Drinks & Designers

The other night after work I had attended an event with a few colleagues that was hosted by a design agency called Cibo that used to work with us. Besides having drinks and networking, the main topic of the night was about brand experience. So when I had arrived to check in, while I write my name down on the name tag, you had to choose a word from the provided list as to what you feel/think about a brand experience. I chose gratifying and my colleague chose genuine. As we walked further into Cibo’s office space I already felt really inspired as corny as it may sound. I’m a sucker for beautiful interior spaces and architecture. The one photo I have of their space doesn’t do its justice. The main interior elements of this space was this industrial, brick and glass along with a pop of red throughout. It was really nice.

I gradually made way to get myself a drink and continued to mingle and get my networking on. It was kinda hard to really maneuver around since there was a good amount of people clustered in a corner sipping on their drinks and chatting away. I got to meet a couple designers that had worked with my colleague prior to me joining my company. I also got to meet the CEO of Cibo, who was absolutely friendly and welcoming. At the top of the first hour of the event the CEO had gathered us around so we can get started on listening to the 3 presentations that were lined up for the night. I got to talk to one of the founders that were presenting which was the company the Vault. The Vault had also collaborated with Cibo in developing their current office space due to some mishap.

The first presenters was by founders of Kinda Fancy, Lauren and Colin. The brand is basically a swim wear line that is gearing towards any average woman that’s looking for swim wear that won’t come undone when they’re swimming, surfing or do any water activities. Also, the swim suit has a pocket where you can store your keys and money. What made them come up with their brand was comparing themselves to companies like Billabong or PacSun which advertises their swim wear towards the more athletic type of woman rather than your average everyday “I don’t know how to surf” kinda gal. It was interesting to hear how they tested their swim suit, which was obviously tested on all body types. Even Colin, one of the co-founders modeled in the swim suit as seen in the photo above lol.

The second presenter was by Meg who is the Managing Director of the Vault. The Vault is essentially a company that creates a collaborative and supportive workspace as well as a community. Not only will the layout of the office space make a difference, but even the smallest things can impact an office space. Meg had mentioned having provided snacks is important to have. They’re going to be expanding to Brooklyn, NY this summer if any East Coast folks are interested in checking them out.

The last presenter was by Ben who is the founder of Odang Udon. It is a food truck that serves fresh udon noodles in SF. Ben has an ad agency background of 8 years and produces music as well. He left the agency world and wasn’t fulfilled with only producing music. After dining out to various Japanese restaurants in SF with a friend who became his business partner, they had realized at the time that nowhere in SF serves fresh udon noodles. They had invested in an udon making machine, which could mass produce how many bowls they’re trying to serve on a daily basis. Eventually they purchased a food truck and have been around SF. They will also be making their debut nearby my office at the SoMA Streat Food Truck Park, which is awesome. After Ben felt like he accomplished a lot with this new business venture and continues to grow his company, he was inspired to push himself with his music. He had mentioned that he would have these $2K paying DJ gigs, whereas amongst his other DJ friends weren’t making anything. He wanted to really make himself different and stand out from the many predominantly male dj’s that are out there. After discussing with his girlfriend if this particular DJ name change was okay, he went worth with it. Hence, DJ Julia Lewis LOL. Best name ever lol. It was hilarious. Long story short, he was able to get a spot on the stage at Coachella 2015 and got to DJ. I thought that was just awesome.

Despite how different each company were in their own way, they were all sincere and authentic in how they believed their brand can create this community and provide a valuable experience for their customers. I had taken some notes during the presentations because there were a lot of great points that were made. If you want your brand to succeed, you have to be consistent, authentic and true to your brand. With your brand, how will you give value through experiences? What are your competencies? It all comes down to the content, brand and strategy. I thought it was really interesting that Kinda Fancy and Odang Udon uses Instagram to gain exposure and to advertise themselves on that social media platform instead of Facebook.

After the great presentations, I felt so inspired and the passion that I’ve always had for design grew stronger. I was chatting with my colleagues afterwards and we all felt the same way. I literally wanted to go home and design something and just be purely creative. I had more fuel and drive to want to kick more ass in my career. It was very uplifting. I’ve always been about doing work the fulfills me, but has the work I’ve been doing made an impact on others? Yes, it has. My job is to create a better user experience not only to simply being able to navigate a website properly, but to create this experience for you to want to continue using this product. Whether or not you’re a designer, it was really good to be a part of that kinda of discussion. I wish all these companies for continuous success and growth because what they’re doing has truly impacted myself. Their story is just very powerful. I was happy to hear that this was Cibo’s first event in hosting something like this and will continue another one in the next quarter. I am definitely looking forward to their next event. 🙂

Here’s the links to Cibo and the 3 companies that presented:

Cibo SF

Kinda Fancy

The Vault

Odang Udon

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