Ladies, if you’re in New York this weekend, get yourself to City Point in Brooklyn for the second annual The Other Festival—two days of talks, panels, music, and shopping from an all-female lineup of business leaders, artists, influencers, entertainers, and entrepreneurs. Founded in 2016 by Dee Poku, The Other Festival’s goal is to connect, inspire, educate, and empower women. It takes place this Saturday, October 14 and Sunday, October 15 with GLAM4GOOD as a non-profit sponsor.
Speakers include Jenna Lyons, Zoe Buckman, Sarah Sophie Flicker, Ebonee Davis, Misha Nonoo, Jenna Lombardo, Jennifer Justice, Samantha Ronson, Stacy London, Amanda Hesser, and more. Outside of the panels, don’t miss The Other Shops, featuring a hand-picked selection from female-backed brands like Tamara Mellon, Norma Kamali, Cynthia Rowley, NOVA, and VOZ. Plus, all weekend are performances by female-led bands and DJs including headliner Lion Babe (made up of Jillian Hervey and Lucas Goodman).
Whitewall spoke with Poku about bringing together female cultural leaders who are breaking boundaries in tech, creative, design, and entertainment.
WHITEWALL: What was the original idea and vision for The Other Festival?
DEE POKU: The idea for The Other Festival came to me a few years ago after I attended several large-scale music festivals and noticed a disproportionately high number of young women in the audience compared to female performers on stage. I realized that, despite the fact women drive 80% of consumer purchases, our economic influence is not reflected in social positioning. My vision was to create a platform that actively encourages and promotes female business and cultural leaders through networking opportunities, events, and practical training seminars, which allow both audience members and participants to learn from and support other career-driven females. I wanted to create an event with all female musical performances, but with an edge—business (work hard) during the first part of the event, and pleasure (play hard) during the second part.
WW: So, what can we expect for this second edition that is new to the Festival?
DP: We have a lot to offer this year! Music Executives Jennifer Justice of Superfly and Jana Fleishman of Roc Nation will speak with DJ Samantha Ronson about navigating the music industry; InStyle EIC will speak with former J. Crew President, Jenna Lyons discuss telling your brand story; designer Misha Nonoo will lead a panel on marketing on a budget; Women’s March organizer Sarah Sophie Flicker, artist Zoe Buckman, and Abigail Deately from Planned Parenthood New York City will speak about creative activism; TV host Stacy London will lecture on fashion and style; Danielle and Laura Kosann of The New Potato will lead a conversation on food consumer trends with food writer Elletra Wiedemann, Food 52 founder Amanda Hesser, and Anna Castellani, Founder of DeKalb Market Hall and Forager’s. There will also be a branding bar hosted by Berlin Cameron.
And, expect to play hard both nights with performances by Amy Leon, Kari Faux, Jasmine Solano, Baby Yors, Cherubim, Ravyn Lenae, Quiana Parks, Tangina Stone, Flint Eastwood, Jess Best, Dana Williams, and Alex English!
WW: What panels are you most looking forward to, personally?
DP: Activists Ebonee Davis and Bethann Hardison are having a much needed conversation on building diversity, which I’m really looking forward to. There will also be a panel on the power of the plus size industry, titled “The Big Business of Curves,” with Philomena Kwao, Mariah Chase, CEO of Eloquii, and Chromat founder Becca McCharen. The body-positive movement is such an important part of what is going on in fashion right now and society in general. Again, I’m very excited to be working with Berlin Cameron on creating a brand bar because it’s such an important component to starting a business.
WW: Do you have any favorite moments from last year?
DP: My conversation with Naomi Campbell last year was definitely a highlight! She is incredibly funny and forthright which is undoubtedly why she has had such a remarkable career. We also tested our Other Shops concept last year. They were so successful that we’ve expanded on them this year. There were so many interesting brands and the audience couldn’t get enough!
WW: Why was it important for you to include brands within The Other Shops, as well?
DP: The Other Shops are all about women not being told what to do. The platform is led by the emerging female-led brands we’re trying to support—who are making their own choices on what to showcase and sell—as opposed to the women who are already in powerful, decision-making positions. The Other Shops is one of the most important elements of the festival as our mission has always been to support female makers.
WW: What are you hoping attendees of The Other Festival walk away with?
DP: I’m hoping younger entrepreneurial women and self-starters walk away with tangible solutions to help bring their ideas to fruition while have fun in the process.