My hubby signed up to Facebook to bag free nappies when we had just £20 a week, now his YouTube videos make thousands

My hubby signed up to Facebook to bag free nappies when we had just £20 a week, now his YouTube videos make thousands

November 17, 2021

YOU might know the hit ‘We built this city on sausage rolls’, the sequel ‘I love sausage rolls’ and its follow-up ‘Don’t Stop Me Eating’ – all were Christmas number ones. 

But it wasn’t a famous pop outfit taking them to the top spot, it was just a regular mum and dad, who started out in a one-bed flat.

Mark and Roxanne Hoyle, collectively known as LadBaby, have gone from getting by on just £20 a week to being able to buy their dream family home, having 11million followers and earning a living doing what they love: being a bit silly with each other and sharing their videos online.  

Roxanne, 37, who lives in Nottingham with Mark, 34, Phoenix, five, and Kobe, three, says: “To this day I pinch myself over LadBaby’s success. As I see the video views ticking into the millions, I’m still amazed that people want to watch my family.

“The first time it really hit me, just how big LadBaby had got, was after we released our book LadBaby: Parenting for £1… and Other Baby Budget Hacks in November 2018 and we went to a signing in Bluewater shopping centre in Dartford, Kent. 

“The queue to meet us was five hours long and people were crying and screaming.

“Around a month later, we went to number one with our charity Christmas hit ‘We Built This City… On Sausage Rolls’.

“It was absolutely surreal, we were just a normal family and now we were topping the charts – I never dreamed this would happen.”

Just three years earlier new parents Roxanne and Mark were living off one income after Roxanne quit her job to be a full-time mum. 

She says: “We’d never been well off, but we always got by – until I became pregnant with our eldest, Phoenix, in August 2015. 

“I wanted to be around for my kids – and the cost of childcare felt like a second mortgage – so I left my job as a freelance art director, and we went down to one income.

“Mark went from job to job as a graphic designer in the hope of getting a wage increase, and if he was lucky he would see the baby for about 15 minutes a day.

“We had a £20 budget each week after bills, and that had to cover everything: food, nappies, the lot. I remember walking around Aldi, totting up everything in my trolley.

“On one occasion, back when Phoenix was about a year old, I must have miscalculated because when I got to the till I had gone 70p over.

“I was desperately trying to find something to put back but I needed the nappies and the wipes and the pasta so Mark and I could eat.

“Then a man handed me £1, and I felt so grateful but at the time I was mortified. I’d never imagined I’d be in that position.

“Mark and I often went without – he wore the same Asda jeans for years, and we would eat really basic meals like a jar of cheap sauce and dried pasta. I always hoped that things might turn around for us one day, but I never imagined that the internet would change our lives.”

Mark set up LadBaby because he had seen a promotion for free nappies and hoped to bag some himself as we couldn’t afford them

When Mark started the original LadBaby in 2015 he didn’t make any money from it but around three years in, the couple were contacted by Facebook to set up a subscription. 

Roxanne says: “Mark set up LadBaby because he had seen a promotion for free nappies and hoped to bag some himself as we couldn’t afford them. 

“The premise behind the LadBaby Facebook page was done on a whim as he had no dad mates, and didn’t even know how to hold a child. 

“He was working full time and uploading posts about becoming a dad on the train from his office to our home in Hertfordshire.

“In 2017 he uploaded a video for the first time – where he had swapped my lunchbox for a toolbox and filled each compartment with snacks. 

“Twenty four hours later it had one million views and we knew we were on to something good. The page grew in popularity, although there was no way to monetise it at the time.  

“We were on the cusp of jacking it all in when we were contacted by Facebook, who were keen to set up a subscription with LadBaby and gave us the option to turn adverts on and start earning money from our posts.

“Slowly, money started coming in, though it was a long, hard slog. 

“But our videos kept building with momentum, and just before our son Kobe was born in July 2018, we had one of our biggest hits ever – when I got my face plastered all over Mark’s car for Valentine’s Day. It got over 34 million views. Suddenly it seemed like everyone knew who we were and we were getting recognised constantly.”

Next came a book deal and three chart-toppers – in 2018, 2019 and 2020 – and LadBaby joined an elite club with the Beatles in having three consecutive Christmas number ones. 

During those years LadBaby had beaten artists like Stormzy, Dua Lipa and Ariana Grande to the top spot and raised tens of thousands for the Trussell Trust for foodbanks.

The couple has now amassed 12million followers across social media. 

Roxanne says: “It all seemed so surreal still, but by 2019, after our second Christmas number one we felt secure enough for Mark to leave his full-time job to focus entirely on LadBaby. And last December, we made it a hat-trick with Don’t Stop Me Eating with Ronan Keating, which was amazing especially as we raised so much for food banks.

“This year we bought our lovely home in Nottingham so that our kids would always have a roof over their heads, but we’re still the same people we were in that tiny one-bedroom flat – I haven’t made a single extravagant purchase since Ladbaby took off, because I’m aware that this could so quickly come to an end.

“I still love a visit to Poundland, I don’t wear designer clothes and you’ll often catch me browsing the shelves of Home Bargains. And forget about fancy cars – we both drive standard runarounds. I never take what we have for granted. 

"That’s why we gave 100% of the profits from our three Christmas number ones to the Trussell Trust. We never had to rely on foodbanks but so many other families do. 

"Do we have another festive hit in us? If we can do it bigger and better for the charity, then we’ll do it again, but we’ll need to top Ronan. Adele, if you’re reading this, call me!"

For more LadBaby stories, we told you how Roxanne broke down in tears after recalling her struggles to afford food.

And we told you how LadBaby mum donated her entire food shop to the local food bank.

Plus we told you how Rox shut down Hamley's toy store for her son's third birthday.

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