Enrico Frezza struggled with severe skin breakouts, so he scoured drugstore aisles until he discovered hydrocolloid dressing, typically used for wounds. He bought all the available bandages and experimented until he developed a simple acne treatment. This birthed his first prototype creation, the Peace Out Acne Dot. However, he faced another problem; he needed to get this on the market ASAP to help thousands who might have the same skin problem. For a new business, he needed to spend less, and thanks to TikTok, Enrico built a 4.3 million customer base. He even recorded 15k sales in one day. He has a great story, but how easy is it to make money on TikTok?
It isn’t that easy. However, I set up an interview with Enrico and his TikTok-managed skincare business, @peaceoutskincare, with millions of followers. He has a wealth of information to set you up for success, and this article will give you the scoop through this TikTok savant, Enrico.
Meet Enrico Enrico Frezza
Mike: Tell the readers about yourself, Enrico.
Enrico: I’m Enrico Frezza, and I’ve dedicated my career to creating solutions in skincare, especially for acne. I’m the founder and CEO of Peace Out Skincare, a brand that helps people with acne-prone skin. We’re based in Seattle, and I’m also a pet parent to Coppa and Speck. My journey with Peace Out began with a personal need. I was looking for acne treatments that delivered results. More than that, I wanted to build a brand that stood for something more—more inclusive and skin-positive. Peace Out is not just about selling products; we’re creating a safe space where people feel supported in their skincare journey. Apart from Peace Out, I’ve been involved in other ventures too. Since 2016, I’ve been the co-founder and CMO of Mr. Speck’s LLC. Before now, I served as the Vice President at S.P.E.I. 2000 from 2009 to 2012. I also founded and led EF Tech Solutions from 2012 to 2017.
On Starting Peace Out Skincare
Mike: After a skin breakout, you decided to create your own acne solution. Could you talk more about this?
I struggled with acne since my teens, and even after taking Accutane, I still had breakouts. I researched alternative treatments beyond typical acne solutions. That’s when I discovered hydrocolloid dressing, used in wound care for over 25 years, known for absorbing fluids and reducing inflammation. I applied a 20% salicylic acid peel and a hydrocolloid patch overnight. The next morning, my pimples had flattened. This led me to the idea of infusing the dressing with acne-fighting ingredients.
I first tested the product on myself. Then, finding a manufacturer who could combine the ingredients with hydrocolloid dressing was tough. It took 6 months and contacts with 75 manufacturers in the US and abroad. Most said it couldn’t be done quickly; they needed two to three years of R&D, which wasn’t feasible for me. Finally, I found a patent for mixing alginates, which helped with adhesion. I thought they might be able to incorporate the active ingredients I wanted. After reaching out and going through seven rounds of R&D and testing, we finally created the Acne Dot.
Mike: How were you able to test the product before entering the larger market?
Enrico: When we began, we mostly tested with friends and family because we didn’t have enough money for clinical trials. We needed to get feedback from people close to us. I really wanted to create the best product possible. At first, we faced some issues. The patch would turn brown due to the salicylic acid; the stickiness wasn’t always good, and it didn’t absorb well. We had to adjust the levels to get it right. After perfecting the product, we shared it with friends and family for more feedback. Their positive responses were encouraging. It wasn’t working for me alone – others were seeing results too.
Mike: You said you found a manufacturer. How big was your first order, and how did you attract your first customers?
Enrico: We ordered 20,000 units for our first production run. Before production, we had already partnered with Sephora for an exclusive launch in their US stores and online. They supported and still support us, but it was split into marketing. We had to do our part with the resources we had, so it was not just one-sided.
Mike: When you launched with Sephora, did you also sell on your own website?
Enrico: Yes, we had PeaceOutSkincare.com set up on Shopify. Initially, we focused on driving sales through Sephora to strengthen our partnership. Our website was initially for education, not sales. In 2018, we began selling on our website and went into SEO and digital advertising to boost sales. We also started directing some press towards our site. Back then, we were new to direct-to-consumer and e-commerce, still prioritizing Sephora and its global expansion, which was a big task for our small team of four. Now we’ve grown to 20.
On the Benefits of TikTok Influencer Marketing
Mike: Which marketing channels are you currently focusing on to attract new customers?
Enrico: Social media, especially TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook, have been our significant drivers. Other channels we’ve used include press, SMS marketing, Google SEO, and emails. Various marketing sources bring traffic to our website.
Mike: TikTok is one of your primary social media marketing channels. What is it like to use TikTok to drive traffic?
Enrico: TikTok has been an incredible platform for us. Earlier, we decided to get involved and developed a strategy around February 2020. Our approach included gifting products to TikTok influencers. This paid off when we gave Peace Out Pores to an influencer who then collaborated in a duet video with a top skincare influencer on TikTok, boasting 5.4 million followers. The results were astounding: the video garnered over 12 million views, received more than 2.4 million likes, and was shared over 60,000 times. This exposure led to the sale of 15,000 units in just one day and the depletion of six months of inventory in three weeks. What’s unique about TikTok, compared to Instagram, is the longevity of content visibility. On Instagram, posts become less visible over time, but on TikTok, content can trend for months, similar to YouTube.
Mike: How easy is it to make money on TikTok?
Enrico: Well, ‘easy’ is subjective, and I recommend you stick to something that you are most interested in. No, you don’t need to be 100% passionate to make money on TikTok; just understand what you are all about and how positively it can help others. If you are not business-minded, you can join the Creativity Program and get paid based on video views and engagement. You need to have at least 10,000 followers and 100,000 video views in the last 30 days. You can also collaborate with brands to create content, like we did for Peace Out Skincare. Most TikTokers are really about user-generated content (UGC) relying on their creativity and audience. If you really mean business, then start selling products or join an affiliate marketing network such as Amazon and earn up to 10% commission, depending on your product category. If you sell your own product, you have control over your inventory, and it’s easy to make money on TikTok this way. Just make sure to balance promotional content with other engaging content to retain followers’ interest. If the views are not falling in place yet, use TikTok’s ad platform to promote products or services to a broader audience. You will need an investment, but you will easily reach a large number of users faster, as long as your video is interesting.
Mike: You mentioned collaborating with brands to create content. How do you identify the right brands on TikTok to partner with?
Enrico: We focus on finding influencers who genuinely connect with our brand, particularly those who have personal experiences with issues like acne or other concerns our products address. They need to come across as authentic in their videos and interactions with their followers.
Mike: How do you get influencers on TikTok to agree to collaborate?
Enrico: We have a social media manager and a dedicated TikTok manager who scout for influencers on the platform. They reach out directly through TikTok messages. We offer free products for them to test and try. In return, we ask for a video where they share their experience and honest feedback about the product.
Mike: Do you invest in sponsored content on TikTok a lot more, as we see on Instagram or YouTube where influencers are paid to review products?
Enrico: No, not really as prevalent on TikTok yet, but more brands are starting to explore paid advertising with TikTok influencers. For us, most of our TikTok content has been organic, involving product seeding rather than paid partnerships. However, following the success of a major video with influencer @Hyram with 6 million followers and over 290 million likes, we experimented with a few sponsored posts for our Acne Serum launch. While we still lean towards organic content, we’re open to more sponsored posts in the future.
Mike: What kind of TikTok content did you use to generate 15,000 units in one day?
Enrico: The key is content that shows instant results. For us, it was the visual impact of our pore strips removing debris from the skin. The influencer showed a close-up before and after using the product, highlighting its immediate cleanliness and effectiveness. A TikTok video that combines the product demonstration, the ‘wow’ factor of seeing the results on the strip or dot, and the final outcome, all within a short span, tends to go viral and drive sales like we did.
Mike: Like how many followers does an upcoming TikTok savant need to make money on TikTok?
You are going to need a lot of followers to make anything significant out of it. Now, if you decide to follow in the TikTok merch footsteps, you just need a loyal audience, no matter how small, but it should be reasonable. TikTok is built so that most of the views and likes you will get may not even be from your followers. So you can have 500 followers and make a great video that gets 1 million views. If you are not really a product sales kind of person, you can join the TikTok Creativity Program, which allows you to earn money if you have at least 10,000 followers. First, let’s look at some ballpark figures. For nano influencers, that’s going to be about $5 to $25 per post. Micro influencers can make $25 to $125 per post. Mid-tier influencers will make $125 to $1,250 per post, and Macro influencers about $1,250 to $2,500 per post. And then we have big influencers who will make up to or more than $2,500 per post.
There are many things you can do to build followers on TikTok. First, quality content is king. Pick a specific niche with suitable topics that people are interested in, and be consistent. You can significantly boost your reach, engagement, and follower growth by strategically using hashtags and captions.
Mike: TikTok’s algorithm can be a bit sketchy, you know. What do you think others can do to circumvent the system and gain more visibility?
Enrico: TikTok’s algorithm is complex but not a mystery. After creating hundreds of videos and analyzing the analytics, I’ve noticed patterns. TikTok reported that they have a ‘heating’ button, so their staff can influence which videos go viral. Most videos start with around 250–300 views, which is your baseline sample pool. The mistake many make is not curating the right sample pool, influenced by content, text overlays, descriptions, and hashtags. Many blame the system when the issue often lies in their approach. The primary goal should be to create the most relevant sample pool possible. If this pool doesn’t meet certain criteria, especially in terms of watch time and completion rate (likes are less important), your video won’t surpass those initial 300 views. It takes a successful video—one that breaks 100k views—to lift the account overall. Algorithms are driven by specific KPIs (Key Performance Indicators). If you optimize for these KPIs, you can consistently get views. Accounts on TikTok are often tiered. Each video has a base number of views with the potential to go viral occasionally. Many accounts get stuck at 250 views per video, even after going viral a few times.
TikTok is full of common tier accounts posting daily, hoping to go viral again. Unless you have a high recommendation or ‘heated’ account where every video gets significant views and follower growth, your videos join a long queue of others waiting for their chance to go viral. Your video’s position in this queue can significantly affect its performance.
Mike: How much money can you make on TikTok?
Enrico: Well, there is no specific number. However, there may be a realistic number you can expect to make on TikTok. Let’s use the Creativity Program. You can make up to between $4 and $8 per 1,000 views. As a result, if the figures for a video reach the program’s predictions, you will make close to $2,000, which will add up over time. Not everyone will rack up these numbers. Meanwhile, the TikTok Creativity Program launching on December 16 is the reason you can actually earn more money while making content as a TikTok creator. But for more money, that will depend on how well your videos are performing. TikTok’s Creativity Fund is a way to encourage you to use your voice and creativity to spark inspirational careers. And of course, use the platform to make sales. If you get a lot of viewers watching and engaging with your videos, then you can earn a lot of money. Also, if you post high-quality, original content longer than 1 minute, you can potentially earn up to 20x. However, it can be difficult to make a living just by using the Creativity Program alone. You probably don’t even have 10,000 followers yet. I only have 1,021 followers on @thefrezza (my personal, private profile).
However, my @peaceoutskincare has 4.3M likes, and counting. So, I am more than likely to rack in a lot of the money. When you add up the sales of our skincare products, that’s a lot more money to be made.
So, I’ll talk about some other ways that you can actually start making money using TikTok, whether or not you have met the eligibility requirements.
Some of the Ways People Can Make Money on TikTok
Mike: So, apart from your e-commerce business, what ways can someone make money on TikTok?
Enrico: I’ll begin by saying that you don’t have to be verified to make money on TikTok. As a beginner, you can sell products and services without even showing your face. It could be jewelry or using TikTok to promote your business—no matter what it is. You don’t even need any pre-existing audience to boost your business on TikTok. @peaceoutskincare is a skincare brand that has literally exploded on TikTok, and grown so fast. So, it’s definitely realistic for you to use TikTok as a tool to start your business and make it go viral, like our Instant Pore Protector video with nearly 1 million views.
TikTok has helped grow my brand awareness, and with my team, we were able to make conversions of over 15k sales in one day. So, yes, you can build your business on TikTok. You can also start selling merch. For example, you can print one of your classic catchphrases onto a hat and start making money. Also, your merchandise will help you spread the word about your brand. You can also make money on TikTok by going live and then collecting virtual gifts on TikTok. Most social networks have a live streaming feature; however, TikTok is unique because your audience can send you some of these virtual gifts during your live stream to show their appreciation. You can then take these virtual gifts, cash them in for diamonds, and then turn them into dollars. The diamonds are worth half of what your users paid for them. For perspective, if you have 200 diamonds, you will get $1.
Another way to earn through TikTok is by creating in-feed ads using TikTok Ads Manager. If you are okay with spending a bit to get more eyes on your content, making your own ads will work. TikTok ads show up in the users’ For You feed and play automatically, just like any regular TikTok video. There is this smooth integration of TikTok ads with Shopify. So, you can create ads, choose your audience, and track how well your ads are doing, all from your Shopify store, and TikTok will help boost your sales.
Mike: Share some tips with us, will you?
Enrico: I have some tips for you to kill it while on live with your fans. First, make sure to go live at a time when most of your followers are online. If you are not sure about this, check your audience insights for this information. Also, try to stay on live longer because the longer you’re on, the more chances you will have with people streaming in. You need people to send gifts. Just remind them in your own way. For example, you could casually say, “Hey, don’t forget to drop me a gift; it would really help. Or, if that feels odd, you could turn it into a game, like a virtual auction where gifts are exchanged. Just go with what feels right for you.
Honestly, you can measure your growth by the number of relevant followers that you have. Also, the more followers, the better. First, to grow your TikTok to impressive numbers, like 20,000 followers in a few months, I have these three tips for you.
- Start your videos with a question, and spend the rest of the video answering it. Every 5 seconds, add suspense or something unexpected to keep viewers interested till the end.
- Even if your engagement drops or ideas run low, don’t give up. Stick to your posting schedule. This consistency gives you more chances to reach new audiences and grow your account.
- Once you discover what type of content resonates with your audience, keep making similar but varied videos to ensure each video’s success and accelerate your account’s growth.
The more viral videos you create, the faster your TikTok account will grow. We all have the opportunity to go viral, as long as the content is relatable and engaging. Just make sure to think of these three things when creating for TikTok: whether it’s inspirational, educational, or entertaining. You need to be sure that you are showcasing your product and, at the same time, being like a person they can relate to. Just be authentic, keep the video quite unpolished, and grow your business from there.
Mike: Any one tip on getting brands to notice a business?
Enrico: When reaching out to companies, identify and contact decision-makers. Emailing others might be a waste of time since they may not have the authority to form partnerships. Once you establish contact, send them an influencer press kit. Your press kit should prominently feature an About You section that showcases your social media profiles along with any significant statistics. You should also include a list of brands you have previously collaborated with, accompanied by links to those projects. Don’t forget to dedicate a page to the specific services you offer. On this page, you can choose to list your prices or leave them negotiable, depending on what you are comfortable with. Your press kit should also contain a section on case studies; it should demonstrate your track record in sales and campaign results. This part will prove your ability to deliver a return on investment (ROI), especially when you are managing a smaller account.
You also need to appeal to brands. Start by creating a portfolio of your work. If you haven’t partnered with brands yet, make non-sponsored TikTok videos featuring brands you admire. Produce these videos as if they were sponsored, so brands can see your capabilities. Most brands are hesitant to collaborate with creators who haven’t done partnerships before, so this approach provides them with a glimpse of your potential.
You can also work with an influencer agency to close the gap between your brand and influencers. An example is #paid. For brands, using such an agency might cost more, but it assures connections with influencers who have a track record of delivering results for brands. As an influencer, working with an agency might mean earning slightly less than going solo, but it helps your business connect with brands and even those you’ve always aspired to work with. You can sign up for about 50 platforms for opportunities to apply for various brand campaigns, where you can set your rates or negotiate with the brands. Also, TikTok’s Creator Marketplace also works and is accessible either by invitation or once you reach 100,000 followers.
Mike: What is your content creation strategy like?
Enrico: When it comes to TikTok marketing hacks for content creation that generates income, create content in the form of storytelling. Narratives about your products or brand help audiences connect with who you are and what you offer. You have to avoid overt advertising. I can tell you that TikTok isn’t the ideal platform for blatant ads. Instead, infuse your content with soul and a compelling story to engage viewers and foster their investment in your brand and narrative. Otherwise, they won’t return to make purchases. Remember that I talked about authenticity earlier? This is valued more than aesthetics on TikTok. Don’t worry excessively about having the perfect camera or a spotless background. Just be genuine and authentic to resonate more with the audience.
Mike: What are your kind words to upcoming business-minded TikTokers?
Enrico: TikTok is a suitable place to promote your business or earn money as a creator. You can start making TikTok content now and drive traffic to your business store and make money. While you are on it, keep up with trends too. Remember that TikTok is also home to young people, so keep your content as PG as possible and do your best to appeal to their interests, irrespective of your products or services. Your trends can be a popular TikTok dance, a trending sound, or current events such as Paris Fashion Week. Just release timely content that aligns with trends. I found that this can boost your videos and make them go viral in seconds, drive merchandise sales, and increase revenue.