We had the joy of sitting down with self-described “energetic leader and innovator in the world of experiential hospitality” and enneagram 8, Stephanie Margalis in a recent episode of How It’s Done, a podcast for curious marketers, brought to you by fuoco. We covered everything from how Stephanie became a one-woman department at SPIN, to the books she’s reading, and her most productive time of day. Listen here.
So, what is SPIN? Short answer: a national ping pong club. Long answer: an epic Friday night loft party in New York City turned iconic ping pong culture, lifestyle and movement.
SPIN was co-founded by actress Susan Sarandon (apparently she went through a pretty serious ping pong phase?) and her then-boyfriend Jonathan Bricklin (twitter: @waterslideman / Insta: @waterslideman), and his best friend Franck Raharinosy (twitter: @PingpongFranck / Insta: @PingPongFranck) in 2009, and has since grown to eight locations across the country (and one in Toronto) that emphasizes “having fun, not taking life too seriously, making connections and embracing contradictions.”
Enter Stephanie Margalis, director of community and culture.
Filling a role built with her in mind, she has been able to immerse herself into the communities that SPIN finds itself a part of. Her boldness and big ideas have helped SPIN not only create its own community, but immerse and appreciate the new ones it joins (she stopped by to chat with us on her move from NYC to Austin to work with and build the team there).
When SPIN launches in a new city, it sets out to recreate the energy it had when it was a party in Manhattan: The parties drew in an eccentric range of people from all walks of life, including Jimmy Buffett, Owen Wilson, Marty Reisman, 50 Cent and Salman Rushdie. The diversity of that crowd fueled the fun and vibrant energy, and that remains the essence of SPIN today. Its mantra: #unitedbypingpong… a place that aims to connect people through an “offline social network.”
We asked Margalis how one knows when she’s created “raving fans.” She said when people start coming to you, wanting to be a part of and enhance the culture then you know you’ve built a community that people want to be a part of. Community and culture, and the want to be a part of anything and everything, sparked a personal revolution for her, which she is sharing in her new blog, radical afternoon.
When asked what inspires her community and culture challenge, Stephanie told us: “I thought, there’s no better way to lead and inspire a team of Community + Culture managers than to dive in headfirst within my own community. One new experience a week has proven to be an incredible use of my time, energy and resources. Keep in mind that (new to me) bars and restaurants count!”
Next time you’re in New York, Chicago, Washington DC, San Francisco, Toronto, Philadelphia, Seattle or Austin be sure to grab your friends (or strangers who may become your new best friends) and connect through ping pong.