In the weeks
since Barack Obama was elected the 44th president of the
United States, a notable shift has occurred in the American
psyche. Whether it's strictly attributable to
the grassroots movement that propelled an
African-American into the White House or the sheer
vulnerability created by a sudden and continuing collapse of
the world economy is neither here nor there.
Free-market Americans have suddenly warmed to
Nowhere was that
shift more on display than on Sunday at a brunch held at
Good magazine's exhibition space in Los
Angeles where Uncompany -- a "collective" of
the city's professionals in media, design,
fashion, architecture, and entertainment -- came together
to meet, eat pastries, and drink mimosas.
sticking name tags on a makeshift org chart initially seemed
tentative. After all, few, aside from the five founders --
Bill Benjamin, Jessica Fleischmann, Edie Kahula
Pereira, Caroline Ryder, and Jennifer Uner -- actually
knew what Uncompany was. But the invite had sounded
intriguing enough: "Meet like-minded creative souls
and discuss new ways in which we can work together at
this gathering of forward-thinking professionals.
Treats courtesy of La Brea Bakery, Intellegentsia, Mighty
Leaf tea, and Sunday papers from both coasts." While
this creative soul didn't see any copies of the
Sunday New York Times, the cinnamon rolls were
truly amazing, and the room was packed with interesting
"I used to
come to these kinds of events to find people I could get
work from," said Fleischmann, founder of the
graphic design firm Still Room, during her
introductory remarks. "Now I look for people I can
Ryder spoke of
her recent layoff from Variety's Stylephile
blog and how that gave rise to lunch with fellow
Uncompany cofounders. "I went into that lunch
anxious," she recounted, "and I left energized
transition could be seen at Sunday's event.
Conversations among the some 150 attendees about the
"anemic" job opportunities and the
growing number of unpaid invoices quickly led to discussions
about innovative projects people like Lauren Gropper,
founder of a green building firm and host of
HGTV's Green Force, are working on.
Gropper, incidentally, provided the compostable plastic cups
for the mimosas -- free of charge.
networking will always be a factor in a town known for
making deals during 12-step meetings, the goal for
that afternoon was a little less about what an
individual could get and more about what "we"
might do. Ryder, for one, plans to propose that
Uncompany mobilize in the fight to overturn Prop. 8 at
the group's next meeting in February.
Because in this
age of bankruptcies and government bailouts, Uncompany
believes that only by joining forces can we also become too
big to fail. "This is just the
beginning," reads its mission statement. "Your
ideas, and above all, your participation are
encouraged. Because only when we unite are we greater
than the sum of our parts."
To become a
partner in Uncompany's collective -- or to get
invited to the next event -- check out the
group's Facebook page or join its blog at theuncompanycollective.blogspot.com.