When Tati Westbrook and James Charles War on YouTube, Who Grabs the Cash? Gummy Vitamins

When Tati Westbrook and James Charles War on YouTube, Who Grabs the Cash? Gummy Vitamins

Here's how Sugar Bear Hair comes out on top in the feud between powerful YouTube influencers Tati Westbrook and James Charles.

By Alesandra Dubin
Tati Westbrook, James Charles

If you got here after Googling "Who is James Charles" or "Who is Tati Westbook" — you're far from alone. The feud that erupted last week between the two high-profile YouTubers (and saw Charles swiftly shed 3 million subscribers) shot them instantly to fame even among those who never before knew, or cared, about their particular sphere of influence.

And in researching the pair, even the merely curious Googlers on the remote periphery of interest in beauty YouTube learned that what spiked the drama between the pair was in fact... gummy vitamins. Specifically, "Sugar Bear Hair" was the brand at the center of the blowup — and it's another search term that has seen a huge spike, according to Google Trends. The brand makes vegan gummy vitamins; a one-month supply costs $29.99, and it may be of interest to people with purchase power. 

Back in April, Charles posted a sponsored Instagram story for Sugar Bear, interpreted as a dig at his mentor, Westbrook, who owns a rival company. According to experts cited by NBC News, Charles might have fetched six figures for his post — and in turn, he could have shorted Westbrook's growing rival company by millions of dollars she might have otherwise made. Yes, it was a decision that impacted a relationship — but it stands to make big-money ripples in the gummy vitamin market, too.

Sugar Bear Hair's business model relies on social influencers for success, with tens of millions of likes on sponsored posts, and the company's highest engagement comes from its YouTube endorsements, according to NBC. 

“[Sugar Bear] has gotten so much recognition, and so much earned media, all from one Instagram story James Charles posted,”  the real Krishna Subramanian, co-founder of branded content platform Captiv8, told NBC News. 

Consider that the influencer market is expected to reach (wait for it) $50 billion by next year, according to Captiv8, and a big chunk of that comes from the niche filled by the likes of Charles (whose typical videos get about 7 to 10 million views) and Westbrook. So if you're suddenly curious about the powers of gummy vitamins to promote sleep and beauty benefits, you know why. And Sugar Bear Hair thanks you for your future purchase.

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