Episode 22: A Conversation with Ryan Zagata, President of Brooklyn Bicycle Co.
Ryan Zagata is the president and founder of Brooklyn Bicycle Co., formerly Brooklyn Cruiser. Before starting the company, Ryan was selling software. Naturally, my question was: How does a guy go from selling software to starting a bicycle company? So, I rode my Brooklyn Bicycle Co. Willow 3-speed out to the company HQ in Brooklyn to have a conversation with Ryan about connecting those dots.We talked about his strict but nurturing Catholic upbringing in Syracuse, NY, his nearly flunking out of college, his first job with a New York senator, his excitement and fears about leaving the “security” of a corporate job and breaking out on his own, and his formula for running a successful business that more than doubled its projected sales in its first year.One of the components of this formula is a piece of advice from the highly-respected bicycle industry veteran and author Grant Petersen, who is the author of Just Ride and the designer of Ryan’s bicycles. His advice? Stay out of the industry. It sounds strange and counter-intuitive, but it makes total sense when you listen to the podcast.I always enjoy talking to Ryan, and I loved this conversation. I hope you do, too.
11 Sep 2014
Episode 25: Shopping a Sale at J.Crew
I'm on the email list of a lot of brands and companies. I subscribe for a few reasons: to get updates on what's going on with them; to educate my eye; and to learn about sales. Most of these emails end up in the trash without any actions or clicks on my part, but depending on the season, on the brand and on the sale - in light of my particular needs at a given time - I'll do some careful clicking. Such careful clicking happened in the wake of a recent email I received from J.Crew, advertising a rather substantial sale on winter items. A few days and a few dollars later, some nice new gear arrived at my door. In this episode of the podcast, I talk about how I navigate big sales online.
9 Mar 2015
Episode 40: An Inspiring Example Of Sartorial Restraint
For the first time on this podcast, I have a conversation with someone other than myself. In this extended episode, I spoke with a young man named Steve Wright who has a unique and inspiring approach to editing his home and - more specifically - his wardrobe.As we move through life, we become virtual lint rollers, accumulating huge levels of stuff without really thinking about it. Steve Wright thinks about it, and he’s determined to avoid the common trap of stuff-overload, curating a very edited design for living that enables him to live quite effectively and efficiently without sacrificing his style.
27 May 2017
Episode 43: Suits for Suits' Sake and Conscientious Living
I’ve said it 1,000 times, and I’ll say it again: Nothing makes a man look better than a well-tailored suit. A recent article in the Washington Post mused about the “death” of the power suit, making me dread yet another excuse for men to frump out and be as casual as humanly possible. The simple truth is that no other garment in menswear elevates any man (fit or fat) like a well-tailored suit. Period.And speaking of elevating every man… In this time of unprecedented political and cultural upheaval in our country, it is more important than ever to double-down on living as consciously, conscientiously and ethically as possible. In many areas, the bar has been pulled down dangerously low. It is up to each of us to maintain higher standards. Thanks for listening!
5 Jan 2018
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Episode 44: A First Suit, My Morning Ritual and Those Damn Parking Lots
I jumped back onto the saddle this week after a brief but fantastic trip to Palm Beach, Florida last weekend. I have a client down there who showed me the ropes in their little universe both in Palm Beach and in the charming town of Lake Worth. Also in this episode, I talk about helping my nephew, a recent college graduate, with his first suit. Following my advice, he got a terrific navy suit from Suitsupply’s Blue Line, which comes at a very reasonable $399. For that price, they will send you three suits in different sizes just to make sure you get the right one. My nephew ordered a 38R, a 40R and a 42R. As I predicted, it turns out my nephew is a 42R. Now it’s off to the tailor.With lifestyle, I go over my morning ritual, which started this morning with a selfie posted on Instagram, indicating exactly what I look like when I get up. It ain’t pretty. Along with warm water with lemon followed by sufficient cups of coffee, it takes a village, spackle, sand paper, varnish and a soft buffing cloth to prepare me for the day.To conclude the episode, I launch into a petty tirade about the hideous parking lots that scar Downtown Cleveland’s otherwise beautiful cityscape. I have ideas and solutions for these ugly black eyes on our urban center, and I let it rip.Thanks for listening!
19 Jan 2018
Episode 23 - Rethinking Meat: My Personal Evolution
I grew up in Cleveland, OH among other regular meat-eating folk. For the first 40 years of my life, I enjoyed meat, pork, chicken or ham with almost every dinner, most lunches and weekend brunches. I loved a good steak, a perfect cheeseburger, or a stack of crisp bacon. But after I adopted my dog in late 2009, something started to change for me, and my perspective of and relationship with animals began to shift. The belief that “real men eat meat” didn’t make as much sense to me anymore, for a variety of reasons that involved health, ethics and the environment. Since then, I have undergone (and continue to undergo) a personal evolution of sorts, which I talk about in this episode of the podcast.
30 Sep 2014
Episode 24: The Humor, Style and Lack Thereof at the 2015 Golden Globes
Last night was the third and final time Tina Fey and Amy Poehler would host the Golden Globes, which bums me out. They're fantastic, and they didn't disappoint last night.In lieu of seasonally repeating myself with yet another post-awards show piece about the black tie turnout at the 2015 Golden Globes, I went with a podcast about the telecast itself, the comic stylings of our co-hostesses and some of the awards and recipients. Of course, I touched upon the sartorial (have you met me?), particularly the necktie vs. bow tie problem, as well as that persistent notch lapel issue. And since I had recently seen a documentary about the endangered breed of the old school master tailors, I wondered: What if the more stylish cognoscenti of the Hollywood crowd were turned out in bespoke? It could breathe new life and awareness into bespoke suiting and certainly be a lot more interesting than hearing “Prada,” “Ralph Lauren,” “Gucci” and more usual suspects when asked "Who are you wearing?" Sure, bespoke suiting is more expensive than a suit off the peg or a “gift” from a designer, but this is a crowd that can certainly afford it.
12 Jan 2015
Episode 47: George Gets Interviewed, Part 2 (Finally)
This is the second half of an interview I had several months ago with my friend and podcast co-host Amy Eddings. Specifically, Amy was curious about the origins of my personal style and about the blog. This interview was the first time anybody really asked me about how it all started, who were my idols and influencers, and such. In addition to being a dear friend and my co-host of The Downtowner, a podcast about Downtown Cleveland, Amy was the host of All Things Considered for many years in New York on WNYC and, since moving to Cleveland, has worked primarily as the host of Morning Edition on WCPN. Basically, she’s a serious news person. Being on the receiving end of questions from such a serious news person was a really fun first. Our conversation clocked in at a full hour. So I did some editing and turned it into a two-parter. This is part two. Enjoy!
19 Mar 2019
Episode 39: The Cleveland Experiment, Vol. 1
It’s been a while since I’ve been on the wire here, and much has happened. The big news since the last episode is that I moved to Cleveland. Yes, Cleveland.There’s a lot to unpack in that story alone. There are things I love so far, and there are things that drive me nuts. This episode is just an introduction to what I’ll call “The Cleveland Experiment.” For those who may not know, Cleveland is my hometown. As expressed in a pair of posts on the blog last year, my reasons for leaving New York City after twenty two years are multilayered and largely (though not exclusively) economic. One reason for returning home that I didn’t write about in those articles was my mother, who was in dangerously poor health when I came back here in November. In a word, it was a crisis.Now that Lynda (mom) is making an inspired recovery, the ground beneath my feet has stopped shaking and I can start to really explore life in Cleveland. Much has changed here since I left in the early 1990s (I keep hearing "My City Was Gone" by The Pretenders in my head), but I’m really looking forward to digging deeper into the wonders of this well-kept secret on Ohio’s north coast. Thank you for listening. More to come.George
24 Mar 2017
Episode 48: Online Custom Suits
The idea of online custom suits can be a daunting and confounding prospect. Several readers and friends have told me as much. So I thought I’d share my own experience with online made-to-measure suiting, including how I started with it, some of the issues I’ve had and, ultimately, the overall benefit for men like me who are not rich but want to look good.If you have any questions, don’t hesitate. And THANK YOU for listening!
29 Jun 2019
Ep. 41: When Returning/Exchanging a Purchase Is a Pain in the Ass
I recently bought a pair of espadrilles online. They were too small. In order to exchange them, I had to return them for a store credit, then use the store credit to re-purchase them in the right size. Since this particular brand does not include a return shipping label, I had to go to their website, download a shipping label and print it. Unfortunately, I don't have a printer. This wonky return/exchange process was an unnecessary kids' table pain in my ass.Also in this episode, I talk about the terry cloth bathrobe experience and give a brief update on life in Cleveland. I'm pleased to report that things are getting better.
25 Aug 2017
Episode 45: Ownership vs. Access
In this episode, I ponder the question: is it better to own or to rent? Each option has its benefits and bummers. But as I get older, having been a guest and keen observer of many owners over the decades, I’m less attracted to the idea of “ownership” and more interested in traveling light as the renter I’ve always been.I’m very lucky to live in an apartment in Downtown Cleveland that feels more like a customer service arrangement than the typical landlord/tenant relationship. Whenever I need something, it’s taken care of at no extra cost, leaving me to get on with the business of living and to focus my time and energy on things I’d rather do.The same idea works for my approach to things like a car or media. Where I once prided myself as a collector of vinyl records and CDs, I much prefer access to everything I already owned plus much more music than I can wrap my head around let alone afford to buy with services like Spotify and Apple Music. And the space I save without dealing with the physical media? Fuggedaboutit. And the car? Nah.Also in this episode, I give a little shout-out to my new podcast venture called The Downtowner, a new show about Downtown Cleveland that I co-host with the amazing Amy Eddings, our local host of NPR’s Morning Edition who also happens to be a native Clevelander who returned home after decades in New York City. She and I also live downtown, giving us much to discuss in this brand new production from ideastream, Cleveland’s public media company.
2 Jul 2018
Episode 46: George Gets Interviewed, Part One
Several months ago, my friend and podcast co-host Amy Eddings sat me down for an interview to talk about… well… me. Specifically, Amy was curious about the origins of my personal style and about the blog. This interview was the first time anybody really asked me about how it all started, who were my idols and influencers, and such. In addition to being a dear friend and my co-host of The Downtowner, a podcast about Downtown Cleveland, Amy was the host of All Things Considered for many years in New York on WNYC and, since moving to Cleveland, has worked primarily as the host of Morning Edition on WCPN. Basically, she’s a serious news person. Being on the receiving end of questions from such a serious news person was a really fun first. Our whole conversation clocked in at a full hour. So I did some editing and turned it into a two-parter. This is part one. Enjoy!https://georgehahn.com
12 Jan 2019
Episode 49: Fighting The Quarantine Blues
I know… It’s been a while. But since my office is closed and I’m self-quarantined at home, I figured this was a good time to catch up.In this episode, I share a little update on life and work in New York City since I moved back in January. New apartment, new job, new beginning… there was a lot going on - all good - until the pandemic changed all of our lives very quickly.Though I’m no stranger to working from home, I’m feeling very different about the current situation. The trick is to fight the blues and keep moving forward under these insane circumstances that seemed almost impossible only a few short weeks ago. As I say in the episode, I want everyone to be safe, stay home, wash your hands, practice social distancing and keep calm. And also… be kind. To yourself and others. This is a tough time for everyone. Perhaps a time to reset. But in the process, remember to be kind.Thanks for listening.George
23 Mar 2020
Episode 21: Getting My Bearings After a Crazy Summer
It's been a while, and I've neglected my website and podcast. Things are finally settling down and I'm getting my bearings after a crazy (but fantastic) summer. Between a new job, a lot of travel, family dynamics and big life adjustments, I talk about everything that's been going on in this episode...
24 Aug 2014
Episode N.38: Record Stores Are Never Coming Back
As one of the many Americans who feel crushed by vanishing work, I'm not so quick to point a finger at a villain in this story. The idea of making something "great again" has always felt like a reductive sentiment that conveys a distinctly backward motion. It boils down to this: record stores are never coming back. The sooner we accept that fact, the quicker we can get on with it. It's more about accepting that nothing stays the same (whether we like it or not) and being open and willing to change, grow and progress.
7 Nov 2016
Episode N.37: Watch Snobs, Dressing with Dignity and Gene Wilder's Willy Wonka
In this episode, I respond to some readers' reactions to an article about an affordable automatic tool watch that resembles similar watches on the luxury spectrum. I also share a few anecdotes about how dressing with a sense of occasion served me very well. The last segment is about what Gene Wilder's performance as Willy Wonka meant to me as a young boy.Featured Music: "Wonkavator/End Title (Pure Imagination)" Buy on iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/willy-wonka-chocolate-factory/id1087154102
4 Sep 2016
Podcast N.36: Leaving NYC, Dog Attacks and My Funny Cousin Kathryn
In this episode, I follow up on the insane feedback from a post I wrote last week about leaving New York. The comments and anecdotes that readers have shared have been absolutely incredible. I had no idea that so many people had experienced the same thing. It’s comforting to know you’re not alone and that the world won’t end if you leave New York City.Last week, my dog Lenore was attacked by a vicious English bulldog. She required minor surgery and an overnight at the vet, complete with sutures, staples and the dreaded Cone of Shame. And last night, I witnessed another dog attack that fortunately ended with all parties intact. My patience for irresponsible dog owners who don’t know their dogs, don’t have control of them and refuse to have them neutered is below the basement.Finally, I attended the New York premiere screening of my cousin Kathryn Hahn’s new movie Bad Moms. While it’s a light, easy and fun summer comedy, the real treat is Kathryn. She possesses an unteachable and unlearnable gift that makes her the one you want to be watching on the screen. She steals every scene.
20 Jul 2016
Episode 35: My Reflections on Bill Cunningham
Much has been said about Bill Cunningham since he died last week. The legendary New York Times photographer's contribution to the fashion world is legendary, and I have nothing new to add to that conversation. What was remarkable to me was Bill the man. I became a huge fan after seeing his documentary Bill Cunningham New York - a film he didn’t like because it brought him a fame he never wanted. But this was a man who loved his life’s work so passionately, with a childlike wonder and an uncommonly rare purity of integrity and virtue. It’s inspiring to me beyond description. I just felt like talking about it and sharing my thoughts, particularly after just recently seeing his wonderful conversation with Fern Mallis at the 92nd Street Y in September of 2014. To use one of Bill’s favorite words, it’s marvelous. (Visit my website for the link.)The second half of this episode is a reading of my essay about the crisis in the luxury business against the backdrop of our time’s unprecedented economic inequality. I hope you can relate.Thank you for listening!George
3 Jul 2016
Episode 34: A Morning Reflection on Contentment
In this mini-episode, I take a few under-caffeinated minutes to describe a feeling that comes over me every morning while I have my coffee. The feeling probably occurs to me for about two or three seconds, and it can be summed up in one word: contentment.
11 Jun 2016