Three "Lunch" Stops in Pioneer Square

Curator’s HQ sits in the middle of Seattle’s Pioneer Square neighborhood. We moved here four years ago and the energy is an inspiring backdrop for the work we do every day. 

Whether it's the porchetta sandwich from Salumi or a kimchi quesadilla from Marination Mobile, we have an embarrassment of riches when it comes to lunch spots near the office. That said, when I break away from my desk at the noon hour lately, it’s not the restaurants that get me excited, but rather Pioneer Square’s emerging retail scene. 

A recent New York Times article shared a few of these neighborhood gems. I wanted to add three more to the list. 

Drygoods Design

Perhaps the most beautiful (aka Instagram-able) shop in Pioneer Square right now is Drygoods Design. It sits directly across Occidental Pedestrian Mall from THE most Instagram-able restaurant in Seattle, London Plane. This airy, light-filled shop offers an amazing collection of fabrics, irresistible gifts, artsy cards, and a gorgeous studio space where you can drop in for open studio time or take a class. I’m the girl who got a “C” in sewing, but I still love to visit this shop. My last purchase here was a stack of birthday cards that are so beautiful that I’d just a soon hang them on my wall.


This independent boutique specializes in independently made clothing, jewelry and accessories made in the U.S. and Canada. For a small shop, they have an amazing collection of unique jewelry. I visit the shop at least once a week, try on about a hundred pieces, and have never once left empty-handed. My latest purchases —both gifts, included a delicate, gold infinity knot ring by Favor and this expressive piece by The Artist and the Alchemist. 

E. Smith Mercantile

Frankly, this hybrid boutique and bar confused me at first. The front of the store, “The Merc”, features shelves stocked with American-made denim next to artisan toothpicks next to fancy shave cream next to cardamom bitters. In their own words, "We offer a curated collection of adventures, delights and wild imaginings...” Wild, indeed! Once I fully embraced the weird, I find I am now drawn to it. What will I find there next? My latest purchases were three air plants and a few ceramic and wood planters. If you visit, don't miss the the Back Bar, with a fabulous cocktail menu and a star-studded guest bartender series, that really draws the crowds. The city is buzzing (pun intended) with news that Murray Stenson will tend bar on Sunday and Monday nights 

Do you have a favorite "lunch" spot in your neighborhood? Tweet @amricard with your suggestions. 

The Curator News Feed: March 20, 2014

Cherry Blossoms by Jeff Kubina licensed under CC 2.0

Hope everyone had a great week! We've rounded up some exciting things happening on the web this week, including a hilarious act by Will Ferrell, as well as some awesome client highlights. Take a look below! 

Social Media’s Elusive Goal: Return On Investment, Women's Wear Daily, Return On Investment, Likes vs. Engagement, this article hits the two biggest debates in social media and gives you good reason why you should put your money into it. - Brooke

No, Will Ferrell Isn't Little Debbie's New Spokesman, but the Brand Appreciates the Offer, ADWEEK, "Last night Will Ferrell boasted a new job—Little Debbie's spokesperson—during a weird yet charming segment on the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. As it turns out, the brand was just as surprised as anyone else to learn about their supposed new hire."

From Skid Row To Rome: The Story Of An Unusual Running Club, NPR, A running club in LA's Skid Row will participate in the Rome Marathon on Sunday. This story is incredible. - Ann Marie

A Critical Cinematic Study of the 2015 Seattle Mariners Commercials, SB Nation, In honor of this year's Mariners commercials, which are, frankly, the best in years, here's a really, really, really, really in-depth analysis of all four. - Paul

Will marc by marc jacobs bite the dust? Nylon, Farewell Marc by Marc Jacobs (tear). - Chelsey

Infographic: Here's Just How Freakishly Obsessed People Get With March Madness, ADWEEK, Crazy. Also feeling bad for all those Iowa St. fans... ouch. - Anna


Client Reads

Why the rush of Chinese tourists to the Seattle area is a boon for North Bend and Tulalip, Puget Sound Business Journal, Client Coverage for Seattle and North Bend Premium Outlets - Jennifer

Whole Foods’ mobile pop-up grocery expands in Portland, Portland Business Journal, Molly the Trolley is back! Portland's mobile grocer has expanded hours and new locations. - Ann Marie

2 Lessons from Meerkat that Have Nothing to do with Meerkat

"Meerkats" by Ronnie Macdonald is licensed under CC BY 2.0

"Meerkats" by Ronnie Macdonald is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Who knows if Meerkat is here to stay or completely dead? Anyone who says either is just after your click. And who cares—Meerkat’s quick spike in popularity is more about the underlying behavior of social media users than anything else. 

Here are the two big takeaways we’re focused on:

1. People want to see cool stuff

Since social media started, guys like me have been advising people to make their social media interesting by giving people a look “behind the curtain.” Show people what you do while it’s being done. Give them raw information—photos, videos, stories—before you’ve had a chance to distill it through your particular lens (let them form their own lens).

This is one of the big reasons Meerkat blew up. It’s live, raw video—no edits, no real preparation, just shoot-and-go. People like it when you loosen up and stop trying to polish your content so thoroughly.

2. If your stuff isn’t cool, no one wants to see it

It’s one thing to watch Jimmy Fallon flip on his Meerkat app and talk about the St. Patrick’s Day parade while he looks out his office window. That’s cool. It takes the host of The Tonight Show and makes him into any other one of your friends or Twitter followers. The rawness of the video—crappy lighting, watery sound, shaki-cam-ness—creates a sort of tactile feeling, like you’re there. It makes him real.

On the other hand, a shitty video of you walking around your office is just that: a shitty video of you walking around your office. (Exception: Your office is The White House.) If you aren’t inherently interesting (sorry) you need content that is.

This will happen again

These “rules” apply to all social media. Meerkat blew up because it offered a new format for them to work. But as new social networks crop up, we’ll see them catch fire for the same reasons (and also, luck). 

If you want to be successful on social overall, don’t get caught up on the network; pay attention to the behavior.

Social Media’s ROI is the Same as a Billboard

"Billboard 003" by Roberto Nieves is licensed under CC BY 2.0

"Billboard 003" by Roberto Nieves is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Brooke shared a great link this week about how brands have, and continue to, struggle with tying their social media efforts and spending to return on investment. It’s a great post, and you should check it out, but it’s also a really frustrating one.

It’s frustrating because there seems to be a double standard when it comes to paid and earned media. Most mid- to large-sized brands have, at some point, purchased a billboard or radio ad, and felt good about it because it delivered them X amount of impressions. How do we get those impressions? Who knows. It’s an assumed based on, X amount of people drive by there every day, and that data comes from some traffic study done some number of years ago.

With earned social media, we know exactly how many people have seen an ad—that’s what branded social media posts are—how many of them chose to interact with it, and we can even take steps to roughly, but still pretty accurately, quantify how much actual revenue the ad generated.

Why, then, is earned media held to such a stricter proof of ROI than traditional paid media?

I’m not saying that social media shouldn’t be held to a strict proof of ROI. But I am asking why it seems so inherently easy to consider an ad buy of X impressions a success, while a social campaign with the same number of impressions would just as easily be looked upon with suspicion because it couldn’t prove a direct tie to business results.

I’m also not simply saying this isn’t fair—my point is that if you’re struggling to understand what social media can contribute to your business, you should ask yourself if you can draw an A-to-B line from your paid media efforts to your business’ bottom line as well. Because an Instagram post costs a hell of a lot less than space on a billboard, and in a lot of cases, it’s driving the same return: eyeballs.

Realistically, until we come to a Minority Report-style world where consumers’ every movements are tracked, there’s always going to be some level of educated guesswork with ROI. But it makes the most business sense to measure the effectiveness of all media efforts—paid, earned, traditional, non-traditional—against the question, “What does this do for the business?” and treat all answers equally.

Curator News Feed: March 13, 2015

Tomorrow is 3.14.15, AKA Pi Day. And this makes us happy. You know what else makes us happy? The fact that it's Friday and we get to share the coolest news roundup ever. 

2015 TACOMA RAINIERS LOGO AND UNIFORM SET,, For fans of rebranding (and baseball), check out the Tacoma Rainiers' new uniforms, which look awesome. My only criticism is that it would have been cool to see them use sock stripes, kind of like how the Mariners did on their new Sunday alternate jerseys. Overall, though, great work. If I lived in Tacoma, I would buy one of the gray road jerseys, for sure. - Paul 

Everything Apple Announced Today, Tech Crunch, I stopped listening after I heard gold macbook. - Brooke

I’m using Apple Watch to train for one of the world’s biggest marathons. Wish me luck! And check back each week to see how it’s going, Apple, I think everything about the way Apple markets is elegant. It's clean and simple, told through short emotive stories and beautifully shot. Of course their newest addition is no different. As a fitness enthusiast I wanted to check out the new watch for its fitness benefits. And instead I spent 20 minutes on the site being drawn into a story. I think the watch is cool for what if offers and LOVE the way they're marketing it. - Scott

Derek Zoolander Just Walked The Valentino Show At Paris Fashion Week, Buzzfeed, Valentino is brilliant. - Brooke

Top MLB Prospect Lives by His Own Rules - in a Van, ESPN, If you've ever wondered what it would have been like if Christopher McCandless were the Blue Jays' hottest pitching prospect, Daniel Norris is basically the answer. - Paul

The Complete Guide to How Food Has Invaded Pop Culture (At Least According to Us), Bon Appetit, How food and pop culture collide (according to Bon Appetit magazine). - Jennifer

Phone Need a Charge at SXSW? Mophie and a Pack of St. Bernards Want to Help, ADWEEK, "Since we're still living in a world where unlimited phone batteries don't exist—and a world where dogs are still super awesome—cell-savior Mophie is coming to SXSW with a pretty unique promotion."

Kevin Bacon Does Ads for Eggs, Because What Goes Better With Eggs Than Bacon? ADWEEK, "Kevin Bacon has traded off the whole "six degrees" thing in ads for years. Now it's time to put the Bacon to work."

President Obama Reading Mean Tweets Is Your American Dream Come True, Huffington Post, Presidents usually loosen up a bit in their second terms since they don't have to be re-elected. Pres. Obama appears to be on a prolonged tour of Internet comedy tentpoles. The latest stop: Mean Tweets. - Paul

Asics is Gearing Up for the Largest Course Activation Lighting Ever Ahead of the LA Marathon, Los Angeles Magazine, Shoutout to my friends at Vitro -- this is rad! - Chelsey

Ad of the Day: Robert Downey Jr. Surprises a 7-Year-Old With a Bionic 'Iron Man' Arm, ADWEEK, Hands down my favorite ad/video I watched this week. RDJ is the man.

Father, Son Make 50 States of Food, Yahoo! Food, I'm just a #kaleifornia girl living in a #quinoashington world. - Jennifer

Trans Teen Jazz Jennings Becoming Clean & Clear’s New Face Is More Important Than You’d Think, Yahoo! Style, This is pretty huge: Clean & Clear has made a transgender teen the face of its new ad campaign. - Paul

5 THINGS YOU DIDN’T KNOW ABOUT GREEN BEER FOR ST. PATRICK'S DAY, Food and Wine, "The best green beer is made with blue food coloring." You're welcome! - Ann Marie

Client Reads

CTV Morning Live: Last Minute March Break Ideas, CTV News, Check out some Loreto love on CTV News in Ottawa as a result of our first FAM trip to Villa del Palmar at the Islands of Loreto via WestJet's new nonstop service from Calgary, Canada. - Noelle

Pam & Gela designers to show their spring collection at Bloomingdale's, LA Times, Brief coverage of Desert Hills Premium Outlets in the LA Times. - Noelle

Wilsonville company receives Whole Foods grant, Wilsonville Spokesman, Whole Foods Market's Local Producer Loan Program fuels some of Oregon's beloved local food businesses. - Ann Marie





How We Built an Addy Award-Winning Campaign for Swansons Nursery

It was a big moment for Curator last week, when we took home an Addy Award for our work with Swansons Nursery on our Grow With Us campaign.

We’re proud of all our awards, as well as our campaigns that aren’t officially recognized. This one was special, though, because it perfectly exemplified our belief of how earned and paid media should interact: with earned at the center of the marketing mix.

The backbone of any good marketing campaign is trust, and these days, it’s not enough to just say things that sound trustworthy. Social media has unlocked the door that used to keep people and brands from having two-way conversations. Now that the door’s open, the need to provide immediate value is greater than ever.

When we designed Grow With Us, we started with the thought of “how can we be helpful?” That was the earned media aspect of the campaign—to extend Swansons’ signature customer service to the world via social media. Advertising was the jet fuel that allowed the campaign to scale, but the core earned strategy is what made a connection with people, and ultimately made it successful.

It was so satisfying to see Grow With Us recognized. We’re already back at work bringing the kind of thinking that made it successful to Swansons and the rest of our clients. We’ll be back here to share some of it with you soon.

Why Behavior May be the Biggest Social Media Metric

Scott, my boss and Curator’s principal and founder, is always reminding me that when it comes to social media, I should focus on behaviors as much as or more than I focus on analytics. His point is that, while numbers and insights are important, what really drives social is basic human nature.

He’s right, and one of our clients posted something last week that illustrated that distinction beautifully:

If you can’t see, that’s 724 likes, 18 comments, and 3 shares, or around 1,160 engaged users—which is about 1,140% above average.

As soon as I saw this post, I emailed the mall’s Marketing Director, Jordan Youngs, to see if there was anything more to what was going on. Was the post sponsored? Were the people in the picture famous or something?

There was “No money put behind the post,” he said. “Really, the timing was just perfect. I was doing my morning mall walk after I grabbed some coffee, and I found myself walking behind them. Figured it would be great for social media, even though we weren't promoting anything in particular.”

Yes, and yes.

The post works so well because it’s impossible to look at it and not feel happy. That’s not a social media thing; that’s just basic human nature. You see it and you think, “Aw, that’s sweet. I hope that’s me and my wife when we’re older.”

And to Jordan’s point about not promoting anything, amen. The post itself doesn’t promote anything, but what it does do is humanize the mall. It showcases it as a shared space within the community. And even though it doesn’t feature a blatant call-to-action or information about a sale, the mall’s name and logo are easily visible. It’s a subtle advertisement that isn’t advertising anything other than, Columbia Center is a nice place to meet.

Like Scott’s always telling me: It’s not all about analytics. Sometimes it’s just about taking a step back and asking, “What will people like?”

What’s Trending: Spring Style

Spring is here, and that means it’s time to do some Spring closet cleaning and freshen up the wardrobe. Luckily, I was invited to check out the season’s latest trends at Neiman Marcus Fashion Valley during their official Fashion Must-Haves luncheon for Spring 2015. 

After being greeted with lemonade and beautiful blooms, Neiman Marcus Style Advisor Alex Yanez took the group through a fashion journey, showcasing the hottest trends of the season, detailed below:

The New Bohemian

Think new-age gypsy with a mix of boho blouses and tunics, distressed denim and embroidery. The maxi dress is also back in a big way.


Fringe details on everything from skirts to bags and jackets are in this season.

Spice-Market Colors

Spice up spring with colors like cayenne, paprika, saffron and sage.

Summer Suede

Lightweight suede for apparel and accessories can add luxe to a Spring look.

Flat Sandals

Not my personal favorite trend since I need my heels, but flattery appears to get you everywhere this Spring.

Long, Layered Necklaces

Layering different stones and metals helps to tie together a Spring outfit.

The Bucket Bag

Versatile, yet functional, this bag can carry it all, and still look on-trend.

All Whites

Crisp and clean, all-white outfits with golden accents are sure to turn heads. You can mix shades of bright white to sandy beige too.

Mix, Don’t Match

The interplay of different prints, patterns and textures can make for a knockout look.


Sleeveless Jackets

Sleeveless jackets give off a cool vibe, while keeping you cool at the same time.

Coming Up Roses

Rosy cheeks, pale pink lips – all perfect for spring beauty!


What’s trending on your fashion must-have list? Tweet us @CuratorPR!

Curator News Feed: March 6, 2015

Books by Moyan Brenn licensed under CC by 2.0

Books by Moyan Brenn licensed under CC by 2.0

Hooray for Fridayyy!! Lots of good reads on the interwebs this week, check it out!

Apple car rumors fuel Geneva debate about car of future, Reuters, Ready to drive the Apple car? - Noelle

Quadriplegic woman flies F-35 with nothing but her thoughts, Sploid, No hyperbole or jokes here. The only caveat is that the woman controlling the "plane" is actually controlling a flight simulator. The amazing thing is, she's not controlling it via a joystick that's thought-controlled; she's simply controlling the plane itself through thoughts. Terrifyingly amazing, or amazingly terrifying? Probably a bit of both. Take out the war-machine part, and it's pretty incredible to imagine this kind of technology being used to control, say, an exoskeleton or other device to help people who don't have the ability to use their limbs. - Paul

Marvel Will Unlock Its New Avengers Trailer Once Enough Fans Have Tweeted About It, ADWEEK, This isn't a new tactic—the social media team on The Dark Knight Rises did the same thing to reveal the first image of Tom Hardy as Bane—but when you have content as good as a new Avengers trailer, it's pretty effective. - Paul

Artist superimposes famous movie scenes to life with iPhone, Mashable, Love these! I think The Lion King is my favorite... - Brooke

Design engaging images for your social media posts in under 30 seconds, Buffer, Buffer just rolled out a new web app called Pablo, which allows you to quickly generate images for social media with your text on top. You can even upload icons (e.g. your company logo). Definitely worthy of a bookmark. - Paul

Never Drink Alone Again Because Now There’s Wine for Cats, Meowingtons, Any cat people in the office? Wow.. - Emily

Hang on—should I not be giving my cat regular wine? - Paul

Instagram Star Biddy The Hedgehog Has Died And We’re Heartbroken, Buzzfeed, Saddest news in instagram history - Brooke

Salvation Army Turns #TheDress Into a Powerful Domestic Violence Ad, ADWEEK

The 30 Most Influential People on the Internet, TIME

Bruised woman on this billboard heals as people pay attention to her, Mashable, Wow. - Scott

Client Reads

Bean company gets a $75K boost for a new production kitchen, Portland Business Journal, Whole Foods Market awarded Portland-area Better Bean company with a Local Producer Loan this week. The company will use the loan to complete the build-out of a dedicated production kitchen. - Ann Marie

Whole Foods Across The Country To Participate In "Crack Heard Around The World", Seattle Refined


Tulips for You and Me - Whole Foods Sale, Good Life Vancouver


Beat Your Competition with These 5 Social Media Insights

"Binoculars 4" by Chase Elliott Clark is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Anyone who manages social media day in and day out knows it can be a grind. There’s a lot of repetition, and a lot of waiting-to-see what works. Sometimes you want—or need—to mix things up.

There are a lot of places to draw inspiration from, but perhaps one of the most-effective (and least-expected) is your competition. Here are some of the ways you can skim through their social pages and bring back quality, original tactics for your own networks.

1. Find out what they’re not doing

Forget for the moment about what your competitors are doing. Where are they coming up short? Look for things like negative sentiment or constructive feedback; unanswered questions from users; and requests from the community. 

In short, listen to their fans and find out what they want. If you can fill some of those wants on your pages, you may have just discovered a new source of growth.

2. Find out where they’re not

Is your competition killing you on Facebook but nowhere to be found on Snapchat? Move the venue and own that space instead. Sometimes it can be that simple.

3. Take note of what’s working and what’s not

What posts get the most engagement? Which ones fail? What gets positive/negative feedback? What types of posts—photos, links, plain text—do people seem to prefer? You shouldn’t just copy your competition, but here’s a secret: Sometimes they haven’t noticed these things. It’s not stealing if you beat them to their own insights.

4. Track their schedule

Not every industry is global or has an around-the-clock audience. But if your competitors are clocking out at five and tuning out till the next day, for example, you could have a big chunk of time ripe for the taking.

5. Ask: If you were a fan of your competitor, what would you want?

Pretend you’re one of your competitors’ fans: What do you wish they would do with their social networks? Write that down, and use it to inspire some of the activity on your pages. A lot of times we get tripped up in data and analytics and forget that at the end of the day, social content has to be stuff that people actually like. Trust your intuition.

Questions? Have your own tips? Tweet us: @curatorpr