Digital Marketing Redux   //   May 9, 2024

How Béis looks to bring ‘personality’ to its events

When asked what sets luggage startup Béis apart from other companies in its category, the brand’s vice president of brand and creative, Liz Money, says that it is personality. 

In the luggage space, “there is typically not a lot of personality behind the brand,” Money said. Of course, it helps that Béis’ founder, actress Shay Mitchell, is a well-known personality herself. But Money says the brand also places a big emphasis on bringing value to customers based on “where they are in the moment.” That means designing products that address needs in their daily routines and travel schedules.

But, another way that Béis tries to prove this out is through its on-the-ground events. 

In February, the brand hosted a two-day “Béis Wash” pop-up. Béis customers could bring their bags in for a cleaning in a space designed to look like a car wash. Then, at the end of April, Béis hosted a “Pit Stop” at the Stagecoach festival, where festivalgoers could come inside and cool off, refresh their makeup and get a drink at an attached saloon. For Béis, the focus of these events is not to drive sales but to raise brand awareness and build loyalty with existing customers. The idea is to position Béis as a brand that addresses “what consumers need at the time,” Money said, often through eye-catching designs and humorous concepts. 

More than 1,200 people attended the two-day Béis Wash, where more than 360 bags were cleaned. Additionally, the brand estimated that about 6,000 people came through the Pit Stop at Stagecoach (not counting the people who just went to the attached bar). The amount of social content generated during and after the event is another big area of focus for Béis. Following the Béis Wash event, there were 141 unique posts on social from members of Béis’ “creator network.” 

These events are important in helping Béis reach more people and in turn, meet its ambitious growth goals. The brand previously told Women’s Wear Daily that it did upwards of $120 million in “profitable gross revenue” last year and hopes to become a $200 million brand this year.

Ryan Glick, the founder of strategic activation agency CNC, told Modern Retail that “an immersive experience is table stakes now,” given how many brands do events now.

Glick, whose agency has worked with brands like Dolce & Gabbana, Neutrogena and Bumble on pop-ups and events, said that “to go above and beyond, you have to bring the full brand experience to bear.” That means tying what’s happening on the ground at events back to what’s happening on a brand’s website and socials. That could also involve giving loyalty program members early access to an event or launching a giveaway tied to an upcoming event on a brand’s social media page. 

Béis, founded in 2018, didn’t start significantly investing in events until after the coronavirus pandemic. The brand’s first notable event was a motel-themed pop-up that it hosted in 2022 at The Grove, a shopping center in Los Angeles. A motel was a natural concept for a travel brand like Béis to show off its products. But Béis also invested significantly in design to truly bring the motel concept to life, adding flairs like a check-in desk where people could pick up a key or an elevator door that, when popped open, revealed a mirror room where people could take selfies. 

Money said that Béis’s goal when designing events and pop-ups is to create an experience where “at every turn, a place to take a photo, and not feel like you are on step and repeat, but it is very authentic, and a thing you want to share.” 

The brand came up with the idea for the Béis Wash, Money said, after receiving questions from customers about how to remove scuff marks and stains from light-colored luggage. Béis partnered with Branch Basics, which sells all-natural cleaning products, and sponge brand Scrub Daddy on the event. Béis also created accompanying videos for social media, to show customers who couldn’t attend the event how to clean their Béis luggage. “It’s a way for us to showcase that we care about your feedback,” Money said.

2024 was also the first year that Béis did an event for Stagecoach. Money described the brand’s approach to festivals as “a crawl, walk, run strategy.” While Béis has done events adjacent to festivals this year, the brand decided to spend a little bit more and do an activation on festival grounds, because “this year seemed to be the year that a lot more people were interested in getting back and going to festivals.” Additionally, the Stagecoach organizers provided Béis with data on how much of a resurgence and interest there was among young people in country music in particular.

When deciding how to bring the idea of a festival “pit stop” to life, “we catered our selection of products toward the festival consumer and thought…how do we answer to things they might need?” Money said. First and foremost was simply: a place to get some airconditioning. That also meant stocking the pop-up with items that are considered essentials for a country music-themed festival like Stagecoach, ranging from bandanas to booze. 

At this event, a big focus was also finding ways to collect contact information so that Béis could use that information to bring potential new customers into the fold, Money said. Béis handed out bandanas at the pit stop — in exchange for their phone numbers or emails (about 1,300 attendees did in total). Béis also created a station with a third-party vendor where attendees could film a slow-motion video. And again, in order to get access to the video, customers had to hand over their email addresses. Roughly 400 to 500 of these videos were created, Money said. Lastly, Béis also created an exclusive T-shirt that people could only buy through the brand’s app. 

Béis is working toward other events this year, including a multi-week activation with the National Parks Foundation. Money said that a big focus for the brand is “making sure we are tailoring our product to where the consumer’s need is at the time,” and events is an extension for that. So, the brand will consider more activations as it looks at events both big and small that its core customers will be at throughout the year.

“We don’t see ourselves as a travel-only brand, we see ourselves as an on-the-go brand,” Money said.