Lifestyle

Inside Team Epiphany: One Of NYC's Hippest Agencies

Ever wonder how major brands like Nike, Pepsi, and Heineken are so suave at tapping into young and hip demographics without coming across like total impostors? It's because they turn to Team Epiphany, an award-winning self-proclaimed "brand solutions agency" that advises the big guys on how to slyly reach that particular crowd — because, as they say, they're a part of it themselves. We recently stopped by the firm's slick new art-infused digs in NYC to check out what it's like where the secret sauce gets made.

The 8,000-square foot space occupies the fourth floor of a building in a bustling spot in the shadow the Empire State Building. And even before you take the elevator upstairs, it's clear that this is not your run-of-the-mill ad agency or PR firm; there's a tiny bodega inside the lobby. That's street cred, folks.

The firm was launched in earnest ten years ago, and it's evolved to where they're equipped with assisting five core services: overall strategy, social media, public relations, experiential (events, parties, etc.), and talent — helping brands match up with honest and authentic big-name advocates.

Before founder Coltrane Curtis got TE up and running, he was a VJ at MTV. It was there that he recognized how poorly the brands he regularly interacted with were in engaging with his demographic. And he knew he could help them do it much, much better. Recently we caught up with Coltrane in his newly-minted office — one of just three closed-door spots in the space (the two others belong to his fellow managing partners) — which is, naturally, curated with a compelling selection of art.

Not to mention a sampling of his out-of-this-world sneaker collection.

The two pieces hanging above the desk were commissioned works of his son by a couple friends. The one on the left is by Naturel, perhaps best known as the guy behind Lebron James' iconic Nike campaigns, while the right is the work of prolific muralist Sam Rodriguez.

And these two, which he picked up at auction, are by graphic artist and illustrator Sophia Chang, who's worked with Puma and Marc Jacobs among many, many others. These images are reimagined stills from the White Men Can't Jump and Coming To America films.

Next door is Sky Gellatly, who heads up the social media end of the business. Much like Coltrane's digs, Sky's is packed to the gills with art. The massive piece above the desk is a print hyping a Grateful Dead reunion tour by the artist Wes Lang, who also designed the merch for Kanye's Yeezus tour.

In the corner there’s an alter to his book collection, plus a KAWS sculpture, which he considers especially fascinating since it's a "toy you can’t play with."

This not-yet-hung collage of words and iconography is by the famed graffiti artist ESPO — who, among many other projects, does signage for merchants in Coney Island. 

And down at the end is Lisa Chu, heading up TE's experiential services. She's constantly juggling dozens of events, from various celebrity lounges for Moet to the launch parties for products, such as Nike's Kobe 9.

And with a plush couch, she also wins the award for most comfortable office.

Need proof she can pull off top-notch events? Just stroll by the wall of photos, featuring artists who've performed at various Heineken shindigs they've produced, shot by prolific nightlife photographer Mel D. Cole.

The crew of 50-ish employees is noticeably young — and that’s the point. The energy level is high, with tunes blasting and a refrigerator of ice cold Heineken cracking open at the strike of 5 p.m. But that certainly doesn't mean they're skimping on work; people are regularly hanging at the office past dark.

You don't amass a wall of accolades and awards without going above and beyond.

Powering through the day is a little easier when there are welcome distractions nearby. Need to clear your head? The foosball table awaits. 

This is the view from their soon-to-be-decked-out patio space. Nothing like stepping outside to a truly authentic New York City scene for a reboot.


Joe McGauley is a senior editor at Supercompressor. His office art collection is woefully undeveloped.