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Industry Innovators 2022: Anthony Santiago

The managing director of fabrication company Pink Sparrow is passionate about inventing new, more powerful ways to engage consumers.

Industry Innovators 2022: Anthony Santiago
Santiago cites his team's work on Hermes Fitness LA—a fitness-inspired pop-up that was part gym, part retail shop, part performance venue—as a highlight. The activation took place in Brooklyn in late 2021.
Photo: Courtesy of Pink Sparrow

Industry Innovators 2022: Anthony SantiagoPhoto: Courtesy of Anthony SantiagoAnthony Santiago is the managing director for Pink Sparrow, a design and fabrication shop specializing in experiential environments for big brands. He's based in New York.

How he got his start: Santiago was first introduced to the experiential marketing industry in 2013 through a mutual friend, who knew of a startup fabrication shop that was looking for someone with a background in operations and finance. "It was essentially a right place/right time situation," he remembers. "After many years of hard work and dedication, there was a change in leadership at the company, and I was offered the opportunity to lead the company as managing director."   

What sets his company apart: At Pink Sparrow, every single step of the process is customized for each client and project, Santiago explains. "We have a strong communication process that we go through on every project, outlining each step and deliverable beforehand, so the client knows where we are in the process. We assemble a dedicated team for each project made up of experts in each discipline that the project requires," he says.

For the actual fabrication work, the team leans on state-of-the-art software and fabrication technology, including large-format 3D printers that power refined and detailed production, at scale. He adds, "We use a vertically integrated supply chain that maximizes efficiency and enables us to navigate some of the challenges involving timelines and materials. We deliver our projects on time and on budget." Industry Innovators 2022: Anthony SantiagoAnother highlight for Santiago is working on the Coors Bodega, a sustainable project made in collaboration with Droga5, where the team created an entirely eco-friendly mock bodega in New York. See more: Why Did Coors Light Open a Plastic-Free Pop-Up Shop?Photo: Courtesy of Pink Sparrow

What innovation means to him: For Santiago, innovation is all about creating new, actionable ideas that have a useful outcome and provide value. "Knowing that your client is the most powerful driver of innovation," he says. "We need to have curiosity and a constant drive to challenge the status quo. .... There needs to be a passion for inventing new, more powerful ways to engage consumers and grow profitability."

Santiago also sees company culture as a key ingredient to driving innovation, and thinks it's up to leadership figures to set the tone. "Engaged employees put their heart and soul into their job and have the energy and excitement to give more than is required of them—and that little dose of ‘extra’ goes a long way. It means more innovation, more creativity, and more heads in it together working toward a common goal." Industry Innovators 2022: Anthony SantiagoPink Sparrow also designed and fabricated the Coca-Cola Social Bubble at the American Dream Mall. The interactive space was outfitted with a podcast studio, VIP rooms, and media walls connecting consumers to social media content in real-time.Photo: Courtesy of Pink Sparrow

His favorite thing about the event industry: Santiago is inspired by the positive energy, creativity, and diverse backgrounds of the people he works with—and by his clients. "All projects have their unique challenges, as we are always trying to push the limits of what is possible. While execution might be tough and timelines can get constrained, aligning ourselves with great clients who have the same vision of success and partnership truly makes the wins feel more satisfying," he says. 

Santiago adds, "I love seeing concepts on paper turn into physical products in real time, all under one roof. It’s extremely satisfying to take an idea and mix in experience and creativity to transform our raw materials into something impactful. The tangible aspect of it is undeniably rewarding. It exists, and you helped bring it to life."

Back to the full list: Industry Innovators 2022: 13 Standout Event Vendors to Know About

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