TikTok: How small businesses brought creativity and culture in 2021

TikTok is today revealing its ‘Year on TikTok 2021’, a collection of the most creative UK brand activations that helped define TikTok in 2021.

From social purpose-driven campaigns and companies selling out products, to small businesses finding new customers on the platform, the ‘Year on TikTok 2021’ list celebrates the brands that struck a chord with the community this year and achieved incredible results in the process.

Commenting on the list, Kris Boger, General Manager, Global Business Solutions, UK at TikTok, said: “Looking back at what has been another exceptional year in marketing, what strikes me is the sheer diversity of brands showing up on TikTok, spanning all sizes and sectors, and the creativity they are bringing to the platform and community.

“With TikTok, there’s an opportunity to be at the epicentre of culture – somewhere all marketers strive to be – and each of these brands has grasped that in their own unique way.

“We’re only just beginning to scratch the surface of TikTok’s potential to help brands unleash their creativity, reach new audiences and monetise. I can’t wait to see the amazing ways they’ll continue connecting with our community in 2022.”

Here are the stand out – and sold out – moments of 2021.

Lucy Hitchcock was inspired to start her insulated wine bottle business Partner in Wine (@Partnerinwineuk) after a socially-distanced drink with her best friend in the park exposed a gap in the market. Since starting her business, she has consistently posted creative, real-life content on TikTok, leading to a viral video that racked up half a million views in 12 hours and saw an item selling every two minutes. Sales increased by 1,700 percent in a single day, which has turned into sustained five-digit revenue every month. Soon after, Partner in Wine confirmed the iconic retailer Selfridges as its very first stockist and recently made its debut in Oliver Bonas.

Another lockdown success story is Browniegod (@Browniegod), a London-based brownie brand founded by a brother and sister duo Kanita and Xhenis Ramaxhiku. When the pandemic hit, the pair were forced to stop selling at their regular market stall and decided to put more effort into engaging with people on TikTok. After an early video featuring a tub of Nutella went viral on the platform, sales started to grow fast and they quickly outgrew their existing kitchen. A few months later, Kanita and Xhenis had invested in a commercial kitchen, large-scale equipment and a full team of staff (including their mum after she was made redundant). Since turning their attention to TikTok, monthly sales have grown by five digits and Browniegod has gained roughly 10,000 new customers in the UK this year alone.

Liverpool-based eyelash experts Tatti Lashes (@_tattilashes) have an eye for what works on TikTok. Founded by two former technicians who spotted an opportunity in the market, the brand’s distinctively pink and fun content has made it a favourite among TikTok creators and celebrities alike. To make their mark on TikTok, Tatti Lashes produced a series of sassy In-Feed Ads that drove directly to their products – encouraging people to explore them in more detail before easily adding items to their cart. Thanks to the brand’s content hitting the right notes with its audience, Tatti Lashes has reached 36.8k followers and counting.