I had been working at Terakeet for just over a month when Dylan took over the empty seat directly behind me – lucky him. As two new Brand Strategists, for the first few weeks we primarily kept to ourselves. Well, Dylan kept to himself, but I had no problem interrupting him several times a day with questions that he handled like a champ. It wasn’t until he and I were assigned a client together that I really started to get to know him, and I could tell from then on that Dylan was a hustler.
He isn’t afraid to put his head down and do what it takes to get his work done, and I’m still not sure how he managed to fill his resume with so many impressive professional experiences while also attending school full time. Here at Terakeet, he’s quickly proven himself to be an invaluable asset to the Strategy Department.
To learn more about Dylan and his work, he and I had a chat over a meatball sub and some chicken riggies at Pastabilities.
I know you used to work for a few different luxury fashion brands during college. Can you tell me a little bit more about your experience?
They say we millennials have three times as many jobs as past generations. As a teenager, I developed an interest in consumer culture, brand imagery, designer collaborations, and the marketing principle of exclusivity. I always saw myself speaking on behalf of a brand and have always been fascinated by the way people become natural brand enthusiasts or die-hard fans for something we essentially purchase or consume.
My career began at Fossil on Fifth Avenue where I was selling watches on the weekends while obtaining my degree. The complexity of consumer culture in NYC really began to intrigue me. I was amazed at the lengths these companies would go to position themselves in the world’s most diverse market. I was also amazed by the feelings associated with products — the way individuals embodied a brand on such a personal and emotional level.
Moving forward, I began interning with a startup luxury womenswear label, Norisol Ferrari, and was later hired as a Showroom Assistant where I completed three seasonal collections. This was the “red carpet” of my fashion career complete with runway shows at Lincoln Center, casting glamazon models, attending magazine parties, traveling for trunk shows and all the expected excitement of the industry. In this role, I realized the importance of Country-of-Origin (COO) and Country-of-Design (COD) based marketing. I continued to pursue this unique connection and focused my undergraduate thesis on the perceptions and deceptions associated with country-based marketing.
Shortly thereafter, I began working Client Services at Reed Krakoff on Madison Avenue, which I was excited about since Reed Krakoff had just finished a 16-year position as the creative director for Coach. I became aware of the many communities and influences that exist within the broader fashion ecosystem. I also continued to fine tune my persuasive and relational communication through interpersonal conversations and visually-merchandised brand stories.
I ended my luxury-goods career working for Frette, an Italian linen brand where I learned the challenges that mature brands overcome while adapting to both marketing and ecommerce in a digital marketplace. Once returning to CNY, I pursued several Brand Ambassador positions: Target x Star Wars, First Niagara Bank, and our local favorite Ithaca Hummus. As a brand ambassador I was able to put my power of persuasion to the test, seeing results in numbers and sales.
You’ve had some diverse work experiences. What do you appreciate about working for a startup like Terakeet?
I was motivated to find a place with a true balance, a place that would harness various aspects of my personality, skills, and strengths while still exposing me to the world’s leading brands. From data and research to creative design and content creation, I needed something that would hold my attention and foster personal growth. Terakeet offers the constant newness and exciting ability to perform our roles in the digital landscapes we all know best. At Terakeet, I am able to be an expert; I don’t have to sit in the backseat because of my age or rank.
There is a quote that sat next to a previous boss’s computer that has stayed with me for years “If you always do what you’ve always done, you will always get what you’ve always got.” Many people attribute this quote to Anthony Robbins and before him Albert Einstein, Henry Ford, and even Mark Twain. Regardless of its origin, what matters is the point it makes. At Terakeet we not only embrace change but we invite it. It’s exciting to be at the forefront of an internet industry where change is unavoidable.
Your current role on Collin’s team is pretty unique, where you primarily work on one client. What do you appreciate the most about that structure?
I have always lived and breathed every brand I worked for. Every brand journey is unique and ingrained into a brand’s DNA. These stories can be leveraged to develop unique tactical campaigns both large and small. Working on primarily one account has really allowed me to focus my strategies. Over time, I have grasped the brand’s true voice, which then allows me to better align them with a respective audience.
You were raised on Oneida Lake and ventured off to the big city for college. What brought you back to Central New York?
Early on while in New York, if you asked me, “would you ever leave NYC?” my answer would’ve been, of course not. As I seasoned and matured into a young adult, my perspectives really changed. I wanted to be proud of the home I lived in and wanted to work hard to have more. I grew to hate the day-to-day hustle of Manhattan. In a city of millions, you’d be surprised how disengaged everyone really can be. Some big city egos and social pressures I encountered had me questioning my happiness.
Both my Grandfather and childhood pet became ill around the same time, so I broke my lease and ran. I have since realized I am a simple guy with simple tastes, I simply like the best. In New York, I knew I would struggle to live the lifestyle I wanted. After many years away from Oneida Lake, spending a summer back on the water really leveled me. I realized how good we have it in CNY. Traffic is minimal, the landscape is beautiful, quality of life is above average, and finances were fair. I never left Syracuse and don’t plan to anytime soon. I do miss the city, but I’m just far enough away that now it’s a much more exciting place to visit.
You are absolutely obsessed with your dog, Buoy. If you could have one dog breed of your choice to accompany Bu and the other TeraDogs, what kind would it be and why?
When it comes to relationships with pups, I am far less particular than I am with my choice of brands. Growing up, I had a 120lb Chocolate Lab named Chopper. He was my moose. Buoy, my current baby, is a rescue. She is perfect. She is a miniature version of a Labrador/Pit/Boxer mix … I think. She most definitely enjoys her life on the lake. Also, minimal shedding means a lot less lint rolling! Although I love Labrador Retrievers, I have always wanted an Italian Greyhound, so I think that’d be my choice.
You’ve worked with an impressive amount of brands throughout your career. As a consumer, what would you say your favorite brand is and why?
That’s quite a loaded question. I actually follow more brands online than I do people. I like brands that know their craft and cater to their client. I can be a passionately opinionated person and also a consumer, hence my blog, where I talk all things style. When it comes to personal style I have quite a curated taste, but I’m not a brand junkie for any one company. We just like what we like, right? I can’t pinpoint a favorite brand — it’s too subjective to occasion and use. I can say I’m very into designer collaborations, design juxtapositions, exotic leathers, and the attention to detail that comes with quality craftsmanship.