Impressing a New York editor can be a tedious task in a city where writers are wooed daily, but New Balance took up the challenge Thursday at the media launch of its toning sneaker line, held in a five-story mansion on Lafayette Street in SoHo. Designed to help wearers burn extra calories and activate more muscles, the shoes are New Balance's entry into the wellness sector of footwear and apparel, a debut that was marked with a pampering day for some 60 editors.
“We have never hosted anything of this caliber to introduce a product before,” said Boston-based New Balance PR head Lauren Burns, who worked with MKG to produce the event. “Usually, we like to familiarize editors with a new collection for each season by inviting them to a showroom or a casual cocktail party. However, this event was an introduction not only to the collections of toning shoes, but an introduction to New Balance Wellness overall, so we had to make it memorable.”
Dubbed the “House of Indulgence,” the event was “centered around the idea that being healthy and active is an indulgence for the mind, body and soul,” said Burns. To illustrate that idea, producers had batches of beauty and fitness editors from the likes of Self, Shape, and Elle, work their way up the venue over the course of a couple of hours, with lavish activities along the way.
First up were head, foot, and shoulder massages beside the home's indoor pool, courtesy of Spa Chicks On the Go. With sparkling water and Champagne in hand, guests then headed up a half flight of stairs to the library, where Sue Philips of Scenterprises Ltd. led a custom perfume making session that allowed each editor to create a scent. Next was organic wine tasting on the main floor, followed by a tasting of Vosges chocolates.
The tours ended in the airy penthouse living room, where editors cozied up on an oversize leather couch to learn about the sneaker technology from New Balance brand ambassadors. Displayed on beds of faux grass throughout the room, the Rock&Tone and TrueBalance sneakers were passed around and inspected. After an intimate question and answer session, each editor picked the style and color of shoe that would be sent to them the following week.
While the day's perks left the editors relaxed and happy, the event venue seemed to inspire the most talk. Secured by booking agent Empire Location Company, the 12,000-square-foot home—a former transformer station at 214 Lafayette Street—is available for events. “We were looking for something that was extremely over the top in terms of layout,” Burns said. “We wanted to select a space that would accurately portray 'indulgence.'”