Intentional Gathering: Building Community for Positive Economic Influence.

by Tara Thomas; Culinary + Lifestyle Editor

photos by Justin Mariano @justin.mariano

 

Creatives are shaking up the market space, and it is now more accessible to invent products/services in your area to change the local economy...which is more powerful than we think. When creating a product or service we are expressing ourselves through craft and seeing the value of the experience or outcome to infinity and beyond. The potential to build communities and experiences around our expressions can feel dreamy but still needs to be strategic - you are manifesting your destiny here when you gather with intention.

THROW A PARTY

It’s the most promising strategy to gather the community. Parties have so much potential but your intent is everything. Your network should serve as your VIP guests, new customers are welcomed, and those who are aware of your brand are should embellish the space. With Instagram at our disposal, we now have a marketing and outreach blessing to all of our hustles. In-person experiences with products are becoming uncommon because it is an ‘inconvenience’, and is just stale. Creating a space where guests can shop, network, and enjoy entertainment is very productive for you and the customer!

*This guide is going to be based on the Garden Good events by EDAS which I helped produced and served as the chef of the event. EDAS produces an annual benefit dinner event and this year was for Brooklyn Queens Land Trust as a garden party at Greene Garden in Fort Greene, Brooklyn. The garden party was open to the public during the day which included a shopping display of EDA’s accessories, a popup tea house by At Peace, and edible Florals by Justin Mariano at World Wide Staffing. The evening event was an exclusive dining experience for 20 guests that were important to the EDAS network.

Considerate Note: Having a benefit or greater purpose is a great idea to consider including in your party dynamic.

AMBIANCE

Is what creates an environment that is cohesive with the purpose of the party and there is much to consider here. This particular space welcomed guests to hang out in the garden for the day which meant to plan for their stay. Creating an ample amount of seating throughout the garden made the space inviting for groups of friends to grab a refreshment. 

Ambiance Tip: Create seating spaces that invite those who are sitting together to see each other and invite conversation. Promote community building.

For the Garden Goods party, florals were on display from day-to-night. An organic and edible selection was created by Justin Mariano of World Wide Staffing.  It was important that the florals were versatile to serve as decor for the day event and tea-making for the evening dinner. The florals created a vibrant garden effect which tied the environment together. 

ENTERTAINMENT

Is the perfect and necessary accessory to a party. If the craft is a physical product, service-based entertainment is going to elevate the experience without taking away from the focus of your product. The Garden Goods day event was to take place in a local garden with a shoppable display of EDAS products and be a space for those in the garden to enjoy the space. Consider the potential of the space when booking entertainment, not only invitees were to arrive but those walking by on the street were welcomed into the Garden Goods experience. A variety of refreshments were accompanied by music made this afternoon in the garden impactful to the purpose of the event. Kin Euphorics a non-alcoholic beverage that is “All Bliss, No Booze”,  had a cart in front of the garden which invited those into space with a refreshment in hand. Inside there was organic wine provided by Austin Winery and a pop-up tea house by At Peace. 

Entertainment Ideas: DJ, Pop-up bites for sale, food sponsor, flower bouquets for sale, esoteric professionals (tarot, palm reading, astrologer, etc), games, photo booth, the options are endless. Consider what the customer is taking home from the event and into their communities/networks.

Network Note: This opportunity to invite guests to experience product is excellent potential for others to gain more customer experience. This creates a diverse network of individuals in your space and potential customers.

THE V.I.P PARTY

The part of the event that is an iteration of the public party, but amplified. This space celebrates and shares an experience to appreciate your network of friends, families, industry pals, and best customers. Include sponsors from the day event, at Garden Goods Kin Euphorics was at the table with their accessories, Austin Winery wines, and edible florals to make personal tea blends! Sade the founder of EDAS invited me to be the chef of this year's benefit dinner.  I created the outdoor kitchen and dining experience which included produce from local community gardens and goods from plastic-free grocery Precycle.

Guest List Tip: The guest list is important, prepare a list of people greater than the number of seats available in case of those who can’t come and cancellations!

THE VALUE

Gathering with intention is powerful, and you can always count on a party to get the community together. Next time you find yourself tasked with planning an event, consider what is important to you and your community, what you want your guests to experience and how you want them to reflect afterwards.

grow and reflect
foodTara Thomas