Bethany is my best friend. We share secrets, finish each other's sentences, and occasionally do something naughty- like split a McChicken and fries at McDonalds. On this particular day, we attended the baby shower of our friend Emma and spent the rest of the day doing what we do best- running around the West Village taking photos, sitting at a cafe working for a number of hours glued to our screens, and then getting massages together at our favorite local Chinese massage parlor on 8th street (found here, in my New York City Guide).
During the NRF Conference earlier this year, one of the keynotes was one of my all time favorite restaurateurs, Danny Meyer. Meyer is responsible for the Union Square Hospitality Group and is the brains and brilliance behind all my favorite spots in New York like: Eleven Madison Park (sold to Make It Nice), The Spotted Pig, Union Square Cafe, Shake Shack, Gramercy Tavern, The Modern, etc. He's created an empire nestled under a perfect mixture between service, food, and presentation.
During his keynote, Meyer spoke about how we are all wired to belong to a tribe. He stated that our first tribe is our family. Then, outside of our family, we have other tribes. Schools we went to. Clubs we go to. High school or college. Religious or political. Social. Where you work. Where you shop. He expanded more on the shopping tribe by saying that there is a reason that a person is happy wearing a bag by a specific designer and what that bag says about them and where that person shops mattered. The brand that created the bag did something where they made the person belong. We are wired to belong to a tribe. What tribes do you belong to?
It got me thinking about all these new companies that are popping out of thin air. It's like the millennial generation has carved a runway for this new kind of brand and is putting fuel behind the growth and success of that brand for every "like" or "comment" they give on Instagram. I was walking around Noho & Soho one afternoon with my friends after we went to a boxing class at Rumble (definitely a millennial boxing club) and we walked past the Away concept store (also a very millennial thing to do... concept & pop-up stores) on our way back from Outdoor Voices. Aileen made a comment about how they got the memo and are really selling that "millennial pink". Then I snapped back saying this how millennial generation of brands actually bothers me and how they are taking over downtown Manhattan. But then Aileen laughed at me in total dismay considering I just attended the most millennial boxing-inspired club, wearing head to toe millennial brand Outdoor Voices, with a bag after purchasing more Outdoor Voices, only to head to Sugarfish to wait three hours to eat my millennial sushi. I couldn't be more of a hypocrite... or a millennial! Perhaps I have gotten so accustomed to this new lifestyle that I now can't really live without it. If you can create something where you become essential in people's lives, because the very fact that you exist, you've won.
In a time when retailers are struggling to understand how to engage with their consumers in this digital-era and keep up with the ever-changing demand in both technology and trends, how do we leverage the accessibility to consumers while maintaining authenticity? From someone that generates content that is, in fact, rather niche, I believe first and foremost in investing in a platform. This is why since day one of launching Coco Zaza, I have spent so much time editing, maintaining, producing, writing, and designing my website. It is home to everything I like (my style, my travels, my inspirations in architecture, interiors, art, film, music, etc.). I deliver this through several different forms of content delivery from my Obsessions Page (a Pinterest meets Tumblr bi-product), to all of the places I have discovered on my travels that are my version of the "best-of-the-best" in my City Guides, through the writing of each individual blog post. It's the way I view the world.
In short, I think Danny Meyer was right. I am involved in a number of different tribes, all of which provide and offer a sense of community to me. This robustly creative decade has created something great in our lives. It's quite the world we live in and it would be hard to go back to a world without it. What is on tap for this week you ask? Working out every day via Classpass (millennial), eating my Blue Apron meals (millennial), traveling and working out of Paris for a few weeks (millennial... and no, not going to Summit in LA), splitting my time between four different projects (millennial), buying the new iPhone X (millennial), and checking my crypto-wallet (omg, so millennial). Okay, I'll stop now. BYE!
*PS... to all my amazing friends that are at Summit in DTLA this weekend... enjoy your Summit Tribe! Wish I was there with you all.
Coco wears: Vintage Pink Jumpsuit, Longchamp by Jeremy Scott Bag, Tassel and Pom Pom Earrings, Jimmy Choo Sandals. Photographer: Bethany Halbreich. Location: West Village, New York City, New York. City Guide: New York City