Shay Michell Inspired by Daughter Atlas for New Kids' Luggage Collection: 'She Has an Opinion'
The actress and entrepreneur tells PEOPLE the hardest part of traveling as a mother of two and how she consulted her young daughters for her new BÉIS Kids line
Shay Mitchell is still adjusting to traveling with two young children, so she created products to make life easier for herself and other moms on the go. The actress and entrepreneur is launching a BÉIS Kids arm of her successful luggage company, a functional and colorful vibrant line specifically crafted for young adventurers.
Mitchell, 35, founded the successful company in 2018 and wanted to expand to younger consumers after growing frustrated with the options available for her own two daughters: Atlas, 3, and Rome, 11 months.
"The inspiration was my kids and kind of looking around and having to buy her lunch boxes and backpacks for school, and seeing what I didn't see on the market," she exclusively tells PEOPLE.
"Now Atlas wants her own bag and I was sick of seeing the luggage that she had as a kid. My little one isn't a baby anymore and now she has an opinion, and she wants to carry her own carry-on and have her backpack and her little fanny pack to match it."
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Related: Shay Mitchell on Life with Her Two Daughters: 'One Was Nothing Compared to Two'
The sherbet-hued items include mini Rollers, 2-in-1 backpacks with detachable fanny packs, lunch boxes, a stuffed animal-inspired neck pillow, and an attachable travel buddy. "We made it really fun because I know from my own experience that Atlas loves colors and she wants things to be bright, so we definitely did that with this collection," Mitchell adds.
The former You star admits that her eldest daughter "was obviously the first person that I asked" for feedback on every aspect and loved being "able to get her opinion, you know, to see what she gravitates towards." She also kept an eye on "what colors and items she likes when she went in a store" and jokes "a lot of that is just Frozen, so I had to kind of pull her away from that."
Mitchell is quick to point out her gratefulness and excitement seeing her products used "in the wild," but has received her greatest thrill from seeing her own children use BÉIS items.
"To be able to see Atlas get excited for a trip and pull out her little roller that we have sampled, and get her travel buddy and like put a couple snacks in it and her lip gloss, it's really awesome because now I look down and I'm seeing her get excited for a trip using the suitcase that we created," she raves. "It's so cool to be able to share this excitement of getting to go somewhere with her."
The Canadian star reveals Atlas has "truly been immersed in this entire experience" of seeing her mom grow her business since her birth and hopes it instills the same work ethic she developed from her own mother.
"My mom would get up every morning and go to her job from 8 to 5, and seeing her go to work and then come home and balance it all and be really good at prioritizing, I feel like that's where I've kind of learned it for myself," she reflects. "I have an incredible team around me and people that help, so let's not forget that I definitely don't do it on my own, but it was really encouraging to be able to grow up with that."
Related: This Spacious Weekender Bag from Shay Mitchell's Luggage Brand Is an Overpacker's Saving Grace
She's also amazed to see the incredible bond her two daughters have already formed at such a young age. "They're sharing everything, dolls, and art stuff, and they just have a really special relationship," she says. "Atlas looks at her little sister as a little mini-me and I know Rome looks up to her, but their personalities couldn't be further apart. Atlas is quiet, loves accessories, all the crowns, all the costumes, while Rome doesn't want anything in her hair. She doesn't want to wear sunglasses, doesn't want to be dressed up, so it's really funny to see the differences between the two."
And while Atlas now has her own gear for traveling, Mitchell points out that her oldest is already finding pleasure in using mommy's beauty products. "She comes into the makeup room and she's like, 'Can you put some lip gloss on me please?' " she laughs. "I'm like, 'Don't steal my glam,' and now she thinks it's funny. We're all going to lose our glam to our daughters."
The Pretty Little Liars alum may have created tools to make major traveling easier with her two youngsters, but she confesses "getting them both in the car" is still a massive hurdle. "Having to drop Atlas off at school and then I'm also bringing Rome along because I can't just leave her at the house," she explains. "Getting all their stuff and not forgetting the lunch bag or the rain boots or the sandals- I just think the mental loads that parents and caretakers have watching over kids is a lot."
"There's a different challenge every day, but again, I feel very fortunate that I have great people that help me with this because it's a lot, and two kids over one is a whole other journey," she adds.
The BÉIS Kids collection launches May 17.
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