AM: Tell us a little bit about yourselves and your background.
We are long-time friends who bonded at an early age over a mutual love of travel, culture and theater, and started working together a few years ago. Laura started her career at Cynthia Rowley, running operations, business and retail development for the designer, and followed that by launching Exhibition A, with support from Rowley as her lead investor. Exhibition A is a leading contemporary art website that partners with top contemporary artists to create new work. After a career in finance, Hillary spent time at online menswear retailer Bonobos, earned an MBA in entrepreneurship and retail strategy from Wharton and then joined McKinsey’s retail practice. Together, we have executed pop-up shops for brands including Bonobos, Cynthia Rowley & Exhibition A and in partnership with top retailers Barneys, Colette and Lane Crawford.
AM: What inspired you to launch Brandshop and what keeps you going?
Even the best young brands have limited resources and smaller teams, thus have limited ability to penetrate markets outside of New York & LA, and a few major retailer partners. Through working with many of these brands, we saw a clear opportunity to help them expand their distribution into markets like Charlotte, Atlanta, New Orleans and Nashville, through experiential retail events. Our goal is to help these designers & brands connect with discerning, savvy customers in a meaningful way, so they become long-term clients & brand-advocates going forward.
AM: What was your favorite pop up event so far?
Our December event in Charlotte, NC was really exciting. We had 25 female designers join us for the weekend, as well as 20 accomplished female creatives lead our speaker series which covered everything from art to interior design to the future of fashion. It was extremely exciting to see the designers, influencers and interesting women of Charlotte come together, learn from one another, discover new brands and engage in meaningful conversation around so many cultural and lifestyle topics that many of us are so passionate about.
AM: Any plans to organize events in New York City?
Right now, we’re focused on cities in the South where we have strong networks and great influencer relationships. But never say never. We are considering opportunities in the Bay Area and LA, and we’re New York girls at heart so would be thrilled for the opportunity to bring Brandshop to a city we both love so much.
AM: What does the perfect work/life balance look like to you?
Has anyone figured this out? When you own your own business there is very little delineation between work and the rest of your life. That said, we try to prioritize small activities which make us feel grounded and centered- like time with family, yoga or the occasional long weekend- and when we’re nearing a big event and things get crazy, we just try to buckle down & power through without losing sight of all of our priorities!
AM: What’s next for Brandshop?
Brandshop will be hosting major events in Atlanta 3/18 – 3/19 and New Orleans 6/2 – 6/4. Our New Orleans event will incorporate a fitness & wellness focused-day with panels, speakers and fitness classes. We’ll be joined by industry leaders like Anna Kaiser and the founder of Well + Good Alexia Brue . Also, still under wraps, but look for us near the water this summer!Tweet