These cheeky handmade mirrors are perfect for TikTok

Annemarie Rose curled up on a sheet of glass, hair tied in a messy half ponytail, with the outline of a heart resting on its shiny surface. She breaks it down, sands the edges, and lays out a simple message on its smooth surface: Spit it in my mouth. “Something hot for Valentine’s Day,” the description reads on her TikTok video.

Commentators go wild, a chorus of willingness to fill the section. “Where can I buy one,” writes an enthusiastic onlooker with a grip on his caps lock. Another helpfully adds a backstory: “I needed this because I was blocked for telling my crush to spit in my mouth and make my hair so sad.” Back in the real world, a dumb Annemarie sees the number of her videos skyrocket. Refresh. 100 new followers. Refresh. 500 more. As of the end of June, the video has been viewed nearly 954,000 times, with her account growing from a few hundred followers to over 10,000.

For Annemarie, virginity translates to more than just thoughts and comments. As potential clients began to line up, his interest in his work increased. In one day, she said 2,000 people joined her mailing list, a total of which her membership had never touched. “The impact of that one video was really powerful for my business,” she said. When she opened pre-orders for mirrors, including the “spit in my mouth” version, she says they sold out in 18 minutes (a fact I can personally attest to after failing to buy one).

Her success through that one video is the result of a combination of things: the timing of the mirror collection of hearts coming up against Valentine’s Day, and the brand of half-joking kink humor that pervades TikTok. But the stage is also important. TikTok is “an amazing place for artists,” she said, more so than platforms like Instagram or Twitter. “You can really get a lot of eyes on your work,” she said, pointing to the platform algorithm’s awesome ability to feed users highly-specific content tailored to their interests.

“There has never been a more exciting time to be an artist,” she said. “There is no gatekeeper left to stop you from entering the world of art. All you have to do is make art, say you’re an artist, and do it online.”

If you want to go viral, then TikTok is your best bet now. Its constant churn of trending sounds, remixable jokes, and the ability to land someone’s “for you” page puts it above platforms like Twitter. There, true masculinity inevitably leads to the degeneration of your core message, or worse becomes dangerous. Main character of Twitter. For artists like Annemarie, platforms like Instagram are also in a constant state of free fall. “Instagram is so pathetic for little artists,” she said. Over time, she noticed her analytics drop drastically while Instagram continues to drive pay-for-post visibility. “Every time there’s a new Instagram update, it’s basically screwed up.”

Annemarie began selling her work at farmers’ markets, but quickly learned that it was a tough crowd for the art. People are there to buy freshly baked bread and fruit above supermarket quality, not a mirror to hide from your mom. “I don’t market all of my products the way I do online,” she says. “When I drop an online collection, I sell over 60 mirrors in five minutes.”

A “spit in my mouth” mirror is perfect fodder for TikTok, where taboo trends are discussed openly such as blue checks showing off a new dance. The producers are fearless, discussing everything from mental health struggles to their interest in Shibari and daddy kinks. It is exploration through fun. In a popular trend, a girl says, “I will never let a man spit in my mouth. I don’t know why you all keep saying ‘Oh spit in my mouth, spit in my mouth,’ this crap Have-” Whatever they want, really, spit in their mouths before the audio cuts into a smattering of photos. “There’s also a lot of conversation around, ‘How do you express your needs to a partner?’ But then also doing funny little skits about it,” Annemarie says.

Through video platforms, he is able to reach a wider audience based in different states or countries, and a thriving online business allows him to work from home – a major factor in suffering from chronic pain and migraines. “I kind of have a work-pain balance going on,” she says. She describes her migraines as debilitating, so intense she can’t even get out of bed. “Being self-employed has allowed me the flexibility to take time off,” she explains. “I really like working late in the evening; The optimum working time for me is 8 pm to 2 pm.”

Despite the popularity of his work online, Annemarie says it’s hard for him to define success within the parameters of cash flow alone. In the markets, she connects personally with other artists. But online, her products sell out in minutes—especially the “spit in my mouth” mirror. “He’s by far my best seller. It’s been there for every single collection.”

Why is it so popular? “People love it as a joke — or in all seriousness, they just want someone to see it and spit in their mouth.”

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