HighLife was tapped by Compass Real Estate to put on their 2019 Broker Holiday Party. Using element of the venue the HighLife team designed supplemental florals and even a holiday tree installation with silk, paper, and real flowers. The room was accented by warm candlelight, hand blown glass hurricane lamps, stainless steel lanterns and rustic gold votives. The food and beverage were the focus of the evening with an incredible assortment of delicious canapés, desert buffet, and holiday grazing table. The drinks were equally as impressive with holiday smoked Manhattans, spicy Pomegranate Rosemary Margaritas, and Holiday Apple Cider Moscow Mules! ‘Tis the season.
Too often we overlook what is most important. We fixate on things instead of people. It is the people who make every event memorable. Not just your guests but your staff. These individuals are the face of your brand, cause, event, company, and more. In this gig economy this aspect of part time work or the idea of “picking up shifts until something better comes along’ is looked down upon. Take for example that case of Jeffrey Owens bagging groceries at a whole foods and how he was job-shamed for trying to earn a wage. Just in that case many of the event staff at your party are artists, actors, models, singers, dancers who are between jobs.
Its this kind of dedication and hustle that makes the individuals behind a “gig” based workforce memorable. These people are the faces and voices behind major commercial campaigns, TV, shows, films, and your favorite magazines. They are also the people who work your event.
The next time you plan your event, ask yourself that just like the food or the drinks or the music, can the staffing be better.
Derby Day or Cinco de Mayo??
HighLife Productions April 24, 2019
Next week the perfect storm. Whether you are from the south or the way south (Mexico) Derby Day and Cinco De Mayo back-to-back. The Mint Julep or the Margarita? Pick your horse and place your bets. No matted which side of the bar you are on these classic cocktails have stood the test of time for a reason.
THE MINT JULEP (MAY 4th)
The classic Mint Julep looks a little like this… beaded silver cup, crushed ice, sprig of mint and the bourbon…. Ahhh, can you hear the horses getting ready. Maybe its the excitement of the race or the festivities of the hats (oh derby hats) but a lot of ceremony surrounds one drink. The julep first got its start as a medicinal concoction used to settle the stomach. As a cocktail, it blossomed in the American South in the late 1700s, with a decidedly elite air, because not everyone had access to ice nor the silver or pewter cup in which the drink is served. Known as the unofficial drink of the South, the Mint Julep became the official drink of the Kentucky Derby in 1938. Nearly 120,000 Mint Juleps have been sold at the race every year since. That’s a lot of silver cups (which people at the race used to steal, so now they sell them instead).
So if on Saturday, you are tuning in to watch the race, enjoy Derby Day with friends be sure to have the iconic, perennial, best in breed Mint Juleps on hand for if your event/party does that you will always be sure to win, place, or show!
THE HIGHLIFE MINT JULEP
8 mint leaves + 1 mint sprig for garnish
1/4 ounce simple syrup (Best made ahead of time)
2 ounces bourbon, such as Rebel Yell or Ezra Brooks,
Crushed ice, Mint Bitters
Gently muddle mint leaves and simple syrup in the bottom of a julep cup, then add the bourbon and pack with ice. Swirl it all around in the cup so that it gets frosty, then add more ice to the top. Garnish with the mint sprig and dash of mint bitters.
CINCO DE MAYO — Sunday May 5th
If the all day drinking of bourbon on Derby Day didn’t wear you out then the quickly following of Cinco de Mayo certainly will. Cinco de Mayo is not a celebration of Mexico’s Independence (which is actually September 16th), but rather a celebration of Mexico’s victory in the battle at Puebla on May 5th, 1862 during the Franco-Mexican war. An unlikely victory but thank god they did or we all might be drinking French 75s instead of the classic Margarita!
One of the earliest stories is of the Margarita being invented in 1938 by Carlos “Danny” Herrera at his restaurant Rancho La Gloria, halfway between Tijuana and Rosarito, Baja California, created for customer and former Ziegfeld dancer Marjorie King, who was allergic to many spirits, but not to tequila. So its understandable that the limited ways to disguise the tequila existed. But how did the Margarita become so famous. Synonymous with spring break, Mexico, and wild nights dancing on the table. Why did the Margarita get cast into super stardom? It’s a perfectly balanced cocktail, and like the Mint Julep has its own glass! There are few other tequila cocktails as well known nor do they have as many variations. Spicy jalapeño, Cucumber, Prickly Pear, Strawberry, skinny… the variations are endless. Which is why we are going to pick just one to highlight today.
4 ounces blanco tequila
4 Ounces of homemade mix (thats lime juice, lemon juice, sugar, and water to taste) err on the side of less sweet here
2 ounces of prickly pear syrup (this is the best because it adds a level of sweetness without being cloying)
Salt for rim (optional)
Lime wedge, for garnish….
VIVA LA MEXICO
No matter which side of the border you are on. There is a cocktail for you. Next weekend is one of the most exciting times to be in NYC and one of the most delicious. So wear that sear sucker and derby hat on Saturday and drink that Mint Julep! Then get up bright and early on Sunday and celebrate with sombreros and Margaritas in the streets even if you don’t speak Spanish, we all speak the language of great cocktails.
Bridal Showers Bring May Flowers and what do May Flowers bring… Weddings
HighLife Productions September 11, 2017
A Bridal Shower is an important tradition filled with excitement and fun. An excuse to get together with all of your besties and throw down. Here our chef RAPT took things to a whole nother level with some innovative farm-to-bar cocktails and delicious eats. A tropical themed escape in NYC that featured a Fig & Honey infused coconut water rum cocktail served in a coconut, a watermelon and vodka collins with grilled rose petals and finally the “Bea-llini” with sparkling rose’, green market peach, and lavender. Delish.
But most importantly here are 5 tips and tricks from the pros on how you can have a killer bridal shower without breaking the bank
- LADIES ONLY — this is a time to celebrate and tell debaucherous stories from the bachelorette party. This is a time to gather with a small group of friends during the day-preferably Sunday and relax. This is not a time to throw on the heavy EDM music, do tequila shots and take that last chance at flirting as your single life comes to a close. Fresh food and drinks are a requirement and if you are inviting 30 of your closest friends and family — don’t forget the mother of the groom! Then it’s important to keep it classy San Diego.
2. Decor and Design- The best events are those that you can call your own. This does not include renting out the back room of the local irish pub where the normal brunch crowd sips bellini’s and mimosa. FIND A PRIVATE SPACE. There are tons of great, effective, inexpensive ways to do this. Splacer.co is a great resource as well as peerspace.com and breather. All of these online space sharing/finding sites are like airbnb but for the hour. Hell! We have even done pop-up parties IN airbnb’s just go online and reserve the place for the day. Another fantastic resource would be a friends building with an event space. Like the one pictured here. If you have a wonderful space you won’t need need much in the way of decor. A few classy balloons. Some fun bridal toys and you are set!
3. FOOD & DRINK — As this is mainly a brunch type event the food should be light not filling. This is not considered a full sit down meal. But an opportunity to get together with friends and enjoy some company. The same goes for the drinks. they should be seasonal and light. NO LONG ISLAND ICE TEA’s. As much as you like them, now is not the time. Save that for the bachelor party. Pictured below one of our cocktails served in a coconut. FUN RIGHT!
4. THE FUN — Games and toasts and gifts. Bridal showers are perfect opportunities for gift giving and for games that involve the bride and the baby to come and all the fun of getting married. This is precisely the time to make it happen! The best stories come out between friends with cocktails!
5. THE BRIDE — At the end of the afternoon this whole shebang is all about the bride. This is where you need a dedicated team of bridesmaids to swing into action and take the burden of decorating, hiring the caterer, finding the venue, and deciding on the menus and games. Here is where the bridesmaids step up and take control.
Message us on Instagram or hit us up via email and we can give you more tips and tricks to help make sure this ever important event goes off just right 🙂
HighLife Productions & RAPT
The Importance of Branded Live Experiences and FOMO
HighLife Productions August 22, 2017
NIKE, STOP COOKIE-ING ME AROUND THE INTERNET AND STALKING ME LIKE MY EX-GIRLFRIEND KAREN
Tyler Hollinger, Founder HighLife Productions
There is nothing that trumps actually being there. Actually seeing, tasting, feeling, hearing, witnessing, — experiencing. “Feeling all the feels” as the kids say these days. The digital world has done so so much. The Internet is by far the most earthshaking revolution in modern history. It has revolutionized the way we travel, the way we choose what restaurant, where we stay on vacation and even the way we date. In many ways it has connected us with people through a computer or phone and in many ways it has distanced us from actually talking, seeing, interacting with people in real life. Remember the days when you went to a store or a restaurant or a pub because “they knew you” not because of their 5-star yelp review. There has been something lost in actually being there. Actually experiencing THE THING. Taking it in with all the senses and this is why we believe the experiential world to be all the more relevant. These live experiences are more important now, more impactful, more relevant than ever because of technology.!
DO IT FOR THE GRAM
So many things we do in today’s life we do are for social media. “Let’s go to this restaurant because the lighting is great for my pictures on instagram, or let’s go hiking and stream it live on FB or let’s go to this rally and tweet about it or this concert and put it on Snapchat or let’s go outside and look at the eclipse while doing a song on music.ly. Very few people just stay at home and share on social media (we all know who you are and please stop.) No more photos of you in your bed with a “case of the Mondays” no more shots of you on the couch watching GOT. NO MORE. All that pent up “social envy” when you see friends at “that concert” or “that vacation” or “that performance” or “that party.” Social media helps us share experiences. Which is just the point. Get out there and experience. Then tweet it, post it, share it. Show people you have a life that is filled with interesting, vast experiences.
NOT ALL IMPRESSIONS ARE GOOD IMPRESSIONS
Now more than ever experiential marketing is on the rise and should be on the forefront of all brands marketing spends. Yes the digital world has (x) many impressions and (y) many views. But not all impressions are good impressions and not all views are actual experiences. How many times have you seen a pop-up ad on a web-page and you have tried to click that tiny little “x” in the corner to close it as it literally gets in the way of what you want. Well in doing so you have clicked the actual add 4 times telling “Samsung” that you love their phone and their “click-thru” data is miraculously working because you are clicking on it all this time trying to close the damn ad!~ Literally SAMSUNG or whichever brand you prefer is standing in front of what you are trying to get. How many times have you scrolled past a facebook ad that plays a video. You didn’t watch it but the video started playing. Congrats you have “viewed” that video and the marketing people on the other end go back to the brand and say “Guess What”! We are doing such a great job because your video has 8 trillion views! Even though 8 trillion people ONLY SCROLLED PAST IT. Don’t believe the hype the digital marketers are selling you. The last time you bought a shirt or a computer or a television or furniture you did so because you liked it. Not because the brand paid millions of dollars to cookie you around the internet showing you pop-up ads on every page you visit. I don’t know about you but when I google a brand to read about it, then a couple hours later that brands ad pops up on FACEBOOK saying “BUY ME” it doesn’t make me feel good about that brand. No. It’s makes me feel like NIKE is my ex-girlfriend stalking me around the internet lurking, spying, just letting me know “Hi. its me. Karen. I’m doing well. How are you?” How about you not stalk me on the internet Karen. K. Thanks. Why are these brands spending MILLIONS of dollars on internet advertising that do nothing but create the wrong impression.
Depth not Width
The experience is everything. You know what creates a good impressions. The actual act of doing it and doing it well. When we have an experience with a brand, a person, a company — anything. It is how we perceive this to be key. How was it? How did it make you feel? How did it affect you.? As wonderful as Kylie Jenner’s photos are on instagram do they affect you? Do they make you feel great as a person? Odds are they actually kind of have the opposite effect right? Wow like “I wish I had her money” or “Wow I wish I was a thin as her” or “Wow I’m not as pretty.” So it kind of puts this idea of “Followers” “Likes” into a bit more of a context. I argue that not a ton of followers is amazing and not all likes are the same. If someone has 1 million followers and sells ZERO tickets/sales I’d say those followers are worthless. If someone has 200 followers and sells 2 tickets I would say those followers are worth a lot more. It’s all perspective. It’s all situational.
Depth not width. What I mean by this is having an actual impact not a perceived one. Having followers that actually want to be there. that are actual fans, that actually care! — which in the end is what it boils down to. Engaging a community that really cares, that wants to stay up to date or in the know with the latest and greatest. To cultivate this kind of DEEP relationship takes time and attention to detail. Making sure your customer/followers/ticket buyers have the best possible experience.
More and more the millennial attitude is to spend disposable income on experiences not things. Less and less people are owning homes because of the ridiculous costs of mortgages, insurance, taxes, maintenance. This lack of permanence attitude means the next generation is not having as many kids and has little desire for permanence. In place they are spending their money on experiences. Travel, concerts, shows. Entertainment that is experienced based. Nowadays people do things for the social media post. To show their friends they are cool, have cool friends, and do cool things. So get out there. Do cool shit. Just make sure you tag us in the photo 🙂
Tyler Hollinger, Owner
How to Stop Your Party From Going Haywire
HighLife Productions March 29, 2017
My Mom loves to tell the story of the day she got married. She had planned for the perfect wedding but after rain, catering mishaps and even a very important person in her life telling her that they didn’t approve who she was marrying, because of religious differences, everything seemed to be falling apart; however, my mother told herself “nothing will ruin this day” and ignored it all.
When we host a party that does not go as we planned we ask ourselves, “Why me, why my party?” What we don’t realize at the time is that something is bound to go wrong. The more you plan for your party the greater your expectations are for how it will turn out; you expect your party to turn out exactly how you picture. With higher standards in mind, when something small goes awry, it has a larger impact on how we view our party than it should. We see the party running off track; however, all the guests are perfectly content.
An easy way to solve this issue is taking a quick survey or judging the conversations in the room. If you, as the host, ask a guest “how are you enjoying everything?” your guests will appreciate your taking time to speak with them and you will also gather key information. Look for tone in their answer rather than the answer itself because guests are inclined to give you a positive response; no one will tell you “this party is going terribly”.
The truth is that guests don’t have expectations of your party in mind until after they are there, at the very least their threshold for a good party is a lot lower than yours. While you may see your party as going terribly, they may see that it is running smoothly. The pasta didn’t come with your catering even though you made it explicitly clear what you had ordered? Your guests do not know that, just work around it! Honestly, the guests usually could care less about the things you see as problems. Further, these flaws may actually be enhancing the experience and may be a primetime to make memories. Be spontaneous! Oh, it is raining during your wedding? Why don’t you dance in the rain, I am sure that it will make for a great memory to put in your photo-book.
At this point you may be thinking that the title is misleading, but it’s not. The solution to stopping your party from going haywire is to expect things to go wrong. Once you start seeing flaws in the party, it will lead into a downward spiral where everything seems to be going poorly. However, if you are not satisfied, here are some tips to fix common mishaps:
I. Rain: It is very easy to plan and book around the weather if you are planning a party a week or two in advance. Parties that require long term planning cannot do this. In these scenarios be sure to notify your guests of the weather as soon as you can . An easy solution is to move your party inside if it is outdoors. You can also set up tents and umbrellas to avoid everyone from getting wet. With the accuracy of weather forecasts in modern times rain should be pretty easy to work around.
II. Important Guest is Late: If someone important to your party is late, your guests may be growing impatient. An easy solution is to distract them. Tell jokes or a funny story about the guest being late in the past. Survey the audience, ask them to tell jokes, play a game, there are so many options! The key is just to be prepared when the moment comes because being spontaneous may sound easy but can be very hard for some people . Therefore, planning ahead with some activities that could help pass time is a key.
III. Food Mishaps: these scenarios are why it is so important to have a backup plan and to be in contact with your catering constantly leading up to your event. It will be hard to find a backup for good quality food if something goes wrong. If the food was mis-delivered or destroyed in some fashion, the catering you use will usually provide a backup, but don’t count on it. If your food never shows up, or they are not able to provide a backup, you need a plan. Have somewhere in mind that will be able to provide food on the spot (although not very luxurious pizza is always a decent option). A way to avoid this entire scenario is to confirm with the food service repeatedly before your party, especially a week in advance and the morning of. If an un-replaceable item is destroyed, say a wedding cake, it may seem like a big deal but the faster you move on the less likely it is to ruin your day. Your guests won’t care if you serve them backup deserts and it is sure to make its place in the memory books.
IV. Silence: This is one of the scariest scenarios, if no one is mingling all eyes are on the host. This scenario is rare and usually only occurs when your guests have some hostility between them or a crowd of introverts. It becomes your job to spark conversation and introduce people. Meeting people is always the hardest part, talking with them after is the easy . If your guests are hostile toward one another try to do something to to draw their attention away from that hostility. Some of the techniques from part II should do the trick or introduce them to other guests at the party.
What do you think? Would you handle these situations in the same way? If you have any other inquiries about party mishaps please let me know below!
Author: Paul Erlanger, Intern for Highlife Productions
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Branded Events: Depth not Width
HighLife Productions March 17, 2017
A Branded event is different and yet the same as a private event. The thesis is always the same — to provide the best time possible for your guests. With branded events however you want to maximize your brand’s exposure and impressions — and not all impressions are good impressions. So how can you do this?
GETTING THE MOST OUT OF YOUR EVENT
1. Who are you inviting?
The guest list, especially at a branded event, is of utmost importance. These are the people/press/influencers/VIPs you are trying to reach with your message/product. This carefully cultivated list should be filled with people who actually care about you and your product. Depth not width. What I mean by this is that the people who are your fans will propel your message and support you more than the person who is attending because they are getting paid/free drinks/doing it for their own agenda. Carefully think about those around you who are on YOUR side and will be YOUR champion.
A branded event should be all about your brand. It is the star. it is the focus. From the minute your guests walk thru the door and beyond the star of the show should be your brand. This is a delicate line to walk because you want your branding to be present but not “in-you-face.” Classy vinyls on the window, signature cocktails, thematic color schemes all communicate your brands vision and aesthetic w/o saying “BUY ME.” Aggressive, in your face branding and advertising can actually have the exact opposite effect you are trying to build. Think about it like dating. Woo the girl/guy, charm her, flirt, tease, entice. Don’t try to get to home plate at the on the first swing.
3. The Staff.
At a branded event every staff member is a brand ambassador. From the bartender, to the check-in staff, to the waitresses, to the DJ. Everyone is a representative for the brand so having a staff that is courteous, attractive, professional and attractive all help cultivate the premium experience for the staff.
4. Social “Call-to-Action”
Because you want a lasting impact to stay with your guests when they leave you need a savvy social media plan. 1. Facebook event page- this is where all your info is displayed the where, when, why. 2. Ticketing confirmation and RSVP whether it’s splashthat or eventbrite these tools keep track of guests contact info (which is imperative to your mailing list) plus allow more branding activations on their pages 3. Custom hashtags allow you to see the impact of the event as well as cool photos people post themselves. 4. Snapchat geo-filters further propel this conversation outward on a variety of platforms. 5. Also what I like the most “Marco Polo” App which you can send custom video messages to all your attendees with announcements and then thanking them for coming. 6. Finally get everyone to follow your instagram and FB for further updates and news. Give your guests a little treat like a discount code on their next purchase or VIP access just for showing up at this event. Remember to seduce, charm, tease, your fans not go all in for the close right up front.
5. The Wrap Up
So what’s next? Your branded event was a huge success, the venue was amazing, the decor inspiring, the staff charming as hell, and the whole thing went off without a hitch. Video. Text. Voice. These three pillars of marketing are the three content channels with which you should develop assets from your event to keep your brand on the forefront of people’s minds. Use your event vid to chop up into super 1min chunks for IG, Use stills as a little reminder of the great times your guests had, and finally follow up with a blog or an email thanking everyone for coming and give them a little extra discount on the side for being so super cool.
Events are one of the only ways I know to combine all of these things into one element. It’s all encompassing and totally immersive. These are the kinds of things that leave lasting impressions on people. Deep meaningful impacts because they touch the soul and something emotional within us. Seeking this deeper connection is much more meaningful than spreading all your marketing work to as many channels to as many people as possible without saying something meaningful. Depth not Width
5 Tips to throwing a great private party
HighLife Productions February 27, 2017
Whether your event is for 10 or 10,000. Making it unique, entertaining, and impactful is key. Below is a selection of recent private events. So that is why we have provided you with some easy and affordable tips for throwing a first class private party either in your home, apartment, office, or showroom.
- The Guests.
Make sure your guestlist is worked out ahead of time so you have a proper rough estimate of who is coming and why they are coming. If it’s a media event you want to maximize your exposure and impressions. So invite the right people. This doesn’t always mean the people with the most amount of followers or XYZ media publication what it means are people who care. Depth not width. Building a cultivated following of “fans” who actually really care and won’t break your stuff! You know your friends will show up but what about those “a little harder to reach” — see if you can give them a reason to attend, add some sort of value to their experience hence #2.
2. Food and Drinks.
Besides the sexy guests and the sweet beats this is probably right up there with the top reasons why people attend parties. Yeah the socializing is fun but what about the treats? Great food and beverage is imperative and hiring professionals to take care of this for you leaves you without the headache and also makes your event special. If you are balling on a budget then serve 1 specialty cocktail that everyone likes ala MOSCOW MULE or MARGARITA and then simple beer/wine/prosecco. Done.
3. The Staff.
Make sure you always have event staff whenever you put together your events. Having a helpful hand and a professional bartender or waiter or both! Will allow you to be a guest at your own party! Too many times we hear “oh my best friend Zach is a bartender so he is gonna do it.” cut to: later that evening when 100 people are in your apt and Zach is stone cold drunk in the back. If you splurge on any one thing in my opinion this is the best because then you don’t need to clean up afterwards.
4. The Playlist
Ideally you should have a DJ and if you want to add that little something extra live music is always a treat whether it be an accoustic performance, jazz solo, mariachi band, or a guy that plays the spoons. These little touches go a long way. If you don’t have any of the above I highly recommend the pre-loaded mixes on Sound cloud and itunes.
5. The Neighbors
Always, Always, always, invite the neighbors. Be up front about your party and never try to sneak it in there. Most of the time the neighbors politely decline but at least they have fair warning that the music will be thumpin till at least 1:00 a.m. I mean, let’s be realistic 1:00 a.m. end time. 2:00 a.m.- 4:00 a.m. in the club. 4:00 a.m.- 5am Hotel lobby. That’s the order, right?
6. Stay sober…?
Or relatively so. You are the host and you want to be the host with the most right? This does not mean falling apart at 11:00 p.m. because you had 3 Cosmos just nervously waiting for people to arrive and realizing that no one in NYC arrives when the party starts. Always plan for people to start arrive 1 hour after the start time. Myself, on the other hand, loves to come to parties early and leave early. You get the first dibs on all the great food and beverages. You ACTUALLY get to talk to the host and lastly you don’t want to stick around till the bitter end when things tend to get messy Like we stated above 1:00 a.m. -Hit a good club. As the host you want to last the whole night so pace yourself, drink some water. Remember, you are the star of the evening!
Event Production in NYC
HighLife Productions February 9, 2017
How are you?
We are event producers here in NYC. HighLife Productions is founded on the belief that in our digital age we still want real human interaction. What better way to achieve this than a party. Which is precisely why we are here. Welcome. Have a seat. Have a drink. Have something to eat. Dance. It’s going to be a long strange trip.
HighLife was tapped by Rock Barnes x Cashmere 360 to cultivate the food and beverage program for the launch of the Rocky Barnes collaboration with Cashmere 360 during the NYFW launch of their Soho pop-up in 2019. Talum inspired bites like the marinated red snapper tacos, grilled ripe mango tajin, and homemade blue corn masa empanadas were on the menu while guests sipped on spicy/smoky prickly pear margaritas and luxe pineapple agua frescas.