Christal Luster began her thriving social media career in the summer of 2020. When she entered their kitchen one day, she discovered a vast mess her husband had made. Instead of yelling, she grabbed up her phone and recorded a video while panning to the messy kitchen with a popular audio playing in the background that showed how irritated she was.
She had about 10,000 views in the first hour after posting it. She quickly surpassed 40,000, and even famous personality Tabitha Brown made a comment about it.
Luster credits that moment with realizing the extent of her reach. “I’ve always been silly, everyone who knows me knows that, but I don’t think I realized how important authenticity on social media was until that viral moment,” she said to Essence. “I was completely myself, and people related.”
Motivated, the entrepreneur proceeded to develop and share videos on all of her social media platforms on a regular basis, replying to amusing, frequently Black conventional memes with her own touch. She quickly surpassed 700,000 on TikTok and nearly 300,000 on Instagram, which she attributes to her authenticity.
“Yes, there are parameters. Yes, there are things that you want to do to make sure that it’s clean, that it looks good. Of course, videos that have good lighting and great sound quality are important. But at the end of the day, if you take a week to create one amazing video, or if you take an hour to take a good video and you’re able to post every day versus once a week, you’re going to go a little bit further because the makeup of these apps is really about feeding the apps,” she said.
“It’s about feeding the beast. And consistency is always going to be the key. And so I felt that being authentic, not being so packaged, which was hard for my virgo brain to comprehend at first, showed people, particularly millennials who grew up in the perfect Instagram feed era, that we just need to get out there,” she expressed.
Her consistency and authenticity paid off in less than three years, landing her partnerships with The Shade Room and collaborations with Curvycouture, Southwest Airlines, and SheIn, among others.
Luster also offered her knowledge in Viral Vids: A Guided Content Journal for Increased Engagement on TikTok, as well as her experience working with customers through her content production company, Christal Clear Productions, LLC, which specializes in meeting the needs of small business owners and creative individuals.
She disclosed that, while she still acts and has a few clients, influencing accounts for roughly 80% to 90% of her income. She went on to say that she typically negotiates costs ranging from $2,000 on the cheapest side for perhaps one platform and one post, “all the way up to about $10,000 for campaigns, depending on which platforms, plus a Link In Bio because essentially I am my own cable channel.”
She believes her current career trajectory is a calling, adding that she has been successful thanks in large part to her family and her family business Essations, Inc. She told ShoutOut LA that growing up in one of the only black-owned hair care manufacturing companies taught her so much about faith, creativity, excellence and determination.
Her siblings modeled creativity for her in different ways, from fitness to beauty care businesses, and all in all, working with her family taught her about doing things out of love, she said. “That’s a principle I believe has added great value to my own business today.”