Inside Square One’s Food District Media Launch

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Last week Square One hosted media and influencers for a preview of their upcoming Food District, opening to the public on April 1st.  The ultimate influencer, the Food God, Jonathan Cheban was on hand to experience all of the deliciousness.

All photos courtesy of Ryan Emberley
Natasha Koifman, Square One’s Marketing Director Toni Holley and Jonathan Cheban
Jonathan being interviewed by etalk

Guests sampled appetizing eats, coffee, juice and beer from some of the merchants and restaurants that will be part of The Food District. Take a look below and prepare to get hungry.

BRøD – The Danish Bakery
Oysters from Pier 87
Seed to Sausage’s charcuterie board
Arvinda’s Specialty Indian Cooking
Blackjack BBQ
Collective Arts Brewing
Village Juicery
Hale Coffee
Sweet Jesus
Tiramisu from Dal Moro’s Fresh Pasta to Go
The Macaron Boutique
Gorgeous pink roses provided by Blossom Moments

Details of a grand opening event are coming soon!

How To Stand Out In The Era of Hashtags and Clickbait

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We live in a digital age driven by content, clicks, and conversions, and when building a presence online, it’s easy to get caught up in numbers. How many followers do you have? How many likes do your posts get? Is there a formula to going viral? But believe it or not, a strong online community isn’t measured in numbers.

It’s the result of marketing to your target audience in real time; getting their attention and fostering a relationship that will translate beyond that initial like, share, or follow. And with noisy, filtered timelines, how do you stand out on social media in the era of hashtags and clickbait?

 

Storytelling — creating thoughtful messaging that generates a real relationship between a person or brand and their target audience.

 

Recently, I shared a personal story on Instagram about how much I used to love playing the piano and how music has the ability to uplift my mood when I’m feeling down. I shared a hidden talent of mine and asked my community to share something about them that no one knew. The post opened up a great conversation, received a lot of engagement, and love. I was able to tell a story that connected my followers to something that was special to me and honored their stories of something that mattered to them. We created a genuine connection.

Here are my five tips on authentic brand-building through digital media:

1. Pinpoint your message
Don’t just talk—say something. Make sure your social media platforms say something beyond, “follow me,” or “buy my product.” When preparing a post or image, think about how it will resonate, how will it truly engage your target audience? What do you want them to feel when they see the post or go on your social media accounts? Having a clear and authentic message will help you stand out online.

Model and Body Activist, Ashley Graham is a great example. Whether you are a follower of Ashley or not, on some level you’ve heard her message “beauty beyond size.”  Her message of celebrating beauty in all shapes is at the core of her brand and connects to women, who previously felt invisible. Ashley’s authenticity is a visible part of the stories she shares. She stands out on media platforms, to not just her fans, but to people globally. She is leading a conversation that is changing perceptions of beauty.

 

2. Curate an experience
The user-experience should align with your brand values–what you want your life and brand to represent. 

To zero in on those values, I use an exercise called “the five I Ams.” Ask yourself how you want people to feel when they visit your digital platforms, and then craft your online presence around those ideals.

For example, “I am compassionate,” “I am a lover of fashion,” “I am family-oriented,” “I am philanthropic,” “I am ambitious”— everything I share with my social community reflects back on these anchoring characteristics, and as a result, our interactions are authentic based on mutually aligned values.

What are five defining characteristics of your life or your brand?


3. Engage with your audience
In social media, engagement is what really matters. Ask questions that prompt conversations, check in and respond to comments- even to say thank you, show gratitude, participate in trending activities or tags, and establish relationships with social influencers to reach new audiences. Let people know that your business isn’t cold and faceless—it’s socially plugged-in and run by a real person. Remember, you are building a community.

 

“Speak to your audience in their language about what’s in their heart.” – Jonathan Lister, LinkedIn

4.  Know your platforms
It is not enough just to post frequently—you have to post thoughtfully. Every social media platform is tailored for a different user. For instance, Instagram is highly visual; you want to post captivating images, playful moments, and videos that demonstrate the values of your brand visually. When posting on Twitter, on the other hand, you want to share more newsworthy items.

5. Put a face to your brand
Facelessness and anonymity doesn’t cut it anymore. We’re talking about an age where everyone knows who Mark Zuckerberg is, whether they use Facebook or not. People like to know who’s behind the companies and causes they support, so it’s crucial to be a walking embodiment of your brand. Whether you are a business owner or not, speak up on the issues you care about, and be a vocal and physical presence in the communities you aim to serve. People want to see and hear from a brand that shares their values. And when you have their attention, you’ll organically cut through the white noise.

It’s not about posting every hour, it’s about posting with a purpose. Let people in—let them see what you stand for, what causes you believe in, and what changes you wish to make in the world. Keep your audience at the heart of all that you do, and I assure you, the numbers will follow organically.

Have any thoughts on what it takes to build a reliable brand on social media? Tweet me @NatashaNKPR to let me know!

Natasha Koifman

NKPR Festival Countdown 2018

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On Wednesday, August 23rd, we hosted our annual Festival Countdown to officially kick-off Film Festival season and #NKPRIT18, brought to you by Hounds Vodka and Lise Watier.

The night was filled with glamour and sophistication, with Swarovski crystals dazzling from the trees, fun activations that captured moments of the night and a plethora of refreshments and sweets (of course).

Upon entrance, a stunning Lise Watier tree was styled with twinkle lights, hanging crystals (hello, Swarovski!) and white roses as the backdrop for guests’ shared photo booth moments. Designed by the talented Caspar Haydar Design, the entire event was completely stunning and the perfect atmosphere!

As guests mingled, Pusateri’s served delicious hors-d’oeuvres throughout the night along with a full charcuterie spread with Joselito live ham slicing and a fresh mozzarella pulling station. There was something delicious for everyone and even a delicious sweets table that featured an #NKAllBlackEverything cake provided by Cakes by Mickey!

 

The cocktails for the evening were provided by Hounds Vodka, serving up signature and speciality drinks with their charcoal-infused black vodka, including “Ziggy Bardust” and “Hounds On The Rock”. The “To The Moon and Black” cocktail was definitely a crowd favourite, made with fresh lime juice, creme de cassis and simple syrup, and served with blackberries! The bar was also stocked with Ace Hill Beer and various refreshing flavours of Flow Water.

For all that sparkles, guests could visit the Lise Watier makeup playground to get their makeup touched up with the best and newest products. Guests could also take home a personalized Lise Watier makeup compact embossed with Swarovski crystal lettering (Yes, please)!

The surprise musical guest was Toronto star Fefe Dobson, who put on an incredible set of her new songs to celebrate #NKPRIT18. She performed mid-party with her all-girl band with singles like “Get You Off” and “Love” perfectly combining the theme of film and music.

Near the end of the evening, breakfast was served with Tim Hortons, with their Breakfast Anytime items! Who doesn’t love a breakfast sandwich at 10 PM? These late-night snacks gave guests one last chance to fuel-up and continue the festivities well into the night!

SHAYNE STEPHENS, SANGITA PATEL, CHRISTI HIMMELHEBER, AND GREGO MINOT

Thank you to everyone who celebrated the start of the film festival season with us!

INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY 2018: Part 2

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How will you mark International Women’s Day this year?

For me, the greatest influence begins at home

As long as I can remember, my family has always celebrated International Women’s Day. Every March 8, my father would give my mother a beautiful bouquet of flowers. It started when they first got married before my sister and I were born and has continued to this day. I asked my father once why this particular day was so special that he wanted to honour it with a gift to my mother.
 
He said it was his way of showing how much he loved, supported and respected my mother and the way she was raising my sister and me to be strong, independent, resourceful women. He felt it was important to mark the occasion of International Women’s Day with a symbolic gesture in celebration of an important event.
 
Perhaps because he was raised in a female-led household (with just his mom and sister as his father died during World War II) my father has always believed that women are equal and deserving of the same rights, responsibilities and rewards as men. In all the interactions I’ve witnessed my father has had with other people – men and women from all backgrounds and walks of life – I’ve always been struck how respectful, kind, friendly and fair he’s been, without fail. 
 
I realize how lucky I am to have been raised in a family where both my parents believed that two little girls could do anything they dared to dream. They encouraged us to pursue our goals and not let obstacles or challenges deter us. They taught us the importance of giving back to our community and to pay it forward with the same respect that they showed each other and us. Although not perfect, I believe my parents taught my sister and I well. 
 
So in thinking about this year’s International Women’s Day, an annual day when people the world over come together to focus on women’s issues and achievements, it may seem overwhelming to think what one person can possibly do to advance women’s rights towards a more balanced society with 50/50 equality. That’s an ambitious goal! For me, as it’s always been, the road to equality begins at home.
 
As much as we should change laws, institutions, pay and workplace culture (and we should) the one thing each one of us can do most easily begins at home within our immediate family. When my son was born years ago, I knew I wanted to raise a good man who valued all people as equals. I wanted to raise a man like my father who shared his traits of kindness, compassion and empathy. As I look at my son today, fully grown and starting his career, I feel immense pride for the man he has become. 
 
And I realize that of life’s greatest accomplishments and greatest area of influence, it rests within one’s own family and immediate circle. That’s where the most impact and positive change can occur. And if you do it right, the ripple effect grows bigger and stronger.  
 
So I wish each of you a happy International Women’s Day. Take the time to celebrate the women in your life and remind yourself how each one of us can influence and support those closest to us and in turn, support all of us. 
 
Happy International Women’s Day! What does International Women’s Day mean to you? Tweet me @NatashaNKPR or leave a comment below. 
 
Natasha

RECAP: 26 Hours of Kindness 2018

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SHOWING AND GIVING LOVE FOR 26 HOURS OF KINDNESS

This past Wednesday the NKPR team joined forces to celebrate Valentine’s Day in a meaningful way- by showing and giving love to Toronto communities. This year we really wanted to focus on the homeless population, especially as this winter has been one of the coldest on record! We focused our efforts to volunteer at four amazing organizations: St. Felix Centre, Good Shepherd Ministries, Sistering, and Ve’ahavta. Together, their services work to support individuals who are battling very real issues in Toronto (and all over the world), including homelessness, addiction, malnutrition, mental illness, and so much more.

The FWords Podcast also taped an episode in the St. Felix kitchen during the lunch service, where we talked with Brian Harris, Executive Director of the St. Felix Centre, as well as the Ve’ahavta Outreach Worker, Andre Hermanstyne. Stay tuned for the episode airing next Tuesday, February 20th!

St. Felix Centre | 25 Augusta Ave.

We were welcomed with open arms to help prepare lunch and dinner for visitors of the St. Felix Centre. The first shift covered the 9AM to 1PM lunch service, and from 3PM to 8PM the second team tackled dinner! It was heartwarming to see the gratitude of the staff as well as the individuals who came in from the cold for a warm meal!

Learn more about St. Felix Centre here.

Good Shepherd Ministries | 412 Queen St. East

We lent our support to Good Shepherd with sorting and boxing food for many individuals and families that use their services on a regular basis. Their staff typically serve 1200 meals a day on average! On top of hot meals, they also provide clean clothes and a safe, clean bed for those in need.

Learn more about Good Shepherd Ministries here.

Sistering | 962 Bloor St. West

Sistering offers multiple services in an aim to help at-risk, socially isolated women in Toronto who are homeless or precariously housed. We joined the strong women who dedicate so much of their time to supporting Sistering.

Learn more about Sistering here.

Ve’ahavta | 200 Bridgeland Ave D.

Ve’ahavta (Hebrew for “and you shall love”) works to promote positive change in the lives of people of all faiths who are marginalized by poverty. They offer a hands-on approach to supporting their mission of tikun olam (repairing the world). Even just these translations demonstrate how beautiful it is to help and love others! We offered our support by collecting items for their street outreach team to help make daily essentials more accessible to Toronto communities.

Learn more about Ve’ahavta here.

It was honestly such an incredibly grounding and rewarding experience to give even just some of our time to help these organizations. It also served as an important reminder that there are so many people who desperately need our help on a daily basis. There is an estimated 235,000 people who are homeless in Canada annually, with 35,000 estimated to be homeless on any given night. Those are only two statistics that help shed light on the reality of homelessness in Canada. We’ve pulled a few m0re shown below that help provide an understanding of how this affects so many people. Realistically, these individuals could easily be our peers or friends, and we may just haven’t noticed the signs.

  • 150,000: Approximate number of people who access emergency shelters in Canada annually.
  • 50,000: Estimated number of people who are “hidden homeless” — defined as those without homes of their own who lean on friends or family for shelter — on any given night.
  • 4 million: Number of bednights, defined as nights during which a shelter bed is occupied, each year across Canada.
  • $105.3 million: Amount the federal government spends annually on the Homeless Partnering Strategy, which is designed to prevent and reduce homelessness.
  • 82,380: People who found more stable housing as a result of the Homeless Partnering Strategy.

We encourage everyone to learn more about these amazing organizations, and how you can lend your support. You can make a big difference even in a small way by just donating your time. Imagine what the world could look like with a little more kindness!

A huge thank you to everyone who came out to join the #NKPR26 team. Checkout our Instagram highlights (@natashankpr) to see more from our third annual 26 Hours of Kindness initiative!

TREND REPORT: AWARD SEASON

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GET THE RED CARPET LOOK

Award season is amongst us! We’re well under way as the Golden Globes recently passed, giving us a sneak peak at what will be trending on the red carpet this year. We’ve pulled some of our favourite items so you can stay on-trend and rock these looks at your own events!

 

STATEMENT EARRINGS

We saw a lot of gorgeous earrings drawing attention to some of the hottest celebrities so far this month. Statement earrings are a great alternative for adding drama to an otherwise tame outfit. Check out these bold and beautiful Swarovski earrings that will help you glam up for any event (from left to right):

  1. Multi- Coloured Highness Pierced Earring Set (Reg $349 CAD)
  2. Airy Pierced Earrings with Mixed Plating ($149 CAD)
  3. Multi- Coloured Helen Clip Earrings ($129 CAD)

 

BOLD RED LIPS

Nothing is as classic as a beautiful red lip on the red carpet. These lipsticks come in multiple shades, including, of course, a matte lipstick to ensure full and lasting coverage (completely necessary for a long night)! Take a look at which lipsticks you should bring for your next night out (from left to right):

  1. Annabelle Cosmetics’ BigShow Matte Liquid Lipstick ($9.95 CAD)
  2. Lise Watier’s Rouge Intense Supreme Lipstick ($27 CAD)
  3. Marcelle Cosmetics’ Rouge Xpression Lipstick  ($11.95 CAD)

 

SLEEK UP-DOS

A vibrant or dark contrasting lip has often been paired with a sleek and elegant up-do! With any hairstyle, the products you use are crucial to ensure smooth strands, full body, and a soft hold! These new OGX Beauty Stylers are perfect for all your hair needs before a big event (from left to right):

  1. Bodifying Bamboo Fiber Full Root Boosting Spray Mousse
  2. Smoothing and Shea Sleek Smooth Style Spray
  3. Renewing Argan Oil of Morocco Elevated Finish Spray

 

What looks are you loving this year? Leave a comment or tweet us (@natashankpr) to let us know! 🙂

FWords LIVE at Links of London

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The FWords Podcast LIVE at Links of London!

The first LIVE taping of the FWords podcast took place this past weekend! Natasha, along with Taylor Kaye, and Anthony Mantella, hosted their first live event for the podcast series in the Links of London boutique at the Toronto Eaton Centre. Guests joined the trio to chat about which royals wear Links of London (and LINE the Label!), as well as holiday gifting!

The event had a fantastic response, especially as laughter and conversation filled the mall and attracted a crowd surrounding the store’s entrance! Among the lovely FWords fans that came out to join the fun was the beautiful Rosey Edeh and Kris Reyes!

Along with chatting to guests and listeners live at the Links of London store, the highlight of the evening was the iconic Sweetie Made-To-Order Bracelet giveaway! Throughout the podcast guests could enter a ballad for a chance to win a $500 Sweetie bracelet, including a couple charms of their choice!

We all know Natasha loves the Sweetie bracelet as the best gift to give… and receive! To celebrate the first live event, FWords listeners are able to enter a second Sweetie bracelet giveaway over on the @natashankpr Instagram account!

You can listen to this special LIVE edition of the FWords here. Stay tuned for more FWords LIVE events in 2018!

Q+A With Natasha Koifman: 2017 WXN Trailblazer and Trendsetter

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Congratulations, Natasha Koifman!

We are so happy to announce that Natasha Koifman will be honoured with a Trailblazer and Trendsetter award at the 2017 WXN Canada’s Most Powerful Women Top 100 gala! In celebration of this huge achievement we sat down to ask her a few questions about her career as an entrepreneur and trailblazer…

trail·blaz·er
noun
1. a person who makes a new track through wild country.
a pioneer; an innovator.


Q: What does being a trailblazer mean to you?

A: For me, being a Trailblazer means paving a path that wasn’t there before. It’s stepping outside of your comfort zone and into the unfamiliar and the unknown…working through any fear or obstacles to get your desired outcome. With this title there is a responsibility to inspire and to empower others, so that they can truly feel that they can do it too. I am privileged to be in the company of 14 other outstanding women who have been given this title, but my sincere hope is that that number grows exponentially each year…and that more women are empowered to pave their own paths too.

Q: What was the biggest lesson or decision you made as you were developing as a businesswoman? 

A: I get asked this a lot by women I mentor, and one of the biggest lessons is that in my experience, all great things stem from a place of fear or uncertainty. When I first went out on my own and launched NKPR, I was called by my client VISA Canada on December 23 to organize a press conference in Montreal for January 3. I was terrified, it was the holidays in a market that wasn’t in my backyard, but I knew that I could figure it out, so I called my client back and said I’d take it on. The press conference went off without a hitch, and that client, my dear friend Sarah Saso, remains a client today. I have a tattoo on my arm that reads “Be Brave” to remind me that it’s when you’re afraid of something that you grow the most. That decision to take on the press conference led me to a bigger contract, which allowed me to move from my basement desk into my first office on University Street.

Q: How can women find the resources and build the network they need to work towards ambitious goals?

A: The first step is finding a mentor – everyone should have one and this is particularly important for young professionals. A mentor is a great way to get encouragement, advice, and direction for working towards any goal. This can be anyone you admire – a parent, a teacher, a coach, or former bosses.

If you want to build your network and your career, find a sponsor. This is someone who will help you advance your career by being actively engaged and involved. A sponsor will advocate for you to those in higher positions, helping you secure a promotion or high-profile assignment.

Q: What is the most powerful attribute someone can have? 

A: I believe the most powerful attribute you can have is authenticity. Understanding yourself and remaining true at all times to your authentic self is what will ensure you present something unique to the world. Finding your brand and sticking by your values is what will attract people towards you.

Q: What’s next for NKPR? 

A: Each day I am inspired by the creativity and passion from the team. From the first day that I started the agency, I wanted to pick and choose the brands we worked on and who we worked with, which has resulted in producing award-winning work for our clients. This has remained true for over 15 years, and I look forward to seeing this through for the next 15! I am immensely proud of our agency’s philanthropic contributions, and as our team grows, my hope is that each team member is empowered to find their own charitable pursuits…to help make the world a better place. We’ll also be announcing a new platform to support new companies and start-ups…more to come on this soon 😉

Black Is The New Black – RUDSAK Fashion All Summer Long

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Here at NKPR, it’s no secret that we love fashion…especially anything that comes in black! From red carpet events to dinners on the town, black is our ultimate go-to.  After all, Neiman Marcus did say: “Women who wear black lead colourful lives.”

One of our favourite Canadian fashion brands, RUDSAK, is best known for their signature “all black everything” style offering trendy pieces that can be worn all year long.

When it comes to black, there’s a fine line between boring basic and sophisticated chic…the secret is in the details. So if you’re wondering, “How do I make black work in a season full of pretty pastels and feminine florals?” don’t fret – RUDSAK has everything you need to embrace your own cool-rebel spirit.

Women’s Fashion

A classic leather jacket is a seasonal staple. Throw this RUDSAK ELSA on over your skinny jeans for instant rockstar vibe or make an edgy statement by wearing it with this season’s popular boho trend.

The three most important letters in any fashionista’s vocabulary: LBD (Little Black Dress). RUDSAK’s OPHIRA dress has put an end to the eternal fashion scavenger hunt; this form-flattering jersey dress will take you from the office to dinner to dancing and beyond!

Our favourite trend right now: combining sheer and lace! The RUDSAK OBELIA skirt is the perfect choice for evening weddings or as a versatile transition piece from day-to-nightPair with a bright top or a silk cami for a rebel ballerina look (Step aside Black Swan!).

Men’s Fashion

Summer can mean unpredictable weather (looking at you mysterious rainclouds!). The RUDSAK TRAVIS is a Letterman-style bomber jacket with RUDSAK’s signature leather touch. The full sleeves made with genuine sheep leather ensure you’ll be set for all weather conditions and social events.

Who doesn’t love a combination of classic and casual? The RUDSAK KINGSTON button down with lamb leather sleeves is a man’s best friend for spontaneous summer adventures. Easily dress this piece up with a dinner jacket or keep it casual with dark denim for all those budding social events on your calendar.

Screen-Shot-2015-03-03-at-2.39.24-PM

What’s your favourite way to wear black in the summer? Tweet us at @NatashaNKPR!

 

 

 

 

 

Scotiabank Photography Award Winner: Angela Grauerholz

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“A great photograph is one that fully expresses what one feels, in the deepest sense, about what is being photographed.” ― Ansel Adams

48_ Angela Grauerholz Rose et bleu 2010

Earlier this week, Scotiabank named Angela Grauerholz as the winner of the 5th annual Scotiabank Photography Award.

As the largest annual peer-nominated and peer-reviewed celebration of excellence in Canadian contemporary photography, the Scotiabank Photography Award includes a $50,000 cash prize, a solo Primary Exhibition at the Ryerson Image Centre during the 2016 Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival, and a book of the winner’s work to be published and distributed worldwide by renowned art book publisher, Gerhard Steidl.

Angela Grauerholz is known for work that feels as if it were plucked from a dream, with a uniquely personal and philosophical insight that brings an unparalleled depth and presence to her photographs.

Some of Angela’s incredible work…

26_ Angela Grauerholz VoltaireÔÇÖs Study 2004 01_ Angela Grauerholz Le bateau 1986 11_ Angela Grauerholz Sofa 1988

NKPR is honoured to work with the Scotiabank Photography Award celebrating amazing contemporary Canadian photography and we look forward to seeing Angela’s exhibition next year!