Hotel Man Repeller, our largest offline community activation to date, took place over the weekend. If you were there and are reading, follow along for the nostalgia. If you missed it, allow me to set the scene:
On Friday, April 6th, around 12 p.m., Hotel Man Repeller guests began to trickle into the lobby of #MRPartner Freehand New York. I was upstairs, anxiously awaiting their arrival with members of the team in the Man Repeller suite — a communal room decked out in custom Print All Over Me wallpaper (the design: a rainbow plaid made of our namesake), flowers from Popup Florist, and what-is-that-smell-it’s-amazing candles (not their official name, turns out, just what most people referred to them as) from Otherland.
Matt Little, Head of Operations and verified mastermind of Hotel Man Repeller, along with Crystal Anderson, Operations Manager, and Dasha Faires, the event’s creative director, patiently awaited the official start with bated breath…
Downstairs by the front door, our editorial intern Imani began to greet the MR guests. You could spot a Hotel Man Repeller-er in a whole variety of ways: cool pants (it was Friday, after all), funky shoes, great hats. She sent them up the elevator, straight to us.
When they arrived, it was all hugs, hoorays, hellos and a flurry of excitement. Mylez Gittens, a jazz violinist who’s well-versed in Top 40 hits, greeted guests with the sweet, sweet sound of his string instrument.
Then — then! — we gave guests all sorts of STUFF:
At check-in, guests were handed a welcome letter from one Leandra Medine (she was so excited I can’t even tell you), plus a guide to Man Repeller’s New York City; a sleepover packet stuffed with an eye mask, a Hatch beauty kit and a lavender silk scrunchie from Donni; and a key from The Giving Keys, which was to be their literal key to the weekend’s activations.
Waiting for the guests on top of their the beds were folders with itineraries, bottles of Dirty Lemon and bursting-at-the-seams canvas totes (that said Hotel Man Repeller on one side and had two dinosaur outlines on the other) filled with the following treasures, some of which can be found in The Shoppe at Freehand New York until June! (Scroll down to the bottom for a list.)
*Deep breath in*
Kule socks (that say Man Repeller on the calves)
Moleskine notebooks (that also say Man Repeller)
Temporary tattoos from inkbox™
A hat, a tote and a discount code from Outdoor Voices
SPF goods from #MRPartner Supergoop!
#MRPartner Kate Spade sunglasses and card cases
WelleCo powder packets
Socks by Liana
Alder face wash
Megababe Thigh Rescue anti-chafing sticks
Lily Puff vegan bites
Alex Monroe necklaces
Grenson Shoes shoe polish
Kenneth Cole fragrance
It was like a birthday party in a bag, with all your favorite friends invited.
Once the bags were open and the roommates who’d never met before met, after hands were clasped in greetings and pals new-and-old embraced, it was time for the festivities to begin.
On Friday night, a cocktail party! We hosted our guests at Canal Street Market (fitting, considering it was home to our first-ever pop-up), where community members and MR teammates clinked glasses filled with Tito’s Vodka and more Dirty Lemon. Fox Fodder Farm decked the halls with flowers. The artist Abby St. Claire (who did the maps in our Hotel MR guidebook) drew on-site illustrations as Otherland candles continued to tickle the taste buds of happy noses. As for taste buds of happy tongues, Canal Street Market vendors Bonsai Kakigori, ilili Box, Nom Wah Kuai and Luke’s Lobster supplied the snacks.
From there, an activity ramp-up: A24 offered three different private movie showings at Roxy Cinema (Lady Bird, Moonlight, The Spectacular Now), complete with the kind of all-you-can-scoop candy bar that dreams are made of.
Which is super important because after breakfast came the outdoor events: Outdoor Voices took groups of guests jogging through Manhattan. Then I, with Haley as my co-captain and Mylez Gittens strumming the soundtrack, led three bus tours from the Freehand New York down to SoHo and back home again. It was a bonding experience. We dined on Jannuzzi’s Cookies and mused over which tops to pair that evening with our Just Nips.
Don’t think I forgot: There were also dances classes throughout the day led by Lucia Knell, who taught a routine to “Lush Life” by Zara Larsson (if you know someone who went, you should ask to see it).
In the late afternoon, amid the hustle and bustle, #MRPartner Bumble’s Refresh Room offered a chance for guests to relax and get their hair joojed and makeup touched up.
That night, we partied. In partnership with #MRPartner Bermuda Tourism Authority, we threw a Bermuda-in-the-summer-themed celebration at The VNYL. Bermudian and extended member of the Man Repeller fam Shiona Turini was our honorary host. (In the hotel, before the fete, Goslings supplied Dark ‘n Stormys to get everyone in the Bermuda mood.) Popup Florist and Otherland added to the overall aesthetic…but in terms of aesthetic-aesthetic, you should have seen the outfits — they were Bermudaful. (Yes I’m pleased with myself for that pun but no I didn’t make it up. Bermuda did.) (And actually, you can see what everyone wore when you click through the slideshow.)
We took over two floors of the bar — there were places to lounge, floors to dance, and a green-screen photo booth replete with a beach background, which we made heavy use of to share that #NYCtoBermuda feeling. Everyone stayed past the technical “end” of the party, dancing to Bermudian DJ Damon DeGraff in the main room. I heard rumors of late-night trips to Shake Shack.
On Sunday morning, we held an open house at Man Repeller HQ and invited all of the Hotel Man Repeller guests into our home. Roxanne Assoulin supplied an alphabet of colorful pins; Underwest Donuts custom-made us dinosaur-spiked pastries and Sadelle’s provided boxes and boxes of bagels; Just Nips kept it cool; Popup Florist popped up for a final time; and Dirty Lemon hydrated all.
Hugs were had, new-friend numbers were exchanged. It was bittersweet for us: a reluctant ending to an incredible weekend where we got to meet the most important part of Man Repeller — our community.
That said…the fun doesn’t have to end there. You can still download DUMB FUN, an augmented reality app, to bring you back to the weekend through 3D social media layers. (You’ll see what I mean!) And don’t forget: The Man Repeller gift shop I told you about earlier will keep our stuff stocked until June. In addition to bucket hats, baseball caps, mugs that say “boobs,” mugs that say “butts” and Hotel Man Repeller umbrellas, we collaborated with Moleskine on notebooks, Kule on socks, s.k. manor hill on corduroy fanny packs, Lizzie Fortunato on earrings (little hearts that dangle off gold hoops), The Giving Keys on a key necklace and Print All Over Me (which made the jumpsuits Team Man Repeller wore all weekend) on bandanas, duffels and beach towels.
If you’re still with me, I have just one question: Who wants to do it again??