is also showing respect to the public who are interested in my channel because it defends certain values,” she said.
This year, Smart has partnered with the Soil Association in the UK, a charity that advocates for “healthy, humane and sustainable agriculture and land use”, and certifies brands as organic.
âThere are beauty brands that claim to be organic but don’t have certification. And there is no UK law on organic beauty. So you can create any chemical moisture and say it’s organic. They are trying to change that with a certification and a logo and I am helping to get that message across.
Full-time entrepreneur, half activist, Smart is building an online career that doesn’t just focus on numbers and followers, but quality issues as well. Perhaps a sign that YouTubers could actually fuel social and environmental change?