Of the Moment
Whether a design duo, teebox rapper, mom on a mission, fitness guru, or serial entrepreneur, these social influencers are reimagining what’s possible.
SYD & SHEA MCGEE
FOUNDERS, STUDIO MCGEE
If you have a Pinterest board for your dream home, chances are you have ample inspiration from Studio McGee. Founded by husband-and-wife Syd and Shea McGee, the cult design firm seems to be everywhere these days, from the shelves of Target to the feeds of millions of Instagram followers. A combination of social media savvy and an approachable design sensibility has catapulted the prolific duo into design super stardom. And ironically, neither has a formal background in interiors. Shea’s Insta posts of the couple’s SoCal studio apartment remodel in 2013 instantly gained her a following. The next year, the couple launched Studio McGee. Based out of Salt Lake City, they design hundreds of projects across 30- plus states, have an exclusive partnership with Target, and are household names, thanks to their hit Netflix series, “Dream Home Makeover.” Working parents of two daughters, with a third child on the way, part of their mass appeal is relatability. The couple’s modern-rustic aesthetic is stylish yet functional, and their creative ideas work with all budgets. Their motto, “make life beautiful” (also the name of their new book) particularly resonated during the pandemic, when everyone spent more time at home. According to Shea, even the smallest design touches can impact the way a space affects your mood.
THEY’VE CHANGED THE GAME BY: Tapping into the power of social media to create a multiplatform lifestyle brand.
BY THE NUMBERS: 2.8 million Instagram followers, 491.17K followers of the Dream Home Makeover Pinterest board, and 308K subscribers to Studio McGee’s YouTube Channel.
DESIGN TIP: “When you walk into a space, it should have one moment that really grabs your attention. Once you choose that moment, build around it.”
FOUNDER, HIGH-PERFORMANCE LIFESTYLE TRAINING
New York entrepreneur, Brian Mazza, is always looking for ways to improve, whether as a businessman, father, husband, or athlete. “I realized there were a lot of other people out there like me who are always striving to grow,” he says. Mazza had heard plenty of high-performing individuals speak at conferences and summits but was left wanting more. “I wanted to bring their words to life,” he says. Two years ago, he launched High- Performance Lifestyle Training, a series of in-person events that allow attendees to actually work out and spend time with overachievers. Participants can break a sweat with five-time CrossFit Games champion Mat Fraser or run a 10K with retired U.S. Navy Seal and ultra-distance athlete David Goggins. “It’s remarkable to see people attend for a weekend and leave as completely different people,” he says. Retreats went virtual during the pandemic but Mazza is certain there is pent-up demand for in-person camaraderie. When he announced his first in-person summit since the pandemic, tickets for the May 20- 23 event sold out in 12 hours. Moving forward, he hopes to host four retreats per year.
HE’S CHANGED THE GAME BY: Taking motivational speakers who have overcome adversity or accomplished the unthinkable off the stage and alongside everyday people.
COMMON TRAIT OF HIGH-PERFORMING INDIVIDUALS: “They aren’t afraid of working hard and putting in the time. To be successful, you need tunnel vision and grit.”
BEST PIECE OF ADVICE SOMEONE HAS GIVEN YOU: “Don’t allow pain to have a seat at the dinner table.”
FASHION EXPERT AND CO-FOUNDER OF BÜMO
Korean-American fashion expert, Chriselle Lim, is a master of creating community around great content. In 2011, she launched the Chriselle Factor, a blog revealing her musings on fashion and beauty. Her careful curation instantly gained a loyal following; today she has an audience of 3 million+ across her social media platforms. A new media pioneer, she co-founded CINC Studios, a creative studio dedicated to visual digital and social communication for fashion, beauty, and lifestyle brands. Her newest company, Bümo, applies Lim’s media savvy to the world of parenting. A mother of two, Lim was slated to launch a co-working space with licensed childcare in L.A.’s Century City mall last May. Yet when COVID-19 hit, she and business partner, Joan Nguyen, quickly pivoted. Realizing other working parents must be struggling with home schooling, too, they launched a virtual school for younger learners and accompanying content aimed at Millennial and Gen Z parents. The site launched last April, and within a week, had a waitlist of 1,000+ families from more than 30 countries. A co-working space is still in the works for later this fall, but in the meantime, the duo has built and engaged the digital community via their weekly bümoDigest, which features tips on everything from essential parenting podcasts to the dos and don’ts of diaper changing.
SHE’S CHANGED THE GAME BY: Bridging the gap between editorial and digital worlds.
SECRET TO LIVING IN A DIGITAL WORLD: Making time to disconnect. Lim does two digital detoxes a year.
HER ADVICE TO FEMALE ENTREPRENEURS: Research women and firms with female investors.
MUSICIAN & FOUNDER OF “MILLION MEALS TOUR”
Serendipity can often lead to opportunity. Such is the case for musician and Exclusive Resorts Member Kelley James. An original SoCal surfer, James jumpstarted his career like most aspiring singer- songwriters: Playing every stage he could. During his 20s, he logged 170 shows a year, touring with his younger brother and staying at budget hotels. Yet it was a fateful call in 2008 from pro golfer Charley Hoffman that generated an unexpected launch into the golf world. James was asked to play Hoffman’s charity event, and not long thereafter was asked by Gary McCord to write a song for Phil Mickelson.
He eventually found himself on the first tee at 9 a.m. at the Madison Club in Palm Springs making up personal raps for 124 attendees—including George Clooney, Larry David, and Jerry Weintraub—as they tee-ed off from the first hole. Fast forward 20 years, and today James is famous for his signature “teebox freestyle”: On-the-fly rap delivered on the spot. He’s played nearly every major PGA event, including the Masters, and is booked for 85 live shows and 90 virtual shows this summer.
HE’S CHANGED THE GAME BY: During the pandemic he partnered with Feeding America and Eat Learn Play to donate 1.5M meals and an additional $350k to Steph and Ayesha Curry’s foundation. The same concert series is planned for 2021, with hopes to raise even more.
REMOVING THE HIGH-BROW STIGMA OF GOLF BY: “My freestyle rap deflates the sometimes intimidating nature of golf, yet it can also be an impactful moment,” James says. “In high pressure situations, players can hit awful shots. It’s a cool social stigma to watch it all go down.”
FAVORITE EXCLUSIVE RESORTS DESTINATIONS: Hawaii, New York City, Scottsdale, and Cabo San Lucas.
BEST PIECE OF ADVICE SOMEONE HAS GIVEN YOU: “Do the next best thing.”
FOUNDER, LES MINI
A former buyer at Bergdorf Goodman, Carly Cohen, like many women, put her career on hold to raise a family. During the pandemic, she found herself caring for her 4-year-old twin girls and 18-month-old son. “I was itching to get back to work,” she recalls. “I needed to do something intriguing for myself.” Cohen dressed her twins identically since birth. “It was a vision,” she says. “Everywhere we went, people would ask me where I shop for their clothing.” Uninspired by what was available in the American market, she scoured European websites to outfit her children. Discovering a void in the U.S. she created Les Mini—an online shop for one-of-a-kind, beautifully- made designer fashions for infants and toddlers. Within just one year, Cohen built a loyal following of fashionable moms and is constantly introducing new brands and limited partnerships. “I try to create ongoing surprise and delight, so every time a customer returns to the site it feels like they are walking into a new store,” she says.
SHE’S CHANGED THE GAME BY: “I look to womenswear and apply those relevant trends to childrenswear.”
REMOVING THE GUESSWORK: “Clients need help with how to style their children. We’ve created a guide for how to dress them for each occasion, [in addition to] trends, and must-haves of the season.”
BEST PIECE OF ADVICE SOMEONE HAS GIVEN YOU: “Follow your dreams.”