No matter how much the mainstream media (and probably your nan) try to proclaim Zoe Sugg is not someone to aspire to, her sheer influence and business acumin prove otherwise. From starting out blogging about her favourite lipsticks to being a multi-millionairess, Zoe Sugg has had one hell of a career; and there’s no real stopping her. But what were the key moments that took her from average-Wiltshire-girl to one of the biggest pop culture icons of our time? Wonder no more, we’re going to detail them right here.
Zoe has always been one for the camera; as well as sharing a video of herself ‘vlogging’ aged 10, Zoe appeared as an extra in the Harry Potter films as well as drama Cranford.
Zoe registered her YouTube channel, ‘Zoella280390’, in February 2007; but it was a little while later before she’d upload a video…
Zoe started her blog, ‘Zoella’, in February 2009. Zoe started her blog alongside working as an interior design apprentice and, by the end of the year, the blog had around 1,000 followers.
One of Zoe’s very first posts, and the one that can still be seen on her site, talks about a set from Lush her ex-boyfriend bought her for Valentine’s Day. Unlike the woman we know today, Zoe had never tried anything from Lush at the time. Other posts from 2009 include a review of a Revlon lipstick, a dupe for the Nars ‘Orgasm’ blush and a post asking her readers to help name her new goldfish.
It was late in 2009 when PR agencies started to see the power bloggers had and Zoe began to get invited to some events by brands; it was here she met many of her blogging friends including ‘chummy’ Louise Pentland.
On December 17th 2009, after around 10 months of blogging success, Zoe uploaded her first video. ’60 Things In My Bedroom’ now has over 2.2 million views.
And if you want to have a laugh and comfort yourself knowing that every YouTuber started the same and had some cringe moments, here’s the description for Zoe Sugg’s dirst ever video:
I will be doing a room tour, but I had seen a few of these videos & I always love watching them, so I figured I would do one too.
For some reason, although I have done everything the same way, the quality is not as good on this video..which makes me feel like a failure (just when I was starting to think I had the hang of it) sheesh.
Just for the record, neither of the boys in this video are my boyfriend, they are my friends.
I tag you all to do this, it was actually a lot of fun & I want to see what weird things you have lurking in your bedrooms..mine werent [sic] all that strange or interesting, besides the food, which was because wed [sic] just eaten Chinese
Constantly gaining popularity, Zoe continued to make videos and make new friends across the YouTube platform. It was 2012 when Zoe would first met boyfriend Alfie Deyes, although Alfie would comment on her videos long before that.
Despite the fact Zoe is now the biggest British female creator on YouTube, she only reached one million subscribers in 2013.
In August 2013, after a lot of speculation from fans, Zoe and Alfie announced ‘Zalfie’ was real and went public with their relationship, sky-rocketing their careers even further.
After a monumental 2013, the power of ‘Zoella’ became apparent to seemingly everyone. Brands, publishers and advertisers all wanted a piece of the ‘Zoe Sugg’ pie and 2014 was one of her most successful periods to date. Having signed to Gleam Futures alongside the likes of Caspar Lee and her brother Joe Sugg, YouTubers were taking over the world at this point.
As well as attending meet ups including VidCon, Playlist and Summer In The City, 2014 also saw Zoe firmly become a household name when she secured a two-book deal with publisher Penguin in what they claimed would be a “modern day Notting Hill” style story.
No sooner had the deal been announced, Zoe revealed she’d also signed a contract to release a range of beauty products aptly named Zoella Beauty. Sold in Superdrug and online, the first range consisted of bath fizzes and a body spritz all in girly rose gold packaging.
However, 2014 wasn’t all fun and games for Zoe; she was caught in a huge backlash again her ghost-written novel ‘Girl Online’ towards the end of the year. Recently Zoe admitted she felt like quitting and giving up on her channel and business due to the sheer volume of hate she was receiving.
And the media storm wasn’t about to end any time soon. When Zoe moved into a “£1 million mansion” with boyfriend Alfie, she was criticised for losing her “relatable” nature rather than being celebrated for being a smart businesswoman.
2015 saw the release of Zoe’s second book, ‘Girl Online: On Tour’, and further additions to her beauty range including the Tutti Fruity collection which went on to break Superdrug’s record for fastest-selling products of all time for the company.
At the very end of 2015, Zoe and Alfie spoke out about fans invading their privacy; claiming fans were ringing their doorbell, waiting outside for photographs and sharing their home location online. However, 2016 came with a lot of positives, including hitting 10 million subscribers at the start of the year.
More additions were made to the Zoella Beauty range with the ‘Sweet Inspirations’ collection; and this no doubt inspired Zoe and Gleam to work on ‘Zoella Lifestyle’, a range of home products and accessories inspired by the YouTuber’s love of interior design. ‘Zoella Lifestyle’ was released into stores and online in September 2016 and had the Internet seriously shook with items selling out super quick.
Finally, at the very end of 2016, Zoe released the final book in the ‘Girl Online’ range. Like the previous two, ‘Girl Online: Going Solo’ instantly became a best-seller.