Did you have a piggybank as a kid? Yours was probably filled with a bunch of coins, a wad of dollar bills, and maybe a couple gift cards. A kiddie bank doesn’t have room to hold much more than that — and certainly not millions of dollars.
That’s probably why this young entrepreneur has no use for piggybanks these days. Over the past couple years, he’s made a bundle — and he’s not even working, strictly speaking. Still, at the rate he’s going, he’ll soon need his own Fort Knox to hold his fortune…
Like any other seven year old, Ryan loves to play with toys. His reactions to new gadgets, while hilarious and charming, aren’t totally out of the ordinary. What is so unusual about his average playdate, however, is that millions of people tune in to watch.
YouTube / Ryan ToysReview
Why do so many people watch him play? Well for starters, he’s not part of some big celebrity family or anything. In most regards, Ryan is a normal first-grader who stumbled into stardom because of a fun idea.
Like many younger kids, Ryan got really into YouTube unboxing videos — clips where people unpack various new products and show off their features. In many cases, kids are simply filming these videos in their own homes, racking up tons of views in the process.
YouTube / Brothers Hobby
Though he was only three years old when he became a regular unboxing watcher, Ryan wondered why he wasn’t a YouTube star. He asked his parents, Shion and Loann, if he could make his own toy videos.
Guinness World Records Kids
Soon after, Ryan had his parents set up a camera. He sat down in front of it, opened up a giant plastic egg filled with characters from Pixar’s Cars, and started playing. Without much editing, Shion and Loann posted the video online under “Ryan Toys Review.”
Ryan followed up his Cars clip with more videos, each one showing off a different doo-dad and his sunny personality. His family cared more about him having fun than building a following. At the same time, they couldn’t help but notice the view count.
Lots of people were watching — a lot. His biggest video, for instance, featured Ryan climbing around an inflatable obstacle course and collecting toy-filled eggs. Since its release, nearly two billion people have watched it.
Who’s watching all these videos? For the most part, most of Ryan’s fanbase is made up of kids just like him. They really connect with a YouTube star their own age, plus they absolutely love seeing all the cool toys he’s featured on his channel.
Then you have parents who might be trying to figure out which new toys their kids would really like. Sure, they could comb through the aisles themselves, but isn’t seeing a kid have fun with a perspective buy more valuable?
Of course, there are countless similar YouTube series out there. You have to wonder why Ryan ToysReview stands out from the pack. Asked about the secret behind his success, the seven year old put it simply: “I’m entertaining and I’m funny.”
Now, with a full-length video debuting almost every day, Ryan ToysReview has ascended to the top-earning account on all of YouTube. In just 12 months, Ryan makes an unimaginable $22 million.
Most of the revenue comes from automated advertisement views. Every watch nets Ryan a few cents. But on top of that, Ryan is pulling in extra bucks by partnering with a company called Pocket Watch to release his own toy line.
Apart from the usual toys, which Ryan picks out himself, his channel also features some branded content. Halo Mandarin Oranges paid him last year to visit one of their orchards and talk about their product. And if you’re put off by a child spokesperson, you can rest easy.
All the dough that Ryan is unboxing will help him in the future. Fifteen percent of his earnings go straight into a trust account, which is locked up until he’s an adult. The rest of the money goes into family savings and costs for future videos.
Ryan’s giant web presence doesn’t get in the way of his other responsibilities. He shoots primarily for a couple hours on weekends, plus sometimes on weeknights. Weekdays are still for school.
Ryan’s parents, who frequently appear in his videos, say he can stop his YouTube career whenever he wants. They’ll know when it’s time. After all, as they point out, kids usually make it very clear when they don’t want to do something. But for now, Loann and Shion are helping Ryan reach bigger and bigger heights.
Ryan’s more recent videos feature elaborate sets and more scripted elements, which clearly come from parental involvement. Even though the toys are still at the forefront, Ryan’s popularity has also allowed him to branch out in new directions.
A second YouTube channel lets Ryan’s fans learn more about his life and family. For example, viewers can get a firsthand glimpse of their trip to Disneyland. Seeing all the rides and characters might even beat seeing all the coolest toys!
Ryan even exists in cartoon form now! An animated “kid superhero” version of him debuted in 2017, and these episodes have Ryan jumping into his TV and going on adventures. And that’s not the only way Ryan ToysReview is expanding…
His two younger sisters, Emma and Kate, are also starting to appear on his YouTube channel! Although they still need a few more years before taking on starring roles, they have a very talented brother to learn from.
It may have been toys and a love of them that landed Ryan where he is today, but with a such bright future ahead, who knows where he’ll speed off to next? Nobody can put this kid in a box!