In a world of abbreviations like LOL, FML, and BRB, ASMR is one isn't as easily defined.
ASMR, short for 'Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response' is something that while many might have experienced, they can't put a name too.
An article in The Guardian describes it to be a 'head orgasm', and those experiencing it describe it to be a "tingling sensation in the back of the head or neck, or another part of the body in response to some sort of sensory stimulus".
The stimulus isn't strictly defined, but is commonly said to come from whispers, and soft, repetitive sounds that inspire a sense of calm.
Youtubers have long been aware of this fetish (of sorts), like creators Peaceful Cuisine and Kimi ASMR, both like your typical cooking channels - sans the commentary and music.
But there's a way that some are monetising the trend, and it comes in the form of a plaything those of us who grew up in the 90s and early 2000s would know.
The Rise Of The Slime-trepreneur
The slime from the days of homemade science experiments is back - but with an updated twist.
As compared to the gooey concoctions we made, the slimes of today come in various colours and consistencies - some even with beads and glitter mixed into them for that extra aesthetic appeal.
And it's a pretty profitable business - in the US, at least.
For American tweens, creating and selling slime has become a very viable side project - one (with 719k followers on her Instagram account for the slimes) even earning US$3,000 (S$4,139) a month for her creations.
But what does this have to do with ASMR?
Slime creators, whose medium of choice for promotion is the very accessible (and very free) Instagram, promote their new products with short videos of them playing with the slime.
The videos are simple, it usually involves a top-down view of a dollop of slime, a hand, and satisfying 'crunch' sound whenever the slime is moved and reshaped.
Videos like these often garner views in the hundred thousands - in fact, there's 11.7k (and counting) Instagram posts with #SlimeASMR tagged in them - a large majority of which are videos in the similar format.
While not on the same level of scale as its American counterparts, Slimecrime is a Singapore-based slime seller.
Started by Geraldine Ang, 21, she is currently a full-time travel assistant at her mother's travel agency , making and selling the slime as a part-time project.
She currently has close to 40k followers on her Instagram page which acts as a catalogue of her creations, but her main business is conducted via her Carousell page.
For her, the first encounter with slime was quite like many of how the other slime-trepreneurs started out - from popular Thai slime videos on Instagram.
"I started seeing videos of slime accounts from Indonesia and Thailand all over my Explore page one day mid last year, and found it pretty interesting. However it wasn't until they stopped appearing that I found myself searching up said accounts to view more!"
Very quickly, an interest became a hobby, and she started creating her own slimes with recipes she found online, and getting her materials from craft shops like Art Friend and even Popular.
Inspired by popular makeup brand Lime Crime, she named her little business 'Slimecrime', and posted the very first promotional video of her homemade slime last August.
"I just figured it made sense for me to make some money off my hobby - that was when I had just finished polytechnic and had no other job."
Slow Start, And Finding Fans In Social Media Influencers
The idea of playing with, and collecting slime did not catch on with Singaporeans so quickly though, as Geraldine admits that it was a challenge to gain traction at the start.
"At the point of creating my account and store, there weren't many people selling, or interested in slime. It was a slow start, and the market is really niche."
Soon enough, the trend gained traction, with social media personality Jianhao Tan even posting a video of him making slime - following a rant about not being able to find content ideas that would go viral.
Yan Kay Kay, a popular blogger/social media personality, has also publicly expressed her love for slime, and after countless questions from followers about where she got it from, mentioned Slimecrime in her Instagram Story.
Playing with lavender slime to show my neon purple nails with pale lavender roses on inverse French tips. 💟💟💟 to @thistlebellenail for the intricate work. Text her 9026 1583! Shout out to @commehome for the marble slates-- I know I'm supposed to use them for flatlays but they're PERFECT for playing slime on hahaha. #nailart #asmr #slime #volumeup
"I was surprised myself when I received messages saying that Kay Kay had featured my account on her Instagram Story because she used an anonymous account to purchase from me," reveals Geraldine.
"I'm humbled by the support and thankful for the traction, however at the same time I consider myself far from successful."
Running The Business, And Tackling Slime-y Issues
But why, from her experience, does she think these unassuming blobs are gaining so much popularity?
"Slime videos have that ASMR factor, and it makes them soothing to watch and listen to…it's the same idea as popping bubble-wrap. Slime accounts are getting very creative too, so it's not only about the ASMR, but aesthetics are coming into play."
"My entire Instagram page is like a catalogue. I used to post daily, keeping people in the loop of what's in store, or when they can expect it."
She reveals though, that she does not engage in any other forms of marketing - a given, as this isn't her full-time job anyway.
"I have not sold at flea markets before, however starting up a locker store at Hako where people can purchase (the slime) offline is in the works."
For now, she keeps a variety of made-to-order options on her store so that fans can get them anytime, and restocks the more 'special edition', limited quantity ones over the weekend.
"They usually sell out between 1 hour to 2 days!"
While her business is relatively small scale, Geraldine admits that it's no mean feat as it is a one (wo)man show
"The target audience for slime is mainly children ranging from primary to secondary school kids, so it's not uncommon to have to deal with people who don't show up at meet ups, or back out of the deal last minute."
Another challenge, she reveals, are the hate comments received on Instagram.
"Some comments are about how they think slime is stupid, while others throw insults at physical things like the colour of [the makers'] nails, or the size of their fingers. Most, if not all of the hate comments I have received to date are actually from non-Singaporeans."
But Geraldine takes it all in her stride, because she believes that "there is no point giving into internet trolls who just want attention".
"Instagram has this great function of blocking comments that contain a certain keyword, which has helped me keep the ignorant hate under control, though sometimes there are still a few that slip in. It does not personally offend me. […] The best fix is to block and report."
A Business With A Expiry Date
Unfortunately, Geraldine foresees a closure of her online business in the near future, especially when she enrols into a university in August.
However, she is still looking to set up a locker store for those interested in her products to purchase them offline.
"As for my Instagram page, I intend to keep it alive for as long as possible. It took 10 months to get the following I have today, and I'm ever grateful for the support."
While her business and the trend does seem to have an expiration date, I think it's still safe to say that there would possibly be more than we can expect from this young entrepreneur.