Conversations with those on the front lines: Seattle Gents

We sat down (over a glass of red wine, of course) with Avi Soor and Antonio Smith of Seattle Gents to discuss Seattle’s fashion community and why they desire to put menswear in Seattle “on the map.” Through this innovative idea to create a collective of male influencers across fashion, lifestyle and dining experiences, Seattle Gents have seen their opportunities and power grow significantly in the short six months since the group organized.

We partnered with the gents for a March Madness-themed cooking class at Hot Stove Society, hosted by our client, Whole Foods Market. The event positioned Whole Foods Market as the go-to grocer for game-day entertaining as Seattle Gents learned the ins and outs of preparing delicious and simple game-day food while sipping beer cocktails. There was even a chicken wing sauce and plating competition! It was exciting to collaborate with this group of influencers, a first for us and for Whole Foods Market.

Here are a few key takeaways from our conversation with Antonio and Avi.

· There’s enough space for everyone. Each of the Seattle Gents has individual social platforms, brands and projects to manage, but in the words of Antonio, “He can be Posh Spice and I can be Scary Spice. We’re a group, but we are very different individuals with unique styles and there isn’t competition among us.” The group encourages each individual to grow and better himself, because as we know, a rising tide lifts all boats.

· There is much debate about the importance of following versus engagement. Some of the Seattle gents are hyper-local influencers, so followings can be relatively small, but engagement (number of likes, comments, etc. relative to their following) is strong. Others have a larger reach with a broad and more diverse audience. Depending on the campaign or project’s goals, both are valuable.

· Face time matters. The group increasingly receives offers to partner with brands. For them, what sets apart one opportunity from another is the facilitator initiating face time.

This week, we’re having lunch with Anika Anand, co-founder of The Evergrey, a new online media platform focused on connecting Seattle’s curious locals. Don’t miss it.

* This is the third blog post in our series on people who are on the front lines of the changing media landscape. If you missed the first two posts in the series, check them out here and here to get caught up!