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Meet Eric Whiteback: TikTok’s Favorite Supreme Collector

Eric Whiteback uni
Sarah Jacobs/ONE37pm

 

Eric Whiteback, who’s known as the “Supreme Guy,” has amassed large amounts of Supreme apparel and rare accessories since 2011. But being a collector is just the tip of the iceberg for this extremely eloquent and focused college grad. 

 

Whiteback is a certified social media maestro who has over 1 million followers across different platforms. His most recent measure of success is TikTok, the new and buzzing wild, wild west of social media. He was already killing it on Instagram with hundreds of thousands of followers and off-the-charts engagement. Still, with some creativity and thoughtful editing, he transferred that same energy to TikTok. One of his most popular TikTok viral videos has soared to 40 million views and his number of followers exploded from 40,000 to 450,000 in five days. 

 

Intrigued by his unique social media approach, we visited the Pennsylvania native’s pad in Manhattan’s Financial District to learn more about his strategically crafted online brand and results-driven content strategy.

ONE37pm: When did you start amassing Supreme items? How many pieces would you guess that you own right now?

 

Eric Whiteback: I think the first time I was in a Supreme store was probably around 2011. But it was a slow rise for me. I didn't go crazy with it right away—I started really getting into collecting around, probably, 2014. And now I probably have less than people think. I have about 150 to 200 pieces. 

 

How would you describe your online personality and brand?


Whiteback: I try to keep my online personality fun and lighthearted. Supreme is a brand that's interested in being extremely gritty, very street and very, like, hard. I've sort of tried to juxtapose myself a little bit in that way. I want to be someone who makes Supreme fun, accessible and something that everyone can enjoy.

You have a solid presence on Instagram. When did you migrate to TikTok, and what made you decide to get on the app?


Whiteback: I started TikTok several months ago. The first time that I got on the platform, it was still Music.ly. After reading Crushing It!, believe it or not, I got on there, and I was like, “You know what? I don't want to be on this platform. I don't think it makes any sense for me, but I'm going to secure my username.” So I got the Eric Whiteback username like two years ago.

 

I started to follow along with Gary Vaynerchuk and what he was doing and saw that he was going heavy on TikTok and that a lot of people seemed to be doing exceptionally well. I still wasn't sold on it yet, so I wasn't creating original content at first. About three months ago, I started posting some of my Instagram content and repurposing it for TikTok and saw success with it right away.

 

The first video I posted got 500,000 views. I think the second one did about 1.4 million, and I had 30,000 followers overnight. I was repurposing stuff from my other platforms. Then, I eventually decided to make the shift into actually making some edits to the content before I posted the TikTok. That's where I saw a lot of new success. Almost overnight, I went from about 50,000 followers to a little over half a million.

How do you approach creating content for TikTok versus Instagram?

 

Whiteback: TikTok is interesting because if I want to post something to Instagram that relies on the audio for context, it doesn't always work because a lot of people on Instagram are watching videos without audio. If I'm doing something for TikTok, everyone is watching with their volume on, so I can create content that's more reliant on sound.

 

Is there a particular TikTok video that launched your growth in terms of getting followers and views? 


Whiteback: There was a video of me tie-dying a Louis Vuitton Supreme box logo tee shirt that received over 40 million views. That was three times my second best piece of content ever posted on any other platform. So about three hours after posting, I saw that it has 3 million views and thought it was pretty crazy, and I was thinking, it might get 10 million views. Ultimately, I ended up getting over 40 million views. I was gaining almost a hundred followers a minute. So I went from around 40,000 followers to over 450,000 followers in five days.

I went from around 40,000 followers to over 450,000 followers in the span of five days.

- Eric Whiteback on his TikTok growth

What are a few tips that you would give creators who are trying to gain traction on TikTok?


Whiteback: The biggest tip that I can give you is to consume content on TikTok. You're going to quickly see and pick up on a lot of the trends. You're going to see a lot of patterns. I think that's the best way to figure out what content is going to play well on the platform.

 

Next, know that production value is not extremely important on TikTok. It's almost inversely important: It's better to create content that's low production quality. TikTok has this sort of barrier to entry in creating TikToks; it needs to feel intimate. I think that people need to sacrifice their production quality.

 

Thirdly, if you're a business trying to do TikTok, I think that you need to find a team of people—or even just one person—that you trust, and give them complete control. TikTok is a world that moves extremely fast. So if a new trend pops up, you need to have someone on your team that can create content very quickly and post promptly. I think a lot of businesses tend to get in trouble when they're so big and so cumbersome that it takes so long for them to move—they aren't able to create content quickly to be successful.

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