How Rosanna Pansino Parlayed a Massive YouTube Following Into a Business Beyond the Channel

Seeing a gap in the market led to a new bakeware line

Animation: Yuliya Kim

Rosanna Pansino started uploading videos to YouTube around six years ago. These days, with nearly 9 million subscribers, 2 billion video views, a cookbook that’s a New York Times best-seller and a newly launched bakeware line, Pansino has taken over the URL as well as the IRL.

Between cakes, cookies, pizzas and “nerdy” crafts, Pansino started creating videos based on her own interests, and along the way, she found a like-minded community online. She didn’t set out to create a personal brand or business with the videos—that opportunity surprised her.

“Over the years, as it evolved and slowly become a brand, I think it’s all about creating things that you love,” Pansino told Adweek. “When you put out what you love in the world, people will find it who are interested in the same things you’re interested in, and a community starts to form. A brand starts to form naturally without even trying.”

Pansino’s emotional connection with her fans and fellow bakers allowed her to explore and expand her career beyond shooting and editing videos for YouTube. (Her videos can take up to 70 hours to create, by the way—it’s something she wished people understood about creators—between recipe testing, filming and editing.)

Video: John Tejada

Since her cookbook of pop culture-inspired recipes was published in 2015, Pansino has started working on other original shows and released her own line of bakeware.

Pansino custom-designed molds, spatulas, mixing bowls and the like to meet a need she saw in the baking market. No one else was selling 8-bit hearts or perfectly swirled poop emoji-inspired silicone molds. Even her apron didn’t quite exist.

“My mom actually made the first version of this apron for me, with some fabric she found,” Pansino said. “So we had to include it in our line, too.”

Pansino’s family is frequently featured in her videos, but she’s less actively hands-on than she was in the beginning when she edited everything herself.  Still, she finds ways to be involved behind the scenes and keep creating, just as other creators who eventually expand beyond YouTube have done.

“They’re creators; they make things,” Pansino said, “and I think I feel the same way. I just like making things.”

Watch all of Adweek’s interview with Pansino (above) in which she discusses building a brand online, staying creative and branching out with new projects.

Photo: Yuliya Kim