On February 3, 2022, the internet was treated to the launch of a shiny new creator platform: Sunroom.
The app, which was co-founded by Lucy Mort and Michelle Battersby (formerly of Hinge and Bumble), has been built as a way for women and non-binary creators to monetise their work, intending to bridge the content gap between Instagram and OnlyFans.
In a nutshell, the app is described as:
…an app on a mission to remove the stigmas women face when asking for more or showing more in their pursuit of wealth. Created by women for women and non-binary creators, Sunroom intimately connects content creators with their audience via monthly subscriptions, tips, and cheers.
So how does Sunroom work and how much money can creators make using it? We chatted with Lucy Mort and Michelle Battersby to get a better idea.
The Sunroom experience
“We’re a dedicated space for monetisation,” Battersby explained to Lifehacker Australia over the phone.
“It’s for women and non binary creators to monetise their audience and connect with their top fans; VIPs; day ones in an intimate setting on a bit of a deeper level.”
The way Sunroom does that is by offering a monthly subscription service, in-app currency called beams (used to cheer and to tip, similar to the Twitch experience) and the option to upsell audiences with access to premium content.
Unlike a service like Instagram, the Sunroom app is designed around paid access to content and has been built to connect established creators with their fans. This is “not a discovery platform”, Battersby highlighted.
“…we’re a bit more liberal and a bit more progressive than, say, an Instagram or TikTok,” she continued. There’s no censorship of women’s breasts on Sunroom, for example.
“But we’re not as liberal as say, an OnlyFans, because we do exist on the App Store. So we don’t allow pornography.”
The Sunroom app as a subscriber
As we’ve covered, the app offers subscription services for access to exclusive content from established creators. This includes entrepreneurs, entertainers, models, podcasters, artists, educators, athletes, and public figures.
Creators have a whole lot of freedom with what they post, but of course, what they choose to share is up to them. I.e. not everyone will be using this app to share evocative photos or videos.
The cost of your subscription is decided by the creator, so fees will differ depending on who you engage with.
And in terms of finding creators you like, Mort explained that:
“It’s [Sunroom is] primarily designed for connecting with creators you already know on other platforms. But sort of secondary to fostering those relationships and deepening those relationships [with creators]. We do provide people with recommendations [of other possible subscriptions to consider] once they’ve seen all the content from creators that they’re a member of.”
Sunroom’s list of founding creators includes sex-work activist and researcher Aella, sexologist Chantelle Otten, actor Paige Elkington, artist and model Charlie Max, and actress and model Marta Pozzan.
How much money can creators earn?
Now onto the all-important question of money. How much can creators earn?
There’s a calculator function on the website, which gives you an estimated figure depending on your follower count and how much you’re intending to charge for monthly subscriptions.
As an example, at 1,000 followers with a subscription fee of $5 per month, you’re estimated to earn between $50 and $250. Bump that up to 200,000 followers with a monthly fee of $10, and you’re looking at between $20,000 and $100,000, according to Sunroom’s calculator.
It’s worth noting here that Sunroom takes a 20% service fee from subscriber earnings.
In terms of real-life figures seen by early creators on the app, Battersby explained that “it’s kind of too soon to say right now”. At the time of our chat, the app had only been live for three weeks, so it’s early days.
“But we are hearing really positive stories from creators already who are making in the thousands so far, which is really making a positive impact on their life.”
For the moment, Sunroom is approaching potential creators and there is a waitlist to join the group, so not just anyone can just sign up to earn some extra cash this way right now.
“We are trying to scale cautiously at the moment, and scale as our team’s resources grow as well,” Battersby shared.
“So that’s one of the main reasons for having the waitlist.”
The other reason for controlled growth in the creator list is safety.
Sunblock and manual monitoring
As with any social platform safety always has to be a huge consideration. We’ve seen failings in this space many times before.
Mort explained that for this reason, Sunroom is cautious of the option of automating reporting responses.
“We do have reporting tool so any user in the ecosystem can report any content that goes against our content policy,” she explained.
Oftentimes, she highlighted, when you move to an automated system here, context is lost and reports can go unheard.
“We’re going to do what we can to make sure we have human eyeballs, ideally women’s eyes, always making these judgement calls on content as we grow,” she said.
And when it comes to protecting the work of creators, “we’ve also built anti screenshot technology called Sunblock,”Battersby shared.
“So what’s posted on sunroom stays on sunroom.”
Why the app may be for you
When speaking on why Sunroom is necessary as a platform right now, Mort explained that part of it came from seeing “a real desire from OnlyFans creators to be taken seriously and to be have their businesses and their content creation legitimised” – women creators, in particular.
Secondary to that, she shared that while doing customer discovery for the app, they discovered a lot of frustration from women and non-binary creators who had “experienced censorship” on other platforms. This spanned across mummy bloggers and sexual wellness educators and beyond.
“We really wanted to start with that niche and address that problem.”
Sunroom is available to download from the App Store now, and Android users can join the waitlist here.