Here is a our series “What we did in 2022” that takes a look back at some of our biggest happenings in 2022 as STYLE Canada. With all its highs and lows 2022 was a fun year but it’s now time to welcome 2023!!! So, this is our last goodbye to everyhting we have done as STYLE Canada in 2022! We hope you enjoy it as much as we did!!!
This article features our editor-in-chief’s Elise Gasbarrino’s interview with TikTok star and influencer Josh Richards at the Collision Conference.
Watch the full video on our Youtube channel!
Joshua Kenneth Richards is a Canadian social media personality and influencer. He has a following on a number of social media platforms and serves as the CEO of CrossCheck Studios.
[00:00:00] Moderator: [00:01:00] All right, here we go. Afternoon sessions. If you’re one of the more, thank you. Thank you. Over here, if you’re one of the more than 2 billion people who have downloaded TikTok, Right. How many of you in the audience are tickers? Yeah, let’s do that. You might be familiar with our next speaker, Josh Richards tops the TikTok charts with engaging authentic content that keeps his 40 million followers and his clients happy.
[00:01:35] Moderator: The sky’s the limit on TikTok, and we’ve asked Josh to give you guys some insider. So please welcome the editor in Chief of Style Canada, Elise Gasbarrino and Josh Richards.
[00:01:49] Moderator: Hi. Hello.
[00:01:50] Elise: Hello. How’s it going?
[00:01:51] Josh: It’s going great. Going great, so can’t complain. You know what I mean? Josh
[00:01:56] Elise: is very busy, not only today but every day. I think by looking [00:02:00] at your bio, why don’t we start with telling us everyone a little bit about what you have going on? Cause it’s
[00:02:04] Josh: a lot. Yeah. Yeah. I mean this week was just been a crazy week just cuz of like travel, I feel like especially too, right?
[00:02:10] Josh: Like, uh, pretty much came in from la, came here for collision. Also at the film for a Dreamworks animation show, and then do this today. After this I get on a. Go to France, Dcon, then after that festival, go to VidCon, do that festival. So it’s just like going to all these events, being able to speak, do biz dev and whatnot.
[00:02:30] Josh: But, um, it’s all about networking for the production company and the venture fund. So, yeah.
[00:02:34] Elise: Very cool. Well, we’re excited to have you with us today. Excited to be, you become very much a voice for Gen Z. It started with your first video, 70 million Views. I love that. The title of this is called Fuck ups. So what was your in that since 70 million views to now.
[00:02:50] Elise: What were
[00:02:50] Josh: the. Yeah. Yeah, I mean, I think it, I made a lot of fuckups before I even got that first video that really blew up, right? It was probably [00:03:00] a year and a half of posting five videos a day on the musically app at the time. That was before by dance came in and bought it, but um, it was just continuously trying to figure out different ways to post on the four U page and really get it to go trending how that algorithm worked.
[00:03:17] Josh: It was really beta testing, right? Posting five different styles of videos every single day until I kind of came across the tutorial video, which was that first video that really got to blow up. Um, and I found people resonated with it because they wanted to one, save that video. Put it in their favorites, go back to it, learn that trick later.
[00:03:35] Josh: And then secondly, it would drive a lot of comments. People either saying like, oh, thank you. I’ve been wanting to know how to do this. Or, now can you show me, uh, the actual trick without putting the steps behind it? Can I get a part two? So it just drove a lot of engagement. And after I found that tutorial videos worked, it was using, uh, that to post one of those every single week.
[00:03:55] Josh: And then as I started aging with my con content, uh, [00:04:00] My fans got to age with me. So it’s evolving that content continuously.
[00:04:04] Elise: And so you started with kind of those how-tos and now we’re following your life, right? Yeah. Really. And so that’s kind of, I guess maybe the progression of you, the progression of TikTok.
[00:04:12] Elise: What is it though that makes TikTok so attractive, do you think, to Gen Z?
[00:04:16] Josh: Um, I think the ability to be able to, Be a star overnight. It’s really this platform that anyone can go viral on it. Anyone in this crowd can go and post a video right now and get a million likes by tomorrow. So I think that’s what’s so interesting.
[00:04:32] Josh: You don’t need the best phone that’s out right now. You don’t need the highest camera quality, you don’t need the best lighting. You can be in your mom’s basement filming a video. And that’s what I was doing and able to blow up from that. So I think that opportunity and that, uh, ability to give kids a different, Is what’s so attractive.
[00:04:50] Josh: Yeah.
[00:04:50] Elise: So from that, from the content creators side, right? Yeah. And then from the brand side, I know you have some exciting things happening with Amazon and, and big corporate America. [00:05:00] What do you think, uh, what do you think brands to that magnitude can utilize TikTok for? Wait, can you say that last part again?
[00:05:07] Elise: Sorry. So the brands of that magnitude, like the Amazons of the world, what do you have going on with them? Like how are they utilizing TikTok to, to capture that Gen Z on?
[00:05:14] Josh: Yeah. I. For me, it’s really being able to get these companies to reach Gen Z and have, uh, I think Gen Z be heard when they’re trying to talk to these different companies.
[00:05:24] Josh: Um, if that’s specifically what type of content they’re interested nowadays or if that’s talking about certain, uh, movements that Gen Z cares a lot about. So I think it just bridging that gap of two generations.
[00:05:38] Elise: Okay. And what would you say, uh, what do you think is coming. Like, so you’re on TikTok now, obviously you’re on Instagram, you’re on all the platforms.
[00:05:46] Elise: What are some of the new things that are happening in the social space that you are
[00:05:50] Josh: interested in? Yeah, I think, um, probably something that I’m most interested in or like when it comes to [00:06:00] creating content for me is I’ve always been someone that’s very frontward facing or in front of the camera often, and.
[00:06:07] Josh: With Crosscheck Studio specifically, it’s given me this opportunity to be behind the camera, right? And be more of a producer and, uh, be involved in these projects, but not have to be the content creator and being able to give other, uh, influencers the opportunity to find their podcast that they want to make, or to find their unscripted show or just their voice in the space.
[00:06:26] Josh: So I think, um, that’s something that I’m really excited to do. Um, I’ve always loved to kind of be that person that’s also directing or be behind the camera as well, so,
[00:06:35] Elise: And from a platform perspective, are there any other platforms to keep an eye out? I know you said like really interested in live streaming
[00:06:42] Josh: right now.
[00:06:43] Josh: Yeah. Yeah. It’s like switch. I think live streaming is something that’s like gonna continue to take over just because people want authenticity. That’s why I think TikTok has done so well. You’re, you’re, you do have that lower production, you do have that kind of more feel that you’re [00:07:00] talking right. With your fans.
[00:07:01] Josh: I. Six years ago where YouTube, you had to buy in a thousand dollars camera and you needed to have that whole setup. So, um, with apps like TikTok and I, I talked about it earlier on my q and a, like Be Real, for example, is another app that just came out where it’s like you’re posting what you’re doing exactly in that moment with just your best friends.
[00:07:18] Josh: It’s not a filter you’re putting on, it takes a picture of you and the back of your phone too, right? So like the front end back camera takes a photo at once and it goes and post it. I think people are just wanting to have that.
[00:07:29] Elise: Is that, I’m gonna interrupt you. It’s called Be Real. Be Real is. So it’s video, like, it’s
[00:07:33] Josh: a, it’s just a picture.
[00:07:34] Josh: So it’s like just a photo. It gives you a random notification at a random point of the day and just says, be real. And then you tap it, you take a photo of what you’re doing in that moment. It kinda just takes a photo of you and whatever’s in front of you. Oh, really? Cool.
[00:07:46] Elise: Okay. I didn’t heard that. What, what else do you, what else is the latest and greatest?
[00:07:49] Elise: I feel like I
[00:07:50] Josh: haven’t heard that yet. I mean, I feel like for platforms, that’s probably the last one that I’ve seen. Or the newest one that I’ve seen, like start to take off. Mm-hmm. again, the core about that is just [00:08:00] to be authentic, right? Yeah. It’s like what we saw on Instagram. When I first got Instagram in like seventh grade, it was like I was making a smoothie and then I was posting my smoothie recipe online, right?
[00:08:09] Josh: It wasn’t so much getting my selfie and like getting filters done. None of
[00:08:12] Elise: that. When you scroll down, you kind of, and I wanna, you kind of see, you get back to that authenticity, right? So I wanna stay on authenticity for a. Um, we have a lot of brands in the audience, whether they’re startup or corporate.
[00:08:24] Elise: How can they be authentic nowadays with the audience? Cause I think you’re right. I think it’s really hard to be right. And so is the best way to do that through someone like you, through a content creator like you, what are, what are some ways that brands can
[00:08:36] Josh: do that? Yeah, I mean, I think it’s really important for these brands to align with creators that they feel either, um, have the same mission or have the same Yeah, like mission plan, or.
[00:08:49] Josh: Uh, a brand, a creator that’s authentically already using that brand. Right? So a lot of the times when I look at different companies I want to team up with it’s companies that I’m already using on a daily basis. So I know that’s [00:09:00] gonna be, uh, an authentic deal I’m doing. It’s when I go and promote it to my fans.
[00:09:04] Josh: It’s not. Another billboard that they’re seeing on social media, something they’re just scrolling past. They actually feel like I’m being very honest with them and being able to tell the truth. So it’s always important that you don’t, you’re finding a creator that cares about the same thing the founder does.
[00:09:18] Josh: Yeah,
[00:09:18] Elise: and I’m sure that comes in those kind of initial conversations I saw, I think it was on your Instagram stories, your lived in Brisk ht. I don’t know if that was paid or not. No, it wasn’t, but that’s, it came across super authentic. But to me,
[00:09:30] Josh: Nailed it. Exactly. Exactly. Like I, but that’s also something I think a lot of creators feel like they can’t do is post about a brand that they’re not necessarily working with.
[00:09:39] Josh: Cuz they’re like, oh, it’s a free promo. And yeah. You know, I love making my money. Who doesn’t? But when you’re able to post and show this brand, like you authentically care about it, you just love it on a daily basis, now that brand’s gonna be 10 times more inclined to work with me, right, than they were before.
[00:09:54] Josh: Right. Because they know I care about the product without needing to be paid.
[00:09:57] Elise: Totally. Totally. So it’s. [00:10:00] Reverse strategy on the content creators
[00:10:01] Josh: side too. Exactly, exactly. Then the content creator’s able to go and show them like, Hey, look, I already messed with your brand. I’ve already done some work for you guys.
[00:10:08] Josh: Why don’t we make this partnership a little bit more real? Totally. That’s
[00:10:11] Elise: a great tip for any like content creators out there, actually. You’re like reverse engineering that. I love it. A hundred percent. A hundred percent. So we know that you post things that you love and that you’re authentic about. If a brand is approaching.
[00:10:24] Elise: Right. What’s that conversation look like? Cause I’m sure there’s lots of brands here today that would like a minute of your time. So how do they capture that influencer that they wanna work with? Is it sliding into your dms? Is it, what’s the best way to get in contact?
[00:10:36] Josh: Yeah. For me personally, it’s, it’s either approaching me when I’m at one of these types of events, right?
[00:10:41] Josh: Like we do a lot of these where I’m able to network with a lot of people, meet a lot of people, get their numbers, talk to them. But I would say also a lot of the time, Going through, uh, like email, like just being able to email me or email my, uh, the president of Crosscheck Studios, his emails and my bio on [00:11:00] Instagram.
[00:11:00] Josh: So just being able to talk to my team, like that’s, that’s always the best way to go about it.
[00:11:04] Elise: So let’s talk a little bit about Crosscheck Studios. Cause you have an amazing partner, mark Walberg. Yeah. Yeah. That, how did that come to be?
[00:11:11] Josh: Um, yeah. So with Mark. I always looked up to him, uh, as a younger kid and as I started my social media career and kind of wanted to follow his footsteps.
[00:11:22] Josh: Um, obviously we all know Mark Wahlberg started off with Mark, mark the funky bunch, and he had his, his moment and his, his kind of like one hit wonder, but he was like, how do I pivot from this and keep going? He got into the acting space and then from there he became an entrepreneur and started founding his own businesses and companies.
[00:11:40] Josh: So when I look. Today’s modern version of like, what is a one hit wonder? I mean, you see people blowing up on TikTok every single day, right? So that’s kind of how I made that relation. And then from TikTok, I really wanted to get into founding different companies. And I started with, uh, a talent management company and then moving into angel [00:12:00] investing.
[00:12:00] Josh: And when I wanted to get into the production, uh, or TV and film space, I thought, who better than to go and talk to Mark Wahlberg, someone that’s been my idol since I’ve been a little. Um, and see if he can give me even just some tips or tricks. And as we got to start talking, uh, we were able to form more of a long, uh, a long relationship.
[00:12:19] Josh: So yeah. Very cool. Very cool. Just called up Marky Mark. Yeah, I love it. Mark And Mark
[00:12:24] Elise: and who other, you had some other kind of cool mentors, it seems like along the way. Ashton Kutcher is the name that came up. How did you get involved
[00:12:32] Josh: with him? Yeah. Um, again, with, with Ashton was also just trying to find someone in the, when I first started Angel.
[00:12:40] Josh: In that space that could give me advice on how to juggle two different worlds. Um, obviously Ashton who started off in, in acting is now looked at as a very serious investor and has made amazing investments. So, um, it was really just that conversation with him of how do you juggle those two worlds? How do you find time for both?
[00:12:59] Josh: And [00:13:00] he was telling me stories about how he would be on set and in between scenes he’s in his dressing room taking venture calls. So, uh, it’s really just finding that time whenever you can. And that’s kind of the, the, I guess what I’ve lived off since that phone call with them. So, yeah. So you’re
[00:13:16] Elise: 20? Yeah, I’m 20.
[00:13:18] Elise: Okay. So list off all the things that you have going on right now. Cause I hope everyone got like a little glimpse of, of what you just said. You have a production company. Yeah. You have, you’re involved with the nhl.
[00:13:27] Josh: Yeah. Yeah. We have a relationship with the nhl just being like in the special, a special advisor over there and helping them bridge the gap with, uh, gen Z and getting more kids involved to.
[00:13:36] Josh: You the
[00:13:36] Elise: venture capital company. Yeah. And what do you kind of look, cuz there’s, I’m sure other people that are looking for funding in this room. What is your VC looking for when you guys look at
[00:13:44] Josh: startups? Yeah, yeah. I mean we look at pretty much everything across the board. I think the most important thing, uh, for us when we look to invest in a company is how are we gonna be able to make this reach gener?
[00:13:56] Josh: How does this relate to Gen Z? Because that is one of our big focuses. [00:14:00] But then also it’s always about betting in the founder. I mean, every single time I am going and talking to one of these companies, uh, it’s founder first, I gotta believe in them because at the end of the day, a lot of the times, sometimes their first thing won’t work out, but their second thing or third thing will, and great founders always find a way to win.
[00:14:18] Josh: So it’s more about betting on them. Very
[00:14:20] Elise: cool. Very cool. Yeah. So what’s coming up next? Coming up besides France? Coming
[00:14:25] Josh: to your guys? , yeah. Coming up next. Uh, The biggest thing to look out for is gonna be, uh, obviously we’ve teamed up with Amazon, uh, so looking for, for projects in the TV and film space on prime video.
[00:14:39] Josh: And then, uh, also we’re raising our second fund rate now for animal capital. So be some great things in the venture world and then also in the TV and film space. Very
[00:14:49] Elise: busy. Very busy. Ooh, I didn’t see the camera there. Hi guys. . So from a Gen Z, you talked a lot about gen. If we were to kind of go through, you know, maybe the [00:15:00] top three to five characteristics of what Gen Z’s looking for when they’re scrolling through TikTok, can you
[00:15:06] Josh: Yeah, yeah.
[00:15:07] Josh: Give us little, I mean, I think one, it’s, there’s always gonna be that massive space for like, relatability, right? They wanna be able to relate to the person that they’re viewing. So if that is through, um, the favorite sport they play or just their sense of humor or whatnot, they just wanna find something that they’re able to.
[00:15:25] Josh: I think the era of looking at celebrities and being like they’re the untouchables has kind of changed. We want to be able to feel like we can connect to the people that we’re watching. Um, and then secondly, it’s, it’s gonna be that charisma, that charm, like for a creator, right? You want to, when you’re watching videos, it’s gonna be someone that you either smile when you’re watching them or you laugh on you.
[00:15:46] Josh: Like it’s, it’s that, yeah. Charisma that someone has. And then, um, thirdly, it’s gonna be about, I think like the biggest thing is like, It’s, it’s being able to actually have that person that’s watching your video [00:16:00] leave, watching your video with something, they’re not just wasting their time on their phone or kind of like waiting for the bus to come pick them up before school.
[00:16:07] Josh: So they’re scrolling through, like they want to actually take something away from that video. Mm-hmm. . So, yeah. Mm-hmm. . Very
[00:16:12] Elise: cool. So we kind of went through the business side. How are you personally enjoying
[00:16:16] Josh: this? Yeah, I mean it’s, it’s like are you must be tired, a little , a little bit tired sometimes. Yeah, for sure.
[00:16:25] Josh: Um, I was yawning a little bit backstage, but I just drank a coffee and then I was able to come out ready to go.
[00:16:29] Elise: Um, it’s a good thing you’re only
[00:16:30] Josh: 20. Yeah, exactly. Uh, but I do think it’s definitely super important to like, take time for yourself when you’re someone that’s in like the social media space and you have a lot of eyeballs on you at all time, or just a lot of people that think they need to give you, uh, their opinion on how you should live your life.
[00:16:47] Josh: Right. Um, like this past weekend, I was able to escape for two, three days and go camping with my family, spend Father’s Day with my dad and do all that. So I think it’s really important to, uh, always surround yourself with the [00:17:00] people you know that you love and love you and, uh, are your family. And then also personally, I just put timers on all of my apps, on all my social media apps.
[00:17:08] Josh: I think people think I probably spend 10 hours a day on social media. I gonna say, what’s your screen? It’s probably not, we can check it right now. We can do a little like live check here. But, um, for my, like, specific apps, I, I usually will like have the 15 minute, uh, timer on there. So after 15 minutes on the app, it’s like, ah, you can’t go on anymore.
[00:17:28] Josh: And of course, sometimes I’m like, all right, ignore limit. Give me another 15 minutes because I need to post a video or I need to get some content done. Yeah, I try to limit, limit it as much as possible. Um, like in the last week, I only had 10 hours of screen time over. That’s so bad. So
[00:17:44] Elise: like, yeah. For someone whose career.
[00:17:46] Elise: Social media. Well, I mean other things as well, but like that’s actually not bad. Yeah. Yeah. I feel like we should take a poll of the audience. I think most people would be around
[00:17:53] Josh: like eight to five. I feel like. I feel like Oh yeah. Right.
[00:17:56] Elise: Yeah, yeah, yeah. I mean I’m at eight so that’s not bad. No, not [00:18:00] bad at all.
[00:18:01] Elise: So what does your family think of all this? You mentioned you did a little break camping, I think I read in your story. Amazing article by the way, in Vanity Fair and for, did a great piece on you as well. Um, but you know, you’re gonna be a. Or
[00:18:13] Josh: why did your parents be a lawyer? My parents thought I was gonna be a lawyer when I was younger.
[00:18:16] Josh: Um, just because they thought I was a great arguer. They thought I just, I always wanted to win every argument I was in. So they were like, oh, this kid, he’s going to school. He is getting good grades. Perfect. He’ll be a lawyer. Um, but when I was going into my freshman year of high school, my sister, who’s somewhere in the audience thing here.
[00:18:35] Josh: Oh, she’s waving over there. Shout out my sister. Because Is your whole family here? Uh, my sister and my mom are here, yeah. Oh, nice. I wouldn’t be on social media if it wasn’t for my sister. She posted a video of me on musically when I was, uh, the summer before my freshman year of high school. And from that is really where like my, I guess, social media career started.
[00:18:55] Josh: Um, the video blew up in our head. It got like 50 likes, [00:19:00] so it wasn’t a lot. But to us that was nuts. And we were running around the kitchen and then, uh, I just started posting videos every. Was always a big numbers guy, so I was like, all right, I need to get 10 K followers by the end of the summer. If I do, I’ll keep doing it.
[00:19:13] Josh: And my sister was the one helping me out, just like in my mom and dad’s basement live streaming for four hours a day. She’d be down there entertaining people with me and just having a good time. So, um, Yeah. Big s a family business that it started out Oh yeah. At the start it was, I mean, I had her cut in on like a 15% commission based salary.
[00:19:31] Josh: Yeah, I was gonna say, did you know she was going and targeting, she was targeting like the highest spending, uh, viewers on the Lively app cuz they gave you a leaderboard of the top 200 high spending like, uh, people that watched streams and donated. So she would just like go through growth, hack my account essentially, and be logged into my.
[00:19:49] Josh: Follow all those people on the list, go direct to consumer, follow all those people. Like 15 other videos from my account, they got 16 notifications from a random Josh Richards kid. So they came into my live stream and [00:20:00] then we’d be like, oh, perfect. Now we are targeting that. The best customers we could be on the app.
[00:20:05] Josh: Like, instead of just hoping they come across our stream. So yeah. Shout of Olivia. She, she was, she’s only a year younger than me, so she was 13 at the time and I was 14. That’s pretty. Maybe she’ll be up here next year. Yeah, I know. She should have been up here. She’ll be here next year. Maybe speak and giving people.
[00:20:18] Elise: So supportive family, they saw that it was kind of, you had this dream team, brother, sister dream team, things were taking off. Yeah. And then they. Saw how much kind of success I guess you could have with this
[00:20:28] Josh: and Yeah. I mean they were always really involved and Okay. Uh, like, like you said, like they were super supportive in everything I did.
[00:20:34] Josh: And I was that kid that was doing a yard company when I was like 12 years old or I had a lacrosse mesh company when I was 13 dying the mesh wax coating at string kid sticks. Or I had a hockey shirt company when I was 10. You had a lot. So they were used to me finding these little business endeavors.
[00:20:51] Josh: And then I think when social media came along and they. How much it was actually growing and how seriously I was taking it. They were more than, [00:21:00] uh, like supportive or being like, go chase your dreams. So yeah.
[00:21:03] Elise: That’s awesome. Well, I’m sure they’re very happy now. Yeah, I think they are. Yeah. Nothing’s changed either.
[00:21:08] Elise: You have a million things going on, so we’re gonna let go get your flight here. Next point.
[00:21:11] Josh: All right. Thank you. Thank you everyone. Hell yeah. Hey, Josh.
Last modified: December 7, 2022