The exciting (and appetite-inducing) “40z & Waffles” brunch series recently hit the 2016 NBA All-Star Weekend in Toronto, Canada. Although it was the first All-Star Weekend in Canada, the 40z & Waffles event was quick to grab its shine and serve up delicious brunch grub and a variety of cocktails. Despite the artic weather the northern region provided over the star-studded weekend, all day partiers and brunch-goers were heated up with Dussé shots, vibrant energy from the DJ, and a bustling crowd where everyone was someone in the know.
If you missed out, and this event lands in your city, you better get tickets and catch the next wave before its too late.
Find out more below about the three ladies that chef up these wonderful experiences.
Charisse Curtis – 28 – St. John’s University – Washington, D.C. – Public Relations
Courtney Couch – 29 – University of North Carolina Chapel Hill Undergraduate & New York University Graduate – Durham, NC – Brand Strategist
Zenova King – 27 – Pine Manor College – Bronx, NY – VIP Relations
How long have the three of you been hosting the event and how did it start?
The event series began in summer 2014 in Los Angeles. We’re all from the East Coast and each have lived in New York City at different points in our adult lives. One day it dawned on us that LA was really missing that weekend brunch atmosphere we all loved from back East. Courtney conceptualized the idea of coming together and putting on an event that reflected what was lacking here in Los Angeles: brunch and our culture. She (Courtney) also came up with the name 40z & Waffles as an ode to the West Coast culture (40oz); Charisse was able to source the venue with her restaurant client State Social House and Zenova played an intricate role in inviting key industry figures out to the event.
As three women of color, what impact has this had on you personally and professionally?
Charisse: As a woman of color this experience has only made me feel empowered. To be Black and to be a woman in a predominately male dominated industry and succeed in the short amount of time has taught me that I can really do anything that I put my mind to. Professionally, as a publicist working on this event series has definitely tested and strengthened my pitching skill as I am always having to find unique ways to secure coverage for our reoccurring events. Personally, I feel more connected than ever from being involved in this event series. I love being out at an event in LA and someone come up and say “Hey, you do that 40z event, right?” It’s definitely a great feeling because it’s a sign our brand is growing!
Courtney: To see 40z & Waffles go from pure inception to a staple LA summer event to successful pop-ups around the country in such a short period of time is a true feeling of achievement. Personally, during a time of uncertainty as I was struggling to transition from recent graduate to a professional, the success of the event was reinvigorating and allowed me to regain confidence in my creative abilities and in myself as a Black woman in a not so diverse entertainment industry. Professionally, 40z gave me a platform to use my love for branding and marketing and to showcase our girl power talents in a male dominated industry in city where there is always a zillion events. Our event keeps our culture alive in LA where a lot of our culture isn’t as prevalent as it is on the East Coast. Overall the impact of the event was confirmation that you can do anything you put your mind to just think it and get it done.
Zenova: I think that working together with two other women of color that it has made me even more proud. I appreciate the hard work that brings us together to make this really great event series and both personally and professionally it has impacted me in helping to make me into a more well rounded person through all of the lessons learned. We all have our own strengths and weaknesses but at the end of the day we all complement each other and that’s what makes us really work.
Who do you view as your competitors?
Collectively, we all agree that we don’t have any competitors. There are other brunches and there are other day parties but none of which are creating experiences like ours. These other events either have the drinks without the food or the food without the turn up. 40z & Waffles isn’t your typical day party that LA is accustomed to where people stand around and “people watch.” We have a little bit of everything including beer pong, photo booths, jello shots, and most importantly brand activations.
What pressures came along with hosting an event around an activation like All-Star Weekend?
Pressure may be an understatement here! People don’t realize how much goes into planning an event in a foreign city where you’ve never produced an event. In doing a Stateside event, marketing is important but you have guaranteed invitees. You can invite your friend’s friend; you can count on your cousin to show up with their friends etc. But when you are out of the country you totally rely on marketing, promo the strength of your brand.
What is the group’s plan on expanding to other cities? If so, which ones are being targeted?
Our brunch will return to LA for the duration of the summer in June during BET Weekend and expand to new pop-up cities this summer including Atlanta, Houston and Miami.