I can’t stop thinking about two things, which admittedly play very small roles in my life. Ice cream and live events.
My friend’s son has been making ice cream that is, by all accounts, spectacular and I’m excited to see where he lands with it. I like ice cream as a concept, but sugar doesn’t like me so its an event when I have it. Usually an outing. I’ve met the ice cream son briefly, but when my friends have kids I follow their lives and feel like I have the essence of who they ar. I’m now completely riveted and excited to see (taste!) the final product.
Naturally, I’m now thinking of ice cream and noting that I live on a street that needs an ice cream and candy shop. We are full of walkers, runners, golfers, and young families teaching their kids to ride bikes. My neighborhood, my street specifically, needs an ice cream shop. I won’t be the one to open it though. I cannot be tied to brick and mortar. If you’re my neighborhood friend I’ll whisper in your ear. I’ve even found and priced the perfect location.
Another thing that plays a small (and now nonexistent) role in my life is the live event. I haven’t put together a group for ages, and I attend an embarrassingly small number of them. I won’t even go to a protest. I would like to gift my family many things, COVID-19 is not one of them.
2020 is a year – I have to stop. I don’t have adjectives, verbs, adverbs. I have nothing to describe 2020. Unprecedented doesn’t do this moment in time justice. And just as I’m excited about the hands I never again will be forces to shake , I’m trying to focus on the creative and nimble small businesses, which is how Doorstep came onto my radar. Since our daughter is in Brooklyn and our son will hopefully return to school in Portland, I’m selfishly excited that we could order up events to share with the kids, all in our own homes.
When I first saw Doorstep Events I thought it was the most Brooklyn of all pivots. Like, “Okay, no more live events? We’ll just bring the events to you.” It’s scrappy, it’s timely, it’s appealing to Gen Z and it makes Gen X wish we had a redo.
So I did what any normal person does. I stalked the founder of Doorstep Events. I’ll just share with you some of my Q & A with Russell Pinto Jr. of Doorstep. I have only minimally edited for length and oxford commas, none for tone.
I asked Russell if he was originally from Brooklyn:
I’m a native-Brooklynite. It was growing up in Brooklyn that made me who I am today. Being around people and food is in my DNA – I’m a (third generation) Brooklyn-bred Italian-American. Growing up, our dining room table was a revolving door of friends, family, and strangers, and always full of people, food and laughter. There were tears shed around that table, for sure, but I mostly remember laughter and loud-mouthed Brooklyn-Italians doing what they do best – being loud-mouthed Brooklyn-Italians. Between Sunday family dinners, Grandma’s card games, holidays, prayer groups and our neighbors, the table was never empty
Brooklyn was and always has been an incredibly diverse place, so I was exposed early on to folks from every walk of life. All were accepted at our table. I also must credit them for teaching me to always go out of my way to make sure that your guests feel special. These traits learned early on is how I approach all my events and experiences. It’s important to weave in certain details that show your guests that you were thinking of them – and that goes a long way in making them feel special.
Okay. I’m all in and thinking that anyone from this family is qualified to be the consummate host. But it gets better.
In addition to my upbringing, having a natural entrepreneurial spirit and a deep love for theatrics, creation, and producing was the foundation of my experiential event business, Little Red Bean Productions. It’s my creative outlet, and it allows me to do what I love every single day. I’m humbled by it. In 2009, I had formed this legal entity for some of my freelance work, but it was in 2013 that I dedicated myself to it full-time. Since then, Little Red Bean Productions has become a trusted creative experiential events firm having produced events and activations for an amazing roster of clients.
When COVID-19 shuttered the world, and more relevantly, the event industry, we were on track to have our most successful year, and then the metaphorical asteroid hit. At the beginning few weeks of the stay-at-home order, there were days that I went through some really low lows, but I allowed myself to feel all the feels. I needed to allow myself to process everything. I cuddled my fur babies a little bit tighter during that time. It took some time, but it was only after I began to really focus on myself, my wife and our fur babies, and our lives did I begin to think more clearly, and to think ahead to what events may look like during and after COVID-19. Doorstep Events was born. I needed to pivot my business to ensure our immediate survival, but I’m now actually excited about Doorstep Events and the potential is has to bring people together, although apart. We’re going to bring wonder and excitement to people’s doorsteps.
On a personal note, I’ve had some very low lows during this COVID-19 crisis, I’ve felt everything, and I’ve pivoted nothing. That’s also okay. We can’t all be Sir Isaac Newton (or Russell Pinto Jr).
I also complained to Russell that I’m devastated that my daughter hasn’t joined me in Vegas to celebrate her 21st, and that it’s probably not happening soon. We also chatted about how much my husband missed having both kids with him for football season. He gave me some great ideas, and I had a good smile for the first time about these missed celebrations:
Our Experience Crates are a “party-in-a-box” containing everything one needs to make a night in feel like a night-out, which makes it super easy to share in on the same experience in real-life while virtually logging in to share it together.
Our Experience Crates can be customized and personalized for any occasion or celebration. We can certainly produce a virtual casino themed birthday party complete with live dealers and mixologists to a football-themed experience while all watching the Big Game together. Each of our Experience Crates are filled with décor and goodies that fit the theme and are shipped out to your guests in advance.
For example, our casino-themed Crate could contain cocktail kits with pre-batched spirits, syrups, bar tools & garnishes and have you log-in for an interactive demo with a world-renowned mixologist as they guide you on a step-by-step instructional on how to craft your favorite cocktail – or two, because we know you just won’t have just one. Next, it’s time to enjoy your cocktail inside a virtual casino, where you and your guests will log-in to join real-life dealers and play casino-games like blackjack, poker, and roulette, all while the “pit-boss” keeps track of your chip counts. We can come up with a fun gift or prize the winner will be sent after the event.
Just as you would create a guest-list for any in-person event, the host will provide us with the names and addresses of your confirmed guests, and we will ship the guests an Experience Crate which has been custom created for your specific experience. Each of the Experience Crates will contain the same contents, so everyone will be participating in a collaborative experience together – no matter their locations. There’s no need for travel, and it’s constantly reliable, so there’s no need to worry about rain or a pandemic that may ruin your travel plans.
Will I be seeing doorstop events for app launches?
Yes! Doorstep Events is perfect for a myriad of hybrid experiences for companies & brands, including product & campaign launches! This would be ideal for health & wellness events, interactive demos, product tastings & samplings and DIY workshops, as well.
There’s no doubt that as PR and event professionals we have to strike a balance between the state of affairs such as the recent pandemic and political movements, and how we position brands’ marketing efforts, as maintaining sensitivity and nuance is critical. However, there’s no denying that there’s power in the pivot, and that’s exactly what we’ve done. We know that we all welcome a break from the onslaught of negative news cycles, and so do press & influencers. Doorstep Events and our Experience Crates are a perfect way to spark joy while getting your key messaging across in a super creative interactive way.
I’m looking forward to a family event with Doorstep. There’s no way to treat all of us to the same experience any other way, and Zoom is just… well, I don’t want to use my work tool as my family and friend bonding tool. I need a new locale.
I also needed inspiration. I hope the genesis of Doorstep inspires you as it does me.