Platiro now has more than 500,000 followers on the platform, where she shares videos of herself at Cold Stone juggling, decorating cakes, opening and closing the store and dancing in uniform all over the place. She said company management found out about her videos and “are big fans of it. And they’re not opposed to it and sought me out to see if I would like to do additional marketing with them.”
“I’ve never thought of it as a way for me to get more money from Cold Stone,” Platiro said. “I noticed that it was free advertising for the company, which I was not too mad about. It is just nice to know that they aren’t mad at me for making these videos, and I’m able to do them and have my creative freedom as long as I don’t make them look bad. I keep up with good work ethic, and it is okay, which I appreciate because it allows me to have fun with it too.”
Teen Vogue reached out to Cold Stone for comment.
Sometimes these employees open up about the challenges of their daily gigs and packed schedules. Since publishing her first TikTok in June 2020, housekeeper Vanesa Amaro has gained 1.7 million followers. Her feed is filled with videos of her cleaning and organizing, along with tips and hacks, from how to get rid of hard water stains to how to clean a sofa covered with dog hair without a vacuum.
But she’s also frank about the downsides of the job. In one four-part story, she dished about her worst clients. And in another, she shares that her work, considered a source of entertainment for hundreds of thousands of viewers on TikTok, remains a tiring job. “Cleaning is not just organizing,” she writes, on a video of her vacuuming and scrubbing toilets. “It is hard work. We sweat and get wet and tired.”
Platiro also shows her vulnerability, talking about the stresses of holding down two jobs, feeling lonely, and how it’s “actually really overwhelming” to have a large online following, which she never sought out.
“When I first started gaining a significant following, I began to push myself to create more content, to put out more without stopping, and I noticed I was starting to get super burned-out,” Platiro told Teen Vogue. She says she had to learn how to log off to protect her mental health.
Some service employees say they’ve benefited from their online platforms, which have helped them find community, and have leveraged them into additional paid opportunities.
“Anyone who gets big on TikTok gets companies approaching you who want to do collaborations. And it’s up to you to decide whether you can fit that in your content and possibly get paid for it,” Miles said. “I’m not turning down every opportunity to make more money. I worked with [storage solutions business] BigDug. They found me through TikTok to see if I could get their product in my videos.”
For Eckroth, 2020 was the year of her graduation from undergrad and the end of her three and a half years as a part-time barista. After building a community with videos orbiting around her work, she says she still plans to create online content. “It was just my time. I graduated with my marketing degree, found a new job and got married. I knew it was inevitable when I got the position at the beginning of college. As far as we go, I’m not going anywhere. I’m Morgan, and I’ll still be drinking coffee even though I’m not on the floor as a barista anymore. Will my content look different? Perhaps, or perhaps not,” she says from her YouTube channel.
As for Platiro, she says she’s “reaching a point wherein the next year or two I will be leaving Cold Stone.” She’s thinking about the future of her TikTok platform too. As someone who has “always found it super fun to share stuff” and loved watching YouTube streamers, she says, “I don’t like to tie myself down to one specific type of content. I love doing dancing TikToks, art, comedy and satisfying videos. I try to incorporate other videos into my page so that people will follow me for multiple reasons. That way I’m not just the Cold Stone girl.”
Want more from Teen Vogue? Check this out: Young Service Workers Are Going Through Hell
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