- Jessica Fain is a 36-year-old Disney fan and influencer who bedazzles collectible popcorn buckets.
- She explained to Insider how she recently turned her hobby into a career that's earned her $40,000 (R584,000).
- Fain also spoke about wanting to spread kindness to others and embrace Disney magic.
- For more stories, www.BusinessInsider.co.za.
Jessica Fain is a lifelong Disney fan who's "all about sparkle and glitter," as she told Insider.
So before a Disney World trip in 2021, it only made sense to the 36-year-old Georgia native to cover a popcorn bucket she'd purchased with sparkling rhinestones. She then wore the collectible as a purse for brunch at the Grand Floridian Resort & Spa before heading to Magic Kingdom.
"I thought it was going to be a one-time project — just something I did for myself and my outfit for the 50th anniversary," she said. "Before I could even make it to the monorail that morning, I'd already had probably 20 people stop me and ask, 'Where did you get this?' and, 'How can I get one?'"
That number later increased to 10 placed orders and about 150 inquiries, Fain said. And since then, she's turned her Disney-inspired art project into a full-fledged business, earning her thousands of dollars and social-media fans.
It takes Fain between 4 and 5 hours to hand-decorate each popcorn bucket
She uses a permanent glue adhesive to attach more than 4,000 "high-quality glass" rhinestones to each bucket, she says, and sells them on her website for $300 (R4,400) each. She also offers custom sunglasses, ear headbands, and other accessories.
"I've probably sold about 60 buckets, and if you add in the sunglasses and everything else, I've made close to $40,000 (R584,000) total," she told Insider.
"I've been a hairstylist and makeup artist for 15 years, and up until a month ago, I was still doing both," Fain continued. "But I've stepped back from that now and am 100% focused on the influencer thing and this rhinestone business. It's completely changed my life."
Her latest venture has also helped fund more Disney World vacations. She said she now spends at least one week each month at the theme park with her husband and friends.
A recent increase in popcorn-bucket popularity has impacted her business
In January 2022, Disney World parkgoers made headlines as they waited hours in line to buy limited-edition, Figment-shaped popcorn buckets at Epcot. Fain was one of them, as she flew into Florida that day just to buy one (which she later bedazzled).
Disney fans have also gone viral on TikTok after showing their popcorn-bucket collections.
As Fain noted, the surge in popularity has made the buckets "harder to obtain." Still, she's finding ways around the craze.
When Disneyland releases its upcoming bucket on 22 April, for example, she said she'll have three or four friends in the California theme park attempting to buy her one.
Fain says her fancy popcorn buckets are about so much more than making money
The creator acknowledges that much of her social-media presence is used to promote her business. Still, Fain said her main goal is to spread kindness and connect with others.
She shared that she's given one popcorn bucket to a child who was bullied, and recently hosted a livestream to gift another creation to one of her followers.
"If we want to raise a generation of children who grow up to be kinder than our generation has, we have to lead by example," she said. "When you're at Disney, you feel like anything is possible."