August 27 2014

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3 posts tagged "American Express"

Big Small Business:
Maria Cornejo Talks Staying Small


Better known are its compatriots Black Friday (11/25) and Cyber Monday (11/28), the two bookends that begin the holiday-shopping season. But American Express’ Small Business Saturday (11/26), which returns for its second iteration this year to bring awareness (and hopefully, customers) to local businesses, may be the weekend’s best shopping bet. American Express is offering Rewards Points to its customers who shop small on Saturday; and many retailers are offering promotions of their own to sweeten the deal. One is Maria Cornejo, who is planning a gift for those who shake off the post-Thanksgiving haze to make it into one of her stores in New York or L.A. Spend $500 on your Amex card, and receive her hair-print (above) or book-print silk scarf. Small business is at the heart of Cornejo’s operation. The designer spoke with about the challenges and rewards of staying small.

How important is it to you to be a small business?
It’s important for me, for my own creativity, to have our own point of view in the whole market. Being a small business, you’re offering a different a point of view that hasn’t been offered everywhere else. Having a so-called small business allows us to move quickly and respond to clients and what they need, rather than by trends. When things get too homogenized, everything [becomes] very corporate. You can find the same store in every major capital in the world.

By contrast, your three Zero stores don’t follow that corporate-store model.
Every [Zero] store looks different. The same elements are at play, but it’s not a standard shop-fit, like corporate companies have. It’s much more about fitting the area and having something that’s more personal to that space. Right now, people want a more personal experience, rather than something that looks…too standardized, especially our clientele. We compete by being more niche and more special. That’s our standpoint in the whole fashion business. To be quite honest, there’s 20 million collections out there—how do you differentiate yourself right now? That’s the only way we can: by being original. Continue Reading “Big Small Business:
Maria Cornejo Talks Staying Small” »

Jonathan Adler’s Credit Crunch


Thought those folding chairs in the Bryant Park tents were uncomfortable? Well, maybe you should try wrangling a spot on one of the plush velvet sofas in the American Express card member-only Skybox. Back for its fourth season, AmEx has recruited design expert and ceramicist extraordinaire Jonathan Adler to give the lounge an overhaul. “I wanted to brighten up the space since it felt dark, so I rocked out the orange because it’s the happiest color. It’s like sunshine!” Adler proclaimed when we caught up with him yesterday in the lounge. With sofas and benches in burnt orange and the bar in a classic Tic Tac shade, it certainly feels zesty. Drawing on his inspirations of “seventies’ Saudi Arabia” and “ecclesiastical vibes,” he added opulent touches such as his classic giant Lantern vase in a gold luster. At the end of the week, all Jonathan Adler furniture and home accessories from the lounge will be donated by American Express to charity. (Adler addicts, take note—if you haven’t maxed out your card, the same items are available in his Soho store.) The Skybox overlooks both the Tent and the Promenade so guests will be granted bird’s-eye views of Michael Kors, William Rast, and Tommy Hilfiger, among others. Can’t get enough of Diane von Furstenberg? She’s presenting a second show exclusively for those with the right plastic. And while eating front-row can be career suicide, breakfast, lunch, and dinner are catered by ‘wichcraft, meaning lunch can be nibbled in semi-privacy. Sounds like our kind of fashion bunker. Want to hang out? AmEx Platinum and Gold card members only, please. As they say, membership has its privileges.

Photo: Courtesy of Jonathan Adler

project runway in the sky box


“I’d still sell my left leg for the opportunity again,” said Project Runway Season Two contestant Kara Janx. She and other alumni of the popular Bravo reality TV series reconvened this morning in American Express’ plush VIP viewing box in the main tent at Bryant Park to watch their counterparts on the show’s current season send collections down the runway. Season Four’s Steven, Kevin, and Jack were also on hand. “Strangely enough, our season, we all get along,” said an ebullient Jack. “I, like, talk to Kevin every day.” The two, in fact, are developing a design-themed TV program of their own. “It’s kind of a Queer Eye for women meets Project Runway,” Jack explained. Any current favorites the gang’s personally rooting for? “Just from what I’ve seen on TV—and we all know it’s not totally real—I like Leanne,” said Jack. “I liked Terri, actually, until she got the boot on Wednesday.” But, he said, it’s not always about creative ability. “Let’s put it this way: If you’re an amazingly talented designer but you’re boring on camera, you’re not meant for TV.”

Photo: Steven Torres