A place where people can come together and talk…
“What an incredible and totally enjoyable evening. What a group of like-minded wonderful people. The choice of venue and food was beyond perfect! I can’t thank you enough for including me in this circle,” Debra Rapoport, Fashion Designer and Activist.
That wasn’t how the evening started. We arrived early at the restaurant feeling slightly apprehensive. A few months prior, we’d decided to launch a new social club in New York for people like us, but soon realized that a “build it and hope they will come” strategy is more than a bit risky in real estate investing.
Intimate Dinner Party
So we decided to take a step back and invite some people to a series of dinner parties along with our friend David Stewart and see what happened. On this evening, we rented a private room hidden down an alley in the Lower East Side and mailed out personal invitations offering “An Evening of Good Conversation” to 12 hand-picked guests.
The group was diverse in age (from 36 to 84) and with a variety of backgrounds across architecture, fashion, hospitality, law, social impact, publishing, consulting, media, and gemstones. We let the guests know ahead who else would be attending.
‘That was an amazing evening. I think something somewhat magical happened in the ease of connecting with others in a rare intimate way. At one point while I was telling a fellow guest about a video where Paloma Picasso is showing an amazing strand of Aqua we made and sold her, she said she shot the video of Paloma talking about her work. ( I love it when such swirly coincidences show up on the path !)’ – Robert Bentley, Gem Stone Dealer
We’ve hosted plenty of dinner parties with friends but bringing a group together that had never met for a project that’s very close to our hearts was a little more nerve-racking. On top of this we hadn’t met a lot of the guests ourselves, which added to the butterflies: Would they all show up? Would they get along? Would they even like us?
At 7 pm prompt, the first arrived, then another, then another.
“I’m from Greece and grew up in a culture where sharing food is part of who we are. I stood by the door and gave each of our guests a hug on arrival and said, ‘We’re so glad you are here.’ We were!” Margarita Papadimitriou, architect and Wylde founding member.
Before long, the room was full of stylishly dressed people meeting, greeting and introducing themselves to each other. We sat down to dinner and a beautiful evening unfolded. At some point as the host you have to let the reins go and enjoy the ride. You know it’s time when you start to hear the symphony that warms all restaurateurs’ hearts: a rising mix of conversations, clinking glasses, and laughter. It’s a kind of collective effervescence. We rejoiced on the inside.
“There is something wonderful that happens when a group of open optimistic people are gathered around a table. In an age of digital-first communication, face to face has more value than ever before, especially with people like us who have a lifetime of experience interacting. The Wylde is onto something here, and they are going places. I can’t wait for the next one.” David Harry Stewart, Founder AGEIST.
Commonality That Spans Age and Vocation
Our guests arrived as total strangers but immediately engaged. Why was that? We think it’s because they shared a commonality that spans age and vocation. They are each individuals but they are also curious and want to share with other like-minded people. We felt an encouraging openness and optimism in the group and have subsequently connected them with their new “Wylde People” friends.
Coming Soon: Monthly Dinners
Now we’re looking forward to bringing more people together for monthly dinners using the good old-fashioned power of word of mouth to seed our membership. What did we learn? People want to connect and talk with people who are like them and, if you build them, it will come. Stay Wylde.
Crispin Baynes is a founding member of The Wylde (@wyldepeople) which brings people together around culture and purpose. They’ve launched in New York and are currently beginning memberships and programming. For the road less traveled, sign up here or email directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
Crispin recently wrote a tremendously popular piece for us: Iggy Pop, Bruce Springsteen, Anna Wintour: Is Cool Ageless?