Since first sharing the recipe for her then-revolutionary salmon bowl, Emily Mariko has accumulated an eight-figure following for her caption-less videos of what her followers call "quiet luxury." Her meal prep and grocery haul videos aren't particularly special or captivating, but coupled with her immaculate kitchen backdrop and occasional pricey vacation, it's the kind of simplicity only money can buy.
As most influencers do, Emily casually unveiled her first piece of "merch" — a set of pricey, yet plain tote bags, tagged with her name in a serif font. The bags come in "eucalyptus" and "strawberry milk" and ring in at a whopping $120; suddenly, Emily's once-loved quiet luxury is now the center of quite a bit of TikTok drama.
The price of Emily Mariko's new tote bags are the center of her controversy.
Emily officially announced the tote bags in a rare video where she spoke to her audience, but the comments quickly filled with ire following the bag's launch as the $120 price tag was unveiled.
"Oh to be rich and then to try to be richer," one commenter said, while another piped in "That's gotta be like a 95% profit margin."
The bags are advertised as 100% cotton and made in California, featuring an inner pocket but no zipper to close the tote. The price is unarguably high for your standard cotton tote bag, and in the current economy, many of her followers feel the launch is a little tasteless.
"So I either buy groceries for $120, or a grocery bag for $120 with no money to make use of it," one commenter said.
"I feel like creators should only make merch for their audience if they've acknowledged them at least once," another griped.
In true Emily fashion, she has remained mum about the backlash she's received as a result of the tote's launch, but TikToker Bradley (@babblinbradley) articulated the frustration in a video of his own.
"She hasn't done anything for herself other than benefit from generational wealth, and by flaunting that on social media, by showing an unattainable life to people, she has curated a following of people that are just so in awe of the fact that she just gets to live life like a regular human being... what common decent human beings deserve because her family has generational wealth," he said.
It's important to note that Emily has not publicly stated where her wealth comes from, so we cannot confirm if her quiet luxury aesthetic is contributed to by any sort of generational wealth.
Where Bradley draws his frustration from is that even with the platform she's built, she continues to not acknowledge her followers in any way — she does not post apology videos, or like comments, or reply to anyone who has interacted with her videos. It's become a part of her online persona, at this point.
"In my opinion, people like that look down on their followers," Bradley said. "It's a bag, and then she goes and sells it for $120... She now wants to extract even more wealth from those people to what say that she has a business? That she made her own money?"
It seems that regardless of the outrage, Emily's farmer's market tote bag does have an audience; both colors are currently sold out on her website.