Rebekah Rosales doesn’t mind telling anyone she’s in the slime business.
In fact, the 14-year-old Archbold resident, who netted $6,000 last year from her enterprise, The Mexican Slime Shop, boasts nearly 7,800 Instagram followers who call her Chica Jefa (girl boss). Known as a “slimer,” Rebekah has cashed in on an online phenomenon so popular that the new year has been dubbed “Two Thousand Slime-teen.”
Used as stretch, pop, and knead stress relief, the glue-based product is produced in colors, textures, and scents limited only by the imagination. Described by Rebekah as the consistency of Silly Putty “but much more stretchy,” slime has gained enthusiasts internationally and created huge fan bases for the most popular slimers, who make celebrity appearances.
As for her own growing popularity among her peers, Rebekah said, “I thought I would get a couple hundred followers. I never thought it would get this big and grow this far.”
On Feb. 16, she, her parents, Kim and Vince Rosales, and several sponsors will host a slime convention of sorts at the Chicago Oaklawn Hilton Hotel in Illinois. A $25 admission comes with demonstrations, giveaways, and a question and answer session. Two specially ticketed events will include pizza, slime-themed games, and a meet-and-greet event with 16-year-old Oscar Race aka “Slime Glitterz,” a slimer from the United Kingdom with 760,000 followers.
“He makes slime videos, and people watch him hours on end,” Rebekah said.
The convention will feature 33 vendors including 11 with VIP slime status. Among them will be Race and Ashley Kua, a 15-year-old Californian known as “Slime Yoda” with 994,000 followers. Thus far, 700 of 900 tickets between the three events have sold. If all goes well, Rebekah and her parents want to host others.
Her interest in slime bubbled after watching YouTube instruction videos. She didn’t have all the necessary ingredients available but attempted her own recipe using household items, laundry determent among them.
“I basically didn’t know what I was doing,” she said. The result was sticky and unusable.
But Rebekah persevered, convincing her mother to buy the proper materials and copied the online recipes to correctly make small batches. “These people (online) make money selling it, so why can’t I?” she said.
Her parents’ first reaction was no. “They really didn’t understand slime,” Rebekah said. “They didn’t think it would be as successful as it is.”
Kim Rosales said they relented after Rebekah persisted and her father researched the product and discovered its popularity and growth. Now he and Rebekah, a student at the Ohio Virtual Academy, run the business from home, with Kim providing marketing and accounting. Rebekah christened her endeavor The Mexican Slime Shop to honor her ethnicity.
Armed a year ago with two original slime varieties, “Grape Jarripos” and “Broken Unicorn Sombrero,” she initially sold two four-ounce packages for $5 apiece to a resident of Miami, Fla. Now, with about 30 varieties, Rebekah has sold 2,000 packages of slime nationwide from an online Etsy account.
She has also sold at local events including the Fulton County Fair, the Wauseon Homecoming and Chili Fest, the annual National Threshers Association Convention at the county fairgrounds, and various area craft shows. And she hosts slime-themed birthday parties.
On her Etsy account, slime goes for $12 per package, and sales come mostly from children 10 and under and adults 60 and over, although teenagers have also gotten interested. Most of her $6,000 profit from the first sales year has gone back into the business.
Rebekah makes 10 gallons of slime per week, using different colors, scents, and textures to create the separate categories. The slime is divided into eight-ounce packages and restocked every month.
Depending on the materials added to slime, it can make crunching and popping sounds, and clicking noises users describe with the nonsensical term “thwock.”
Likening its effects to those of another craze, the fidget spinner, Rebekah said, “Its very therapeutic. When you’re so stressed out, you can play with slime. It gives off a satisfying relief, the way it sounds, the smell it gives.”
Her mother said at first she wasn’t fond of Rebekah making slime. “I was worried about it making a mess,” she said.
But now the entire family is involved. “I never thought we’d be saying, ‘We make slime,’” Kim Rosales, a Fulton County victims advocate, said. “But Rebekah’s learned so much about entrepreneurship. It’s been super helpful to her, so even if it fades we won’t feel like it’s lost time.”
Slime made a splash early in 2016, but within a year interest faded. The phenomenon exploded once again in 2018. A fan base of millions ranges between ages 10 to 25.
“I do hope that it gets bigger and continues to grow,” Rebekah said. “I do care about my followers and fans. It’s crazy how much it can change your life, a crazy little thing like glue.”
Fans interested in attending the Chicago event can visit www.eventbrite.com/e/slimers-in-the-city-2-tickets-52506583605 and type in “secret deal” for a ticket discount.
Reach David J. Coehrs at 419-335-2010.