In the second part of our conversation with Scot Redman of Baymo, hear how the experiential company is revolutionizing the holidays. Scot shares insight into his team’s creative process for SNOWDAY, and what they see for the future of the industry.
Plus, Trademark’s Stephany Ruiz, Senior Director of Guest Services & Experience, and Chuck Steelman, VP of Experience, give a snapshot of holiday activations across the Trademark portfolio, from celebrity appearances to mesmerizing decor.
Be sure to subscribe to hear future episodes as the Trademark team speaks with experts in the real estate industry.
Terry Montesi: Welcome back to Trademark Property Company’s podcast Leaning In. This is the second part of an episode, and you can find part one on the podcast page. Thank you for tuning in.
Stephany Ruiz: Today we wrap up our discussion with Scot Redman, co founder of Baymo, an industry leader in curating unforgettable interactive holiday experiences. Scot shares trends in shopping center activations, how social media trends guide their execution strategy, and what activation opportunities exist beyond the traditional holiday season.
Chuck Steelman: Well, Stephany, it was great chatting with Scot Redman on Leaning In. And holidays are now over. And we had some great successes when it comes to experience. At North Point in the Atlanta market, we hosted HoliDAYS, and I emphasize days because we hosted four the guys from Peacock’s Days of Our Lives in the store, which brought a lot of people out during the holidays. And I love that brand new Christmas tree that flanks in the court at the property.
Stephany Ruiz: Yes, the new tree and also the overhanging twists that we got were amazing. We also have new decor happening at another property in Annapolis, Maryland, with also a 25 foot tall tree and ice skating rink that’s going to happen in January. And then we had horse and carriage throughout the season as well, which was a huge success for everyone in the Annapolis market.
Chuck Steelman: Yeah, at Market Street Woodlands, they had an incredible tree auction where all of their tenants created these magical Christmas trees. And customers could come in and make a donation to a charity, and then they got to take that tree home towards the beginning of December. But the community there loves coming out to their main street outdoor court and watching that magical Christmas tree that they have right in the center of their court. And when you go even further south, to Corpus Christi to La Palmera mall, we love their Christmas parade. It’s always a magical day when customers from the Corpus Christi area are able to come together and welcome Santa Claus to Corpus Christi.
Stephany Ruiz: And of course, since we’re talking to Scot Redman, we cannot go on without just emphasizing the success that Galleria Dallas has with their SNOWDAY activation and SANTALAND activation throughout the month of November and December. So welcome back, Scot. Thank you for joining us again. We talked about SNOWDAY during our last conversation. And now we’re going to talk about what else exists in your overall immersive experience operation. And our first question for you is how do you continue to evolve a project like Pop!, which we’ve seen, of course, at Galleria and at Bridgewater Commons? How do those things continue to evolve for you?
Scot Redman: Well, thanks for having me. I’m excited to be here again. It’s interesting, your brains are always going. And so, I think one of the exciting things about Pop! was we had been doing holiday for so long, a couple of years.
Chuck Steelman: It seems like a long time. Two years goes by quick.
Scot Redman: Christmas goes hard when it goes straight for two years. It’s like, wow, that’s a lot of Christmas. It’s just trying to create new things. It’s a really saturated world with all of these different selfie museums and all of the different exhibitions going on all the time and all these things using projector art and all these famous artists, and you just see them everywhere. And so, it’s trying to make yourself unique within that. And so, one of the things with Pop! was we really wanted to create something that was, a, very immersive, but, b, also just really once again, it was about taking really incredible photos. And so one of the things we noticed, we did a white psych at Pop!, and if you don’t know what that is, it’s when you take a white wall and it curves so that when the image is taken, it just looks like it’s a flowing white space behind the model.
Chuck Steelman: Basically what people use for professional photo shoots or models for magazines and things like that.
Scot Redman: Yeah, so it’s really common in the fashion world. We took that and put an incredible camera there and lit it professionally. And it became a huge success. Everybody went crazy for it. And it was these automated really incredible photographs. And that was just a lot of the moments of Pop!. And another thing we did with Pop! was integrated tunnels and different rooms that would work really well for new mediums like TikTok and Reels on Instagram. And so, creating spaces that really fed to that kind of photography.
And so, one of the things we saw was at Pop! Galleria, I think we had 29 music videos filmed there. And some of them were really, really good. It was kind of a creator space where people could come. And there were all kinds of different things happening there because people really saw the potential in all of these different moments. What we’re trying to do is go above and beyond just oh, these walls where people take photos in front of them but really create things where you can take a camera and do a long shot for 20 or 30 feet with it and things like that, where it’s, all of a sudden, that content is really, really valuable.
Chuck Steelman: Well, Scot, you mentioned on the last podcast about the structure of the company where you and the Bayer Brothers have merged to kind of create these immersive experiences. But I’m curious, because I know people who are listening in, what is your creative process? How does it work? Does everybody kind of work on their own part of the exhibition? Or do you guys come together and share creative energies? Walk us through the process.
Scot Redman: Yes, it really starts with just kind of sitting, first, the whole group, seven or eight of us, sometimes more, sitting down. And everybody’s literally throwing spaghetti on a wall – oh, this would be cool, I saw this. And all of us are extremely visual people who have seen endless movies and looked at endless photography and been on tons of shoots. And so, we’re kind of collectively pulling all those things together.
And then taking all of that, and one of the things that Kristi does really well is takes all that information, kind of puts it into a little bit of a plan or guidebook. And then Scott is a master of laying it all out. Will this work in a space? Will this flow in a space? How will it all flow? What do you do with this column when you want to do this? And then Ben, obviously, with how the technology will flow together and how that’ll work. And then there’s Joe Bayer who’s like, can you actually physically build some of this stuff? Which sometimes he’s like absolutely not.
Chuck Steelman: Can you really get a UFO in here and you did it.
Scot Redman: Yeah, you can. But often, he’s like, I can’t do that. It literally is this process of where it goes from being on a wall, and both Pop! and SNOWDAY have hundreds of photos that are still on a wall that we leave there, and that inspires other things we do, and to will it fit in the space and to actually building it and going in there and building it. And often once you’re in that space, you figured out oh, that won’t work. So, a lot of ideas happen as it’s being built. It’s like, oh, what if, now that you see that, what if you did this? What if we added this?
So, one of the cool things with SNOWDAY or Pop! is that literally anytime you go there within the run, there’s something different about it. All the time, things are changing. The other day, I walked into SNOWDAY, and the dartboard went from a green dartboard to a red dartboard. And I was like, okay. But Lenea who does all that I guess just didn’t like a green dartboard. That didn’t look good. So now we’ve got a new nice one. And that’s just one of the cool things, there’s always stuff changing all the time.
Chuck Steelman: I know from conversations that we’ve had with you and the team, sometimes you guys spend a lot of time creating one of these rooms or one of these moments where people can take a photo. And then sometimes there’s just this random last minute, oh, we’ve got this corner, and let’s just put this over here. And that ends up being the most successful part of it. What does that do for the creative process with the team? What do they think when those things, like a fluke, just ended up being so popular?
Scot Redman: I mean, sometimes I think that’s what makes it fun, though, that it is when you exhaust yourself trying to figure out one thing, and then it is like you put one little tiny corner in there that’s two different colors, and everybody’s taking a photo there. But it’s fun. And so, one of the things we really noticed, though, is people find things in there that we didn’t even know exist, or they figure out how to take a photo that we didn’t even know would be a good photo. It’s all the time. So that’s one of the cool things about looking at what people are posting and tagging is you go, oh, wow, I didn’t know you could use that room for that or take a photo standing on your head in there or anything like that. So it’s fun watching the feeds. And you interpret something one way and the world interprets it a different way.
Chuck Steelman: Which is good and bad.
Stephany Ruiz: I think my favorite one of that was the phone, the retro phone that you guys have that was just, it wasn’t there when you guys opened Pop!, and then a few weeks later it was. And I think to Chuck’s point, that was your most popular Instagram for a while.
Scot Redman: Yeah, people post it all the time. It’s funny because you just put a red phone on a white pedestal and people go, oh, that’s really cool.
Chuck Steelman: Well, I think people from a generation that had landline phones, it’s like it’s fun. It’s like a memory. It’s like I remember this. I used to talk on the phone. And then the younger generations have never seen it before, so it’s like a new toy. But I think that those are the things that really truly make Pop! such a success.
Stephany Ruiz: Yeah. And I think I have my ideas as to what separates you all from other selfie museums. But what do you think is the true, I don’t know, effect or what does separate you from other immersive selfie museums out there?
Scot Redman: First of all, there’s some other really incredible ones out there that we are huge fans of and do an incredible job. I would say some of what makes us different or comparable would be just the attention to detail. It’s just that it’s incredibly important to us that everything looks and feels and smells real and that every moment is an actual moment. So, yes, you go in here and you take a photo, but when you come around the corner, you go, oh, wow, that’s a whole city street, or oh, look, there’s a bicycle attached to concrete- it’s all paved, but it’s all made out of wood, but looks like a concrete street. And so, it really does feel like something different, and that you really feel like you’re entering somewhere else.
And so, I would say the detail. And I think that’s one of the things the Bayer Brothers do so well is that really just making sure it is a real set. And so, people are- and they say that, they want people to experience that, what the real building looks like, and that just everything down to every little color gets discussed over, much to my chagrin, discussed too much. But those are the important things.
And that the technology works really, really well and that it’s tested all year long. And that we have some really brilliant people who work on that and spend an enormous amount time and are sitting in the back room of SNOWDAY or Pop! and really trying to make sure that everything is functioning together. And so, I would say it’s just wanting people to feel and experience something different.
And one thing I’ve always said is like Walt Disney figured that out a long, long time ago. And it’s almost like nobody ever paid attention. They’re like, oh, that guy is just really successful. But he figured it out. He figured out that people want experience. They want something different. They want worlds that take them away somewhere. And they want really great customer service. They want people to be really nice to them. Just all those elements where the fragrances you smell when you go down Main Street. And it’s funny to me that other people didn’t catch on to that for a really long time where it’s like, oh yeah, I guess people really do like that kind of experience. I think our whole team hopes to be a fraction of what was created there and to bring that to people all over the place.
Stephany Ruiz: And I think you guys do a good job with that. Because even with Pop! and the TVs outside, so even people that are passing by can be part of the experience before they even go in, and like the POS stations. There is nothing that is missed. That’s still also a moment where someone can stand in front of the really large bear you guys had in there and take a picture as they’re walking out. So, it’s really a true immersive experience from beginning to end.
Scot Redman: Yeah, and both of those stories, the bear, which has now become- we have a T-shirt now of our bear, because there’s always a bear butt in one part of the exhibit, and then there’s the front of the bear. And that was a last minute thing where we had this giant polar bear that I don’t know if Joe got it or Scott got it. But they were like, well, what if we cut it in half and put one part and another part. And so that’s just been a part of everything we do.
And then the TVs, Ben Haschke decided one day he was going to go buy TVs all over the city from Craigslist. He spent the entire night putting them all together. So literally, we showed up the next day. He’s like, “Well, what do you think of that?” And there was this huge stack of like 20 TVs with old VHS recorders on there, and everything was feeding everything you can see outside of the mall. So it’s all that kind of stuff that comes together within just hours.
Chuck Steelman: Well, Stephany and I have the pleasure of working with many companies throughout the country that create immersive experiences at many of our properties. We love working with you guys. And what advice would you give to someone who might be looking to go into the immersive experience business?
Scot Redman: Really care about it. This has been way too hard a process to not care. And so we’ve made tons of mistakes. We’ve done lots of things well. We’ve figured out how to do things better. I would say you have to care about it. But more importantly than that, you have to have the right team. You have to have the right people. If I did this by myself, it would have been an incredible failure. There would have been no way I could have done it. And if only two of our team had done it together, it would have been a horrible failure.
And so, it really took a lot of really brilliant people with a lot of great ideas and a lot of solutions for when people would say something, and they needed help with something. And so having a team that really cares about each other, is willing to spend all night working on problems and problem solving things. And the Bayer Brothers are builders, but they put a lot of input into the software and a lot of, well, what if we did this? And vice versa. Ben has input for the Bayer Brothers, like well, what if we built this a little differently, so it flowed this way? Kristi is talking with Lenea, our set designer, all the time and they’re working together trying to figure out everything.
And so having the right people in place, like I would spend a lot of time trying to figure that out. I feel like we got lucky with that. And it was something that came because the idea of SNOWDAY in the first iteration of it was only five months long. So, we just got real lucky with it. But I would spend time making sure you have the right partners and the right people around you to do it because that’s made all the difference.
Chuck Steelman: So how did you guys meet?
Scot Redman: The Bayer Brothers? Well, through you, Chuck. Funny story, we also have a photobooth company called Motus and the Bayer Brothers have Bayer Brother sets. And so we were doing an event at Hudson Yards for you. And so, we were there and we were finishing up the event. And these two guys were tearing down the photo booth, the set for the photo booth. And we kind of hit it off with them. We were like chatting with them. And I was like, oh, they’re nice guys. So I said, “Where are you guys based out of?” And I was assuming it was New York. And they go, “Oh, Dallas.” They were like, “Where are you based?” And I was like, “Oh, Dallas.”
And that’s how we met there. And then we came up with this idea for SNOWDAY. And I’m like, you know what, I met these guys in New York that happen to live in Dallas. And so, we went over there and talked to them and hit it off immediately. And so yeah, that’s how we met. And it’s been a ton of fun.
Chuck Steelman: Yeah, you guys have been making magic ever since.
Scot Redman: Yeah. I mean, it’s been an incredible adventure. It’s wild creating things for people to escape in. I texted the whole group the other day because I was working in the back hallways of SNOWDAY. And it’s just like a cacophony of laughter and joy and kids talking about different things. And it’s wild to stand there and be able to be a part of something where it really is people just having a good time and in awe something. And so, it’s really an honor to be a part of that. It’s such a cool thing.
Stephany Ruiz: I mean, I think the honor is ours to have you be part of our partnership. I definitely think that you guys have done a great job of protecting the experience of Santa and adding technology. That can go very south very quickly if you don’t do it right. So I think you guys have done an awesome job with that. And there’s, of course, no end in sight for you all. The future is bright. Can you give us any insight on what’s next for you and the team and your overall business?
Scot Redman: Well, I think it would be to keep revolutionizing holidays and how we function within the retail space and how we amplify that and make it better for both us and whatever the property is we are at. And I think the world of photography hasn’t seen enough yet. I think that there is a massive shift coming to how people get their photos taken. And so, I feel like we’re putting a lot of energy into that and what’s next with that and how do people go and take a family photo. So we’re trying to figure that out. And just, even new ideas come up every day, and everybody has different thoughts. And so, right now our heads are, we’re thinking about SNOWDAY and Pop! and all those things, but we’re definitely trying to think of new things.
With Santa, oh, I think Santa could go to a whole other dimension. I think it’s never even been realized. I think there’s a whole new future for what that looks like. How do kids experience Santa Claus? And how do they experience the holidays? And so, I think there’s just a whole new world sitting out there to be created.
Stephany Ruiz: Awesome. We’re excited to have you this holiday season at Galleria Dallas, hopefully next and at other Trademark Property locations.
Scot Redman: We’d love that. Thanks for having me.
Chuck Steelman: Well, as we said, Trademark is all about enhancing communities and enriching lives. And with people like you, Scot, and your company Baymo, you are allowing Trademark Property to achieve that goal. So we love having you as our partner and we look forward to many new adventures.
Scot Redman: Us too.
Terry Montesi: Thanks for tuning in to today’s episode. Be sure and subscribe to this podcast so you don’t miss one. To learn more about Trademark Property Company, visit trademarkproperty.com.