11 Sep Interview with Tyson Villeneuve of The Social Concierge and Dinner by Design Vancouver
After spending a over a year out of the Vancouver area, I returned this summer with fresh view on this beautiful city. I’m constantly looking for interesting events to cover or inspiring people to interview for our blog, I saw two local events that really stood out from the crowd. One was the Deighton Cup, which is an weekend’s worth of horse racing, parties, cocktails, food and fashion. Another was the Diner en Blanc, which is a ‘chic picnic’ that is held in top cities around the world, where a private outdoor dinner party is held at a secret location with an all-white dress code.
Always interested in the marketing and branding side of things, I noticed an agency called The Social Concierge was a big part of both. I heard about another luxury event called Dinner by Design was coming up and got in touch with Media Tonic PR (who was also involved in the Diner en Blanc). They then directed me to Tyson Villeneuve of The Social Concierge and I wasn’t surprised. And Tyson agreed to take a bit out of his busy schedule to talk about his work and the upcoming Dinner by Design event.
Simon: Hi Tyson, our team is very impressed with The Social Concierge’s work and the events you’ve hosted this summer. Can you start our readers off with a brief intro to what your agency does?
Tyson: Hi Simon and thank you so much for your interest in The Social Concierge! We are a Vancouver-based creative experiential branding and special events agency. We specialize in both client work and our own unique events that we produce and promote around Western Canada.
Tyson: Both my business partner Jordan Kallman and I both have a passion to drive culture forward and create signature memories for guests, clients and friends. We both used to work for large corporate organizations (Jordan with the 2010 Olympic Winter Games and myself with Grey Goose and Paramount Pictures among others) and we truly enjoy bringing brands to life in a spectacular manner. We both love challenging the status quo and endeavour to make people happy via a superb experience. It was philosophically a natural fit that we work together.
Simon: What specific services do you offer to clients?
Tyson: We offer everything from strategic brand consulting to consumer engagement and designing special programs for big brands towards a targeted audience. We have done everything from consulting on the atmosphere in boutique hotels to a national brand strategy guide for a beverage company. We have created and executed programs for premium clients such as Veuve Clicquot, consulted on an artisanal agave distillery in Mexico, and the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic games in Russia.
Simon: What is your role within your agency and with clients?
Tyson: My business partner Jordan and I operate as a team and like involved at every level of client work, ranging from creative and PR to design, copywriting and ROI analytics. We want to deliver every time.
Simon: Who else is on your team and what are their roles?
Tyson: Jordan and I are the lead and we have multiple contractors that we work with throughout the year as required on a project per project basis. As we want to make each effort different, we require a wide variety of staff, but not necessarily all at once.
Simon: Now onto Dinner by Design, what is the concept behind it?
Tyson: Monogram Dinner By Design is truly a passion project of mine as I absolutely love interior and architectural design. It is the most elaborate dinner and cocktail party Vancouver has seen. The basic concept is to partner with some of the most celebrated and talented designers in the West and challenge them each to conceptualize and execute their ultimate ‘tablescape’ installation – a 3D immersive dining environment that is reflective of their style and centers around a table of 10. All of this is the name of a good cause – raising funds for the Dr. Peter Foundation.
Simon: So there is a main dinner and some surrounding events, can you give us the details?
Tyson: Cocktail Art! is the official opening party with special live entertainment and focused around the fabulous craft cocktail made with super premium vodka Absolut Elyx. Their brand ambassador and master mixologist Jacob Sweetapple has created a truly unique series of designer drinks that have never before been tasted and enlisted the aid of some of the city’s finest barmen to help deliver the liquid art.
Simon: I see a there is a list of exceptional designers involved that’s too long to cover here. Can you share any highlights from their contributions?
Tyson: Each of the designers has a different theme and inspiration for their tablescape installation. They range from “stately elegance”, an all white design, a clearing in the woods, and a rustic Scandinavian cabin all the way to eclectic designs of a Vaudeville style garden party and a theme based on The Beatles’ song Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.
Simon: It sounds like the food and drinks have to match the exceptional interior design being showcased. What restaurants, bars, chefs and mixologists are part of this event?
Tyson: With Absolut Elyx cocktail program being second-to-none, we are also pleased to have Stella Artois on board as the exclusive beer partner. Their brand campaign ‘She is a thing of Beauty’ fits perfectly within the design world. We are also proud to have as partners and official caterers Culinary Capers, whose team will be challenging themselves to go above and beyond their elegant plating and architect some new styles for the event.
Simon: This is a partnership with IDSwest, can you share some key parts of that event?
Tyson: IDSwest is the huge annual Interior Design Show at the Vancouver Convention Centre that attracts around 40,000 guests each year. They are a great partner with us for the event to really help bring the premiere design community and key influencers together for Monogram Dinner By Design. IDSwest is 4 days long and is intended to inspire guests into the realms of design possibilities.
Simon: We’re all familiar with General Electric, but I hadn’t heard about the main sponsor GE Monogram until this event, can you fill us in on what they are and their involvement?
Tyson: The MediaTonic team can give you their official statement on Monogram Dinner By Design, but effectively their most premium range of home appliances MONOGRAM is very well-known and respected in the design community. Their desire to raise funds for a great charitable cause all while supporting local designers is a key part of their mandate.
Quote from their GM: “Through Monogram Dinner by Design, we have established a successful fundraising initiative supported by the design community in Ontario,” said Philippe Meyersohn, GM, Marketing and Training, MC Commercial Inc. “We’re thrilled to have some of Vancouver’s top talent showcase their unique designs while supporting the Dr. Peter AIDS Foundation.”
Simon: And this all goes to benefit the Dr. Peter AIDS Foundation, please share what their mission is with our readers.
Answered by Kathryn Sutton; Communications Officer Dr. Peters AIDS Foundation:
The Dr. Peter AIDS Foundation provides seven-day-a-week care to people living with HIV/AIDS in addition to the joint challenges of extreme poverty, mental illness, homelessness and multiple medical conditions. Our focus is on helping our clients improve their overall health, which we achieve through offering nutrient-dense meals, specialized nursing, counselling, art and music therapy and medication management.
Simon: Are you planning any other events we can look out for in the near future?
Tyson: We always have something up our sleeve. Our next big project lands October 4th at the Vancouver Public Library producing TOUCH – their inaugural fundraising Gala event which will incorporate live and interactive art installations. Aside from client work, look for us next potentially at Cornucopia in Whistler, our upcoming Sidecar Trolley Tour cocktail tasting event in November, and of course, as returning producers of the next TEDxVancouver speaking series.
Simon: It’s been great learning about your agency and this unique event. Thanks for your time and looking forward to meeting you there!
For more information and tickets, please visit DinnerxDesign.com.
For more on Tyson and his agency, please visit: TheSocialConcierge.com.
And for our coverage of DinnerxDesign, click here.