Shay Mitchell’s travel brand, BÉIS, features a stylish and affordable collection for the woman … [+]
The fact that Shay Mitchell is a social media powerhouse with over 26 million Instagram followers doesn’t even come close to defining who she is. One word to describe her is passionate. She is as multifaceted as they come—a successful actor, entrepreneur and now mom-to-be (due any day now). Best known as Emily Fields in the ABC television series Pretty Little Liars, Mitchell also stars in her own popular travel video series on YouTube, Shaycation. From skydiving in Dubai to hot air ballooning in Morocco, Mitchell is a self-proclaimed travel junkie. When asked if she has any dream destinations left on her bucket list she admits, “You know what, to be honest, put me on a plane, and I’m in my happy place.”
During her extensive travels, Mitchell saw a need in the marketplace for chic, affordable and functional travel accessories. This led her to found BÉIS, a travel and lifestyle accessory brand that is as stylish as it is practical. Now celebrating its one-year anniversary, the company has far surpassed expectations. Since launching in 2018, BÉIS has seen more than 200% growth and is on track to deliver more than $20 million in profitable revenue. Not bad for an idea that began with Mitchell sketching designs on the back of little airplane cocktail napkins. I managed to snag some time with the soon-to-be mom to talk about the inspiration behind creating BÉIS, the importance of social impact campaigns to her mission and how she balances work and family with a jam-packed schedule.
Caroline Castrillon: Shay, what was the inspiration behind creating BÉIS?
Shay Mitchell: The inspiration behind the brand is truly my life. I’ve been traveling ever since I was a little girl and purchased a lot of luggage and travel items over the years. I found that everything on the market either looked good but was so expensive or was super-affordable yet looked cheap and didn’t function well. There weren’t any really chic looking, highly functional and affordable items in the travel accessories category, so I recognized that there was a need for disruption in this market.
Castrillon: There’s a strong sense that you’re very hands-on with the brand. Why is it so important for you to be involved in the day-to-day?
Mitchell: Sure, first and foremost, because it’s my company and creating BÉIS was something different than I have ever done before. I wanted to be hands-on with every single aspect of it. Not only because I’m a passionate person, but I’ve learned from past projects. I knew that if I were going to do this and put my name on it, I would be completely involved with every facet of it. It wasn’t just the sexy stuff I wanted to learn. I really wanted to understand the business side of things. You know, inventory, budgets, shipping tariffs—all of it. To truly understand and learn, I knew that I had to be an integral part of the team.
The BÉIS Fall 2019 collection includes luxurious and affordable shearling pieces.
“Passion is what fuels everything and what I believe is a crucial ingredient to success.”
Castrillon: As a busy entrepreneur, how do you balance being heavily involved in the daily activities with delegating when you need to?
Mitchell: Yeah, so this is an easy one. I surround myself with people that are definitely experts at what they do and whom I can trust to execute everything. I can’t be everywhere at once. I do a lot of things because I’m truly passionate about a lot of different things, which is why having such a great team is so important. Being a successful entrepreneur, in my opinion, is trusting not only your own intuition and vision but also trusting those around you. They always say that the person who created the business cares about it the most. I can honestly tell you that my small team of people that work on BÉIS with me care equally as much as I do, which is really, really difficult to find.
Castrillon: How important is it for you to integrate social impact campaigns into BÉIS’s mission moving forward?
Mitchell: Oh, my gosh, so important. Every time I open my Instagram or email—every single day there’s something where I’m like, we need to do something about this. I also feel that we as a brand, because it is travel, really owe it to the world because I think that education equals understanding. Especially having a lot of global consumers, it’s essential to talk about those issues and bring awareness to them.
Castrillon: How do you balance life between being an actor, an entrepreneur and now a mom-to-be?
Mitchell: Well, I would like to tell you that I’ve invented a way to create more hours in the day! Honestly, my schedule is super busy, but that is how I thrive. I love what I do, and I keep going back to passion. Passion is what fuels everything and what I believe is a crucial ingredient to success. I am excited to become a mom and meet this little person. I have no doubt she’s going to completely rock my world. Of course, my schedule and priorities are going to shift based on her needs, but my intention is to continue to be as on the go and active as possible. I also think that that provides a good example. The superwoman in my life is my mom because she never stopped, never missed a beat. And I mean that in her business world and also in terms of her being a mother. She was incredible at both, and that’s what I strive to be.
The conversation has been edited and condensed for clarity.