A star of social media has moved into one of Hull’s oldest buildings dating back nearly 300 years with a business which is making a global impact in one of the newest and fastest moving sectors.
Poppy Mead, a social media influencer with more than 750,000 followers on TikTok, has set up her new studio at Danish Buildings and Bayles House in High Street, Hull.
Born in Huddersfield, Poppy also has around 290,000 followers on Instagram and 80,000 on You Tube.
Only recently turned 20, she sees the move to the Old Town of Hull as the ideal inspiration as she works with boyfriend Kris Taylor to expand their activities into podcasts, clothing and property.
Poppy said: “Before we moved in here I worked from home but it was too easy to put Netflix on and not get any work done. Here I am in a much better environment. I love the Old Town area and this place helps us get out of the house and separate work from home. It also gives us the space we need to do the podcast.”
Georgia Allenby, Design and Marketing Manager at Allenby Commercial, said: “Since we bought Danish Buildings and Bayles House in 2017 we’ve welcomed all sorts of high-tech, on-trend businesses but podcasting is a first for us!
“We’ve got architects, filmmakers, marketing agencies and more but to now have a social media influencer with so many followers across various platforms shows how the world of business is constantly changing.
“Parts of the building date back to the 17th century and it’s incredible to think of all the different ways the building has been used between now and then.”
Poppy made her big social media breakthrough when she was just 17 after being furloughed from her job as a waitress in a restaurant.
She said: “I posted a random video ranting about someone I didn’t like and it got about four million views, so I kept posting stuff about what annoyed me. Then I started posting fashion things on Instagram and then it was You Tube and TikTok and it turned into a whole career.”
One of Poppy’s TikTok contacts introduced her to a manager whose job is to bring in the big brands for Poppy to promote. Among her clients are Pretty Little Thing, Missguided, Asos, Spotify, L’Oreal and Maybelline.
The earnings enabled Poppy to move out of the family home which she shared with her mum, dad, four siblings and two cats and get her own apartment in the centre of Leeds. With the second lockdown looming she moved in with Kris and his family in Hull, and now the couple and their dog Pippa have their own apartment in a leafy West Hull village.
Poppy said: “I’d been at college studying textiles, photography and drama. I got accepted at three universities and turned them down to do this. My manager got me five jobs in the first week but my mum had to do my contract because I was under 18!
“It’s a very big contrast. From getting next to no money to what I was suddenly earning was a massive reality check. It was crazy. I went through a bad time trying to get all my college work done. It made me very ill but I put my stress into my TikTok and when that turned into a job it helped my mental health and my financial situation.”
Poppy sits down at least once a week to study various big brands. She then gives her manager a list of targets.
She said: “About 95 per cent of them get back to me. Brands have to pay hundreds of thousands of pounds to appear on TV so they see the benefit of paying people like me. My followers will look at the products because they are promoted by me and I am someone they trust.
“If I like the way the brand looks and it’s a product I want to use then fine. If I don’t believe in the brand or I know I wouldn’t use the product, or it doesn’t work, then I won’t promote it no matter how much they pay.”
Kris, who has nearly 150,000 followers on TikTok himself, helps Poppy handle the stress of her soaring profile, especially when they are recognised by followers while doing the weekly shop.
He said: “We get recognised in the street and in the supermarket and sometimes Poppy gets quite anxious because it’s a stressful job. I don’t mind the attention because I love talking to people, especially if they’ve supported Poppy.”
With the majority of Poppy’s followers aged 18 to 25 she’s aware of the need to keep pace with changing trends and develop new business interests.
She said: “We are starting a clothing brand together and a podcast and we are also investing in property – people are always going to buy clothes and a house.
“At the moment my whole life is my job but you can do this for as long as you want as long as you are keeping your followers engaged and keeping up with the brands. You have to be truthful.
“At first I never realised I could turn this into a living. I knew from other people you could earn money from it but I had no idea this was their only job until my manager told me about the potential. It just happened by accident!”