From making slime in the living room to making more than two million a year

Foto del autor


Every Friday, at three in the afternoon, tens of thousands of people visit the website of Olivya Soth and Christine Ly, both 26 years old. Everyone knows that at that time, without missing a week, they replenish stock. In less than 10 minutes, as happens in concerts by great artists, there will be nothing left. A disappointing sold out sign will appear next to the photo of each and every product. Also a countdown that indicates the day of the next sale. The coveted treasure fits in a small round plastic box, it is soft, a little viscous and has infinite colors and smells: slime, a gelatinous-looking mass better known in Spain as slime. Ly and Soth's company, OG Slime, based in Los Angeles, has a turnover of more than two million dollars a year (about 1.8 million euros) and has turned the sale of slime into a refined and booming business. Its main clients are adults who use it to relax and touch it while doing something else, share time and fun with their families or to try how it feels. Slime became popular in 2015-2016, says Soth via video call, when thousands began to circulate. of videos on how to do it at home and became the most searched tutorial on Google. Networks and new ways of advertising products have allowed such specific and unusual companies, with a business model that was unthinkable a few years ago, to become a global success. On Instagram, the tag exceeds 15.4 million posts and the hashtags #slimetutorial and #slimevideo 2.2 and 2.5 million respectively. There are already more than 4.7 million slime videos posted on TikTok. “We are so afraid that one day he will just die. But every year it grows and people are more and more interested,” she admits. And he adds: “We have gone up and down over the years, but now we are going up and we hope to bill between six and 10 million dollars this year.” The now million-dollar company began in that kind of golden era that Soth describes. Her partner, Ly, had just entered university and, like so many others, one bored day she stumbled upon a slime video on Instagram. “She became obsessed, started experimenting at home and it became her main hobby,” she says. She would do it in her room and in the living room, trying new textures and formulas, and she would record what she created. More and more people saw her videos and wanted to buy the colored mucus. Three years later, Soth joined the emerging business and both left school.Two of the products they sell at OG Slime, in an image provided by the company. Part of the success of OG Slime, Soth believes, is that they have managed to sophisticate a product originally intended for children. There is nothing childish about their website, rather it imitates the style of a modern clothing store and the typography of current pop artists. Also the types of slime they offer, with original names, surprising textures and unusual smells. The best-seller, for example, looks like snow and smells like Vicks Vaporub ointment. Others imitate sushi or include stones, crystals or beads. They have even created one with the smell and color of gasoline. “We have between 20 and 25 different textures, although not all available at the same time,” says Soth. Every week they put five or six new ones on sale and they manufacture almost 1,000 units of each of them, in addition to the basic ones that they always restock. . In total, they sell about 12,000-15,000 small bottles of slime per month, for a price between $14.95 and $18.95. “We worked hard for weeks to get it done in ten minutes. Then a lot of people complain in the comments and emails. But it takes more than a month to prepare [cada tanda]”explains Soth. There are 13 people in the company and they plan each type of slime one or two months in advance. The warehouse is reminiscent of the back of a bakery or candy store, with mixing machines, shelves full of decorative elements and colored jars. The recipe is simple: glue and borax, a compound of boric acid, soda and water that makes Make the slime have a gelatinous texture. It can also be found in products such as detergents, pesticides, household cleaners or fabric softeners, among others. Then they add color, aroma and different types of beads and substances to achieve different textures. Most of their customers are adults, Soth notes, between 18 and 40 years old and who buy the slime for themselves: “Many are people who are trying to comfort their inner child and just want a little joy and fun, and they can share that experience with their children, their family or their friends, whether they are older or younger than them.” In the United States, others have seen what Ly and Soth warned in their day, that slime does not go out of style and makes money, and they have set up companies that accumulate hundreds of thousands of followers on social networks: Pilotslime, Momoslime, Slime Obsidian, etc. In Spain, for now, there is no similar company. In part, because of the material that makes slime slime. Borax sparked controversy in 2017 because a mother from Manchester, United Kingdom, uploaded photos to Facebook of burns her daughter had on her hands after playing with a slime she had made following a YouTube video. And European regulation considers borax a candidate for the list of “substances of high concern” due to its possible effects on health, and the labeling must warn of its risk to fertility and fetal development. But what is it about slime that makes it so popular? A big part of it, Soth says, is marketing. Let the tags, names and videos make it seem interesting, different and cool. “Make them want to touch it. Plus, it's really relaxing and can be used to calm stress or anxiety. Several therapists have purchased from us and said they use them in their sessions with patients. It is a multi-sensory experience,” he explains. Some of OG Slime's videos have over 3 million views and most have over half a million. They are followed by 1.3 million people on Instagram and one and a half million on TikTok. Even so, not many opted for their idea at the beginning. The most difficult thing, he says, was being taken seriously: “When we talked to someone, had meetings or even tried to get the warehouse, they didn't understand it and they didn't want it. And we are young women. The most difficult thing is to show them [que podemos] all the time». Now they are about to move to a much larger warehouse and double production. “I can't believe we keep doing this every year.”