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The Story of TRUFF Hot Sauce

In 2022, we’re so oversaturated with a marketplace marrying the luxurious with the mundane that sometimes it can be difficult to trace the thread back to where it all began. Eager to unpack the trajectory of the coveted truffle’s meteoric rise to prominence in the mainstream, I spoke to the co-founders of TRUFF hot sauce, Nick Guillen and Nick Ajluni. The entrepreneurial duo was able to shine a light on their journey integrating truffles into the world of hot sauce, which in turn revealed a bit about how we’ve gotten to this truffle-soaked era.

The Genesis of TRUFF

They say all roads lead to Rome. And the adage is certainly representative of the avenue through which the founding Nicks arrived at concocting a high end hot sauce line. During the social media boom of the early 2010s, the Nicks got their hands on the coveted @sauce handle on IG, “which we immediately saw the value of,” Guillen tells me. They initially used the handle as a vessel for curating a vast array of food related content.

“We were posting things we thought would resonate with the pop culture foodie,” Guillen tells me, referring to the emerging landscape of food porn and other culinary social content of the era. The page picked up hype, gaining celebrity followers and reposts from major outlets, but left the duo to consider what more they could do with the handle. 

“Do we want to be an Instagram account with a cool name or create a brand and product that would live on the platform we’re building?” Nick explains the question they were posing in that period. They began researching the sauce market, and realized they were on the precipice of a hot sauce renaissance. “Hot sauce was having a moment,” Ajluni tells me, revealing a few of the ways in which hot sauce was upping its cultural cachet. It was around the time Beyonce was spitting lines about having hot sauce in her bags, and the conversation was heating up—pun intended. “It was just feeling culture and feeling where things were headed, and what was missing from hot sauce and food culture on the internet generally.”

“We didn’t see any top shelf hot sauce brand that really existed,” Ajluni remarks of the era. At the time, most of the hot sauce brands were either huge legacy corporations or small mom and pop operations with extremely limited distribution. “We wanted to be lifestyle first, a product that could sit in a music video,” remarks Ajluni of the nascent days of the brand.

Nick Guillen

Nobody was doing the Dom Perignon of hot sauce.

This white space cemented the idea. They were going to create a luxury hot sauce line. But they were uniquely positioned to do it better than anyone else could, with their social media savvy and commitment to a direct to consumer approach. “Nobody had a cracking IG,” Nick chuckles to me. Most of the brands were relying on retailers, and they felt the social media reach from the handle could allow for a fruitful DTC structure. 

“The most important thing was creating a flavor profile that was very elevated,” Nick explains the next step after settling on a hot sauce brand. They looked at a myriad of high end ingredients—saffron, caviar, you name it—before settling on the now-pervasive lavish fungus, the truffle. “We had never seen a truffle hot sauce,” they tell me. Additionally, there was a bit of a longstanding stigma around combining the flavor of truffle with spice. And this taboo was intriguing as it meant they were really opening up an entirely new flavor profile. From there, they spent about two years developing the formula through over 300 recipes before they found the one they thought was the golden ticket. 

“We’re working with raw ingredients that change by season,” Nick tells me, explaining why the process is more nuanced than it would be with a less artisanal product.

TRUFF officially launched in December of 2017 and the two have “been on the go ever since.” A lot of the marketing structure was based on some of the success they had seen from other IG-based DTC brands of the era. “It was all about using that same kind of strategy of cool people who resonated with the product posting it,” they tell me, referencing the strategy of organically building social hype around the product. “We weren’t focused on selling yet. It was all about value.” To this day, TRUFF’s priority is to build brand, not just to sell a product.

The Evolution

Since the launch in 2017, they’ve released three other mainline products: the pasta sauce, spicy mayo and truffle oil. But this isn’t a part of a catch-all approach by any means. A combination of factors—seeing the demand from consumers, emerging retail opportunities and more—led to the integration of more products. “We’d never been a brand to do all things for all people. We’re looking to make less things,” Nick says. Despite now being in 11,000+ stores worldwide, the Nicks still taste the batches. “We approve everything, nothing gets made without our approval.”

Nick Ajluni

We would never launch anything we don’t think is exquisite.

The brand’s early commitment to creating cool content is still a throughline in their strategy. They recently released a Youtube series titled “What the TRUFF?!,” and content like that is still integral to the brand’s success and cultural cachet in 2022. The recent web series is hosted by TRUFF’s Tal Cooperman and challenges celebrity guests to create questionably delicious meals using an array of unique and unorthodox ingredients. The episode with deadmau5 is a special standout.

They got on TikTok early and saw success there. “We’ve always tried to bob and weave based on these new technologies that are coming out,” Ajluni tells me, referring to the ways in which their marketing strategies have evolved since 2015. 

Nowadays, it might seem like you see some sort of content integrating truffles every day. “No one was shaving truffles on stuff before we did it,” they smile to me. 

“We wanted to truly create a brand that will be here when our grandkids are around,” Guillen grins to me during the conversation. Five years and change later, they’ve managed to not only change the hot sauce landscape, but food culture in general.

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Leaders Style

The Evolution of Digital Curation in the Moodboard Era

When @enigma.curation first started his account on Instagram in 2019, it was just a private image archive for personal use. Now, 3 years later, the page has racked up nearly 50,000 followers and Enigma himself has done everything from art shows to releasing his own products. The page features daily posts of furniture, fashion, and artwork, each carefully selected by color and form. We had the chance to speak with him about everything from his come up to the state of the burgeoning scene of curators on social media. 

Enigma’s start began far from the world of art and design, having gone to college for a double major in marketing and finance. “I hated it”, he says, “I was going to be a guy at a marketing agency.” So when he was recruited to work at Louis Vuitton from his part time job at Nordstrom, he leapt at the opportunity. From there his journey through the luxury industry continued: a brief stint at Barney’s before its closure, celebrity styling at Balmain, and interior design for Restoration Hardware, to name a few. 

It was during his stint at Balmain where Enigma first conceptualized his page. “Working for singular houses can become boring, because you submerge yourself in the ethos of the house. I needed an outlet, so I thought, ‘Let me start curating.’” 

Curation began as a personal exploration, but Enigma’s experience in luxury and longterm fascination with design quickly led to his friends telling him to take the page more seriously. 

“At first whatever came to my head, I would post. But I decided if I’m going to make this public I need to curate it properly.”

A brief glance at Enigma’s Instagram will let you know that’s exactly what he’s done. His page is one of the most meticulously planned, with each day beginning with a furniture post, succeeded by fashion, then artwork. Each day works steadily through the color wheel, creating a beautifully organized feed that aligns with Instagram’s grid.

@enigma.curation via Instagram

Considering how carefully planned the page is, the spontaneity of daily posts is still somewhat surprising. “On my phone alone I have 90,000 photos, and then another 10-15,000 on Pinterest and Are.na. Every day when I wake up, nothing is planned. What went up 10 minutes ago was decided 10 minutes ago.” Enigma posts largely based on what he’s feeling as he scrolls through his colossal archive, but furniture–his first post of the day–always dictates the mood for the rest. 

Instagram and other social media platforms rely heavily on their algorithms to push content to users, leading to an ecosystem where content is frequently reposted and shared between several mood board pages. With that comes an aspect of social hierarchy, where larger pages forego the work of researching themselves, only reposting others with the unspoken understanding that exposure for smaller curators is enough. Enigma doesn’t name any names, but implies that the issue is common.

It is with this in mind that Enigma expressly searches for all of his own content, and never posts just for the algorithm. Key things he looks for on a day-to-day basis are historical context and innovation within a given field. “In order for it to be truly artistic, it needs to have longevity,” he says, “it’s something that’s missing in this commercialist, copy-and-paste environment. You can be overexposed to something and it loses its magic.  I don’t dislike anybody who likes that or that’s all that they know, but the real problem is the algorithms.”

Enigma keeps his identity hidden for a similar reason. He wants all of his curated posts—and his own work—to be viewed in a vacuum, free from judgements about him or the people he knows. In an environment dominated by identity, where peoples’ judgement of a work is predicated on their opinion of the artist, it’s a refreshing take. In a sense though, Enigma’s curatorial abilities say everything they need to about his character.

Enigma

Art is supposed to give you a feeling.

He’s commonly asked why everything he posts is so expensive and unattainable, but that’s precisely why it needs to be shared for the world to see. Audiences see hundreds of Nikes in their feed every day, desensitized to the reality of conspicuous consumption and working conditions at these massive corporations; yet they question the ethics of a Damien Hirst artwork using real animals. Enigma understands that this might be the viewpoint of some audiences, but “Art is supposed to give you a feeling. I think it’s important that those things are created so people have that reaction, it serves its own role in design. It’s not necessarily good, but if it’s already made we can learn from it.”

It’s easy to see how his own work, like the Duality of Man candle, draws from the vast wealth of information at his disposal and his core values. The limited edition of 100 pieces is ethically produced from eco-friendly soy wax and hand poured in Los Angeles and, like his curation, explores the various facets of the human condition and the means through which they are expressed. This thread continues through artworks like the “Cycles” series, which interprets one’s perception of the world over time as a sequence of circles on rich, textured backgrounds that revolve around the color wheel just like his posts.

Enigma Curation

Enigma’s recent art show in LA displayed much of his painted work, all of which can be viewed online here. If what he has already shown is any indicator of his path moving forward, expect big things to come from him in every discipline from fine art, fashion, product and beyond.

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Leaders Style

Stylin’ and Profilin’ with Branëu Founder Dawayne Taylor

We’re back with another Stylin’ and Profilin’ series. This time around we’re highlighting fashion brand Branëu, a men’s & women’s luxury brand located in the heart of Richmond, Virginia. Inspired by Rap moguls and streetwear alike, rap moguls and streetwear alike. Founded in 2013 by Dawayne Taylor, Branëu seeks to push the culture forward by presenting “Brand Nëu” products, which consist of quality fabrics and fittings to develop clothing for those who share the company’s creative vision and appeal.

Branëu doesn’t stop at just outfitting the world’s innovators; the brand also aims to delve into endeavors concerning youth entrepreneurship and financial literacy to ensure that upcoming generations carry the ideals that Branëu represents. Through the influence of fashion and its built-in community, Branëu eventually seeks to develop a school that allows creative leaders to emerge through an extensive and varied business curriculum.

Those ideals include financial literacy, small business management, public speaking, leadership, and entrepreneurship, as well as day-to-day business logistics. It’s rare to see a fashion brand so intertwined in other areas such as entrepreneurship, and yet Branëu encapsulates that day in and day out. ONE37pm spoke with Taylor more about the brand.

ONE37pm: How did you first develop the concept of Branëu?

Taylor: I started with the terms Brand New, then we worked on forming a shorter spelling and as we researched accent marks we liked the layout with the umlauts over the ë. As for the style of the brand, I thought about what I like to wear from street and formal, although we haven’t got to formal wear yet we will in the future. 

ONE37pm: You guys are located in Richmond, Virginia. What is it about Virginia that made you specifically want to base the brand there?   

Taylor: Virginia is known for so many things but there haven’t been any big fashion brands to come from Richmond, Va. So I thought why not be the first? We do have Pharrell in Virginia Beach who has done really well with fashion. Funny story: we actually moved to Los Angeles and attended Complexcon where we met and gave Pharrell a Branëu hat. After COVID happened we decided to move back to Virginia.

Living in L.A. inspired me to learn more about Richmond, Va. As people generally stay in one area although they live somewhere for a long time. We were like tourists every day in Los Angeles. So now I plan on incorporating more of Richmond VA into Branëu designs although I still travel to Los Angeles frequently as we have several designers and manufacturers there.

ONE37pm: Branëu was recently seen on Jabari Banks from the new Bel Air show. Could you tell us more about that? 

Taylor: The head fashion stylist saw our brand and really liked the quality and fit. He asked us to send some of our pieces not knowing if he would use them in the show. When the world saw it, that was our first time seeing it too. Jabari wore our Neu Hybrid Swim Shorts that can also be worn as street shorts, and he also wore our Logo Hoodie in White. It was an amazing feeling to see all our hard work get a platform that the world would see!

ONE37pm: What can we expect as we approach the second quarter of 2022?

Taylor: We are in the development of several spring/summer 2022 releases that will be launching around May and we are currently working on Fall/Winter 2022 designs to go into production. 

You can continue to keep up with Branëu via their official website.

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‘Stylin’ and ‘Profilin’ With Homme + Femme Founder Drew Evans

While it’s been thirty-plus years since the start of the 1990s, there are certain elements from that decade that have consistently remained relevant. One of those is, of course, the style and fashion trends from that era. One could very well make the argument that 90s fashion has never gone out of fashion, and it would certainly be a hard point to counter-debate. For those that got to experience the 1990s first hand, certain revived trends are a sweet nostalgic reminder, and for those that didn’t, it’s a chance to get a small taste of what things were like back then.

Homme + Femme is a brand that captures the essence of the 90s era beautifully, while still staying modern. Founded in 2013, Homme + Femme’s roots are embedded in the diverse street and luxury cultures of Los Angeles.

The French name, which translates to man and woman, signifies the premium lifestyle the brand aims to curate with each collection, and the brand takes cues from the history of hip-hop and its nostalgia in every silhouette, offering products that are forever evolving.

Homme + Femme also has celeb fans including Fivio Foreign, G Herbo, Justin Bieber, Young Thug, and Jake Paul to name a few, and just recently released its spring collection.

ONE37pm spoke with founder Drew Evans to learn more about the brand’s journey, and what the future looks like.

ONE37pm:  How did you first develop the concept for Homme and Femme?

Evans: I had a vision of owning my own brand since I was a kid. Growing up in the generation of hip hop entrepreneurs I wanted to have a brand like Jay-Z’s Rocawear and Diddy at Sean Jean. When I got a chance to intern at the brand TISA I just worked and observed and more and more I believed I could do it. Originally I wanted to call my brand “Homme Boy” to be a more high-end version of streetwear for young men but my collaborator at the time suggested we call it Homme Femme to be more inclusive and I thought it was perfect. 

ONE37pm: There’s a lot of 90s inspiration behind the brand. Is 1990s style in general something you have been inspired by?

Evans: Of course! Growing up in the 90s the style, as well as the music and sports, inspired me. To me, the 90s will always be the most iconic time period in America. It was the golden age of hip hop and pop happening simultaneously with the end of the Jordan era and the start of the Kobe and Allen Iverson era. A lot happened in the 90s that shaped the world for the better.

ONE37pm: You guys have got plenty of loyal celeb customers already such as Young Thug and Justin Bieber. How have you been able to build your celebrity clientele?

Evans: Growing up in LA and being social definitely played its part in me being connected to celebrities from day one. I built up a strong name in LA since high school. Friends grew up and got in the industry and naturally, we shared resources. Some of those friends were friends of artists or new people very close to them.

I’m thankful for my friends because they helped us with that. Besides friend referrals, a lot of artists reach out directly because they genuinely love the brand. It’s a blessing for sure to have favor in that way. 

ONE37pm: The new spring collection is out. Can you tell us more?

Evans: Spring is one of our proudest achievements. Growing the brand over the past 9 years has seen many hurdles. With this collection, we are at full strength creatively and with our core team intact in all areas of business. From the design team to the guys working in logistics we really have evolved into what we believe is the best brand in LA.

We wanted to show the best parts of our team culture and the best of LA while paying homage to landmarks and creatives that inspired us with subtitle verbiage and illustrations. 

ONE37pm: What else can we expect as we approach the second quarter of 2022?

Evans: We have a lot of dope collaborations coming up including one with the legendary Kentucky Derby. The Homme team has been working hard for a while and we’re excited to share our collections as well as collaborations with our core fan base and a new audience who find us. 2022 is gonna be legendary! 

You can keep up with all things Homme + Femme via their official website and Instagram.

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Leaders Style

Grand Collection and Iconic Magazines Release Zine Celebrating NYC Skate Culture

Since the launch of its first apparel capsule in 2018, Grand Collection has quickly found its footing in the NYC skate scene as a brand for the culture. Helmed by one of the kindest people I’ve ever met, Ben Oleynik, Grand is constantly in a process of giving back to the community. Oleynik and Grand have shown a spotlight on iconic NYC establishments, raised money for Ukraine and released numerous collections over the years that represent the enigmatic world of NYC skateboarding.

Grand x Iconic Magazines

In the brand’s latest effort to highlight NYC institutions, Grand collaborated with Iconic Magazines, a deli/magazine retailer in the lower east side that boasts one of the few remaining extensive catalogues of print journalism. We at ONE37pm caught up with the founder of Iconic, Hemal Sheth, earlier this week to hear about his process of maintaining such a hub of creative culture in 2022.

The collaboration event, which took place Thursday evening, was truly one for the books. With tunes provided by Jéfé reverberating throughout the lower Manhattan mainstay, a swath of skateboarders, artists and fans of Grand spilled out onto Mulberry Street throughout the evening.

@shotalive on IG

The launch party marked the release of Grand’s zine with Iconic, entitled A Paper Trail—a love letter to NYC’s skate culture. The zine released in tandem with a series of three tee shirts cementing the collab; the zines and shirts are available to purchase at the Iconic Mulberry location and Dover Street Market.

@shotalive on IG

“I met the owner of Iconic, Hemal, and we connected instantly over our love of print. I’ve been going to his shops forever, it’s such a special and unique experience. So we wanted to do something together to support and really celebrate magazines and his shop,” Ben explains how the collab came to fruition. “Then I spoke with Scott from Dover and we partnered to launch the collection in their London location and E-SHOP. Dover already supports print with a book and magazine section in their stores, so it was a perfect fit.”

@shotalive on IG

From artists like A$AP Ferg to skaters like Buggy Talls, the community showed up in a major way to support the release. It was an electric event; browse through the photos below for a slice of the experience.

@shotalive on IG

@shotalive on IG

@shotalive on IG

@shotalive on IG

@shotalive on IG

Follow along with Grand and Iconic on Instagram to stay up to date.

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Boson Protocol and the Future of eCommerce

“Imagine replacing Amazon and Ali Baba and all of those intermediaries with one network—like the S.W.I.F.T. network— for commerce,” Justin Banon, co-founder of Boson Protocol, tells me early in our conversation about about the platform—which is essentially demonstrating the next evolution of NFT smart contract technology. Rather than only using the tech to record the exchange of digital assets, Banon and Boson are revealing how the tech can be tied to physical assets as well; theoretically (and in practice), a contract can be programmed in an almost limitless way, thus the concept of using the contracts to document ownership of something both physical and digital at once seems like a natural next step.

I spoke to Justin hot off Metaverse Fashion Week in Decentraland, a series of shows and event that could not have come to fruition if it wasn’t for the contributions of Boson. Boson’s tech was key in setting up stores within their Boson Portal, which allowed users to buy assets that came with a digital wearable and the potential of a physical item. For example, the Tommy Hilfiger store allowed users to buy a piece of Tommy garb that came in both formats.

Boson Protocol

The Boson Protocol

Justin founded Boson back in 2019, during a crypto winter that Banon describes as plagued by skepticism. “A lot of people were like, this thing isn’t gonna happen,” he tells me. Fast forward to 2022 when his tech is being used to onboard names like Tommy Hilfiger into the space: “I feel like I’m hallucinating that suddenly everyone wants to build in web3.” Since 2019, the NFT marketplace has certainly seen some peaks and valleys. “There’s good and there’s bad, so when it’s good, it’s vindicating and it’s fun,” he describes the current moment.

The Possibilities of the Future

The reason why the technology is so exciting is because of how malleable and programmable the contracts can become. For example, you could—down the line—limit sales of a certain physical item to only those who possess a certain NFT in their wallet. The inverse is also possible. “All this token gating and programmability is native to the protocol,” Justin explains. Right now, they are using V1 of the Boson Protocol, but V2 is expected to launch some time this summer.

“All of this sort of programmability that we find with NFTs is coming to commerce,” Justin elaborates. Right now, in the NFT landscape, we’re accustomed to token-gated drops. But that same notion could be extrapolated to commerce writ large as a transition towards smart contracts unfolds. Justin envisions a future in which all luxury retail—and retail generally, for that matter—can incorporate a dual-asset system. “You’re going to feel short changed when you buy a $5000 handbag without the NFT,” he says, going on to imagine a future in which our purchases toe the line between physical and digital, existing as wearables in the metaverse (or simply as digital assets) and a physical item.

The dawning of the phygital asset is upon us. 

He poses a hypothetical: “Imagine you go to a designer store, and there’s a physical item there that you can’t buy. You have to do something in the metaverse, then you activate a bundle NFT that unlocks a digital wearable, experiences and the physical item.” And with an explosive interest in the space coming from the traditional fashion world in recent months, this hypothetical seems not too distant.

“Big brands want to get into this because they know it’s the future,” Justin explains, adding: “It’s become a hygiene factor. Brands have to do it.” They have a few projects in the works with some brands—which can’t be disclosed now—but the success of Metaverse Fashion Week is a pseudo-guinea pig of the future world of fashion and commerce blurring the lines between real and digital. 

Justin Banon, Co-Founder of Boson Protocol

This summer is going to be the summer of phygitals.

Using the technology to document ownership of PFP jpegs has made up the majority of the conversation around NFTs throughout 2021 and 2022. But Boson Protocol—and numerous other innovations—are demonstrating the limitless potential of the contracts.

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Leaders Style

Sotheby’s “Modern Collectibles” is the Exhibit You Need to See

Sotheby’s, the world-renowned luxury auction house, has recently opened a new exhibition free to the public. Titled “Modern Collectibles”, the exhibition showcases some of the most sought after design works and memorabilia of the modern zeitgeist. As such, key pieces include classic basketball shoes dating all the way back to the famous Converse Weapons, a Supreme bicycle previously owned by Eric Clapton, a t-shirt worn by Will Smith in the film “Men in Black”, and much, much more.

Exhibition Highlights

If that list isn’t enough to entice you to go right away, we’ve compiled a few of our favorites from our visit to the exhibition to compel you further. After all, it’s free!

Basketball Sneakers of the 80’s
ONE37pm

Upon entering the exhibit, one is immediately greeted with an all-star lineup of basketball shoes that have ultimately defined modern footwear as we know it. Among the shoes are sneakers like Nike’s collaboration with Kentucky and St. John’s Universities on the Dunk model, and three colorways of the famed Air Jordan 1. One can also see the Converse Weapons, which was the dominant shoe of choice for ball players of the 80’s, including Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, and many others.

Movie Memorabilia
ONE37pm

Right next to the dreamy selection of basketball sneakers one will see instantly recognizable pieces of film history. The first is a color block t-shirt worn by Will Smith in the iconic “Men in Black” film, available alongside the rest of the outfit worn in the same scene. Nearby, two pairs of the covetable Nike Air Mag sneakers from “Back to the Future”, sit encased in glass and on the wall. The exhibition features two pairs of these shoes, one from the original 2011 release, and a pair from 2016 with the self-lacing capabilities that made the shoes so famous in the first place.

ONE37pm

Hip Hop History
ONE37pm

One of the key facets of the exhibition is the large display of historical artifacts from the early years of hip hop. Large scale photos of rap icons like MF DOOM, 2pac, and The Notorious B.I.G fill the walls, and the drum machines of yesteryear responsible for some of the genres early classics sit atop pedestals, signed by their owners. In another room, posters litter the walls for shows at a location well-known to rap fans: Skateland U.S.A. The Compton venue was famed as the place that launched N.W.A.’s career in the late 80’s.

If you are a fan of basketball or rap with deep pockets, know that everything in the “Modern Collectibles” exhibit is available for auction, with prices listed alongside each object. Without giving away too much more, we urge you to check the exhibition as soon as possible, as it closes Tuesday, April 5. Find it at Sotheby’s location on 1334 York Ave.

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Leaders Style

Iconic Magazines is Keeping Print Kicking

As the age of social media and the internet shifts into the burgeoning realm of Web3.0 and NFTs, and with the promise of a metaverse looming ahead, many are experiencing digital fatigue from our digital word. Vinyl sales are skyrocketing, vintage clothing is the mode du jour, and independent magazines are thriving. Fueled by nostalgia and yearning for the tangible, consumers crave the objects and media of yesteryear more than ever before.

Alternative and indie publications, in particular, chronicled the growth of the world’s underground during the 80’s and 90’s, forging communities and pushing culture forward with paper and ink. New York’s punk, art, and queer scenes were built upon print foundations whose impact continues to echo even today. New York-based skate and streetwear brand Grand Collection has partnered with Iconic Magazines, Manhattan’s leading purveyor of zines, to celebrate the culture upheld by independent print media.

Iconic Magazines, which has been a Mulberry Street fixture since 2014, traces its lineage all the way back to 1995, when convenience store owner Hemal Sheth began selling magazines. “I started with the convenience store, but I was always into reading. I’m passionate about reading and magazines, so slowly I started to get the magazines in my shop,” says Hemal, describing the beginnings of his magazine empire. What began as a humble shop on Lafayette and Spring street quickly became a hotspot for print enthusiasts looking to get their hands on both common and hard-to-acquire issues of their favorite publications.

Now, over 25 years and another two locations later, Hemal is finding that people are still craving the look, feel, and even smell of physical publications. “The digital world is good for a quick look, but you don’t have the same experience as with a print magazine. It’s a totally different feeling, so people are definitely coming back to print.” He mentions that art and fashion magazines never experienced quite the same fallout as weekly titles in the early 2000’s when the whole world went digital, and that the demand for these publications never wavers.

At Iconic, customers are free to browse around three thousand (you heard that right) titles at their leisure, flipping through everything from exclusive Nike chronicles documenting the brand’s storied history to Playboy issues several years old. In today’s age, it’s a refreshing change of pace to gaze at stacks of magazines piled to knee-height, as if one is wading through a compiled pool of the passion and labor of hundreds of thousands of people.

Iconic Magazines

This unique sentiment persists through the events and pop-ups that the shop hosts. Most notably, Frank Ocean issued his Boys Don’t Cry magazine, the companion piece to his album ‘Blonde’, exclusively through Iconic Magazines back in 2016. Arizona Beverage Company, famed for their 99¢ drinks, held an event that coincided with the release of a magazine that celebrated the Brooklyn-based company’s origins and its borough. Collaboration has been a key part of Iconic’s success throughout the years, and the partnership with Grand Collection shines a light on the institution that has done much of the same for others.

Iconic Magazines

“I’ve been going to Iconic Magazines for years and years. It’s such a special experience,” says Ben Oleynik, founder of Grand Collection. “I met the owner Hemal and we connected instantly. We wanted to do something together to support and celebrate these things that we cherish so much: his shop, magazines, and print in general.” The collaboration consists of its very own zine, A Paper Trail, as well as limited edition tees available in a multitude of colors that celebrate the history of Iconic Magazines.

The collaboration launches with an event at Iconic Magazines’ 188 Mulberry Street location on March 31, with merchandise and zines available in store and online at Dover Street Market London following the event.

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Leaders Style

Women’s History Month Thrives With Scottie Beam, Monica Rose and More

As we wrap up Women’s History Month, we’d like to take a minute to recognize some of the amazing campaigns that took place over the past few weeks. One of those was an ambitious project from Foot Locker which featured the very talented Scottie Beam, Monica Rose, Jessica Wu, Jennifer Barthole, and my girl Vic Jacobi.

This month, it was the specific goal of Foot Locker to rewrite the rules for workplace attire as women are no longer confined to outdated dress norms that have dominated our societal clothing standards for decades. To challenge these outdated norms, Foot Locker partnered with Monica Rose to create custom looks for real-life female entrepreneurs and leaders.

Foot Locker
Scottie Beam, Monica Rose, Jessica Wu, Jennifer Barthole, and Vic Jacobi.

This initiative included a project where Rose helped style four modern-day working women at their flagship store in New York City to provide her expertise by curating looks for each woman including those who work in an office environment, work from home or freelance, are always on their feet or on the go, and are interviewing for the next step in their careers.

These looks were modeled by Beam, Wu, Barthole, and Jacobi for a stunning photoshoot, capturing each lady’s personality and style effortlessly.

ONE37pm spoke with ​​Holly Tedesco, VP of Marketing at Foot Locker about this project, and more. You can check out the full interview below.

Foot Locker
Monica Rose

ONE37pm: Thanks for chatting with us Holly. As we approach the end of Women’s History Month, you guys recently put together a campaign with celebrity stylist Monica Rose. Could you talk a little bit more about that?

Tedesco: Our Foot Locker Women’s team had the honor of working with Monica Rose, who created custom looks for our talented real-life young female entrepreneurs Scottie Beam, Jessica Wu, Jennifer Barthole, and Vic Jacobi. As the pandemic has shifted our traditional ideas of what “work attire” looks like and because we use personal style to express who we are through what we wear, we wanted to show how we can all rewrite the rules, no matter where we work.

Foot Locker
Scottie Beam

Whether it’s an office environment, those who work from home or freelance, those who are always on their feet, or someone who is interviewing for the next step in their careers, we have a range of brands that are versatile, no matter what the day looks. It was inspiring for us to see Monica create unique looks for each woman that were not only professional but also trendy and focused on providing comfort and confidence to the wearer.

Foot Locker
Vic Jacobi

ONE37pm: Now you guys also had Scottie Beam, Jessica Wu, Jennifer Barthole, and Vic Jacobi. What was it like working with them?

Tedesco: It was wonderful being able to work with such a dynamic and talented group of women –– they brought great energy to our set! Scottie, Jessica, Jennifer, and Vic really embody the values of Foot Locker Women’s and we knew that our consumers would feel the same. Each look that Monica Rose created really showcased each woman’s unique personal style and reflected their current fields as well.

Foot Locker
Jessica Wu

ONE37pm:  Foot Locker also partnered with Bottomless Closet which included a $30,000 donation to be used for year-round meaningful resources and tools all aimed to further set women up for success in all stages of their careers. Could you expand more on that initiative?

Tedesco: We are honored to partner with Bottomless Closet – they are a fantastic organization. We love that beyond our donation, the Foot Locker Women’s team members are able to connect on a personal level with workshops throughout the year on everything from interview skills to personal branding. It has been amazing to work with Bottomless Closet and its participants and we’re looking forward to continuing to provide support for them.

Foot Locker
Jenn Barthole

ONE37pm: What do future Foot Locker initiatives for women look like?

Tedesco: We’re really looking at our women’s business as a place to continue to grow and deepen our connection. From offering an incredible assortment of brands that speaks to her footwear and style needs to connecting to support her wellness and fitness goals, to being a place of inspiration, it’s really about translating what she wants into our experience.

This year we’ll feature more from our first-ever Women’s Creative Director – Melody Ehsani, continue to build our community through activations and events, and deliver product exclusives, like COZI, our very own Foot Locker Inc, Women’s brand.

Big things are in store for the future. Be sure to keep up with all things Foot Locker via their official website.

Categories
Leaders Style

Shavo Odadjian on Guerrilla Marketing and Building 22Red

Rarely do I have a conversation that makes as lasting of an impression as my chat with Shavo Odadjian, legendary bass player to System of a Down and multi-hyphenate entrepreneur behind cannabis lifestyle brand 22Red. Every utterance from Shavo courses with humility and a knowledge that he is continuing to evolve every day. The things he learned as a 21 year old in the streets of LA eagerly promoting System of a Down are as important now as they were then. I had the opportunity to catch up with the man himself to hear a bit about his genesis and the process of developing a weed brand as a longtime lover of cannabis.

22Red’s Genesis

Initially conceptualized as a lifestyle brand, Shavo came up with the concept for 22Red in 2017. He had always identified as a cannabis advocate, but didn’t want to hop into the game just for the sake of hopping. “I didn’t want to be a celebrity brand and just put my name on shit. I’m not that guy. I’m hands on,” he tells me, before explaining the meaning behind the brand’s cryptic name.

There’s truly no shortage of reasonings behind why Shavo holds the number 2 close to his heart. First off, he was born on April 22nd, which is two plus two (4) and then 22. He was 44 years old when he thought of the concept for the brand. His two sons are two years and twenty two days apart. The brand officially launched 11/11/18. Eleven plus eleven equals? The list goes on.

The inclusion of “Red” is based on his synesthesia and ability to see all numbers tied to a color. “Threes are yellow, ones are white, and twos are red,” he tells me, dropping it as if it’s a given.

As a lifelong cannabis enthusiast, Shavo wanted to get into cannabis, but wanted to make sure he did it right. He met some of the team behind Surreal Yields, which is now his official growing partner. Upon first meeting them, “I was like, ‘Wow bro.’ I could represent this,” he tells me, adding; “I started smoking it… and kept on smoking it.” Throughout our conversation, he emphasizes that he would never shill a product that he would not personally endorse and use. “I swear by it, or I wouldn’t want it in my store,” he smiles to me. 

Initially a little hesitant to put his name on the brand for fear of being dismissed as a celeb brand, the selection and curation process was paramount. His partnership with Surreal Yields alleviated the fear. “I’d rather you love the brand because of the product and what we stand for. Let the product speak for itself,” he goes on to extrapolate to more general advice:

Shavo Odadjian

Let whatever you’re doing speak for itself.

Through it all, Shavo still views 22Red as a lifestyle brand and creative hub above all. “I love art, I love creative shit. I think there aren’t enough brands honoring the creatives,” he tells me. They run a program called ”Framed by 22Red” that spotlights creatives just for the love of art. “It’s people you might know, people you’ve never heard of,” he tells me, adding that he loves the program because “you might inspire another artist to move the needle.”

I was curious to hear how Shavo’s days beginning System of a Down on the streets of LA influenced his process of promoting and growing 22Red. “The hustle is really what I appreciate, because it’s in me too,” he tells me, before diving into the guerrilla marketing utilized by the band in their nascent days and how it’s applying to 22Red in the current moment.

“When System started, I was managing. I didn’t know that it was branding and marketing, I just knew how to represent a brand,” he tells me, referring to the time when he went around throwing stickers up in West Hollywood. “Even before we had a tape, I was already thinking about the vision and the flyers,” he chuckles to me. He tells me the story of creating this iconic image, which would go on to be a lot of folks in LA’s first introduction to the now world famous System of a Down. 

Image Courtesy of 22Red

He would throw the flyers up around town, and when people asked him about the band name, he would respond: “Don’t worry about it. Just get used to this name.” This was barebones marketing before the concept really existed. “I just wanted the name to get engraved in people’s heads in Hollywood.”

“I learned how to brand something. I learned how to market what I branded,” he reflects on these early days. “When I decided to start a brand, I used that same mentality,” he explains, and especially with a lot of the regulations around marketing weed, these semi-unorthodox practices have been a perfect fit. 


For both System of a Down and 22Red, there are essentially two benchmarks a “product” needs to hit. “It has to be two things, something I relate with and something I love. Then I can sell it to anyone,” he explains. “I believe in cannabis, I believe in the power of the medicine that it is,” he tells me. 

And he has a special place in his heart for the 22Red products and some of the strains he has curated for the brand—from finding the perfect Sativa to uncovering other cross strains that avoid couch lock. Also a little pro tip I learned from Shavo: to really indulge in the flavors of a new strain, take a dry hit of the J before you light it up. I’ve been doing it every smoke since we spoke and it’s a life changer.

The Future

Shavo is still making music, he’s still hustling and he’s still—truly—one of the nicest guys I’ve ever met. He exudes kindness and candor in every moment of our interaction. He’s working on a collaboration with Brooklyn Projects as an homage to his roots skating in LA.

He also casually mentions an album he made with RZA—under their supergroup Pseudonym Achozen—that has yet to be released, but could hopefully be uncovered some time down the line. He tells a really cute story about his relationship with RZA and how he helped him learn to play guitar while RZA helped him hone his beat making skills. He describes the project as “space hip hop, electronic.” I will be eagerly awaiting. 

Shavo also shouts out our guys over at Green Street Agency, telling a wonderful story about the first time he went to their new space and was blown away by the incredible community being built there in the Downtown LA HQ. “I felt at home when I walked in,” he smiles to me. 

22Red has gone from a mere three dispensaries to now boasting distribution in three states. From his early days skating around and pasting System of a Down iconography across LA to his modern process of identifying the best products for 22Red, Shavo has always advocated for the things he loves. 

“I believe in a steady climb and longevity, where you plant your foundation in right. So if something goes wrong, it doesn’t move you,” he sums up nearing the end of our conversation. From System to 22Red, it seems to be paying off.