Alison and Tori are the co-founders of contɘnt. Tori and Alison met living in New York City. They share the values of passion, inclusivity, and community. Through their work, they aim to collaborate with mission-driven brands on storytelling through community driven marketing initiatives and strategy.
Where did you grow up?
Tori – I grew up in a fairly small town in New Jersey that sits smack in the middle of Philadelphia (hello, city life) and Atlantic City (hello, beach life).
Alison – I grew up in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, where suburbia meets beach town.
What did you study, and how did you end up in NYC?
Tori – I have my BBA in Fashion Merchandising from LIM College. College is actually what brought me to New York; I always knew I’d end up here though, even as a child. I just knew. Moving here felt natural and, at 18 years old, it was the first time I felt like I belonged and could truly be myself.
Alison – I started interning in the city at the age of 16, and it was a natural next step for me to move here for university. I craved the energy and idea of endless possibility. I graduated from the Fashion Institute of Technology with a BBA in Advertising and Marketing Communications.
Where did your creativity start?
Tori – Creativity is in my blood. I grew up surrounded by it through my family – my dad is a completely self-taught chef that prides himself on quality ingredients and a made-to-order philosophy. He’s always sourcing inspiration for new recipes. My mom is the ultimate crafty, hands-on, do-it-yourself woman. She can literally turn water into wine, whether it’s interiors, clothes, hair, you name it, she can do it. My nana is a very low-key artist. I grew up watching her draw illustrations and motifs in the kitchen by this lovely little window in her home that looked out onto the woods.
Alison – For me, my father always stressed the importance of a hobby as a way to broaden my horizons and curiosity. In high school, I decided to create my own fashion magazine. I would curate a theme each month, use my girlfriends as models, style clothing from my closet, photograph them, and write copy. Looking back at it now, it’s cringe worthy, but I can’t even describe how proud I was each month when I got them freshly printed.
What was your first job, and what was the biggest lesson you learned from it?
Tori – Well, going to college in New York, I had a handful of internships that definitely felt and held me accountable like a real job. But, if we want to be technical about it, my first job was as an assistant to stylist, tastemaker, and owner of Westwind Orchard – Laura Ferrara. If you’ve heard anything about the life of a stylist’s assistant, you know it is NOT the most glamorous and is predominantly packing, steaming, and then repacking. However, Laura also owned a farm in Upstate New York that I was able to work with her on during downtime from shoots. I helped with small tasks related to their press, marketing, wholesale, and events, which gave me an interesting advantage and insight into business beyond stereotypical fashion. Laura opened my eyes to the fact that there are more ways than one to express myself creatively; she also instilled a certain toughness that you need to be a successful entrepreneur in New York, especially as a young woman. However, I think the most valuable thing I learned from my experience with her was that I have the freedom to say NO when necessary and should always listen to my intuition – not every opportunity is the right opportunity. It’s my rule of thumb now for all aspects of my life, and each time I follow it, I get closer to myself and the life I want to live.
Alison – My first job was at a consulting agency, under the former Director of Events for Vogue and Lincoln Center. I managed and developed projects for companies in fashion, entertainment, and global diplomacy. I was really thrown into a ring of fire and forced to think three steps ahead. I very quickly learned that power is not validated by a title or status in one’s career, power can be found in any position, in any stage of your career or life. When you put aside the traditional idea of what power is, you become empowered to achieve anything you’re willing to commit yourself to.
Why did you start contɘnt?
Joint answer – We believe in the power of being genuine. We are most successful, fulfilled, and happy when we are honest with who we are and how we choose to live our lives. Our agency is an outlet for pushing that belief further – challenging brands, communities, persons of influence to adopt transparent, inclusive, and mission-driven narratives to effectively communicate who they are, what they offer, and where their intentions lie. That’s why we have always been drawn to each other throughout our careers and in friendship. We share these values, and we think that is crucial to our success in starting a business together.
What is your favorite project you have worked on?
Joint answer – We recently launched our first-ever retreat under the umbrella of our agency, contɘnt. Get Grounded at Maraviglia is the first of what we hope to be many retreats that are born from the intention to create safe spaces for self discovery, human connection, and contentment to thrive, in the simplest of forms. We’ve poured our hearts into this project and aim to continuously challenge ourselves to think creatively about how these experiences can be made as accessible as possible, whilst upholding ourselves to the highest of standards.
This first installment of Get Grounded will be set in the olive grove covered hills of Monte San Savino, Tuscany, within and around the property of a quaint villa, Maraviglia, that is dedicated to providing its guests with a holistic, conscious living experience. We are honored to announce that the 7 day escape (August 31- September 6) will be hosted by two people we deeply admire for their practices and purpose – Human Design expert, Erin Claire Jones, and the founder of Touchpoint, Jared Matthew Weiss.
What does it mean for each of you to be powerful?
Tori – To be unapologetically myself is my source of power. Sacrificing who I am and who I want to be to fit the mold of how things are done or how another person thinks it should be isn’t an option. My most meaningful relationships and successes in my life have all stemmed from an appreciation and understanding of myself – my purpose is to see that truth through.
Alison – To me, being powerful is having the opportunity to build something of meaning and substance in someone’s life. The ability to create a moment for connection, allowing a space for exploration, and digging deeper to learn more about yourself or others.
Do you have a favorite product? What is it, and why do you love it?
Tori – Well my favorite product depends on a few factors – where I am, what I’m doing, how I want to feel….so, I’ll share a few to keep it well rounded. La Roche-Posay Daily Repair Lotion is the best thing that has ever happened to my beauty routine. I use it all over my body and face everyday, and I feel like a spring chicken dipped in hydration gold. I also have sensitive skin and this calms all the redness, random bumps, and other such unpleasant reactions that may arise on any given day. Golde’s Cacao tonic makes my insides happy. I mix it in hot water about once a day, and it keeps my digestion and overall energy levels in check. I’m not a morning person, but I am genuinely excited to wake up when I know I have time to make this for myself (which if you know me, is really hard to do.) I also just invested in one of those cute little exercise dresses from Outdoor Voices and am pumped to wear that baby all summer long. It’s super soft and transitional – you can definitely catch me wearing it to work with a denim jacket and vans, a friend’s backyard BBQ later that week, and maybe even to a tennis class if I’m feelin’ fun and frisky. Moral of the story, I like things that make me feel good ;).
Alison – Cannuka CBD Healing Skin Balm – when the healing components of cannabis and Manuka honey meet. It’s my holy grail during the winter months and cures just about every skin issue I endure. It’s a blessing in disguise. Plus, it’s run by an incredible team and founder, who grew up on a farm in Ohio – love a good founder story.
Photography by Elena Mudd