We believe there is no compelling reason to open a new retail store unless that store serves a practical and relevant purpose for the local community. So in 2012, we decided to launch a speaking series using Apolis: Common Gallery as a casual venue for friends to share stories and foster community in positive ways. We end each event by encouraging the local audience to slow down and take away one lesson from the night on how to beneficially impact their community tomorrow.
Our first event—"Food + Community"—featured internationally renowned authors and chefs Marcus Samuelsson and Rohan Anderson. Our second event—"Media + Community"—featured one of Hollywood's youngest established directors, Jon Chu, along with Jason Russell, the founder of Invisible Children. To celebrate our new store in New York, Apolis: Community Centre, we hosted "Creativity + Community" featuring the innovative New York artist Tom Sachs and Kanye West's Creative Director Virgil Abloh.
On June 22, we had the pleasure of partnering with Equinox to host our 11th speaking series event, with all ticket sales benefiting the CFDA Foundation. KCRW radio host Elvis Mitchell moderated a conversation between Terrell Owens, former NFL wide receiver, and Matt Barkley, 49ers quarterback and USC alum. Elvis kicked off the half-hour discussion with insightful questions of his own, before taking questions from the audience and social media. The evening concluded with Matt and Terrell signing footballs to support the CFDA Foundation.
The best lesson we’ve learned from these events is that there are tangible ways to use your daily job to benefit your community. Our friends who have spoken at these events have one thing in common: they use their professions to do good. They don’t have jobs they hate and they don’t see side projects as the only way to do good.
It’s been so cool to see people leave these events feeling more encouraged about their own jobs, whatever they may be. People have taken away big lessons from these events, whether from hearing a chef talk about intentionally caring for his team, or a filmmaker share the ultimate priority of telling a beautiful story, or a professional athlete encouraging young athletes that the bottom line is discipline and hard work. Perhaps these lessons may seem obvious, but in cities like LA or NY, they can easily be lost in the daily hustle. We’re really thankful to see this speaking series provide fun moments for people to re-adjust their outlooks on their work and find fresh opportunities to use their jobs for good.