Orphea is a Youtuber, alternative jewellery creator, and full-time spooky girl from Belgium. Her Youtube channel has something to offer for every alternative-minded person; no matter if you’re looking for beauty tips, lookbooks, reviews, or some solid life advice, Orphea’s got you covered. Not only does she create compelling content on various social media platforms, she’s also a talented jeweller with a style that is very much her own. I decided to interview her to get to the bottom of this jill-of-all-trades’ multitasking mastermind. Make sure to check out her Youtube channel, Instagram, Etsy, and Facebook page.
You started out with a regular blog but have decided to start vlogging instead. When and why did you decide make the switch?
I started my blog more to document my own journey into discovering makeup at first. I was so inspired by other people’s blogs and how they presented themselves. It also was a great challenge for me to put my writing skills (and especially my English skills) to the test. I didn’t feel like my school education was to the point enough and decided to take on my own challenge. Same for the pictures I took, especially the product pictures. It was a combination of lots of things I wanted to improve in. After I think two years of having my blog I wanted to try and create videos to ‘complete’ some articles I was writing (Halloween tutorials).
My first videos ever recorded never made it to Youtube, and when I did post the first of them, people found my voice creepy and too silent. I even had a try at Dutch videos, which was a horrible experience and which I’ll never do again. Once I improved a bit on my talking in front of a camera and editing, my videos started getting more response than my actual blog. After a long hesitation I knew my heart wasn’t in my blog anymore and I switched to Youtube. I left a few of my articles still online, but I honestly don’t check it often anymore and in the end I just used it to post about my Youtube videos.
Was there anyone in particular who motivated you to start vlogging?
I don’t consider myself a vlogger, vlogging is really taking people with you into your life, and I’m not ready for that just yet. I only show the part I feel people want and need to see. The people who inspired me most to get started were NinkComPoop, Toxic Tears, ReeRee Phillips, Hello Batty, Helen Anderson… People who are alternative and make amazing videos. They also keep me motivated to keep on improving my content and knowing that Youtube is for everyone, even (very) alternative people.
What’s your favourite part of running a Youtube channel?
The response I get to my videos. When I watch Youtube videos that I enjoy I will most likely leave a comment, when that first started happening on my own videos that was a dream come true for me. I never thought people would take the time out of their day to actually watch my videos. As I’ve gotten more confident with my channel and content over time, it’s still really rewarding to get people’s comments and interacting with them. It brings you closer to people who are like minded all over the world.
What are your favourite kinds of videos to do? And to watch?
I love lookbooks and fashion videos (makeup tutorials, fashion hauls, reviews of boots and shoes…). But also things that are music-related like band favourites, festival vlogs, dancing videos. I think those two things are what makes the Goth subculture so special to me, the fashion styles and creativity that goes into them and the music.
Creating content on the internet tends to attract both positive and negative response. How do you deal with the negativity?
In the very early stages of my Youtube channel I used to get a few ‘mean’ and hate comments, and they made me feel horrible. I had low self esteem and even if they were ‘hidden’ from the public, the fact they were in the ‘spam’ folder and I could see them now and again, they kept tearing away at me. One day I decided to just delete all of them and block the actual hateful people. Best decision ever. Since that day even if I get a mean comment I will just delete it. If people keep putting up comments like that I will block them, I want my online space to be positive for me and the people watching my videos. But there’s a big difference with someone having another opinion or giving advice toward me, those comments that are constructive and not just tearing me down, I will leave there and might reply to them (in a constructive way). On my other social media, I haven’t really gotten a lot of hate so far, but if it happens, I’ll just delete it.
You recently uploaded a series of videos on jobs for goths with lots of tips for job applications, writing a resume and advice on how to dress. Do your coworkers know about your alternative lifestyle?
Yes, all of them know I am really alternative in my free time, and no one minds. Fun fact: at my current job my direct co-worker is a metalhead and she listens to black/death metal. At my job you can still see I am alternative, even if it’s tuned down a lot. As long as I do the job I need to do, and work to exceed the expectations of my boss, It’s never been a problem. I do feel at the early stages I had to prove myself even more than ‘normal’ people, especially when I was still at school… But now that I have a resume that shows I got the skill it takes for the job I want to do (and now do) nothing can stop me, not even a few piercings, tattoos and black clothes 😉 .
You’re not only a Youtuber, but also create and sell jewellery on Etsy. When did you decide to start making your own accessories?
I started making some necklaces for myself since I couldn’t find what I was looking for in stores. I think at this moment, that was about five years ago. A friend of mine really liked some of the things I made and wanted some as well, and that’s how it all started. I actually made more hand painted patches and hair bows with eyes, studs, blood drips at first. One day I got this amazing book with a lot of pictures of Goths (Some Wear Leather Some Wear Lace) and I saw so many people with nose to ear chains that I wanted to make my own. I made a few variations with charms and beads I had laying around and suddenly a bunch of people showed interest. It’s since been my most popular thing to get sold on Etsy and through my Facebook page.
About half a year ago, a model (Van hitman) ordered some chains, and since then it’s exploded. I now sell between 5-10 chains every month, which I would have never expected. What I also did more in the early days, but less now, are custom orders. When I was still in school, I asked really low prices for the things I made, selling them almost for the price of the parts I used. Now I know the value of things more, and it’s made me able to improve my craft over time and invest in higher quality parts to use.
Which of your jewellery creations is your favourite?
My favorite series to make were the skull collection (with tiny bat, raven and wolf skulls) and the lovely bones (with actual real bones). Unfortunately, I don’t have as many pictures of them as I’d like… I might do a comeback of the skull collection someday. Currently my favorite things to make are more special and unique styles of nose-ear chains. My personal favorite is my plain black beaded one, but I also love the ones with spikes.
Clearly, you have a lot of time-consuming hobbies. How is it you manage to maintain a well-running youtube channel as well as a full-time job *and* make jewellery as well? Do you have any time managing tips for other bloggers and vloggers?
This is a huge compliment to me you asking me, I don’t think people realize how much time goes into Youtube and having a full-time job plus doing all sorts of other fun things. My biggest tip is to plan in advance and pre-record. There’s absolutely no shame in pre-recording! I always make at least two videos when I get the time to film. I will change something about my outfit or setup, or maybe film my make-up and then another video after it. It all depends on how much time I have and the things I would like to make for my channel.
What’s also helped a lot is my bullet journal. I have a page dedicated to Youtube ideas, and the one right next to it is my ‘upkeep’. When I want to make a video I will add it to that list, and start working on having the ‘upkeep bar’ completed by the date I want the video to be up. What that means is filming, editing, creating a thumbnail, scheduling… I tend to try and film once every two weeks, but sometimes I get to film more often, or have a day off… the editing I mostly do the same day I record (in the evening) or after work on weekdays when my boyfriend watches his anime.
As to my jewelry, I create mostly nose-ear chains and a few necklaces. I try and go as I hit inspiration. Sometimes I can go months without creating anything ‘new’ and all of a sudden I’ll spend the entire weekend crafting things. Most of my nose-ear chains are made to order, and don’t take a huge amount of time. But when I can I will prepare some base chains, so if an order comes in, I can just add the charm that is needed and ship them to their new owners. This means if I get a huge order, I will have to spend the evening making the things the person wants, but that’s part of my responsibility to them having a shop.
Also, I don’t see Youtube or my Etsy as an obligation, which really helps to keep it fun. If some day I don’t feel like making videos again, I will let the people now I will be taking a break. Same with Etsy where you can put your shop in holiday mode. The last time I did this was when I moved house, and we’ll see if I need a break some day again, but for now I like to keep everything running as it is, and the growth I’ve had keeps me motivated to keep on making videos. I have hundreds of video ideas, so I won’t be stopping soon.
Do you have any specific goals for the future (of your youtube channel, jewellery, anything else)?
Yes, I think having specific goals to the things I do keeps me motivated to keep on doing them. For my Youtube channel, I’d love to hit 1.500 subscribers by the end of this year, and I’m so close! I want to keep on making videos that I would enjoy watching and I’ve already started planning my Halloween videos, so I’m really looking forward to that. For my jewelry I don’t set myself any goals. If I sell things, great, if I don’t, also great. I like doing it and will be keeping it up as long as I enjoy it, especially for me and my close friends (who still do place a lot of custom orders). One big goal for me is to get to know more ‘online goths’ in real life, including you! So you’ll definitely see me at Bunkerleute, and I will try to attend more events the next year (probably Amphi festival, but more if I can). There’s a lot of people who I talk to on a regular basis online, who comment on my videos and me on theirs, that I would love to meet.
You’ve heard it, go subscribe to Orphea’s Youtube channel to be kept updated on her weekly videos and maybe even learn a little more about our tiny little Belgian goth scene. Even though I don’t spend all that much time on Youtube, I always enjoy watching her video’s. Do you guys have any favourite (alternative) Youtubers?