Exec Profile with Brand Expert Tierney Stout of Saus Haus


Saus Haus

Years with Company: September 2023

Address: Los Angeles, CA

Phone: 817-320-3643

Web: saushaus.com

Email: [email protected]

Publicity: Grace Jones, Grandstand Media, [email protected]

Clients: Levi’s, Marshall, Dr. Martens


Tierney Stout has been active in the branding space for years, creating campaigns, events and product collaborations with major artists such as Metallica, Foo Fighters, Lil Wayne, A$AP Rocky and beyond. In the fall of ’23, she founded her own company, Saus Haus (pronounced “sauce house”), to create further waves in this lucrative arena.

Getting Saucy

I was in-house at [shoe company] Vans doing similar work as Saus Haus. It was music strategy and partnerships, everything from seeding to campaigns to collaborations. When I left, I didn’t necessarily think I wanted to start my own thing. But an old boss from Vans, who is now at Dr. Martens, asked if I would be interested in doing something similar there. I was interested. 

However, I kind of had a lightbulb moment. Perhaps this was an opportunity to offer the same things out-of-house. I wanted to be more nimble. I said, “Would you be interested in taking this as an out-of-house role?” 

It kind of snowballed. Only a few weeks later, another old boss at Vans, who now is at Marshall [Group, the Swedish manufacturer of amplifiers], reached out with similar work more rooted in strategy. And then, a couple weeks later, a mutual friend connected me with Levi’s [blue jeans], knowing they were in a similar position as Marshall.

Connecting Artists With Brands

There are artists wearing brands organically, and you can tell they’re fans. They’re buying their own products or their stylists are reaching out and asking, “Can we get products for this event?” I identify artists that have an affinity for brands and knock on their doors. I say, “We have [this artist] wearing this brand. If they’re interested, [let’s] take it to the next level.” 

Reversely, a brand might not have eyes on artists who have that affinity. I say, “You should keep your eyes on this person. They’re going to blow up, and they really love your brand.” 

Or there’s the third lane. I might see an artist in boots or similar footwear. Maybe they didn’t grow up with Docs, and there’s an opportunity to get that product on their feet.

The Role of Data

I would never completely turn my back on gut feelings and passion or general taste. But Saus Haus is rooted in strategy. I’ll remind brands that, in this day and age, [music marketing is] actually not that subjective. I remind them that it’s a marketing tactic and a tool to connect with consumers. 

Some brands I’ve worked with have seen a drop off with female consumers who are 18 to 24. I can use that insight from their team and say, “That consumer identifies with this artist and this artist. And we know they often like your brand.” Or perhaps their style aligns with the brand. 

The Art of Store Playlisting

There are a few different things I ask brands to consider when we’re talking about retail playlisting. Number one is: do these artists have an affinity for the brand?

I was working with a brand and asked to see what they were playing in their stores. And I noticed they were playing one artist who had a very large deal with their biggest competitor.

Sometimes, an artist’s style aligns with us. Maybe they’re not always wearing Dr. Martens, but let’s use that as an opportunity. So it’s curating to artists that love your brand. 

And then, additionally, that demo[graphic]. I work with a handful of bands that have played music for a long time. Maybe their demo is leaning more legacy, because that consumer has grown up with the band. Is that the target consumer you’re trying to get? It doesn’t mean we can’t play some legacy punk, but [we need to do] an overall audit of the target consumer. Does this piece of the marketing puzzle really leverage this opportunity? 

Artist-Store Synergy

A lot of third-party services that power music in stores offer a whole menu of marketing opportunities. If you have done a collab with an artist, and they have product on the shelves with their name and likeness, have audio drops from them. Also, if you have a collaboration with an artist, dial up their tracks. Have their new single play every 30 minutes. 

Keyword: Authentic

Consumers can smell when [something’s] not authentic or forced. It starts with getting the product on the artist or having them become familiar with your products in an organic way. Seeding, getting the product to the artist, is the most important. You’re making sure you connect with their team, getting them your products and their team knows where to find you. 

Another thing about playlisting is, if an artist has a new single and it’s an artist we’re not working, we’ll program it in our playlisting. I’ll reach out to their manager and say, “We added this artist’s new single to 600 stores.” It’s free marketing. If done right, that can be a moment to start an authentic relationship with that artist.

Multi-Tiered Stories

I’d love to build an agreement that isn’t just a one-off. That’s my overall approach. The goal is always to build. Can it be a two-, three-, four-, five-pronged approach? Sometimes, it doesn’t work that way. The brand might have an immediate need, and their budget is only a certain amount. Maybe at this juncture, we don’t have the time to add other elements to the partnership. But in a perfect scenario, it includes a multi-tiered story. 

Going Live

A lot of the brands I work with, oftentimes they’re programming live performances. Dr. Martens had a series called Dr. Martens Presents. When I worked at Vans, they had House Of Vans, a venue they regularly program. So, are there live opportunities we can plug in? I’m always looking at what opportunities are on deck for the brand.

Getting the Attention of Brands

For a band that has no connection to a brand but is a fan, be a bit of a squeaky wheel. Tag the brand in your social posts. Many brands pay artists to tag them in posts. If you’re tagging them, they’re going to take notice. Will that unlock a giant partnership for you? Probably not. But if you weren’t on the brand’s radar, that’s a good way to do it. 

More Info Is Better

You can’t send me enough information. I always tell managers, “Send me their tour dates.” I tell publicists, “Please put me on your distro[bution] list.” There are so many artists out there that sometimes, unless you tell me, I won’t know they’re going on tour. Or maybe I miss that they have a new single out. I often tell teams, “If there’s new stuff, please be loud about it.” I love having as much information as possible so I can make educated curation choices for brands.

Demographics and Windows of Opportunity

It has to make sense for the brand. If this artist’s demo is 35-plus male, that might not be what that brand needs. I’ve worked with brands where their key demo is 18 to 24 female. But maybe next year, they’ve totally got that demo.