A single mum who used to be on benefits is now making six figures – by breeding huge snails.
Kris Buckley owns a snail farm with over 5000 molluscs she documents online, The Sun reports, making her the world’s first “snailfluencer”. She specialises in African land snails, a very large species whose shell alone can measure 23 centimetres.
Ms Buckley’s business took off after she started posting about her snails on TikTok, where the videos immediately went viral, catapulting her to fame.
The snails Ms Buckley breeds can sell for up to 60 euros ($100) each, and her business now turns over a five-figure sum every month.
Ms Buckley, from Munich, Germany, became interested in snails while caring for her son, who was in hospital for several months with a gastrointestinal perforation.
She was unable to work because he required full-time care, while also looking after her other son.
The family of three therefore had no choice but to live off the state and received food donations from the church.
Ms Buckley felt like she needed a hobby of her own, as all of her time was spent meeting her sons’ needs.
She was unable to make time for a dog or a cat and needed something low-maintenance – so after doing a little bit of research, decided to get a pet snail.
Ms Buckley paid 60 euros ($100) for an African land snail and a terrarium, a purchase that ultimately changed her life.
“I was a single mum-of-two living off money from the state,” Ms Buckley said.
“My life was caring for others. I had nothing of my own and the idea of a snail was very appealing. They don’t require any attention.”
Ms Buckley started posting videos of her pet snails to TikTok in 2019.
“It was a very quick change. People recognise me now. That’s strange because I’m a very private person, but thousands of people ask me questions about snails every day,” Ms Buckley said.
“I was just posting photos of my pets, and the second video I posted blew up massively. I became an influencer all of a sudden.
“My oldest son is of that age, so he helps me with my social media. He was the one who suggested I should go to TikTok.”
Two years later, she started her own snail breeding business and now has over 5000 snails, which she keeps in a warehouse.
The business is so successful the family were able to stop claiming benefits and now live comfortably.
Ms Buckley even has three employees, and turns over five figures monthly.
“My life has totally changed. I was living in a council flat and receiving food donations from a church,” she said.
“I still live in the same flat but the snails saved my life.”
This article originally appeared on The Sun and was reproduced with permission