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Willa’s Creator Trip with AG Experiential

Creator trips, aka seemingly luxurious photoshoot-worthy vacations filled with an array of beautiful people, have been flooding Instagram feeds since Revolve first took the concept up a notch by leveraging their colossal network of fashion and beauty influencers around 2013. However, the reality of these getaways is often not quite so picture-perfect. First off, these trips—as the name suggests—are not just for fun; they’re about creating content, which takes time, work, dedication, and often, reshooting the same shot 100 times. Typically brands skip out on the details and the backend work that goes into the final pieces of content they share across their own marketing channels, but Willa’s social media team recently had the unique opportunity to join in and see the magic firsthand.

From a brand perspective, participating in such a trip gave us an inside look behind the scenes of how they actually happen, into all the work that goes into executing those Insta-worthy shots and videos we can’t help but “like.” In partnership with AG Experiential, a creator-founded agency—rooted in, you guessed it, experiential marketing—we headed to Careyes, Mexico’s hidden gem du jour. Having previously worked with one of the founders, Gregory Dava, we knew we were in good hands with him and his co-founder Ashley Campuzano, but we had no idea how much of a treat we were in for. The villa, aka the creator home for four nights, was luxe. We’re talking an aquamarine infinity pool, an entire staff preparing delicious meals and exotic margarita concoctions, and a 180-degree view of the Pacific ocean. Dreamy is an understatement. After getting acquainted with the girls over dinner, it was crystal clear that they were not only creatives and models, but entrepreneurs. With brand partnerships, their own fashion lines, and big plans for the future, like most creators, they are far more business-oriented and goal-driven than stereotypes would lead one to believe.

The following day was a big one for us: the Willa brunch. Set on a terrace with sweeping views of crashing waves, the five-course culinary experience consisted of dishes with local flair, wine and champagne, and of course, connection. While most of the creators were at least familiar with each other through social media, about half were actual friends outside of the trip. Naturally, beyond just enjoying good company and food, the brunch had an educational factor to further acquaint the guests with Willa and create content around the event. From Janette Ok’s (aka: @inmyskims) interview Reels asking the creators what they bought with their first big paycheck, to Kylee Campbell’s carousel diving into the perks of using Willa, each post was imaginative and in line with their own aesthetic.

After a successful brunch, it was onto the Solo Mio Swim pool party to celebrate the latest collection by creator and photographer Solmaz Saberi’s swimwear line. As expected, the margaritas flowed while content magic was being made in every pocket of the pool deck. Any direction you looked, a video camera, tripod, or ring light was being put to use. Seeing the group working around the lighting to get the right shadows, helping one another with their respective content, and collaborating, the community aspect of the creator world was undeniable. Instead of competition, it was all about coming together for a mutual goal: everyone succeeding in their brand deals. To wrap up a long day, the group went for an authentic local dinner. Nothing better than ending the day with laughter over tacos.

The morning was spent working on emails and taking Zoom meetings poolside, while the creators took care of several collabs on their own. Lunch was a beautiful beach picnic for Kadimah, a clothing brand by travel creator Nicole Isaacs. As soon as the last dish was finished, the group was on to shoot her bohemian looks, along with several activations that were part of the trip’s content itinerary. While our team enjoyed a relaxing day of swimming and laying out, the creators spent hours shooting. Just because something looks glamorous and effortless on social media doesn’t mean that’s the reality of the fact. On top of that, dinner was another major collaboration…

All in all, the beautiful experience showed us that these creators are almost always “on the clock”—it’s not easy to check out when part of your job is to share your life. The unconventional nature of being a creator is simultaneously liberating and confining due to this. But the biggest takeaway was how incredibly hardworking creators are. While you can mix business with pleasure, it’s not quite the same as a full-blown vacation, and creator trips are a testament to the work ethic of the industry.