In a city full of artists and personality for days, it can be difficult to find brands and companies that speak to your individual style. Brandshop, the brainchild of Laura Martin Mills and Hillary Crittendon, was created in 2015 to connect women to new female-run companies and women in the art, fashion and design worlds. Brandshop also makes it possible for up and coming designers to spread their vision and product to markets on a smaller scale than those of Los Angeles and New York City.
“Brandshop is a way to introduce – in person – sophisticated shoppers to a highly edited collection of emerging brands we think they’ll enjoy,” says Crittendon. “It’s also a venue for those brands to reach an audience of women who will carry their brand’s message forward.”
The ladies at Brandshop say they view shopping as a conscious decision and an exercise in self-expression – so the goal is finding those companies whose message and story connect and bring extra enjoyment to a purchase.
So what can you expect at Brandshop as a bride, maid or friend looking for the perfect gift? An out-of-the-box experience and a distinct gift your friend or maids will treasure. It’s even an opportunity to bring the bridal party together as a unit to experience the event.
To fully grasp the Brandshop experience, we chatted with Crittendon.
-How and why did y’all start Brandshop?
We started working with top emerging brands a few years ago, and quickly realized that distribution and growth into cities outside of major fashion markets (e.g., NY, LA) was a universal challenge. Many of the brands we work with have small teams and are five to six years old (or younger) thus their ability to dedicate time and resources to growing in cities like New Orleans, Charlotte, Charleston or Nashville is limited. It's our goal to help brands expand their distribution into new markets, whether that's by meeting clients who will continue to shop with them online or through introductions to local specialty stores.
-How do you pick the designers and artists profiled in your events?
We do a lot of research. We've found that many of the women who attend our events are always looking for the latest, most cutting-edge brands. But they are busy with family, volunteering and other commitments and naturally, don't have hours a day to scour the internet. We visit trade shows in New York, read WWD religiously, work with mentors in the fashion industry and have a lot of coffee dates to ensure we're bringing the best new brands to each market. In New Orleans, I know customers will be excited to discover WHIT, a killer RTW (short for ready-to-wear) brand started by a designer with a particular fondness for New Orleans, Rothy's, Fernweh Jewelry and Mario Brito, just a handful of brands we're working with for the first time.
-Is this an event you will bring back to New Orleans again?
Absolutely. We love New Orleans and have many great friends and supporters there, which is a primary reason we decided to host Brandshop in New Orleans in the first place. We host events both large and small so expect to see a smaller Brandshop event in New Orleans in late 2016, and potentially another large-scale Flagship event next spring! We are constantly building our library of designers and our speaker series continues to evolve so each time we visit a city, we bring a fresh perspective and group of brands to that market.
-What do you offer for those interested in the event, but maybe who cannot make a few events or the whole thing and still want information?
While we really believe that our events provide a novel forum and experience for customers to get to know brands more intimately (and even meet brand-owners themselves), we try to help our clients get to know brands through our website as well. We regularly publish interviews with our brands on our blog and social media channels. In terms of our speaker series, we'd love to publish our content at some point. For now, follow us on Instagram for top takeaways from the women leading each panel, and sign up for our emails for great summaries of our learnings from the amazing women speaking this Friday. Also, while we are holding a day-long speaker series and day-long wellness event, anyone can come and pop-in for just one panel or one class. Or if the timing of those scheduled events doesn't work, stop by and shop the pop-up at Reyn Studios (725 Magazine St.) or Martine Chaisson Gallery (727 Camp St.) anytime Friday or Saturday. We're popping the bubbly starting at 10 a.m.!
-Are there any additional things about Brandshop you would like to share with readers?
Brandshop is a really fun experience and we try to make it a really fun destination for friends. In addition to amazing shopping we'll have coffees by Revelator, fresh-pressed juices, nail art by M.A.D. nails, a beauty bar where girls can get their makeup done (or just the perfect bold lip), scavenger hunts for great prizes and mimosa and happy hours throughout the event. It's all about bringing together savvy, fun. like-minded women for a weekend of shopping, networking and celebrating young brands and we're so excited to get down there and celebrate with the women of New Orleans.
For a full list of New Orleans events visit http://www.thebrandshop.co/new-orleans-shopping/
Click here to purchase your tickets to the panels or classes.