Billie Eilish is following Sydney’s Sticky Lollies on TikTok

She has 35.8 million followers on TikTok and is one of the biggest stars in the world.

But singer Billie Eilish chose to only follow one account on the platform and it’s Sticky Australia – a humble Australian lolly shop run by a lovable father and creative teenage daughter.

Annabelle and David King reached out to TikTok in a desperate attempt to save their Sticky business in Sydney from collapse during the pandemic, and quickly formed a global following thanks to their “mesmerizing” behind-the-scenes videos.

And the two couldn’t believe their eyes on Thursday when out of the blue they received a follower from the Bad Guy hitmaker’s verified account.

Billie Eilish tracks the Sticky Australia TikTok account of Sydney’s David King (right) and daughter Annabelle (left)

The two couldn't believe their eyes on Thursday when they received followers from the Bad Guy hitmaker's verified account When fans click in, they can see the episodes for themselves

The two couldn’t believe their eyes on Thursday when out of the blue they received a follower from the Bad Guy hitmaker’s verified account

“Cool things about Billie Eilish – she has 35 million followers on TikTok, she only follows one account today and we have the opportunity to follow her,” David wrote on Facebook along with a snapshot to prove it.

Following means that they are the only people on earth who can send a direct message to the star on the platform; they wait to see if she answers.

The news was taken with hundreds of comments from enthusiastic fans who couldn’t be more proud of the small candy store’s meteoric rise.

“It couldn’t have happened to a better bunch of David King! Back to that first live, I wondered if almost throwing in the towel was a good move and now Billie Eilish is just following you guys … that’s just the beginning, ”one woman wrote.

Following means they are the only people on earth who can send a direct message to the star (pictured on the platform; waiting for her to reply)

Following means they are the only people on earth who can send a direct message to the star (pictured on the platform; waiting for her to reply)

Mr. King (pictured) opened with his wife Rachel Sticky in 2001 after quitting their respective corporate and pharmaceutical jobs

Mr. King (pictured) opened with his wife Rachel Sticky in 2001 after quitting their respective corporate and pharmaceutical jobs

Before Covid reached Australia in early 2020, Sticky, located on a small alley in Sydney’s The Rocks, drew an almost constant audience at its front window as tourists and passers-by stood spellbound by staff making hard-boiled lollipops from scratch .

But when the pandemic forced the country’s international border to close in March 2020, Sticky – like countless other tourism-related businesses – saw sales drop to “literally zero” within three weeks.

“Sticky was on the verge of collapse after the pandemic seriously affected sales. We went from busy to broke. Desperate to change things, I used social media to save the ailing business and it worked, ”the teenager told Business Insider.

That final decision not only put Sticky in the international spotlight, with viral videos reposted by stars like US rapper Snoop Dogg, but made it more profitable than ever with 2021 sales in the “well seven-digit range”.

“I spend about three quarters of my week taking photos of the candy making process at Sticky for Instagram or videos for TikTok and YouTube,” said Annabelle (pictured).

The Sticky TikTok account had over a million followers in the first month of its launch and now a whopping five million are watching each of their candy creations.

The store is again hiring new candy makers and retaining employees instead of letting someone go, and they are expected to turn over $ 1 million.

“I spend about three quarters of my week taking photos of the candy making process at Sticky for Instagram or videos for TikTok and YouTube,” said Annabelle.

“I spend between two and five hours every day making something interesting out of what I shoot in the store.”

Annabelle also cleans, serves customers – who are now returning in their hundreds – packs lollipops and juggles the numerous online orders, but saving the shop is a pure team effort.

The small team of dedicated professionals produces 150 pounds of candy a day and none of it is wasted – with UK and US customers in particular buying the sticky goodies until they are sold out.

The small team of dedicated professionals produces 60 kilos of candy a day and none of it is wasted - customers from Great Britain and the USA in particular buy the sticky goodies until they are sold out

The small team of dedicated professionals produces 60 kilos of candy a day and none of it is wasted – customers from Great Britain and the USA in particular buy the sticky goodies until they are sold out

“I would like to say it was awesome what we did, but it was more desperation!” Mr King told Daily Mail Australia in August.

What may sound like an obvious marketing strategy to Millennials and Gen Z’er was completely alien to Mr King and wife Rachel, 47, who opened their candy store in 2001 after quitting their respective corporate and pharmaceutical jobs.

I was desperate, I was devastated, I was dazed. I thought it was the end.

They had a website, but in the 19 years before Covid showed up, their online presence was averaging just 10 orders a week.

But when the virus wrecked brick and mortar business as we knew it, they had no choice but to put their lollipops completely online.

“Not only did all the tourists disappear, they all canceled their weddings and corporate events,” recalled Mr. King.

“I was desperate, I was devastated, I was dazed. I thought it was the end. We dropped staff, we were about to tear down the doors. ‘

Mr King and his team began livestreaming videos of the theater lolly making that used to draw crowds to the Playfair Street storefront (pictured)

Determined to go down in battle, the Kings used the payments from JobKeeper and the money they borrowed from a long-time friend to invest in cameras – and then began filming.

Her first Facebook livestream only drew 60 viewers, but just over a year later, Sticky has 581,000 YouTube subscribers, a million followers on Facebook, and a monthly reach of around 45 million.

A Comedian partner of Snoop Dogg stumbled upon the feed and shared one of the videos on his own account, which the rapper later reposted on Instagram himself.

Determined to go down in the fight, Mr. King (right) used the payments from JobKeeper and money borrowed from a longtime friend to invest in cameras - the rest is history

Determined to go down in the fight, Mr. King (right) used the payments from JobKeeper and money borrowed from a longtime friend to invest in cameras – the rest is history

Sticky's TikTok fame is thanks to Mr. King's daughter Annabelle, 19, (pictured) who created the account and attracted 1,000 fans in the first 24 hours

Sticky’s TikTok fame is thanks to Mr. King’s daughter Annabelle, 19, (pictured) who created the account and attracted 1,000 fans in the first 24 hours

This confirmation alone caused followers to skyrocket 1.5 million in a single weekend.

“We were almost back to full capacity when we came to TikTok last July, but when my daughter convinced me it was a thing, we went viral in ways we didn’t have on other platforms,” ​​said Mr. King.

‘It melted the website down.’

Just a year into the digital age, Sticky’s business has grown a whopping 230 percent.

The shop employs 10 people who work around the clock and products often sell out 10 minutes after being dropped online, with 80 percent of inventory now shipping around the world.

His company’s social media launch has reunited Mr. King with the international clients excluded by the Australian border closure, with significant sales also coming from Germany, Italy and Canada.

Thanks to its viral videos, re-shared by US rapper Snoop Dogg, Sticky now has 4.3 million followers on TikTok, 200,000 YouTube subscribers and 980,000 Facebook fans

Thanks to its viral videos, re-shared by US rapper Snoop Dogg, Sticky now has 4.3 million followers on TikTok, 200,000 YouTube subscribers and 980,000 Facebook fans

Million Dollar Idea: By doing business online, Sticky was more profitable than ever, with sales in the “well seven-digit range” for 2021, according to Mr. King

The website is replenished twice a week on Friday and Saturday mornings, with products selling out in “about 40 minutes” each time.

“I hate to say it, but right now we are disappointing customers all over the world!” Mr. King said of the constant sell-outs.

While anyone with a smartphone and a 4G connection can promote their business on social media, the Lolly boss believes the key to success is focusing on the people behind the brand.

“What has worked for us is focusing on the social part of social media,” said King.

‘You have to be real and be’ you ‘- I think you have to share the people in your business.’

The pastry shop has had extraordinary success amid the most disastrous public health crisis in modern history, but not all small businesses have been so lucky

Sticky has had tremendous success amid the most disastrous public health crisis in modern history, but not all small businesses have been so lucky.

Tourism-dependent shopping areas like The Rocks have been decimated by the pandemic, and hundreds of stores – including many of Mr King’s neighbors – will likely never reopen.

“The Rocks is like 28 Days Later – it’s worse now than it was in the beginning [of Covid]’ he said.

“We saw people come back, the fear went away a bit, but this lockdown is probably the most severe one there has been in terms of trading for anyone here.

“I look around the people I’ve worked with for 20 years and it’s hard to see how they can open up again. I don’t know what the future holds, it’s so bleak. ‘

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