Why CuteGirlsHairstyles and BrooklynAndBailey Captioned Their YouTube Channels
We have new favorite YouTubers! CuteGirlsHairstyles and BrooklynAndBailey recently captioned their entire YouTube channels, and we wondered if their decision to caption was coming on the heels of the #WithCaptions campaign. What we didn’t know when we saw all of their videos coming in was just how special of a family these creators are! We had the pleasure of talking with Shaun (the father) about whether or not their decision to caption was based on the recent campaign to get YouTube channels to caption (you should watch Tyler Oakley’s video, if you haven’t yet!).
Who Are CuteGirlsHairstyles and BrooklynAndBailey?
CuteGirlsHairstyles was started by Mindy in 2008. Her YouTube videos feature different hairstyles that she demonstrates on her daughters’ hair (she has five daughters and one son). Brooklyn and Bailey – her oldest daughters, and twins – started their own channel (aptly named BrooklynAndBailey) almost 2 years ago. CuteGirlsHairstyles has over 3 million subscribers, and BrooklynAndBailey has over 1 million subscribers.
Mindy started CuteGirlsHairstyles to help moms and dads in the mornings. She wanted to give parents something that they could do to make their daughters feel cool and trendy – even if they didn’t have enough money to buy the most popular jeans! This altruistic motive is exactly what prompted Mindy and her family to caption their videos.
Shaun said that he and Mindy have been wanting to caption their channels for a long time. Over the years, they’ve gotten a number of emails from viewers who are deaf or hard of hearing – maybe one every few months – and that these emails have really stuck with them. In one such message, a fan wrote:
“Hey Mindy!! I am 14 years old, and I adore your work!! I did some of your hairstyles with my friends and myself!! I just love ur ideas!! Umm I do have one problem.. I’m deaf and I want to be able to understand what you are saying in the video. So if u can add captions in the videos, I would be so grateful! It helps me to understand what I’m supposed to do for the hairstyles. If u can’t add the captions, then it’s okay. It’s worth trying. Thank you so much!! I really love your hairstyles!!”
Right after receiving that email, Shaun went to the YouTube summit last summer, where he heard about Fan Captioning. Then, the idea really took hold with him and Mindy, who had felt horribly about not being accessible to all of her fans. Shaun said that they’ve also received a number of emails from international viewers requesting captions, since it is easier for them to follow written English than spoken English. Their hope is that they can use fan crowdsourcing to translate their English captions into other languages.
For them, it was a matter of doing what was right: they started by captioning one video each a week, but the backlog was really high and the time commitment was even higher. Eventually, they decided that if they were going to caption all of their videos, it made the most sense to send it out to a third party captioning service. They found 3Play Media among YouTube’s recommended vendors, and decided to give it a shot! Thanks for picking us, Shaun and Mindy!
What About SEO?
Yes, SEO is a nice added benefit of captioning, but it’s absolutely not about that for them. Mindy and Shaun weren’t worried about getting any monetary or SEO benefit out of captioning – nor did they consider not captioning because of the cost; they were only worried about making their videos accessible to everyone who wanted to watch them. Shaun reiterated that Mindy’s deaf and hard of hearing fans have stuck with her over the years, and that she has wanted to do something about it for a long time.
We were really touched by Mindy and Shaun’s story, and particularly by their incredibly pure view of the importance of accessibility. From the reason they started the channel to the reason they added captions, they seem like genuinely kind people, and we wanted to share their story to urge other people who feel similarly to caption!
It’s easy to get started with a 3Play Media account. We’ll automatically post the captions back to your YouTube video when they’re ready, so you don’t have to worry about downloading and uploading SRT caption files! We also have a lot of DIY resources, if you want to try to caption yourself.