PopSugar, the global media and technology company, which counts more than 32 million fans and followers, on June 22 will launch its second annual PopSugar Play/Ground festival highlighting wellness and self care. The two-day event, at Pier 94 in Manhattan, will also have a large shopping component.
“Commerce and content have always been a big story for us,” said Lisa Sugar, editor in chief of PopSugar. “We wanted to make it easy for people to buy things. It had to be different than a mall experience. We wanted a lot of brands you can’t get anywhere and a lot of direct-to-consumer brands.”
With 15,000 women expected to attend, Sugar said commerce will be robust. “A lot of people actually buy stuff.”
PopSugar’s inaugural Play/Ground in 2018 wasn’t profitable, according to Brian Sugar, the company’s chief executive officer, and Lisa’s husband, who projected a modest profit for the upcoming event during a podcast last year.
“It’s important to be the first at trying something big and new,” Lisa Sugar said. “As a brand, the event allows [followers] to really feel emotionally attached to us in a different way.”
Sugar Studios, a fitness dome with back-to-back workouts led by fitness influencers and trainers, Samsung Galaxy Soul Space, a wellness oasis, and Beauty Carnival, a larger-than-life gamified experience are some of Play/Ground’s pursuits.
A packed slate of panels, podcasts and fireside chats will include Cynthia Rowley and daughter Kit Keenan discussing how fashion can evolve and inspire from one generation to the next; Supercharged ceo Kwanza Jones sharing secrets for making power moves; Jenna Lyons, interviewed for an upcoming episode of the podcast “Loosely Connected,” and Feed’s Lauren Bush Lauren and other female founders talking about how they’re disrupting their respective industries.
Alice + Olivia founder Stacey Bendet and Jenny Mollen will have a conversation with Sugar about staying true to yourself. Bendet wanted to participate because “the company’s events draw so many women and are so in-line with who my customer is. What they’re doing as a brand is really modern and fun.
“They asked me to do something with my friend, Jenny,” Bendet said. “We have a funny back and forth on social media. I thought it would be a great way to inspire young women and working moms. We’ll talk about how you balance the day-to-day aspect of your work with your family, and the challenges that come with that.”
A Pop Shop will offer products such as Aviator Nation’s sweat pants and cropped T-shirt, exclusive to Play/Ground; Feed’s Women on a Mission tote in Play/Ground colors, with each purchase providing 10 meals to children in need; Jack Rogers and Wren + Glory’s exclusive sneaker in three styles, hand painted by Wren + Glory; Maison Du Soir’s striped loungewear; Maje’s Zodiac necklaces, and Lemlem’s summer hair accessories. Alexis Bittar will sell its designs from a gold bus parked outside Play/Ground.
“Under Armour is one of our sponsors, and we created with them a fun outfit with the PopSugar and Play/Ground logos,” Sugar said, adding that other sponsors include Kohl’s and Samsung, with GLAAD, the charitable partner.
PopSugar for Kohl’s apparel collection and Beauty by PopSugar sold via e-commerce and Ulta stores will have a presence at the Pop Shop.
“I’m thankful for people who took a real gamble on year one,” Sugar said. “This year, it was so much easier to go to people at the top of our wish list and bring people on board. From an advertising perspective, the brands got to see attendees engage with their brands. It’s great marketing for us, to be able to create an event that’s so fun and has so much to take in.”