Reality TV has come a long way since the early days of Survivor and the Kardashians. In fact, when it comes to modern reality content, it is not just being consumed across major broadcast networks and popular streaming platforms like Netflix. It’s also proliferating on YouTube.
Creators from all walks of life seem to be jumping on the bandwagon, including CRM Jewelers, a local watch and jewelry boutique from Downtown Miami who released their first reality YouTube episode on March 26, 2021.
The funny thing is that CRM was no stranger to social media when they began uploading reality videos. They actually had over 300K followers on Instagram and more than 200K subscribers on YouTube at the time, having released multiple videos with over one million views (including their most popular video to date with 30M+ views).
So if things were working, why did they turn to reality content?
CRM Founder and president, Carlos Marcelin, feels like it was a natural progression in the life of their business. He explains, “When we started the business back in late 2012, we were all Instagram. The following year, we started growing our channel by making hosted videos reviewing watches. Clients got used to that kind of content, and assumed that was it. They didn’t get to see the family behind our brand except for the occasional Instagram pic of a team member here and there. That’s why when our YouTube host left in early 2020, it was a shock for a lot of our followers. Nevertheless, we went live shortly after that and told our fans that we were planning to start releasing more behind the scenes videos and content. For the first time, they would be able to see the family in action, something many clients and fans had been requesting throughout the years.”
But despite the demand from their subscriber base, CRM Jewelers did not publish any reality videos in 2020. They turned to a different kind of content. Head of Marketing, Dan Alvarez, discusses the transition, “When we lost our host, we had to rethink our entire video content strategy. First of all, we were overwhelmed due to a loss of manpower in that area. Secondly, we started noticing that how-it’s-made style videos were drastically increasing our channel growth, so we devoted most of our time to that. Nonetheless, almost a year after our live stream announcing our goal to produce more behind-the-scenes content, we launched the first episode of CRM Life.”
That first episode featured their in-house accountant, Betty Marcelin, who also happens to be Carlos’ oldest sister, on the thumbnail with a backdrop of highly expensive watches in a black, leather briefcase. Positive comments (including plenty directed to Betty!) started pouring in.
“Having just come out of a long term relationship,” said Dan, “Betty already had some customers and some fellow jewelers interested in her, but once the reality show started, her suitors started going parabolic. That’s when we said to ourselves, ‘we need more Betty in these episodes!’”
Charlie, Carlos’ son and one of the top salespeople at CRM Jewelers, also noticed the difference that the reality episodes started making. He adds, “A few episodes into CRM Life, I had long lost friends calling me to tell me what a great job I was doing. Even fans from other countries were stopping by the store to say Hi. One paid us a visit all the way from Barbados to bring us a few bottles of rum! It has definitely made an impact in my bottom line as a sales rep and made our work a lot more exciting.”
Since the company started releasing their reality episodes, they’ve tried to stick to a weekly schedule, which [for the most part] they’ve been able to meet. But it’s not only fans who have taken notice of their behind-the-scenes content. More traditional TV companies have as well.
Dan explains, “A few episodes into CRM Life, Carlos and one of our other sales reps were approached at the gym by someone who had recently produced a lifestyle reality series in Spanish for Netflix. We’ve also had a few video calls with a production company for a major TV network who is toying with the idea of a Miami reality show in our niche. During one of the meetings, all our family members were actually interviewed by a producer to create a presentation reel for the network. In just over two months of reality episodes, all these crazy things started happening. I’m excited to see where all of this leads!”
Whether CRM Jewelers keeps their family on YouTube or migrates everything to traditional TV remains to be seen. After a year of production and over 50 episodes later, CRM’s reality show has become one of the most popular series in the gray market watch industry. One thing is for sure, CRM Life is here to stay!
Visit https://www.crmjewelers.com/ for more details.