TINSEL is an event design studio. We design everything from immersive brand experiences to fundraising galas and weddings. We tailor each event specifically to each client, creating experiences that are both beautiful and purposeful. Our design lies in the thoughtful intersection between form and function.
My business partners and I are friends first, so a lot of what our business was founded on is this spirit of collaboration and trust. We’ve established 7 key “Tinselisms,” that we stress in everything we do, with everyone that we bring on to the team: creativity, collaboration, transparency, performance under pressure, craftsmanship, innovation, and compassion.
This is a city of big dreams... and big heart. All 3 of us are incredibly driven, so despite moving up quickly in our previous careers, we all quit our day jobs in favor of building something of our own–to do something we truly love. TINSEL has been driven by our collective vision, our passion, and endless cups of coffee. Having NYC as a backdrop has only pushed us to learn quicker and adapt as we go along, and it’s inspired us to create a company that’s founded on creativity and courage, two things that are invaluable in a city notorious for weeding out the weak. It takes guts to start your own company, and it takes even more courage to keep going at it every day.
The energy and the people have been an incredible part living and working here. We have the advantage of meeting some of the best, most creative minds in design, in events, and in entrepreneurship. Every person you meet has the potential to be your best friend or a new business partner, and in New York City, there’s no shortage of people. Everywhere we turn, there’s another great opportunity, and there’s another person branching out and actually making a living with what they love. It’s incredibly inspiring.
TINSEL is a growing team. There are 3 partners: Liz Castelli, Erica Taylor, and myself. Liz heads up our operations and production. She’s in charge of making an event come to life–from floral design to installation pieces. Erica heads up our marketing and communications, including account management and planning logistics. I head up our creative and biz dev efforts, including our digital portfolio and our brand extensions. We have team of about 10 talented events specialists and designers to head up our projects, and we have a large roster of 65 staffers to scale up for larger productions.
We believe that events should be purposeful and beautiful–not just pretty for the sake of being pretty. We want to make sure we’re minimizing waste in every way, from making sure material waste is kept at a minimum to ensuring that funds are efficiently allocated to varying priorities per client. What we’re finding is that a lot of events are a bit cookie-cutter, and now, there’s a growing desire for something that’s different, something that’s memorable and buzzworthy. And that’s exactly what we do. For our immersive brand experiences, we make sure that our events accomplish each client’s goal, ensuring that we are reaching their audience in an authentic way. For our galas and weddings, we make sure that it’s timeless, creating a memory that they’ll look back on for years to come. This is the type of design that we specialize in: design with a purpose.
Being a founder of the Dot-NYC domain has helped us truly define what it means to be a business in this big, bad city. What we do is inherently unique to New York and New Yorkers, so it’s been great being one of the first people with the Dot-NYC domain. Plus, we’ve been getting a kick out of seeing our posters on bus stops and news stands throughout the city, and it’s really reminded us how far we’ve come already. (Bonus: so far, we haven’t seen any mustaches or lewd comments scribbled on! Oh NYC. You’ve shown some mercy.)
There’s a lot going on; we’re expanding in so many ways. We’ve got a new home goods line in the works, with a goal of helping artisans around the world. Speaking of the world, more travel, of course. Last year, we went on a partner retreat to Nicaragua, and we’re hoping this year will provide us with more opportunities to explore. With work, we’re doing bigger events, partnering up with some awesome folks, and giving back to the community, so we’re quite excited for 2015.
Just one spot? NYC is full of so many places and spaces that we find so inspiring. We’re all big eaters, so there are so many favorite restaurants. We all live in Brooklyn, so a lot of our favorite haunts are there: Colonie on Atlantic Avenue, and French Louie–by the folks over at Buttermilk Channel. Erica loves walking along the Brooklyn Heights promenade, and Liz loves riding her bike from Sunset Park all the way to our studio in Dumbo. I can be found window shopping at indie boutiques, and I’ve been known to disappear into one of four bars nearby with a pool table: Brooklyn Inn, Brooklyn Social, Montero’s, or The Bridges. Also, anywhere that serves a good steak paired with some good whisky, I’m there.