How Refinery29’s Unbothered Produces Must-Have Virtual Events For Black Women


Ten months after the start of the Covid-19 pandemic and it is hard for consumers not to feel fatigue from virtual events. But not disturbed, Refinery29’s sub-brand for black women, always manages to grow its audience through virtual experiences that tie into the brand’s mission to create a safe space for black women to feel seen and heard.

The three-year media platform, including Go Off, Sis podcast was named Podcast of the Year 2020 by Adweek, has produced numerous live-streamed events since the pandemic began in 2020, including The Black Woman Is Essential series with Target and the In The Living Room series focused on Mental Health. The brand reported that these events garnered over a million views in total and that their integration into their website and social channels helped Unbothered see a 40% increase in site traffic to Stories and an increase 89% of the number of Instagram followers year over year.

Undisturbed reported Wash Day, his latest Facebook Live event – a virtual retreat day on January 17 featuring tutorials and conversations on hair care and self-investing – was three times above average similar events, attracting over 1000 live commentary and continuous presence during a four hour stream.

Influencer Choyce Brown offered protective styling and business advice.Not disturbed

Olivia-Jené Fagon, Creative Director of Experience and Events for Vice Media Group, said the secret to keeping audiences tuned in lies in scheduling an event that answers three questions: the event does it fill a void? How does he provide a service? Does it really have to be live?

“With Wash Day, we asked ourselves what environments or routines our audience might be missing in the pre-pandemic times that haven’t yet been ‘uploaded’ to the online world. For many black women, it’s the barber shop and their wash days, ”Fagon said. “We wanted to create an experience to reflect the sacred, joyful and communal experience of being at the salon, which takes so many forms – from a waterhole for black women to letting their hair fall with each other. to a ‘therapy’ session with your hairdresser.

Chelsea Sanders, vice president of brand innovation and strategic partnerships at Unbothered, said Wash Day started out as an editorial series. After seeing a positive response from readers, she and the experiential team at Vice Media Group worked to create a space for readers to “unleash, learn and celebrate this shared ritual of hair care, of sharing their deep conditioning hacks. and learning new styles of protection for positive self-development. -Talk and set goals in 2021. “

Vice President of Brand Innovation and Partnerships Chelsea Sanders spoke about personal care and empowerment goals for 2021 with Scottie Beam.Not disturbed

The brand brought in haircare professionals and influencers like Nigella Miller, Scottie Beam and Chrissy Rutherford to lead the conversations.

“Talent also continues to be one of the biggest drivers of development, but recruiting talent for virtual events requires a little different approach,” said Fagon. “For a conversation-based virtual event like Wash Day, our talents needed a relevant perspective and an existing audience, yes, but they also needed to be public figures that people actually wanted to hear live. “

Sanders said pre-event and post-event engagement, driven by opportunities for content capture and physical extensions, is also essential to creating a virtual event with lasting impact. For example, the brand incorporated the natural hair care brand Emerge as a sponsor, offering purchasable extensions online and providing kits of selected products to select from the participants who responded.

And before Wash Day, Unbothered created a personalized Instagram story filter that attendees can use to post photos from their own wash day, and created a Spotify playlist to go along with each session. To increase the reach of the event, the brand uploaded the sessions to their Facebook page for fans who couldn’t connect live.



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