James 'Jimbo' Hall and Eloise Fouladgar met on online a few years ago. Now, their TikTok account has thousands of followers.
Hall was working for his dad Mark Hall's e-commerce business as head of purchasing, after leaving school at 16 with just four GCSEs, while Fouladgar was studying politics at London's City University.
Like other young couples, they chatted for hours on the phone and bonded over Netflix movies.
But in March 2019, the pair was introduced by pals to TikTok and their lives changed virtually overnight.
“I was mainly keeping an eye on trends and doing the occasional silly dance – I wasn't gaining followers very quickly at all," Hall said.
But by June, he was truly hooked and convinced Fouladgar to sign up for an account so they could make content together.
Their first video in June last year attracted 100k views.
Jimbo and Eloise (PA Real Life/Collect)
“Jimbo practically begged me to make an account," she laughed. “So I eventually obliged by sitting in the background while he did one of his silly dances."
“I cringe looking back at it, I was so awkward."
Soon they were sharing videos about all aspects of their life as a couple, gaining a staggering two million views.
“I was in actual shock. The video just blew up overnight – we weren't expecting it at all," she continued.
“I think people like to see romance, especially young people, who hope to have that for themselves one day. We try not to be fake in our videos and I think that makes us relatable."
Eloise used a foam brick while pranking Jimbo (PA Real Life/Collect)
“I think the hot water bottle clip did well as so many girls want a bit of pampering at that time of the month, but it's never really spoken about," she continued.
Further footage of their two-week trip to Bali in September 2019 drew one million views.
Soon their popularity reaped rewards when they were contacted by influencer management agency, Yoke, who promised to turn their social media presence into a profitable business.
Eloise painting Jimbo's nails in a prank (PA Real Life/Collect)
So, the couple left their job and university to focus on their career as influencers.
“Coming back from Bali was when it all changed for us," Fouladgar explained.
“We were contacted by a management agency and that's when we realized this is what we wanted to do."
“I had to sit down with my parents and explain to them this is what I was dropping out of my course for, to become a full-time influencer."
But, it took some time for their family to understand.
“They weren't exactly convinced by the idea. I told them to give me a year and if I hadn't made it by then, I would go back to my studies," she continued.
Since then, the couple has learned how to earn a living on TikTok.
They reap rewards by using brand sponsorship, music, and apps.
“We want to stay true to our audience, so we always make sure the promotion fits in with the rest of our content," she said.
“If I'm recommending an app to download, it will be one that I use on my phone all the time."
“If I'm plugging a brand it's because I use them and like them myself."
Jimbo filled Eloise's room with balloons (PA Real Life/Collect)
“When I post an ad I want to make sure our audience enjoys it," she explained.
“So, I will try and make it as fun and in line with our non-promotional output as possible."
“When I did some work for Pretty Little Thing I got Jimbo to do the order online so it turned into a kind of game – my boyfriend doing my clothes shop for me."
One of the many pranks Eloise has played on Jimbo (PA Real Life/Collect)
“The video involved me trying on all the clothes he'd bought and, to mine and the viewers' surprise, he actually did a good job," she continued.
“I try and do something like that with all the promotional stuff we share. It pays off. I can even see us doing a his and hers range for a clothes line at some point down the road – a collaboration with an online retailer."
Now, the couple upload seven to 14 videos a week, making sure that a maximum of three are promotional so they keep their viewers genuinely entertained with other original content and do not leave them feeling that everything is a money-making wheeze.
They are also well known by fans for their share-worthy pranks.
“We did the video in two parts," she recalled. “The first was me throwing the brick at Jimbo's car and the next was his reaction."
Your rainbow is showing 🌈 #ImComingOut #PRIDE2020 https://t.co/asRlzFg0Cl— TikTok UK (@TikTok UK)1592934691.0
“It must have got 10 million views in one day, I gained over 400,000 followers that night – it was the best day of my life," she continued.
“I think that's been our best video yet. "
But not every prank is successful.
Eloise and Jimbo in Bali, September 2019 (PA Real Life/Collect)
“I had this brilliant idea that if I froze Mentos mints in Jimbo's ice cubes his drink would explode all over him when he plonked them in," she said.
“It was an absolute fail, but we still uploaded it to TikTok, because people like to see that we are real and it's not staged."
Elloise and Jimbo saw a spike in followers after their trip to Bali in September 2019 (PA Real Life/Collect)
Now, they're on track to earn over $148,000 between them by the end of 2020.
“Ever since the pandemic our TikTok has really taken off," Fouladgar said.
“Part of it is because we're able to film basically every day without fail."
But they know it's mainly because people are bored.
“But mainly I think it's to do with everyone being stuck at home, especially the younger generation, and having nothing to do," she continued.
“There's only so much Netflix anybody can watch and we're keeping them entertained instead. It's a two-way street though. We'd be so bored without putting out all this content."
Eloise and Jimb in Greece, July 2019 (PA Real Life/Collect)
The couple is hoping to use their savings to put down a deposit on a property in London at the start of next year.
“I've told Jimbo I want us to own our own house, have a Pomeranian dog and be engaged by the time I'm 24 – so he's got two years. We're on the same page though…just about," she said.
“Our biggest goal right now is to reach five million TikTok followers. I feel like once we've hit that target, we really have made it as influencers."
But, their biggest goal is reaching five million followers.
“Jimbo never lets me forget my reaction when we reached one million – I actually cried – so you can imagine what I'll be like if we make it to five," she said.
In the future, the pair have also set their sights set on making it across the pond.
“It would be great to fly out to LA, where the TikTok scene is massive, and try to establish ourselves there, but who knows, the bar is so, so high out there," Hall said.
Jimbo and Eloise (PA Real Life/Collect)
“Most important of all is thinking about longevity, TikTok is so new, you just don't know where it's going to be in a year or two," he continued.
“We want to expand into other realms of social media, especially YouTube, as it's never gone out of fashion."