That Lady Thing is a digital and experiential activation born on International Women’s Day at the agency Eleven. My team of seven women (and one enthusiastic male ally), conceived a fictitious place—at the time called The Lady Factory—that borrowed from the trend of pop-up selfie museums, but instead of candy and confetti, we embedded our backdrops and installations with messages about the wage gap, gender bias, women in leadership, and objectification. Styling itself as “part speakeasy, part speak out”, ours is pop-up with purpose.
After a one-night activation, the outreach from women, press, and brands inspired us to make the thing real so we designed more wallpapers, built better exhibits, recruited sponsors, and aligned with the National Women’s Law Center to raise money for work that serves women in the workplace and the world.
In August 2018, we popped up in San Francisco and hosted 1500 women and attracted press attention—both traditional and influencer—that reached over 116,000,000 viewers. Check out the stories in Artnet, The Guardian, Eventbrite, The SF Chronicle, 7x7, Brit+Co, Rue Magazine, and OMG, even The Beeb.
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Working as the Brand Experience Director for Mod, I collaborated with a world-class team of thinkers, artists and makers to build a brand reflecting the scope of the Mod concept. Designed to be a future workplace experience, the Mod concept included a network of retail spaces defined by hospitality, built for wellness, and powered by custom technology. Looking at language, the built environment, menus, workday rhythm and future trends in the growing mobile workforce, I designed the user experience across the customer journey, from discovery to engagement through long-term loyalty.
Together with some of the most inspired minds I’ve encountered, I imagined a new way to work on the go. We built spaces, products, tech, menus and experiences around a single idea: Loving the way you work. PSFK spotlighted us as an emerging retail trend. The SF Chronicle said our space “looks like a spread in Monocle.” Bloomberg noted that “When WeWork won’t work, there’s Mod.” And lifestyle maven, SF Girl by Bay understood that “it’s all about hospitality and wellness.”
Mod is an immense source of pride for myself, lead designers Jeremy Stewart and Lisa Mishima, and all of the experience design team.
OLLY is a brand new line of vitamins from the smarties who brought you Method. Sold exclusively at Target, OLLY products reimagine the act of taking your vitamins as a delightful, flavorful part of your day. I worked with the OLLY team to develop an enthusiastic, positive brand voice that reflects their fresh take on a tired industry. What a yummy project this was.
Local wellness outfit Urban Remedy sought to stand apart from other popular juice cleanses, which felt, in turns, too clinical, too hippie or too homespun. With a desire to emphasize fresh, organic ingredients and fantastic taste, I created a brand voice and a naming architecture to match the inviting, flavorful product line. I guess you could say I wrote the book on Urban Remedy. Because I did that, too.
While competitors occupied the realms of science or new-age spirituality, we planted this brand firmly in two other spots: the soil and the kitchen. The Urban Remedy brand was so successful, it caught the attention of LA powerhouse venture firm Science, Inc. and received it's first million in funding. And another juicy tidbit: Cindy Crawford declared it her favorite raw food line and signed on as a brand ambassador. So, you know, supermodel approved.
La Pitchoune is a family owned winery that blends old-world style with new-world innovation. To stand out in an industry fraught with clichés–both visual and verbal–it was essential that the La Pitchoune brand reflect a modern take on an age-old art. The sophistication and simplicity of the voice and design mirror the qualities of the wine itself.
Working with a hyper talented team of comrades and crew, I produced, cast and styled this video for the band, An Intimate Evening with Michael Shaw. Directed by Ashley Rodholm and shot by Tyler McPherron, it tells the story of a boy whose escapist journey leads inward. The piece was shot at Nick's Cove in Marshall, CA and stars Max Rumer, a little dude I discovered at my nephew's birthday party. While all the other maniacs were playing shoot-em-up video games—pew! pew!—he was at the piano playing Beethoven.
I worked with genius director Ian Colon to co-write and produce this little noir number for the band, An Intimate Evening With Michael Shaw. Inspired by The Maltese Falcon and Lolita, we crafted a story and shot it in three iconic locations around San Francisco and Marin over two days. And despite setbacks—like pesky hotel fire alarms and hideous flu bugs—we prevailed in making something truly beautiful.
I made this Google spot with the brilliant creative minds at Autofuss in San Francisco. Art Director Yalda Zakeri and I concepted, storyboarded, and styled this piece, which required a robotic camera to operate in a single shot over the multi-plane surface of our set. And yes, that record player is spinning vinyl while mounted on a vertical wall surface.
Some notes from Director, Quba Michalski:
Utilizing Bot&Dolly's IRIS motion control system, we were able to not only guide the camera through the set over and over with sub-millimetric precision, but also to modify the move and iterate in the matter of just minutes.
Early on, we decided that we want to use really cool camera motion, but didn't want it to overcome the story. It is, instead, a reward for paying close attention -- the first impossible move happens much sooner than the easy-to spot flip from top to the side.
The entire spot has been shot practically in 3K, in two takes joined by a basic cross-fade. The only CG elements are the screen content, 3D text and color treatment.
...and the removal of cracks on the pie that happened after too much time underneath hot lights.
...and turning one of the tablets to correct orientation, because we placed it upside-down on the set.
But that's it. Promise.
People always seem surprised to learn that, in addition to my work in advertising and branding, I'm a professional ghostwriter with five books under my belt. Most people have never met a ghostwriter so they imagine it to be A Very Glamorous Thing To Do. I can assure you, it's not. The first question I'm usually asked is, "Do you write for celebrities?" and the answer is generally no, though I did pen a book foreword for a supermodel. And working with a supermodel goes just the way you might expect. While my ghosting contracts mostly stipulate that I must uphold confidentiality, I can share that I specialize in food-based topics and work closely with agent Sally Ekus. Ghostwriting has taken me places I never imagined, from a spot on the top 5 nutrition books on Amazon to the actual Amazon.
And to that other FAQ: Yes, I've thought about writing my own book.
The founders of superstar startup Tile wanted a simple website and video script to announce the crowdfunding campaign for their flagship product, a digital device that tracks lost things.
In one of the most astounding self-starter efforts in recent years, Tile beat their goal of $20K by 5000%, raising over $1MM (and growing) in pledged support. When there’s a great idea to work with, writing about it is easy and fun. I am so proud to have worked with such a brilliant team on such a cool new product.
This rich media banner illustrates the multi-use functionality of Google's Nexus tablet for users of all stripes.
I feel compelled to add that I did not choose this music, but please, do continue
dancing to it.