Industry's hottest toy tycoon is only 7

Published: Feb. 18, 2019 at 3:11 PM EST
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Like most 7-year-olds, Ryan loves playing with toys. But he's the kid on the box.

Reporter: What's it like to see your face?

Ryan: Cool, because I can see myself a lot but also creepy because if you see your face around a lot it can be weird.

CBS News caught up with Ryan at the toy fair in New York where he's releasing new toys.

His parents, Loann and Shawn, started posting videos of Ryan playing with toys back in 2015 and they soon went viral. Forbes says he was last year's highest-paid YouTube star, raking in $22 million.

That popularity led to a line of toys now selling at Target and Walmart. And Ryan's empire is growing, with a new series debuting on Nickelodeon later this year.

At events, Ryan gets the start treatment and spends time with legions of fans.

"So proud of him," dad Shawn said.

"As a mom, I'm amazed and so proud of him," mom Loann said.

"The landscape has changed dramatically," said Laurie Schact of the Toy Insider.

Schact says Ryan has not only inspired other YouTube creators, more and more toy companies are partnering with kids from social media to market and sell products.

"And this is a big trend and I don't mean a trend like's it's here today, gone tomorrow, I mean this is where the future is," Schact said.

But the toy company behind Ryan says he isn't just the face of the products.

"Ryan is an active participant, frankly, being the creative director of his own line. If he does not love a product, we don't do it," said Chris Williams, the founder and CEO of Pocket.Watch.

Ryan's parents say, for the most part, he leads the life of a normal second-grader. He only works a few hours a week and goes to public school. He just happens to be the most famous kid in his class.