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In fall 2008, Marissa Brassfield stepped up to become an Editor for Trend Hunter. A Californian connoisseur of life, Marissa has added over 1,000 trends to her Trend Hunter portfolio, reflecting her unrelenting passion for discovering the best this world has to offer.
But who is she?
Marissa is a Los Angeles native and 2006 graduate of the University of Pennsylvania. She has been a D-1 college athlete, upscale restaurant manager, nightlife all-star and freelance writer.
Like any good city girl, she is a cocktail of passion, ambition and spontaneity, served straight up with a splash of sass and a twist of class.
Marissa adores travel, learning in any capacity and the realm of food and beverage. She is at her best, brightest and happiest when these worlds collide.
13 Questions With Marissa Brassfield
1. How did you get involved with Trend Hunter, and what motivates you to continue?
Trend Hunter was one of the key blogs in my RSS reader. At first, I’d link to a fun article I read there about a kitchen gadget or fun travel tool. Pretty soon, I’d read through all of the articles instead of just skimming for something that fit my food and travel purposes. One day, I spotted an article that said the 30-trend minimum to commence revenue sharing for writers had been dropped. I had no idea that Trend Hunter is always recruiting writers, so I jumped at the chance to be a part of the wave, and I’ve been riding it ever since.
One of the most inspiring things about Trend Hunter is how the site is consistently on the forefront of the next big thing. That’s an incredibly addicting idea in itself; it’s thrilling to be a part of such ever-changing innovation.
2. How significant are the topics of cool hunting and trend spotting for journalists?
Incredibly. Trend spotting and cool hunting involve finding an innovation before it bubbles to the mainstream. Any savvy journalist who’s accustomed to looking for a scoop can appreciate what we do instantly. Part of the reason readers are getting their news online is because it’s fresh, it’s instant. By the time a news item appears in print at your doorstep, it’s already been covered ad infinitum online. Staying in tune with the tastemakers is a key component for journalists to ensure that traditional media forms remain relevant.
3. How do you define a trend?
A trend begins with the first stirrings of a sleeping giant about to wake up and wreak havoc, and ends after it’s left a city in shambles. Or after it’s built something beautiful. Whether it’s beauty or chaos depends on the individual trend, I guess.
4. How do you define cool?
For me, cool is something that’s undiscovered, something that’s a bit different from what everyone is doing. It’s also the pursuit of interests or hobbies that are different and unexpected, without regard to how those interests are perceived by outsiders. Sometimes what I’d define as cool is uncool to the mainstream, and perhaps that’s the point.
5. What is the best way to write an infectious article?
By showing readers why something is new, unique and innovative—and doing so in the most concise way possible. Anyone can convince someone that something is cool in a page. But what about two paragraphs? This isn’t always possible, but when it’s done well, it’s a pleasure to read for both casual readers and word nerds like me.
It’s also important to maintain a positive and inspiring angle. It’s easy to spread negativity and gloom—just read the headlines of nearly any news source or tabloid. I’m interested in the bright possibilities of the future, and that comes out in the articles I like to edit.
6. What is the key to innovation?
The ability to dare to dream in ways that seem impossible or unfathomable, and the fearlessness to pursue those dreams and bring them to fruition. So many revolutionary inventions throughout history have at one point been dreams that seemed impossible or improbable, but they’re here because of fearless innovators.
7. What are the most important trends that you’ve posted that you REALLY hope take off?
There are a ton, for some pretty diverse reasons.
I’m interested in environmental issues in general, but I prefer positive, constructive solutions. I like Michael Barton’s idea to take the floating junk in the Pacific Gyre and create a manmade island and habitat for wildlife. And Emily Cummins’ solar-powered fridge for developing communities is a great example of simple and culturally valuable innovation.
I am also a big fan of goof-proof gadgets that I can clean using products and appliances I already have, so I love the possibilities of the Seal Shield line that we saw at CES 2009.
What GustOrganics is doing with their all-organic bar and restaurant is also spectacular. There’s nothing like fresh, organic ingredients in a cocktail, and it’s far easier in a dismal economic climate to cop out and buy syrupy store brands for mixers. I hope more restaurants take pride in their brand enough to make similar efforts towards purity and high-quality product.
I also love that the lines are increasingly becoming blurred between automobiles and fashion. After all, isn’t a supercar like the Lamborghini Murcielago one of the most opulent and grandiose accessories one could wear?
8. You were a freelance journalist before you joined Trend Hunter. What was it about Trend Hunter that lured you?
I liked the idea of not being pigeonholed into a genre as a writer; as you can tell from my portfolio, my interests are pretty diverse. I liked the idea that I could write about a revolutionary auto design or write up something on a pair of truly awesome shoes, even though my resume is packed with clips in food and beverage. After I began writing, I got hooked on the instant feedback I got from the editorial team and community at large. I was blown away at how giant the Trend Hunter community really is and the speed with which articles on the site can take off in terms of traffic.
9. What are your ambitions for Trend Hunter?
I’d like to see Trend Hunter continue to evolve into a place renowned worldwide—not only for the innovative nature of its concepts covered, but for the high caliber of its content.
We’re at a crossroads where traditional print journalists must reluctantly acquiesce to new media journalism and Web 2.0; one of the constant themes we hear from these writers in conversation is the lack of quality journalistic prose on the Web. I defy that sentiment, and one day, so will those traditionalists. I’d love to see Trend Hunter be that vanguard that leads the way.
I’d also love to help enhance the great feeling of community at Trend Hunter and help foster that contagious, insatiable need for positive innovation. Instead of people all over the world opening their browsers to a default home page that shows them the headlines, the weather or a default search page, it would be great to have all of these individuals consult Trend Hunter first. After all, our titles are better, for starters!
10. How do you reset yourself to be creative?
Champagne. And nature. I’m grateful to live in a part of the world where there is no shortage of good wine, perfect weather and plenty of places to go for a walk or have a picnic. Balancing my tech-savvy day with a heaping dose of nature is not only soul-fulfilling to me, but it also makes me appreciate both luxuries. I couldn’t live without either!
11. Professionally, what do you want to be doing or studying in 10 years?
It’s tough to say. I have enough trouble planning out my weekend. I hope I’m living near an ocean someplace, working on a laptop with my toes in the sand and nature all around me. That would pretty much be ideal.
12. What are your most important hobbies?
Exercise! I’ve been an athlete for most of my life, but I’m still recovering from some softball injuries I sustained in college, so I’m currently in pursuit of that ideal blend of exercise, competitiveness and fun off the field. I also love traveling—although the Pacific Ocean calls me if I’m away too long! And neither of these pursuits would be fulfilling without the ability to enjoy a good meal, whether it’s at home or out on the town.
13. Finally, tell me why YOU like Trend Hunter.
I like the way Trend Hunter feels like a true community, even though technically we’re a virtual one. There’s 23,000 of us from all over the world, all with different backgrounds and lifestyles and offline interests.
It’s neat to be able to connect with so many different types of people in a single day and all agree—or not—that something is awesome. I can’t wait to meet as many of our writers as I can!