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How She’s Making It Work: Shay Mitchell

Actress, model, and author Shay Mitchell lives a busy life that requires plenty of travel but, ironically, she could never find luggage that she liked. Tired of settling for mediocre solutions, she decided to take on a new venture as leather goods designer. Her line Béis features chic travel bags and storage solutions for jetsetters and busy moms on the go. Here, she talks the power of reinvention and why you should never be afraid to try something new.

DRAWING INSPIRATION
A multi-hyphenate star and proud mama (her viral videos featuring 1-year-old daughter Atlas are #momgoals), Shay Mitchell’s latest role as luggage designer happened pretty organically. In fact, the idea came to her during one of her many stints on the road. “[The options I was finding] either looked good but lacked function or they were packed with features but ugly,” she says.

So, she started sketching her own designs on cocktail napkins on the plane. “Whenever I encountered a problem like a suitcase I had to sit on to close, I thought through how I would fix it.”

In October 2018, Mitchell brought her ideas to life by launching Béis, a company that sells bags and accessories combining form and function. Here, she drops jewels on the life lessons learned by venturing into unchartered territory.

“I do things because I really believe in them and I see an opportunity. I don’t think it’s ever smart to do something exclusively for money or clout. You need to do it because you really care about what you’re setting out to achieve.”

Mitchell pictured with the Béis cosmetic pouch set in natural.
Mitchell pictured with Béis storage cases and luggage.

Everything is a learning experience.

“One of our biggest challenges came right when we launched,” Mitchell says. “We didn’t know how much product we actually needed, and we sold out almost immediately of what was supposed to be a six-month supply! Others might have viewed that miscalculation as a failure, but for us, it was a learning opportunity.”

Do your homework.

For Mitchell, Béis is unlike anything she’s ever done before. “It’s my company, so I want to understand the entire business—the inventory, the spreadsheets, the budgets, the shipping and tariffs, the timelines,” she says. “I am very hands on, but I also surround myself with people who are experts at what they do. Part of being a successful entrepreneur is trusting those around you to do the right thing.”

“I am very hands on, but I also surround myself with people who are experts at what they do.”

The best ideas are born out of necessity.

While she was pregnant (Mitchell gave birth to daughter Atlas in fall of 2019), she came up with the idea for Béis Baby and launched it earlier that year. “Our baby bag is intended for daily use as well as big trips,” Mitchell says. “Babies need a lot of stuff, and the last thing I wanted to do was to reach into an abyss while my daughter freaked out. Our bag ensures you can get what you need, when you need it, quickly.”

A little doubt is a good thing.

“We’ve experienced tremendous growth since our start—over 200 percent—but we’re still a start-up with start-up budgets and a skeleton staff and problems,” Mitchell says. “I doubt myself all the time, but I think that’s for the best. You question yourself because you care. It’s an important part of growing as a person and a brand.”

Do you. Always.

“As cheesy as it might sound, the principle that I live by is to follow my heart, vision, and intuition,” Mitchell says. “I do things because I really believe in them and I see an opportunity. I don’t think it’s ever smart to do something exclusively for money or clout. You need to do it because you really care about what you’re setting out to achieve.”

“The principle I live by is to follow my heart, vision, and intuition.”

As seen in the pages of Sweet July Magazine. 

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