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Looking Back at 2016: Part I

In this three-part retrospective, we put 2016 at STORY in perspective, looking back at some of our favorite moments that remind us why we love reinventing ourselves, partnering with thought-leaders of all kinds, and pushing the limits of what people think when they hear “retail.”

Our journey begins back in January with . . .

Feel Good! STORY
To help bring this STORY to life, we teamed up with Cigna, a global health services company that understands how hard it can be to sort through the clutter and identify what you need to take control of your health. In our exploration of the things we can do every day to “Feel Good” – from prevention, to nutrition, to mindfulness – we enlisted wellness experts like Well + Good to help us editorialize the store around the actions we can take every day to feel our best!

Leading the effort to combat and control stress while exploring how technology (specifically virtual reality) might soon provide a solution and unlock new ways to be more present, Cigna developed this Virtual Relaxation Pod that became one of the most popular fixtures of Feel Good! STORY. Using Oculus goggles to immerse users in one of three tranquil virtual locations (a beach, a campsite, or a zen garden) and professional guided meditation to sooth them into the experience, this innovative system enabled anyone to take a two-minute vacation to a peaceful place!

Centering our space and our community, Brooklyn Yoga Project founder Ossi Raveh, Lyons Den founder Bethany Lyons, and more hosted complementary classes at Feel Good! STORY. Combining chakra-alignment at shopping, it was an experience that really put the OM in OMG!

Celebrity trainer Anna Kaiser, creator of AKT IN MOTION, also joined us with a different take on the dance workout that combines cardio and high-energy choreography for a body transforming burn!

After Feel Good! STORY, we made moves toward March and celebrated Women’s History Month with . . .

To explore how we as a culture talk about feminism and why it matters more than ever,  we crafted an experience that brought women (and a few men) together to connect, discuss, and figure out how to move the conversation around equality forward. To help us get the F-Word out, we joined forces with influential and inspiring women who took a personal stand for Gender Equality and empowerment through action, like designer Diane von Furstenberg who launched the DVF Awards to honor fearless women and supermodel/designer Ashley Graham – an outspoken voice for body confidence.

Alongside merchandise from brands that were founded by, owned by, or benefitted women, (and curated by powerful female entrepreneurs, including Beth Comstock!) one of the outstanding moments of F-Word STORY was the SheKnows Media #FWord Film Festival live-voting station set up right in our space. The festival showcased how various filmmakers related to the concept of Feminism, and the in-store booth enabled our customers to both view and vote on their favorites!

In an event that featured equal parts laugher and insight, foreign correspondent turned bestselling author of Whiskey Tango Foxtrot Kim Barker visited F-Word STORY for a candid conversation with New York Times cultural reporter Melena Ryzik. Their illuminating discussion touched on writing comedy about war, punching unwelcome gropers, finding out you’re “Kabul Cute,” and how her Feminism manifested both in the book and in the warzone.

We also featured Unchartered Play’s The SOCCKET: A soccer ball embedded with a pendulum-like mechanism that generates energy when it moves. It became an immediate hit, igniting a global conversation and casting the spotlight on the potential energy of UP’s innovative products, pioneered by Jessica O. Matthews.

After F-Word STORY, we started a warm and fun-loving summer with . . .

Have Fun! STORY
Partnering with Pepsi to bring the zeitgeist around emojis to life through an experience where self-expression speaks loudest, we created a store aimed at inspiring people to play with words, food, and even clothes (while getting emojional)!

For Have Fun! STORY, we debuted something new that would soon become a STORY staple: Weekly Happy Hours in our space.  With craft cocktails,  DJ beats spun by our resident remixer Carol Bocchieri, and food truck favorites like Neapolitan Express Pizza Truck and Calexico – these fun Friday Happier Hours set the tone for every excellent weekend of Have Fun!

There were so many ways to exercise self-expression in this STORY, like the DIY Style Studio by YR Store, which combined exclusive design software, innovative touchscreen interfaces, and cutting edge dry-ink printing technology to put fully-customizable print fashion at customers’ fingertips.

There was also an ink-credible Tattly Temporary Tattoo Parlor where visitors could have Tattly’s unmatched library of vegetable-based, expertly-designed temporary tattoos applied in minutes!

Have Fun! STORY featured a sensational selection of exciting and exclusive merchandise, but as a store that’s always changing, we’re constantly looking for the next incredible idea. This is why #PitchNight (our open call to designers and makers who want to pitch their products to a panel of media and retail influencers) is one of the most important parts of what we do. This particular #PitchNight was – no surprise – a fun one! We were thrilled to be joined by panelists Adam Glassman from O Magazine and West Elm Local’s Mo Mullen, as well as some stand-out pitchers!