Stephan Paschalides is Now Plus One’s Founder and Chief Inspiration Pusher. He has been immersed in trends and culture for most of his professional career, culminating in the founding of Now Plus One, almost a decade ago. Working alongside the Now Plus One collective, Stephan has developed dozens of customized Insight Immersions and facilitated Idea Labs for industry-leading brands and agencies, in addition to leading engaging immersions for major industry conferences such as OmniShopper, PCMA, FUSE and Foresight & Trends.
Previously, Stephan served as a Senior Trend Analyst at Faith Popcorn’s BrainReserve, where he led trend workshops for major brands. Stephan spends his time traveling the globe and frequently attending cultural events. In his free time, he can be found trying out the latest foodie spot, reading a Scandinavian mystery novel, or sweating through a hot yoga class. His favorite part of his work is inspiring clients to have their own unexpected aha moments.
We are a collective of creative people with diverse backgrounds, experiences and interests. Yet, we share a like-minded approach in what we do.
We are astute observers of consumer culture and understand emerging trends. We eschew the obvious and seek inspiration in unique places. We have not done our job until we’ve led you to a creative wonderland where originality flourishes and innovative ideas are born.
We rely on an ever-changing network of passionate experts to educate and inspire us. Each Insight Immersion stop features a visit with knowledgeable professionals who are at the top of their game and love what they do. There’s an innate power in interpersonal interactions, so we delight in connecting our clients with a diverse array of experts to learn from and gather unexpected insights.
NORA ABOUSTEIT OF CRAFTJAM
TALKS ABOUT THE DIY ECONOMY
Nora Abousteit is the Founder and CEO of CraftJam, a New York City maker studio offering dozens of hands-on arts and crafts workshops. As part of our Insight Immersion with the Sharpie team, we worked with CraftJam to develop a calligraphy workshop—using Sharpie pens and markers, of course! I followed up with Nora recently to find out more about CraftJam and the DIY movement.
What is driving the success of the crafting and DIY movements, especially among young adults?
There is a general shift in consumer behavior from conspicuous consumption to conspicuous production. We spent the last century consuming, thinking that the more we buy the happier we get and eventually what we bought became our identities. People are waking up now realizing that we’re on the way to consuming ourselves to death. At the same time, more and more people sit in front of screens all day and are missing the feeling of making things with their hands. Young people want to reclaim skills that got lost in decades of mass production.
We are also seeing that people try to escape their busy lives and seek mindfulness. Crafting is an activity that puts you into the “flow”, feeling like nothing else seems to matter. It’s no surprise that Harvard has recently started a crafting program to reduce stress! For our modern lifestyles, a two-hour “hands-on, screens off” break is an unusual treat. It’s a chance to slow down, to relax, and to think in new ways.
How does CraftJam promote creativity and the concept of play?
It is important for us to convey the light and supportive atmosphere where people feel safe to try new things and where there is no wrong, or right. We share sample designs if someone doesn’t dare to start from scratch; copying someone else’s design is for many the first step to learning techniques that they can later use to realize their own design. A JamMaster (teacher) is always there to help you reach the finish line so anyone can feel accomplished.
What role does community play in this space? How about social media?
A peer-to-peer recommendation is crucial for the new consumer to spend money. In fact, the majority of our customers have heard about us via social media. However, despite being constantly connected almost half of Millennials and Gen-Z say they feel lonely. As a result, 69% of Millennials believe attending live events and experiences make them more connected to other people, the community, and the world. Younger generations are dying to connect—in person. Many traditional institutions do not speak the right language or cater to their needs of empowerment and self-expression, so a new place and community are needed. Combined with a yearning for tactility, crafting together is the perfect activity for these young generations.