This past Wednesday, Kyle and I were lucky enough to be invited to #TopNoshDC, a fabulous industry gathering that was equal parts business networking event and client showcase. Event designers Sugar Taylor and Nar Hovnanian of Taylor + Hov, LLC planned the festivities, with support from sponsors Longview Gallery, Spilled Milk Catering, Chicka, and Elan Artists.
We knew going in that it was going to be an amazing event, given the great professionals who put it together. We also knew from the invitation and advance buzz that it was going to be a pop-up restaurant concept, and that instead of paying for our food, we'd instead be posting live to social media about the event. Other than that, we were flying blind.
What we found when we got there was absolutely breathtaking decor in a stunning setting, some of the best food we'd had in ages (hello, coconut-braised short rib?!), great guitar music, and an extremely chill, welcoming vibe. We had a blast and were so happy to have been part of it.
Of course, being wedding business bloggers, the event got us thinking: what an extraordinarily cool concept Sugar and Nar had created - so different from the "run of the mill" industry events that usually consist of either a happy hour or a presentation with a meal. Not only did this pop-up restaurant get us excited from the moment the invitation arrived, but it truly delivered a unique experience in a market completely saturated with wedding events.
We couldn't wait to chat with Sugar and Nar after the event to find out all that went into it. So, without further adieu, here's what they had to say about #TopNoshDC!
Q: What inspired you to plan this event - was it mainly for promotional purposes, or were there other reasons?
A: We really like to plan out of the box promotional events that are relevant to the here-and-now. The pop-up concept is everywhere right now, social media is obviously huge and our industry is full of aesthetically beautiful things that need to be photographed, shared and raved about! The idea came about when we were eating at a restaurant, snapping photos of our food to post on various websites. We are both huge foodies and, of course, love a great event, so we thought it would be fun to host a pop-up restaurant that was created specifically to "wow" the senses and inspire people to take photos and share them with their friends, colleagues,etc. We wanted to get away from the conventional mix-and-mingle and really treat people for the night and make them feel like they had a nice night out!
Q: Where did the idea for the pop-up restaurant concept come from?
A: The second I (Nar) attended my first pop-up restaurant in L.A., I was hooked on the idea! The food truck craze was a blast and utilized social media so well, and then the transition from food trucks to pop-ups happened and we were obsessed with the thought of creating a temporary restaurant experience which was marketed mainly using Twitter and Instagram. We "pop up" events constantly in our industry, so it was definitely something feasible and in our wheelhouse. We thought it would be a great way to showcase local venues and vendors and get them some attention via photos and social media as the event is taking place, when guests are the most excited about it.Q: What made you decide to pursue this concept as opposed to a more typical kind of event format?
A: Typical works well for some companies, but we really like to shake things up! Our brainstorming sessions are always full of the craziest ideas ever, so the general public is always getting the scaled-back version (probably a good thing). Our team is really tight and we always have a blast together, so any idea that is exciting to us, where we think we would have fun and be excited to attend, is something worth considering. We also try to anticipate the latest trends and incorporate them into our work and events because this industry is full of innovators and we love that we are contributors!
Q: How do you think the event was received - what kind of feedback did you hear from your guests and sponsors?
A: So far we've only heard fabulous things! We're REALLY excited that the concept worked and hope that it translates into positive attention for our sponsors. As of right now, we've heard nothing but rave reviews and folks are excited to collaborate in the future, so as far as we're concerned, the event was a great success!
Q: Do you think the event was effective for the purposes you intended?
A: Absolutely! Instagram, Twitter and Facebook are all buzzing about the event and folks are already talking about the great connections they've made. Our hashtag #topnoshdc was used all over the place yesterday and everyone had a great time!
Q: Would you do this kind of event again?
A: Definitely. We learned a lot from this one and have a lot of plans for the next few. We're excited to collaborate with some more great companies and individuals and take the event to new heights.
...Again, we're so glad to have been part of this great evening, and we can't help but think that off-the-beaten-path networking events are one of the best trends to come along in a long time!