Busy, Busy Bees

Holy moly. We've been busy, busy bees. Lots and lots to update, but who has the time? We're so grateful to the ever-growing team that's jumped on this crazy train like the superstars that they are. Below, you'll see our updated capabilities deck for our branded events–the experiential side of our business. (Or a higher-res PDF version here.)

More (and LARGER...) updates coming very soon. We're sensing a site–and branding–makeover this spring. Get excited!

Year in Review: 2015

Happy New Year! 2015 was a wild ride for us, and we're so grateful for all the creativity, business knowledge, and amazing new people we've met. So much happened, and we haven't been able to keep up with ye olde blog. So, to make it up to you, we're putting together a year in review: TINSEL in 2015. Buckle up!


Last year started with a bang for us, and much like this year–it was filled with celebrations. We celebrated being featured on bus stops and news stands throughout NYC, celebrated our friendship on Camille Styles's Besties feature, and celebrated our birthdays. All three of your TINSEL partners are Aquarius babies (late January and early February, if you're thinking of presents... just sayin...), except these "water bearers" are toting around champagne in our cups. So we started  the year off right, putting plans in place to grow the business and double yet again. We thought it was crazy, doubling again? Could it be done? But we figured, why not? Put a plan in place, set high goals, and how does the saying go? "Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, we still want to talk to you about gun control." Am I right? 

We were feeling all the love in February, and we'll remember 2015 as the year of #LoveWins where the Supreme Court [finally!] legalized same sex marriage. We celebrated with a styled photoshoot, partnering with Anthropologie's BHLDN and H&H Weddings with a couple of hotties, celebrating love with equality in mind. See more airy photos here.

March definitely came in as a lion for us, and got us longing for spring flowers–yes please. Apparently, the Bowery Hotel was feeling the same vibes (plus gilded skull, of course), so we created a pop-up to match their moody interiors. 

And April was in full swing with a large gala we designed for the American Museum of Natural History (Pictures soon! Add it to the to-do.) and a few noteworthy weddings of now dear friends.  We knew Kurt & Kyle's wedding at The Wythe would be one of our favorites of the year. It was love at first astrology reading. Their lovefest showcased their shared love of star signs, Czech cubism, and their beloved pup, Butter. To see Butter and friends, more photos here.

And though it was still rainy, May finally brought on the flowers. Lots of flowers and lots of family to celebrate. For Mother's Day, we created a French-themed flower market for Dumbo, a picturesque vignette under the Manhattan Bridge overpass, complete with the cobblestone streets.

Speaking of family, our very own Erica Taylor became "Mrs. Haskins" with Liz and Adette by her side. And making it a real TINSEL family affair, our superstar intern Jessica "Boats" Bautz (See what we did there?) was on planning duty while our former lead designer Allie "Hotlanta" Webber gave the gift of floral magic. The wedding took place a few blocks from the studio in Dumbo, and we all danced the night away to Ginuwine's Pony. True story. You can see more on Brides. (Sadly, no soundtrack is included.)

And shout out to Alexis & Jeff and their lovely wedding in Montauk!

June was incredible. Among the notable mentions would be our Vestiaire Dinner and the Weeksville Gala with celebrities like Jeffrey Wright and Chuck Nice in attendance.

Then, there was Hannah & Rick's wedding at The Rainbow Room. The Ira Lippke team captured all the day's shade's of pink–cherry blossom chuppah, vibrant orchid centerpieces, cotton candy sunset, and ballroom lighting–and high energy dance party.

And it wasn't all work, we played too! MoMA's Party in the Garden was a red-letter day for us, including a conversation with one of our favorite New York icons Bill Cunningham as he was picking up his signature blue coat. We even had some photobooth fun with new friends.

June also marks when Boats went back to Switzerland. We were sad to see her go and were lucky to take on a new batch of Incredible Interns. More on Clara and Alice, also known as CLARICE, in the weeks to come. 


July was all about growth and strategy. TINSEL was accepted into the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Program, and the real work began. It's an intensive program, designed by the professors of Babson University, the #1 school for entrepreneurship in the world. It's designed specifically to help already successful entrepreneurs get to the next level and provide tools to help us scale and tackle those big business decisions. TINSEL was taken apart piece by piece: Strategy, Finance, Operations, Sales, Marketing, and then some. Yes, it was painful. Yes, it was hard work. Yes, this is all just beginning. And yes, we'd do it all over again if we could. Every other Friday, Adette schlepped out to Queens for the classes and regrouped with Liz and Erica for Mind-Meld Mondays, where lessons and assignments were shared and discussed among the Partners. We learned how to negotiate more effectively, we learned not everyone is cut out for Team TINSEL, and we learned to trust the team we've built. All the lessons changed how we view our business and what we need to do to keep growing (at an even greater rate than we already are), so Adette started an ongoing series of illustrations to capture some of the biz lessons that go against the grain: Au contraire, Ohcontrer. (She's been drawing again, so stay tuned for more pro-tips.)

Fast forward to December 15th, when we graduated with renewed fire and armed with the knowledge and tools to grow TINSEL even more. Stay tuned in Q1, as we unveil a new service that will disrupt the entire event design industry. Ya heard it here first.

Meanwhile, Adette's going through withdrawal, as we've made some lifelong friendships as part of Cohort 16. Very much looking forward to the reunion on January 15th.


August brought on the heat! We redesigned The Body Shop on Astor Place and transformed the space with lush greens and natural elements. We've since redesigned countless other shops including Grand Central, Rockefeller, and now, we're going national–complete with living walls of green and all. Meanwhile, Amanda & Marc's wedding weekend started with a food truck party inside the Gagosian Gallery and ended with a glamorous, old world mansion soirée at 632 on Hudson. Like a modern midsummer night's dream, for their wedding, Brad & Andrew hosted their dearest friends and family at their home Upstate. The tented affair was planned and designed to feel like an intimate, stylish dinner party filled with lights and laughter. Stay tuned for more photos as we update the site for the new year.

September was the month TINSEL went viral. We designed flowers for the Ellen Show, and we had now idea Hillary Clinton would do this >>> 

But how awesome are those TINSEL flowers, eh eh? And with over 1.5 million views on YouTube, TINSEL was everywhere!

We also designed a pop-up for fashion week, the first fashion show to ever debut entirely on Instagram by Misha Nonoo and ALDO.

And that wasn't all. For months, we researched the perfect shade of blush pink for Whitney & Ryan's wedding on the rooftop of The Nomad Hotel. The beautiful bride was instrumental in the design process, styling the day with armfuls of long-stem roses, crystal candelabras, and playful woodland details that came together to feel like a chic and cheeky cosmopolitan celebration. 

Our September weddings also took us to Liberty Warehouse in Red Hook, to the Catskills for an industry friend, and out East for a laid back vineyard party. Phew!


October's theme was BIG.  Hurricane Joaquin be damned! Christa & Larry brought their classic black-tie style to Downtown hot spot, ACME. Their wedding, shot by the Roey Yohai team, was all about champagne and candlelight (a few of our favorite things), and some of our favorite smooching shots of the year. Meanwhile, back at the Wythe, Michelle & Matt were also having their big day. Stay tuned for photos of the two stunning events.

And we didn't stop there. In October, we helped raise over $1 million dollars with the Elephants Forever Auction at Sotheby's with Owen Wilson as the host and more than a few noteworthy guests for a worthy cause. 

In November, TINSEL was busy breaking world records. How many pull-ups do you think a human can do in the span of 24 hours? Spike TV wanted to find out, and we designed the sets for veteran Guy Valentino to break the world record for number of pull-ups completed in 24 hours: 5,862. See more photos on Insta with #VOWnow.  

On the more fashionable front, we designed the launch of Botkier's new collection with supermodel Coco Rocha. The bags were inspired by New York City, Paris, Milan, and London. With a line-up like that, we can't help but be inspired to travel as well. Where to for 2016? 

And we ended the year with a bang! December was a whirlwind, a beautiful whirlwind, closing out the season with even more celebrations. I mean, look at these teaser shots from the Squarespace Holiday Party at the Brooklyn Museum. We should just all move in.

Lastly, TINSEL was featured in Oprah Magazine, in case you were having troubles with gift-wrapping; we know a thing or two about ribbon. One step closer to meeting the woman, the legend, the O. Maybe in 2016...

So there you have it, some of the highlights in the life of TINSEL 2015. Over the past 5 years, we've grown to a team of up to 80 (EIGHTY!) talented event designers, producers, builders, makers, and schemers. 

We're so grateful for all the adventures from last year, so thank you (merci, salamat, gracias, tack, grazie, jere jef, and fuhgeddaboutit...) to everyone that painted, hammered, planned, scheduled, designed, photographed, polished, rigged, hung, tied, assembled, cut, pasted, buffed, and laughed with us. Lots of folks not pictured below, but you all know who you crazy cats are. Cheers to you. To more shenanigans and even more growth in 2016!


Peace + Champagne + TINSEL


Small Business Saturday

Happy Thanksgiving! We are so grateful for all the inspiring talent on Team TINSEL this year. We've come so far, and we're excited to be on this journey with so many incredible people: designers, floral artists, producers, planners, builders, riggers, painters, decorators, terminators–you are MACHINES. You keep us going and you constantly remind us why we started this crazy train the first place. Thank you from the bottom of our little hearts. 

And speaking of folks we're grateful for, quick shout-out to some fellow entrepreneurs that continue to inspire us every day. Today is Small Business Saturday, and we're grateful to be a part of a thriving community of business owners with a big vision. According to Forbes, "small businesses create half the of the jobs in the private sector. [They] have created 65 percent of the net new jobs over the last 17 years." We've learned so much in the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Program about how integral small businesses are to the U.S. economy, and let's not forget about the quality: the attention to detail, craftsmanship, and all the love that goes into a company that's built from scratch. Here's to the warriors, daring to put themselves out on a limb in the pursuit of something truly creative and worthwhile: 

Ariele Alasko's work is exquisite.

Ariele Alasko's work is exquisite.

Accompany: Introduced to us by a friend (also, a source of constant inspiration: The OPEN Series), this shop supports artisans around the world.

Adam Alter: Former TINSEL client and resident brainiac, Adam is the author of Drunk Tank Pink (coming highly recommended by Liz), where he explores "relationships between features of the environment and our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, and even broader outcomes in life." He's an Associate Professor of Marketing at New York University's Stern School of Business and has written for The New York Times, New Yorker, Atlantic, WIRED, Slate, Huffington Post, and Popular Science, among others. 

Ariele Alasko: Oh, her woodwork is just so dreamy. Been crushing on her work for a while now, and there really isn't much to say other than [swoon]. I'll just leave this photo right here.

What lifts you?

What lifts you?

Blind Barber: With all these parties, you've got to look groomed and proper. The guys at Blind Barber will make sure you're your most dapper self.

Famous Oto: What do you get a kid that's got everything? Well, what about a food truck? Måns makes cardboard playhouses (well, food trucks, to be exact) for kids–and for cats (for those cats that have everything...).

Kaight: We met Kate at our Goldman Sachs program, and coincidentally, she's right in the neighborhood. Check out her shop on Atlantic, and you're guaranteed to get yourself in trouble, but it'll be for a good cause, as Kaight was one of the first shops to spearhead the sustainable fashion industry.

Kelsey Montague: What lifts you? Kelsey is a TINSEL friend (through Erica's previous life in advertising) that's moved from NYC to sunnier shores. Regardless of the distance, we've been witnessing her meteoric rise to success with her art–large-scale interactive murals that have taken over Instagram like cats have taken over the Internet. #whatliftsyou

Maharlika's got some comfort food.

Maharlika's got some comfort food.

Love Thy Beast: We don't know where we'd be without our little furry friends. (In fact, The Goose just turned 6 years old a few days ago. Happy birthday, Goosebump!) Tiziana shares our love (and our studio building, how convenient). She's founder and designer at Love Thy Beast, where you'll find a bunch of stuff to spoil your best friend too.

Nothing says "I love you" like an empanada.

Nothing says "I love you" like an empanada.

Maharlika / Jeepney: Food, such an important part of the holidays, and of life, frankly. Adette admittedly gets incredibly homesick during this time of year. She grew up halfway across the planet, in a land filled with sunshine, roast pig, and karaoke. In NYC, there's been a Filipino food renaissance, and leading the charge is Nicole Ponseca and her team at Maharlika and Jeepney. Get the friggin' burger with longanisa*, voted best burger by Time Out. (P.S. If you don't know about longanisa, you betta ask somebody.)

Modern Anthology: Our Dumbo neighbors have recently expanded to become our Cobble Hill neighbors as well. From durable wool sweaters to cashmere scarfs, their shop will keep your man (and you...) warm through the winter.

Stowaway is redefining the cosmetics industry.

Stowaway is redefining the cosmetics industry.

Nuchas: We mentioned how much we love food, right? Well, nothing says "I love you" like an empanada. Ariel has been an inspiration to us beyond the delicious treats. We've talked about strategy, about goals, about risk, and about what it means to be an immigrant business owner in the U.S. Upcoming dates include planning a trip to Buenos Aires and ensuring that we're in the business of helping people.

Other Half Brewery: This is where we rang in 2015, with friends and former TINSEL clients Lee Piper and Andrew Burman. Delicious beer. Good people. Can't go wrong.

Urban Cowboy is a nice little escape.

Urban Cowboy is a nice little escape.

Stowaway: There's nothing like innovation to inspire us, and Stowaway has figured out a way to combat all the wasted cosmetics: create something that's the right size. Chelsa Crowley, another former TINSEL client, has inspired us to take a look at the status quo and challenge it. Just because it's always been done a certain way doesn't mean it's right.

Take Root: Have we mentioned how amazing our clients are? Former TINSEL clients Elise Kornack and Anna Hieronimus have created a truly amazing dining destination in our beloved Cobble Hill. In addition to being just awesome people, they've also just earned their first Michelin star. Get in now while you can!

Urban Cowboy: And when you need a little getaway, without actually being able to get away, hop on the subway and stay the night at Urban Cowboy in Williamsburg. There's a hot-tub out back. That's all you need to know.


So what IS Event Design?

We always get asked: "So... what exactly is Event Design?" It's a relatively new topic, and though we started in Event Planning, we quickly found out that designing is what we love. Event Design encompasses all the aesthetic elements that go into any event: from floral arrangements to photobooth backdrops... from overall concepting to execution and bringing it to life. We do it all!

So we've updated our site to reflect that more. Flowers? Yes, we do that. Paper sculptures? Yes, we do that too. Product Displays? Yes, we do that. French Bulldogs? Mais oui, mes amis!

Monday, and we're in Turbo TINSEL mode. Lots of exciting events in the pipeline including more shop redesigns, window displays, holiday parties, and an auction with Owen Wilson! Giddy up.