New York, New York
By SARAH ADAMS | @sadams843 | @TheBadBitches
Every time I plan a trip to New York City, I am a little bit intimated before I go. Where do I eat? What do I wear? Am I going to ride in circles on the subway? Nowadays when I go up, it's for Bad Bitches work. These adventures prove to be way more daunting. I have lost a lot of the superficial, minimal concern about going to a major city because on these trips I am worried that I won't be up to snuff.
New York is considered by many to be the business capitol of the United States. I have a business called the Bad Bitches. As a symptom of always being the underdog and naming a business after popular hip-hop terminology, pre trip I am always worried about being laughed out of an office. The mental pep talks and coincisous coffee consumption (can't have too much, or too little) is a real thing. I still think about my outfit, but am looking not only concerned about looking "cool" or that my shoes can be tolerated for walking 30 blocks in a day. I want to appear progressive, but be taken seriously; professional, but fashion forward. Now I know why New Yorkers are so famous for wearing black.
I had been reached out to by the director of Twitter Food based out of Manhattan. She had sent a blind email to the website account and after a few back and forth I told her I would be in the city in a few weeks and that I would love to chat with her. Now, I have never worked for or with a large company. Maybe a guy with a few restaurants, but that's about it. I also just passed my one year social media anniversary (yasss!) and I just got a computer 3 weeks ago. So lets just say I am not familiar with tech companies. When I walked into their headquarters I had to give up my id (which I later learned is not uncommon, who knew?) and had to sign an non disclosure agreement. The NDA is a move I respect, so I do hope I'm not currently breaching it. I always have some really general ones in my car alongside Bad Bitches tees. Unfortunately, that is the world we live in. I learned that the hard way. When I met with Amelia, we immediately clicked. She wants to start a guest chef series at the east coast headquarters. Her goal is to support chefs who are doing it for themselves. No big budget, no pr team, just people that run the hustle. Which, of course, I fit right into. It will be broadcast through the Twitter Food account and also through vine and periscope. After a fun meeting is a dining room with table tents full of pun #, we were rocking and rolling to do the event in early June. First intimidating New York meeting of this trip complete!
The Bad Bitches now has what I call a "project based out of New York". Tilit Chef Goods is creating our Bad Bitches apron (see previous post). We met Jenny and Alex, the owners, after our LES pop up in January. Hundreds of surveys and a couple of attempts later, they had designed two prototypes for us to try on. When I put on the first apron, I was in love. It was a looser fitting style that could be easily popped on and off, but was still suitable for a professional kitchen. Then they started describing how they conceptualized the second design. Jenny, who does not do much of the designing, had the idea of really breaking down the apron structure and treating it more like a garment. I started to go down the rabbit hole, I love that kind of talk. Looking at the apron, you wouldn't think it was any different from the unisex. No strange colors or prints, nothing fancy. It it just designed for a woman's form. When I put it on, I looked thin. Finally an apron that didn't make my extra weight around the mid section look like a baby bump! Second big meeting? Consider it nailed.
Next meeting: the production company. I'll be the first to admit that we went to the dark side. Over the past 6 months the Bad Bitches had been approached by over 20 production companies and a couple networks about doing television. At first, I wrote it off. People wanted me to sign my life away and were not receptive at all when I wanted to open the conversation about how I needed to be careful so that I had career longevity. After tons of Skype calls and deconstructing tons of holding agreements with lawyers, Nikki and I signed on with High Noon television. High Noon produces shows like Fixer Upper and Cake Boss. They are based out of Denver, so I have never actually met them in the flesh. Those that know me also know that I am pretty old school. I like to meet with people face to face. You know, feel their energy and look them in the eye. So up until this point, I've been kind of nervous with this internet relationship. I could be getting Catfished! When I met with Erika and Rachel from High Noon, I knew I was in good hands. They are some Bad Bitches! One of the best parts of this journey is meeting young women who are carving their own paths in their careers. Both in their late 20's or early 30's, I knew these women really understood what I am doing on a personal level. Big city meeting number 3: Catfish averted.
The final big meeting of the trip was not really too planned. I have learned over the past year that you create your own opportunity. Somebody will open a door for you, but you need to walk through it. When writing follow up emails from a private event a few weeks ago, I made sure to let the New York folks know that I would be in the city. One of the women that I emailed was the managing editor of Vogue.com. She got back to me accepting my request for a meeting. I got the email 24 hours before and wasn't mentally prepared. I called everyone I knew that I thought might have advice on what to do. Still feeling unprepared for this opportunity I made sure I had all the verbiage memorized that I wanted to use, put on a black jumpsuit, and jumped in a cab headed to One World Trade. First obstacle: getting in the building. In order to get in the fascinate of the building, my driver had to surrender identification and the trunk, engine, and undercarriage had to be examined. Once I got past that check point, I entered the spaceship like building. With multiple lobby's and desks all looking like they were on a space station of the future, I found the desk that I was supposed to be at to check in. After id documentation, photographs, and searches I was allowed to enter the elevator bank. Even the elevators took me a few mins to work with their touch screen technology. I ascended to the mothership. When I walked into the hall way, it was lined with women with clothing, beauty products, look books, and bags. I sat down on the couch and waited. As I looked around I noticed the women in the hallway were not even allowed to enter the office. People would come out, sit down, and they had three mins to pitch in the hallway. Was I going to have to pitch a story in the hallway?! I was warned by a friend that I would have about three mins to explain what I was doing and then they would be either interested or not interested. Nerves got higher. When my contact came through the glass Vogue doors I managed to keep my cool. And then...I got invited into the office! When I sat down and, as elegantly as possible, spilled my guts, she was stoked about everything that was going on. From the apron, to the themed dinners, she was down. They have opened another door for me, now, with some help and advice, I am going to walk through it. Last meeting status: on top of the world.
Though I may never be on a tv show or in Vogue, these people respect what I am doing in a city where they see it all. That for me is an accomplishment. Being able to hold my own with the best of the best and to even get to the point where somebody gives me a chance it fulfilling. A year ago, I did't have an Instagram and couldn't properly work gmail. I could however, kick ass on a line and make you a delicious meal. In the current culinary world, that is not enough. PR companies and celebrity chefs reign supreme. To be able to play with the big girls, you've got to figure out how to work all of your angles. Now wish me luck, because I am going to need it.