Alexis Andra is the founder of The Shift Creative, a full-service creative studio that mainly focuses on large-scale design installations to make your event stand apart from the rest. We sat down with Alexis to ask her some questions on how she got started, her journey with The Shift Creative during the challenging time of this pandemic, and the experiential element’s importance to her designs.
Tell us a bit of who you are and how you got started:
I was accepted to the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in California and thought I wanted to be a fashion designer. I changed my mind and decided I wanted to help people, so I went to school for counseling. During that time, I got married, got pregnant, and didn’t want to go back to school for another degree. So, my friend told me to start a blog, and I had never been into blogs, but she told me to start cutting up my house or start putting up events on the blog. I created a page, and as I started doing my first shoot, I got it published. My first one, then my next one, then my next one, and I started building a name for myself in the events industry. So, I kind of had my hands in many different things like style shoots, wardrobe styling, and product styling until I am today. This full-service creative studio mainly focuses on large-scale stage design install, experiential activations. We work with numerous brands, high-end clients to elevate their events and make them stand out above the rest.
How did you adjust to everything being virtual?
A week into lockdown, we asked ourselves, “Ok, what are we good at?” One thing is design. So, that prompted us into designing a merch line, we designed adorable shirts and sweaters that had to empower slogans on them, and it blew up in the first week of the pandemic. We launched, and we sold out; it was a huge success. Now, is that what we do for a living? No, but what was I able to tap into? I was able to tap into my loyal audience. I was able to tap into our design background, and we were able to create a line that empowered and encouraged people at that time. The second thing I did was I started doing group coaching. I went over everything from the importance of collaboration to marketing to pivoting to growing your social following and tried to help young entrepreneurs when everyone didn’t know what to do. Then thirdly, I started pitching myself to companies that I saw that I could help.
What should brands be focusing on when opening back up experiential events?
I think there are a few things we still have to be sensitive to. Some individuals still don’t feel safe, and I know that there are things that are happening that are making people feel more comfortable, but I do think that brands still need to be aware that not everyone is there yet. So, still having a virtual component where they can send in an interactive element to their experiential activations if you will.
Why is it essential to create experiential activations?
I think it goes back to my counseling background because some of the interactive pieces and the experiential elements have way more of a meaning to them. For me, there’s almost an underlying meaning to some of the pieces that I create because I want to prompt action. I want to encourage reflection with some of the pieces. So, of course, there’s going to be the beautiful ones that you stand, and you take a picture with. But, by the end of the day, I love creating pieces that make people pause and think, what is my next step? How am I making this? How am I being challenged? How can I reach out or help somebody else? I want it to make a more significant connection than just a pretty art piece. So that’s why when I meet with clients, I always ask, what’s your goal? How do you want people to feel when they leave your event, and how can I beautifully create that? I like the designs to be aesthetically pleasing, but there’s a more significant takeaway in the end.
Where does social media come into play with experiential activations?
Social media is the main thing I think about. I’m thinking about the event first and foremost, but I have to think about how that translates into social media. We want everything that we do to be able to be Instagrammable. Why? Because that makes people desire to be at that event.
Be sure to check out Alexis and The Shift Creative on Instagram, @theshiftcreative, and online, www.theshiftcreative.com.