The Inside Scoop of the Wango Tango Lounge & Gifting Suite

Social media has allowed us all to peep into someone else's lives, lusting after their decor, skincare or college lifestyle. With the rise of influencers and bloggers, many companies want to try to send their products to young Insta-celebs in hopes of appearing on their social media or getting a genuine recommendation on their vlog. Now, we'll all see Youtubers recommending luggage brands or eye makeup products—it's become normalized. 

We want to take readers inside a gifting suite to see what that life is all about, one where generous and creative brands want to reach regular people by gifting products. At iHeart Radio's Wango Tango by AT&T this weekend, we were welcomed into the lounge and gifting suite, where we met wonderful female CEOs and chatted about their lines. Here's the inside scoop of a gifting suite if you're thinking of getting into the business:

First, you find the gifting room, which is often in a restricted or exclusive backstage area. For Wango Tango, you'd check in at press, go through an exclusive security line (a time-saver) and into the media area. At the Banc of California Stadium, the gifting room was on the second floor. While we were about to walk up the stairs, we saw the boys of 5 Seconds of Summer stepping out of the elevator. Casual.

You sign in at the front with your name on the VIP list. In this case, you'd be handed a large bag to carry the gifted products. Enter through the topiary hedge, which created privacy for the balcony suite overlooking the KIIS FM Wango Wango festival with the skyline of downtown LA in the background. 

From there, you can look at booths hosted by elite brands. Smash Mallow was handing out bags of delectably soft, flavored marshmallows, including mint chocolate chip (the employee said it has the consistency of mochi when frozen). The Mug Shakes was offering its fruity pebble shakes in a mason jar with fruity pebbles all down the side for that #foodporn aesthetic. Guests sipped the treat in an outdoor living room under some string lights, sitting on white couches with a glass coffee table. It was gorgeous with the sun just nearing the golden hour.

The center of the suite had a huge swan floatie to match the summer kickoff theme of the concert. One cocktail table nearby was full of Hempz Signature Collection Goji Orange Lemonade herbal body moisturizer (limited edition) for the taking. Cottonhood Apparel offered drawstring bags with navy tie-dye sweatshirts inside. Their company is all about brotherhood and sisterhood, hence the name, so they donate a hoodie with every purchase for the customer to give to a friend and share the love.

We spoke with the eponymous founder of Olga's Makeup, who creates USDA certified organic makeup that's vegan, non-GMO and paraben free, with no animal testing, made in USA. Does it get any more wholesome than that? She wants to educate women on cosmetic health, and gave guests lip tint and two makeup brushes (eyeshadow and blush) in a white gift bag.

After talking with the CEO of Barbar, we learned that her husband is a stylist and they created a line of products, including the BT Black Tourmaline 1400 professional flat iron that they distributed; the company also offered an automatic curler. As you may have guessed, by this point everyone's huge duffle-sized bags were bursting. 

One helpful booth was by Joanna Wood, a make-up and hair artist who works backstage at Hollywood events through the CF Agency. She was available on hand for any makeup touch-ups, which was perfect considering the Wango Tango festival and concert is a day-long affair — and influencers want to look photo-ready at all times. 

Ultimately, going to your first red carpet or gifting suite can be overwhelming, but you'll soon get used to having all eyes on you and speaking with business people who truly love their products and want you to as well. Though going backstage at concerts may seem super glamorous, for many media specialists or influencers, it becomes very normal. It's all in a day's work: make sure to feel confident, ask questions and enjoy yourself. It will soon begin to feel comfortable and exciting to see what's out there to try. 

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