Demaris Ramey (@demaris_and_company) lives in “small-town East Tennessee” with her husband and three kids and had no intention of becoming an influencer. Then came Covid.
In the two years since, she’s built major followings starting with TikTok and then Instagram. She literally was (is!) an overnight success and built a robust following right away. Spark*l reached out to her on February 7, 2021, and since then, have marveled at how energetic, upbeat, and real she is day in and day out.
We caught up with her recently to talk about the new world we live in, putting all things 2021 in perspective, and how to look forward to what’s next while embracing the unknown.
OK, so—I never saw myself doing anything like this. I’m from a super small town in Southwest Virginia and grew up in the tri-state area [Kentucky, Tennessee.] Tennessee was like 30 minutes away, so that’s where we went to prom, to eat, to shop—our small town had nothing. We ended up moving to Tennessee; my husband’s a veteran, so he’s at the VA a lot, and started to make a life here. And, like everyone else, Covid just shook everything up. I was home with the kids, and they got into TikTok and stuff, and I haaaaaated it. I was ready to take it away… and then I got hooked. I started everything during quarantine and haven’t stopped. I just was doing it for fun and being goofy, and from there, some brands reached out to me.
Things are completely different than most [because I] started on TikTok and moved to Instagram. Way back when, I had a Facebook for my family and close friends, and that was it. I hated the thought of having things public. I just wasn’t that girl. We’re super small-town and close-knit, and I actually didn’t realize I had made a TikTok public till one of them blew up. I was a late-bloomer, especially online, but I do love it. It’s a whole new world.
There are a lot of people who are going through the same stuff that we are. And they need to hear there’s a cut-off time to shut the door and say, ‘I’ve had enough.’
I’m a very social person. In the beginning of Covid, it was family and friends and the kids. Again, I’m just very social with whatever they’re involved in. Suddenly, I didn’t have anything. Everybody was gone—and it was just us. [Laughs] Truth be told, I kind of miss those days of being home stuck with everybody here. For the longest time, we were just all trying to get out. And now that we’re getting out, it’s like, ‘oh, can we please have a couple more of those days of just us.’ But yeah, I needed the social aspect, and the kids did too. I hated the way that it happened. But I needed something. I just… I didn’t realize how social I was.
I will talk to anybody. Whatever walk of life, whatever part of the world they are in. I’ve got a connection with these people; there’s no way I would’ve met who I met before. But it’s also terrifying. I was terrified—terrified of the whole world wide anything.
Nobody needs to know your space or who you are, but you find out after a while, there are good people out there. Now we’re doing things like going to Nashville together, going to weddings together. You let your mind open up, there are real friendships, and I love that part of it. These people are who they are online. These people are—they are themselves. I love meeting them in person, realizing this is real and it’s a real friendship.
With brands, I started with Pink Lily. That’s who had me go to Instagram. They were like, ‘hey, you need to try this,’ and it all spiraled from there. I started with those girls first, and they’ve been amazing.
I feel like you absolutely, 100 percent need time offline. And it’s important to know when you need to stop being in it, and your family needs you. It’s about finding that balance. I feel like the kids being involved in sports and school—I’ve been so active in that from the beginning when it’s that or family time, I stop. And I will let people know, ‘hey, here’s what we’re doing today,’ and talk about what’s going on with school or life. There are a lot of people who are going through the same stuff that we are. And they need to hear there’s a cut-off time to shut the door and say, ‘I’ve had enough.’ You need that downtime. You need family. You need priorities.
We’re about four hours from Nashville. We live in East Tennessee, close to ETSU. We’re literally on the Tennessee-Virginia line about 30 minutes from Johnson City (Tennessee.) The kids are 17, 16, and 11, which is the most fun age! There are definitely days that are all over the place and hormones! It’s that giant in-between. One moment it’s ‘I’m still a baby’ to ‘No, I’m an adult’ and constantly riding that line.
That’s one thing I was terrified about—what the kids’ reaction would be. The minute I embarrassed them, the minute they didn’t like it, I’m done. But they’re into it. I’m a super extrovert—but the oldest—he’s more inward. I thought he’d be like, ‘Omg, please stop, please stop.’ But he’s even had me on some of his [posts.] As long as they’re good with it, I’ll keep going, but I don’t want them doing it. It’s a lot of work, and there are good parts and bad parts. There are people you just don’t want your kids around. There is an area you have to stay away from. You’re going to get your hate—people who don’t like you no matter what you do; and that’s fine. That’s something I learned in doing this. It’s how people are. But there is much more good than hate, so I keep going.
We need to enjoy each day and enjoy each other.
I started with clothing and then hair and then accessories and jewelry with Lavender Blue and KC Chic. I don’t know which one it was first. KC Chic and Spark*l kind of went together and did things together. I also love makeup, finding what works best, and then hair—it’s just the girly part of it and the fun. I never thought TikTok would start me getting there and being silly. I’m starting to dabble into the health side of it—especially with the way everything is right now in the world. Get the mind and health right, and everything comes easier.
I love all the Spark*l; accessories. There is a *special* one, Kiah’s Confidence. I flipped over it. It wasn’t a Louis or anything like that. Just leather and the turquoise embellishment. I like that it’s an understated and everyday band with that little pop of color with the little embellishments.
I have never been to NFR. But I’m dying to go. I’m all about it …I love the look, the event. I’m excited to see what Spark*l comes up with!
In 2022 and beyond, I’d love for the world to get back together and for everyone to feel a little safer and more comfortable with other people. I hope we learned that things can turn on the dime, but also the world can get nicer, better—that you can branch out. I want to do more and grow more. This is my first year with social media at all. I’ve played it safe, but I’m feeling it a little more. I want to step out further. I’m just hoping that I can expand and I can be more out there and get more confident. We all have those days, and this past year was hard. Things are different. We need to enjoy each day and enjoy each other. I’m hoping we get more answers and people are healthier, and people can go out more—that all this was for something.