Skip links

A Youtuber with 1.66 million subscribers who watch her cook is opening a new restaurant in Cardiff

hen Neethu Johns took a year-long career break to give more time to her children, she found herself bored at home while they were at school. Wondering how she could fill up her time, the 37-year-old mum-of-four, who lives in Cardiff, had a burst of inspiration.

“There was nothing to do. I was really passionate about food and whenever my friends came to my house, they had my food and said it tasted great. My husband is a nurse and when I cooked food, he used to take it to the hospital. They would comment: ‘Your wife cooks well’. I used to even get orders from his friends as well. They would say: ‘Can you ask your wife to cook some food for us?'” she laughed.

“So then I thought: ‘Why don’t I create a YouTube channel and post my cooking?'” And so Neethu, who is originally from India and has lived in the Welsh capital for 11 years, used her phone to shoot videos of herself cooking Indian food at home. She then edited the footage and added voiceovers, before uploading it to her channel, called ‘Mums Daily’.

That was three and a half years ago. Now her channel has 1.66m subscribers – and Neethu is preparing to open an Indian restaurant in Cardiff this month so people can get a taste off her cooking off-screen.

Speaking about the growth of her YouTube channel, Neethu, who is a quality analyst lead for an IT company, said at the beginning filming videos was “fun” and “kept her engaged”. “My views were literally 0. But I didn’t give up, because I knew that it would grow at some point. I’m a person who doesn’t give up that soon.”

She managed to get around 50 or 60 views a day by sharing the clips with family and friends. “Once I uploaded the video on YouTube, I used to market myself by sending that video link to every one of my friends. I used to irritate them. I created a WhatsApp group and I’d keep on sending my new videos,” she laughed. 

She would post around two or three videos a day, filming what she was cooking for her family. At the start, she didn’t invest in any fancy equipment or software, but just used her mobile phone to film clips and free software to edit them.

Gradually, her channel grew however – and she got her first big boost when one of her videos went viral. “After two months, one day I woke up and when I opened YouTube there were a lot of comments. I was like: ‘What happened to my channel?’ Basically, one of my videos had crossed 100k views in a night. It’s a simple video and I’m sure I’d done better videos than this, but for some reason the YouTube algorithm picked my video.”

It was then her subscriber count started to grow. And it grew even more the following year when the pandemic hit and everyone was stuck at home and spending more time on YouTube. The bulk of her views came from India, as she posts videos in Malayalam.

She admitted it was “really hard” to continue to continue with her channel after she returned to work after her career break, but managed it because her husband was “really supportive.” She would churn out videos after she came home at 5.30pm, the popularity of her channel and her earnings from YouTube driving her enthusiasm.

“I don’t know how I did it at that time, and when I look back now I wonder: ‘Where did I get that energy from?'”, she recalled. “Because I recorded three videos in the evening. I cooked food, filmed it, edited that video and then I went to sleep around 1am or 2am. It was crazy. I couldn’t do that now.”

About 90% of her videos were about cooking, but she would also post ‘day in my life’ and travel vlogs. Within one and a half years, she crossed a milestone many YouTubers can only dream of: one million subscribers. To date, she has uploaded 1.5k videos and around 100 of them have got more than one million views.

With the increased demands of her day job and family life, she doesn’t get enough time to upload as frequently any more, but still tries to upload one video a day. “I need my kids to do well in their studies, so I’m concentrating on my kids now. And I have just been promoted to manager last year, so I have to spend more time on my job.” And now she has a new focus – the restaurant. Asked about her decision to open the eatery, Neethu said she and her husband had been thinking about opening a restaurant for around two years.
Read full article