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YouTube star Guava Juice explains how he got his start and grew to 14 million subscribers

GUAVA JUICE GUAVA JUICE
Roi Fabito, who is known online as Guava Juice.
Storm Santos

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  • Roi Fabito, known as Guava Juice, has 14.9 million subscribers on his main YouTube channel. 
  • Fabito started his YouTube career out of boredom in high school in 2006, and today he has grown the Guava Juice empire into a lucrative business. 
  • Fabito has worked with brands like Mattel, Mastercard, Nickelodeon, and Lego on sponsored content. 
  • He also sells products in retail stores like Walmart and Target, and has a branded merchandise line. 
  • Business Insider spoke to Fabito about his YouTube business and developing several revenue streams. 
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

One day after high school, Roi Fabito decided he would start a YouTube channel for fun, and film funny videos and sketches after class with friends. 

"I figure it all comes down to boredom," Fabito, now 28, told Business Insider. "I grew up in a small town in North Carolina. There was really nothing much to do there, expect go to the one mall."

Fabito said his parents owned a small video camera that he would use to film clips with his friends in 2006. He treated his YouTube channel like a creative outlet, and it wasn't until he got to college that he began taking it more seriously. 

"Eventually, I went to college and I found out that you could make money on YouTube," he said. "At the same time I was broke and needed food just to survive, and I didn't want to use my mom's money. So, I just used the opportunity of YouTube."

Today he has grown his YouTube business into a lucrative empire, earning money through ads placed by Google, promoting brands, and other business opportunities. He is known online as Guava Juice, which is the name of his wildly popular YouTube channel that has amassed over 14.9 million subscribers.

"Eventually, I fell in love with the whole aspect of making videos," he said. "Making something out of nothing."

GUAVA JUICE
Fabito.
Storm Santos

Starting Guava Juice and finding what content works on YouTube

Fabito began his digital career as one half of the duo Wassabi Productions, going by the name Roi Wassabi, alongside his digital partner Alex Burriss (known as Alex Wassabi online).

Fabito went on to focus on the Guava Juice channel a few years later, and now he posts weekly content like challenge videos – he once filled his bathtub with cheese balls (50 million views), DIYs (like attempting to create the world's largest balloon which amassed 29 million views), and other experiments. Using these keywords can help lure viewers into clicking on the video. And if a video delivers what it promised in the title, then it will likely have a higher watch time and YouTube will know to recommend it to viewers

"After I left (the Wassabi project), I had to figure out who my new persona is," he said. "I felt like that was the hardest part, finding out my voice."

After building up his own following online, Fabito decided to break off and start his own independent channel.

This grew into four popular YouTube channels, Guava Juice (14.9 million subscribers), Guava Games (686,000 subscribers), and a second channel: Guava Juice 2 (3.3 million subscribers). 

His YouTube channel is considered to be among the top family-friendly channels for kids (he won a Streamy Award in the Kids & Family category in 2018), and his channel is placed alongside other kid-friendly creators like Collins Key (20 million subscribers). 

"How we got to that demographic in the first place was because we knew our little cousins would watch our videos," he said. "The content was super experimental. I watched a lot of YouTube, and I remember spending weeks trying to figure out what's trending." 

He films YouTube videos with the help of his younger brother, and he has a team of six people in house, and a team of about six editors and an animator in the Philippines. When he was starting out, he would upload around two videos every day. He said he was inspired by top YouTube creator PewDiePie (103 million subscribers), to follow this strategy. 

 

Building a lucrative digital business online 

Like most digital creators, Fabito has several revenue streams, from earning money through the ads that play in his YouTube videos, promoting brands like Mattel, Mastercard, Nickelodeon, and Lego in timed integrations on his channel, and by developing consumer products sold in major retailers like Target and Walmart by licensing his brand.

He also has original songs on iTunes and Spotify, a merchandise line, and a mobile game, "Guava Juice: Tub Tapper," which since it's release in 2018, has passed one million downloads. 

"It's a lot of pressure for sure, especially with my following now," he said. "I have to be cautious with what I do today. I don't want to offend people. I also have to cater to the parents as well, and sometimes the parents are more excited to meet me than the kids. " 

Fabito has also partnered with the Make-A-Wish Foundation several times to surprise fans, since his target audience on  YouTube skews younger. In 2018, he surprised Wish Kids with the opportunity to meet and hangout with him at VidCon, the annual online video convention. 

Recently, Fabito has delved into long-form video projects. He hosted a weekly game show in December 2019 called  "SpongeBob SmartyPants," which appeared on Nickelodeon's SpongeBob SquarePants' YouTube channel. 

Off-platform projects have proven to be lucrative sources of income for many digital creators, a way for influencers to diversify their revenue streams outside of sponsorships and direct revenue earned off YouTube

Cross-platform reach can also help a creator sustain a long-lasting career and build out their revenue streams across major platforms like YouTube, Instagram, podcasting, and traditional media. 

"My mindset is, if it fails, I learn why it failed and I use whatever I learned from that to apply to the next video," he said. 

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