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TikTok Became Game Changer for a New York Business Accepting Beans as Currency; Here's How it Works

What set this pop-up apart from the usual retail rendezvous was the exclusive use of beans as the sole currency for transactions.
Heyday products | LinkedIn/Kathryn Kavner 

In a bold move to elevate its brand recognition, Heyday Canning Co., recognized for its array of flavored beans, recently orchestrated a pop-up event in the bustling city of New York. What set this pop-up apart from the usual retail rendezvous was the exclusive use of beans as the sole currency for transactions. From November 30 to December 3, 2023, the startup's retail location in lower Manhattan witnessed a surge of visitors eager to participate in this unconventional bean bonanza. In the age of social media, everyone wanted to be a part of the eye-catching experiment, making it a piece of marketing brilliance.

Heyday's ingenious marketing ploy aimed at cutting through social media noise found unexpected success, largely attributed to the pop-up's resonance on TikTok. Kathryn Kavner, the Co-founder and CEO, expressed her excitement about the overwhelming response, citing TikTok as the driving force behind the event's popularity. The brand witnessed remarkable growth, with TikTok contributing to an increase of more than 300% in followers as well as more than 13,000 profile views in just one week.

The pop-up's modus operandi took customers back in time with a barter system where attendees could exchange cans of any bean brand for Heyday's premium flavored beans and exclusive merchandise. Notably, all beans swapped during the event were matched 1:1 by Heyday, and those received were subsequently donated to City Harvest, a New York City-based food bank.

The brainchild behind this unconventional concept was Reed Kavner, Kavner's older brother and a Brooklyn-based comedy show producer. Despite costing 30% of Heyday's quarterly marketing budget, the event conceptualized in just four weeks succeeded in surpassing the startup's expectations. While Heyday had already established a retail presence in major stores like Whole Foods and Sprouts, the pop-up aimed to bridge the gap between its distribution and brand awareness, with TikTok becoming the game changer.

Heyday had initially focused on cultivating an organic following on Instagram, boasting approximately 7,000 followers. However, TikTok emerged as the unexpected catalyst, propelling the pop-up to unforeseen heights. The brand hosted a pre-event gathering for "friends of the brand" to generate buzz, in addition to paid promotions, including an ad in Cool Stuff NYC's newsletter.


The overwhelming success of the pop-up presented challenges as the demand quickly outpaced the supply of Heyday's merchandise and flavored beans. Heyday had to implement a one-to-one per-person swap limit and even overnighted additional bean inventory to meet the soaring demand.

Despite the logistical hurdles, the pop-up exemplified the power of innovative and engaging events in the age of changing advertising landscapes. Heyday's unique approach fueled by beans as currency not only created a memorable experience for attendees but also fueled genuine virality, showcasing the potential of unconventional strategies in brand promotion. As the brand reflects on the unexpected success, plans for future ventures and unconventional events are already on the horizon, promising exciting prospects for Heyday Canning Co.