Photo-Illustration: The Strategist
That Beyoncé is a force, powered by her hive, is news to no one. But selling merchandise without seeing it – as she did last summer when she pulled out a blind box of album-related goodies before dropping a single piece of Renaissance – is a gesture that only she can succeed.
Even though I failed to personally obtain a box of merch (later revealed to include the album on CD, a t-shirt, a poster and a photo book), I was still in awe of the power star of Beyoncé. And as a lifelong fan myself, I started thinking about what might be on other Hive members’ wish lists. So I spoke to eight die-hard Beyoncé fans to unearth the coolest, most interesting, and slightly quirky gifts for fans who’ve been with the Queen for a long time. The writing is on the wall.
“I love how Beyoncé is relentless; she sets the highest standards and shows her efforts when she performs,” says Regina Colantonio, founder of the weekly newsletter Meet Gina. “She could easily rest on her laurels and her coast. But she never would. This endless journey is what led public relations specialist Natalie Bickel to listen to the Back home “non-stop” live album while training for a half marathon. Now the vinyl edition is at the top of Bickel’s wish list: “I’d love to listen to it when I’m high on caffeine, but cozy at home in a refreshed, nostalgic way,” she says.
Many other fans we spoke to said they would love to receive their most treasured Bey album on vinyl. We heard from singer and dancer Devonnie Rowe and professional dancers Maycee Steele and Kaitlyn Hardy-Wiltshire, who created the viral TikTok dance to “Cuff It,” which they wish they had Renaissance on vinyl. “Beyoncé carries herself in an elegant, fierce and intellectual manner that gives me enough confidence that people will turn their heads and know who I am,” Rowe said, adding that Renaissance is worth clinging to and passing on to the next generation.
Jessy Fofana, founder and CEO of LaRue PR and self-proclaimed Beyoncé superfan (who was lucky enough to find a blind box), said she was endlessly inspired by Beyoncé’s fearlessness. “She not only represents media, mass media, pop culture, but she also represents strength,” Fofana says, adding that she appreciates how the singer does it “without worrying about offending people, without caring about propriety or what’s politically correct for white people – and that’s how I want my kids to be. Fofana classifies the vinyl edition of Beyoncé’s iconic storybook album, Lemonade, at the top of the list of the best gifts she has ever received, as she considers it one of the most significant works of the artist. “Lemonade talked to me. It was a few years ago, so I was in my 40s, but my younger self, wronged by my ex-boyfriend, heard it. All his badassery was there,” she says.
Many fans have told us that they love Beyoncé’s effortless style. After shutting down her first bedazzled clothing line, House of Dereon, Beyoncé launched sportswear label Ivy Park in 2016, with subsequent collections in collaboration with Adidas. New drops often sell out in the blink of an eye — especially items that prominently say “Ivy Park” — and Rowe, along with personal trainer Genny Dunnington, told us that clothes from the line would be a great present. Rowe’s favorite pair of leggings are made by the brand and in heavy rotation because “they’re super soft and they don’t stick to my skin like other leggings, nor are they see-through.” Since Ivy Park drops are seemingly random, with long periods of time between each, the most in-demand pieces usually sell out almost as soon as they become available on the Adidas retail site. Your best bet for finding the brand is often on certified authentic resale sites like StockX and resale apps like Mercari and Depop – though SSense and Champs Sports currently have a few items in stock.
After a few weeks of amateur crumbs before Renaissance, Beyoncé dropped the opulent clutch – and Steele and Hardy-Wiltshire said they’d love to have the stunning image, which sees Beyoncé posing on the back of a light-up horse, over an oversized sweatshirt. This unisex crewneck features an embroidered version of the clutch.
Every fan we spoke to commented on how impressed and inspired they were by Beyoncé’s incredible work ethic. “Of course, I love Beyoncé’s music, but I really love the mogul that she is,” Hardy-Wiltshire says. Colantonio, who owns this jersey, recommended it as an encouraging nod to that mogul status and all the effort it took to achieve it. “Although Beyoncé looks superhuman, she’s worked for years to get where she is. It gives me hope for my own dreams,” Colantonio says, adding that “I also wear it at reproductive rights protests.” to remind women that our efforts will one day bear fruit.
Besides Beyoncé’s undeniable talent, fans rave about her “confidence and her boldness and her ability to make me feel like I can have that too,” Dunnington says. Fofana, who has decorated a conference room wall in her office with Beyoncé fan art and quotes meant to inspire her team, suggests offering an original artistic portrayal of the star that captures her boldness. Inspired by Beyoncé’s look in the “Sorry” music video, the deep, inky black background combined with the vivid gold detailing of Beyoncé’s mean mug makes the piece both understated and overstated. Each order is custom printed in one of four available sizes.
Light strips and neon signs are trends in their own right, and tech publicist Nikki Stephens says pairing them with Beyoncé lyrics is an obvious giveaway to “cement your Beyhive status.” This LED neon can be personalized with up to two lines of text, and there are 30 fonts to choose from. Stephens said she would personalize hers with one of Beyoncé’s most famous lines, “Who runs the world?”
Fofana is the mother of two teenage girls who eagerly feed her Beyoncé fandom, and she told us that after a particularly tough week at work, one of them commissioned her for this wooden pin she’s been holding ever since. . The pin features Beyoncé’s pose from her music video for “Formation” along with the song’s standout tagline, “Slay.” It’s an easy (and challenging) way to spruce up a backpack, purse, or jacket.
Publicist and Beyoncé superfan Cameron Owen put us through this vibrant, Beyoncé-centric book that’s filled with “awesome visuals and interesting facts” about the star. The book is packed with rainbow-colored infographics and curious highlights from his career (like a map of his awards collection); Owen says he prominently displays his copy in his living room and it’s “always a topic of conversation.”
Highly coveted and slightly elusive, the black-owned Telfar brand has its own hive – but when Beyoncé was photographed carrying the mean white shopping bag, current and new fans couldn’t get their hands on it fast enough. Stephens, who says her Instagram notifications are set to alert her to new drops from Telfar, says seeing Bey with him made her “try even harder to grab one.”
Fofana enjoys shopping for some remarkable and quirky Beyoncé-inspired booty on Etsy, where she found a vintage silver-plated jelly spreader stamped with the lyrics to “Bootylicious.” This similar version comes from the same seller, who collects vintage cutlery and stamps it by hand, one letter at a time, so no two pieces are the same.
While many fans we spoke to want to collect their favorite albums on vinyl, Owen says he regularly listens to the CD version of Beyoncé’s debut album, Dangerously in love, while driving. Since CDs and dinosaur fossils are essentially one and the same these days, his debut album in its original format — complete with old-school liner notes — can make a special nostalgia-tinged gift. (Car with CD player not included, of course.)
I’ve been a fan of Beyoncé since her debut with the original members of Destiny’s Child. My cousins and I used to practice dance routines to songs from the band’s second (and arguably most influential) album, The writing is on the wall, perform in front of adults at family gatherings. A poster of Destiny’s Child, like this one with the cover of The writing is on the wallwould be another fun nostalgic gift.
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