See How This Experiential Mobile Activation Celebrates the Return of Live Events

Rent the Runway and Social Studies teamed up with SKB Event Shop for a cross-country road trip this summer.

Rent the Runway, Social Studies, SKB Event Shop, After Party Tour
The stops on the joint tour feature Rent the Runway inventory that can be reserved for upcoming events, along with curated rentable entertaining kits from Social Studies.
Photo: Kristen Swain

After more than a year of sweatpants (or no pants), the biggest question party guests are asking themselves right now is "what do I wear?!"

To help solve that conundrum, Social Studies, a Brooklyn-based company that specializes in rentable entertaining kits, and Rent the Runway have teamed up this summer for a cross-country road trip, transforming a Texino van into a mobile pop-up experience that is being produced by Sue Bohlen, founder and CEO of SKB Event Shop.

The stops on the joint tour, which is part of Social Studies’ larger “After” Party Tour, feature Rent the Runway inventory that can be reserved for upcoming events, along with curated rentable entertaining kits from Social Studies. Plus, visitors gain access to special discounts and can nominate individuals who have been greatly affected by the pandemic to win an entertaining kit.

“We decided to launch our first out-of-home campaign this summer with billboards, direct mail and more, and viewed this van tour as a way to connect more intimately with local communities in a very complementary way,” explained Jessica Latham, CEO and co-founder of Social Studies, as well as the tour’s van driver. She added that based on inquiries from customers in various states such as Texas, North Carolina and Florida, the team knew they needed to focus on building a campaign across the U.S. 

“We also sensed the pent-up demand that people had for in-person gatherings. Luckily, our friends at Rent the Runway stepped in to help us get dressed up to celebrate again, while Texino was able to customize a camper van for us incredibly quickly,” she said.

Rent the Runway, Social Studies, SKB Event Shop, After Party TourVisitors gain access to special discounts and can nominate individuals who have been greatly affected by the pandemic to win an entertaining kit.Photo: Kristen SwainSimilar to renting designer apparel, Social Studies, which was founded in 2019 by Latham and Amy Griffin, allows customers to rent and return items for events, including place settings and decor. With bigger in-person events happening again, Latham said that the company has seen a “dramatic increase in sales of our rentable entertaining kits in both minimalist and maximalist styles, with larger order values and larger average party size.” So with entertaining back in fashion, so to speak, it made sense for the two companies to join forces.

“This partnership was designed to celebrate a return to gathering and traveling at a time when consumers are valuing access over ownership more than ever before,” explained Samantha Storch Malloy, director of partnerships at Rent the Runway. “After over a year at home, we’ve never been more ready to celebrate and collectively embrace fashion at its most fabulous this summer. Pairing Rent the Runway’s Closet in the Cloud with Social Studies’ turnkey event rentals felt like the perfect complement to meet this unique moment in time."

Each tour stop also focuses on a specific theme with corresponding inventory, such as "80’s Prep" in Nantucket, Mass., and "Return to Glamour" in Charleston, S.C. Upcoming stops include Nashville, the Hamptons and Austin.

“We chose themes that would resonate well with the local culture and scene, and used them to add special touches to the events. For example, in Nantucket, we had hilarious wigs for guests and '80s trivia cards on the table. We want all of our tour stops to feel joyful, from the celebratory Rent the Runway inventory on display to the table decor,” Latham said.

Rent the Runway, Social Studies, SKB Event Shop, After Party Tour“We selected local co-hosts deeply ingrained in each market to help create the invite list, including design impresario Ken Fulk in Nantucket and model Venita Aspen in Charleston,” Latham said.Photo: Elizabeth ErvinIn addition to the public pop-ups, Social Studies also hosts themed invitation-only dinners in each location in collaboration with local influencers. “We selected local co-hosts deeply ingrained in each market to help create the invite list, including design impresario Ken Fulk in Nantucket and model Venita Aspen in Charleston,” Latham said.

She added that “there was palpable eagerness from guests to reconnect with each other in-person. Our second stop was themed ‘Return to Glamour’ since we heard from many that it was the first time that they had been able to dress up in a while, which was something they really missed throughout 2020.“

See more from the first two stops of the Social Studies x Rent the Runway tour.

Rent the Runway, Social Studies, SKB Event Shop, After Party TourA Texino camper van was transformed for the mobile pop-up experience.Photo: Kristen Swain

Rent the Runway, Social Studies, SKB Event Shop, After Party Tour“We sought out areas where people love entertaining and have a distinct sense of style. In terms of the pop-up locations, we looked for high-traffic areas beloved by locals, such as Millie’s restaurant in Nantucket for our van pop-up and The Post House Inn in Charleston for our dinner,” explained Jessica Latham, CEO and co-founder of Social Studies.Photo: Kristen Swain

Rent the Runway, Social Studies, SKB Event Shop, After Party TourThe Nantucket stop was accompanied by dinner at Greydon House.Photo: Kristen Swain

Rent the Runway, Social Studies, SKB Event Shop, After Party TourGuests at the invite-only dinners include local entrepreneurs, influencers and reporters. "We looked for those who would become true evangelists for the brands,” Latham said.Photo: Elizabeth Ervin

Rent the Runway, Social Studies, SKB Event Shop, After Party TourDinner guests in Charleston received branded gift bags.Photo: Elizabeth Ervin

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