Raise your hand if you’re bored with the rooms your agency uses for pitching clients. The drab brown walls of most hotel conference rooms and the constant nagging of VPs (by their assistants) during in house meetings are just two reasons why Sara Schiller of the Wooster Collective and president of the new venture and her husband Marc Schiller of Electric Artists opened Meet. Remember how we teased you with a little video of the gift bag they gave us? It was our parting gift after we took a tour last Friday. You should definitely do the same.
The solution to the lame conference room is located in SoHo (at 101 Crosby St., to be especifico), where white on white and black on black set the mood that (the owners hope) will help you win your next client.
So what’s the big deal about Meet? The space is not only super-fun for the eye/soul, but it bolsters all the must-have technology, accoutrement and creative-class you wish your conference room had. And at competitive (high-end) rates, you won’t have to deal with the a la carte bullshit that’s become an industry standard. Package deals include all the candy, soda, and technology you can handle (more details on that stuff, after the jump).
We spoke with Marc and Sara to get more info on the space, and their decision to get the project going during economically uncertain times. Check out the interview, also after the jump. Like many great ideas, theirs was a result of years of frustration (with other meeting spots). Their solution is well planned, thoughtfully designed and will make you feel cooler than you really are. Click “continued” to find out why.
Matt: So what are my options if I want to impress the crap out of a potential client?
Marc: Thereâ€™s many! One of the signature elements is that we’re bundling most of our services into one flat fee. Unlike other meeting venues where you’re charged for every soda you drink, every marker and every computer screen, Meet provides superior services for a one set price. We want to make sure that there are no surprises when your final bill comes. Included in this bundle are dedicated staffing, beverages, snacks, audio-visual and meeting facilitation supplies.
(Ed’s note: There’s way too much stuff to list. Go to welcometomeet dot com to get more info)
Matt: So, who do you have lined up for meetings?
Sara: Unfortunately we’re not able to disclose the specific names on the record. But that said, it’s many of the major names in advertising and consumer brands. We’re also doing brainstorming sessions for many of the television networks.
Matt: You are running Electric Artists. What’s the agency’s association with Meet?
Marc: Electric Artists is a financial backer of Meet. The other partner is my wife Sara and I as individuals. Electric Artists is providing the branding and marketing services to bring Meet to market. In essence Meet is a client of Electric Artists. For the first location at 101 Crosby we partnered with The Apartment for their history and expertise in interior design.
Matt: Can you comment on starting a new business in an economic downturn?
Marc: History shows innovation happens when markets are battered. If you look at companies like GE, HP, Disney, Method, Clif Bar — they all were launched when the markets were down and companies were cutting back. The best time to innovate is now. The companies that survive and thrive in years to come will be the companies that used this time to create new change in their organizations to not only survive, but to emerge out of it with new products and services. And we think that this is the perfect time for a location like Meet at the Apartment. This year an agency might only do one senior leadership summit instead of three — but then you want to optimize every moment and all the time you have at the meeting. That’s why spending money on a place that is optimized for success is essentially a sound investment for the future of the company.
Matt: Why is Meet different compared to hotels/other meeting places?
Sara: When you do a pitch or a meeting at a hotel, the hotel’s attention is not fully concentrated on your meeting. It’s divided between servicing hotel rooms and running the restaurant. In addition, even at the hippest hotels and clubs, the meeting rooms are bland and uninspiring. Meet is solely focused on making sure that you have everything you need for a successful pitch or creative meeting. To put it simply, our mission is to re-invent the concept of meeting spaces. It’s a place where senior leadership teams can come together to re-imagine a business, re-invent a product or pitch an idea to a potential client. The space, unlike anything else on the market, is fully optimized for creative thought to flourish.
Matt: How’d you come up with the idea?
Marc: Meet emerged from the shared experiences of my wife Sara and myself. Sara, who for eight years was a senior executive in the hospitality industry, became acutely aware over the years of all that was wrong in the meeting and conferencing business. Similarly, my experience running my agency Electric Artists has lead to putting together hundreds of pitches and meetings for clients where, to make the meeting special, it was necessary to completely re-work the environment of a bland conference room into a creative space where business breakthroughs could happen. We both realized that there was need for a dedicated space in New York that answered these needs.
Matt: How does the edgy feel work in your advantage?
Sara: Anyone can rent a white box photography studio in Midtown Manhattan. It’s safe but it’s not inspiring and doesn’t foster creativity. Meet is highly stylized but never distracting. We worked hard to make sure that the edgy feel you refer to never over powers the actual people who are attending the meeting. Thatâ€™s why, working with Stefan Boublil and The Apartment Design Consultancy, we decided to do the space black-on-black. In a black-on-black space, the people become the star. With Meet we want to “surprise and delight” while never taking people out of their comfort zones. For us, places that are “safe” are not only boring, they’re a commodity.