July 21, 2022 8:28 PM

TWELV sits down with founders of Parlor Social Club Jan Cieslikiewicz and Frederick Ghartey to give a glimpse into the story of co-founders living in New York City. Check the full interview below.

1. Where are you from? 

Frederick: Many places. USA, Ghana and Canada. I’ve spent a majority of my life in the USA, but I lived in Ghana for about six years. 

Jan: I was born in Gdansk, Poland and moved to the U.S. after high school to attend Harvard. 

2. How long have you been in NY? 

Frederick: A little over 17 years 

Jan: It’s getting close to 20 years now

3. What was it like when you first came to New York? 

Frederick: It was great. I had a network of friends and family here so I hit the ground running. This network of people allowed me to be plugged in fairly quickly and to experience a lot of what NYC had to offer. That is part of my motivation for founding Parlor Social Club. I want everyone to get the most possible out of their city in a seamless way.

Jan:Exciting, but also a little challenging. I came here right after graduating from university and retiring from 15 years of competitive swimming. I had a lot of figuring out to do. I didn’t know many people and it took time and continuous effort to find my crowd. That’s part of why I founded Parlor, to help others in a similar stage. 

4. How/when did you get started working as a founder of Parlor Social Club? 

Frederick: Jan and I, together with Daniel Houston, a close friend of ours, co-founded a brick and mortar members club in 2010- which was a physical space in Soho. After seven years of observing and truly understanding people’s social lives it became clear that people value the opportunity to explore different establishments and events around New York while still feeling like they are a part of a community that is tailored to their personality and social preferences. In 2018 we decided to start Parlor Social Social Club to deliver this special experience. Fine tuning tech and Covid delayed launch to this year.

Jan: A social club can no longer be contained by four walls. The reality is people don’t join members clubs for the space, they join for aspects of exploration, both in meeting new people and new experiences. That’s where we came in with the creation of the app, to speak to these needs and create a club that incorporates the valued elements of a traditional membership club with a tech-forward approach, fostering meaningful interactions between members while not being location-dependent.

5. Could you please tell us about Parlor Social Club? 

Jan: Parlor is a social network reimagined– it’s an app based club that delivers curated events, experiences, and crowds to a diverse membership base here in New York City. It’s both tech-driven and highly personal - we want to give our members the opportunity to build long lasting relationships in whatever capacity they wish. The idea is to give people a unique opportunity to explore different establishments and events around New York and in the digital world, while still feeling like they are a part of something. With a tech forward approach that is informed by the members personality and social preferences, our members can always rely on a curated crowd of Parlor members to be at the events and programming they choose to attend from their monthly calendar in the Parlor app.

6. What are some of your duties as a founder of Parlor Social Club? 

Frederick: Making sure member facing parts of the business are operating effectively. I meet with our teams in different areas. Events and programming, member curation, partnerships, member experience etc. 

7. What is the best thing about Parlor Social Club? Or Why is Parlor different from other social clubs in the city? 

Frederick: Parlor is unique because it offers its members a personalized experience the moment a user logs into the app. Each member sees an individualized calendar of events both in New York City and the digital world, based on their personality and social preferences. 

Jan: The tech behind Parlor draws from the information that the members provide that is representative of their personality and social life preferences, which means we have insight into which members are compatible enough to attend or even sit next to each other at a Parlor event. This means you are constantly connecting with engaging and influential individuals with diverse backgrounds, occupations, personality types, and interests.

8.  What was the best piece of feedback you have received from Parlor members?

Frederick: That we should continue to innovate and be at the cutting edge of curation. Matching people in groups based on personality and several other factors to the extent we do is unique, and we should continue to focus on that. 

Jan: Some members have expressed that they love Parlor and everything that we do! Hearing positive feedback and encouragement is important and motivating while starting a company, and trying to do something new in social life.

9. What was the most challenging aspect of your job? 

Frederick: The pandemic obviously created hurdles. As a social club, where the whole concept revolves around  creating a calendar of in-person events, we had to pivot during that time to focus on digital events and strategize other ways to add value for our members. 

Jan: Balancing between meeting short term needs of Parlor and the community and making sure that we maintain our ability to deliver on our long term vision.

10.  What are some of your interests outside of work? 

Frederick: Thought leadership. I’m constantly listening to podcasts or reading books by people who are experts in different fields. I’m also really into health and wellness; nutrition, working out and mental health. 

Jan: I’m a published and exhibited art photographer. I also spend a fair amount of time kitesurfing and snowboarding. 

11. Do you have any life-essential tips for TWELV readers?

Frederick:  Quality friendships are the key to happiness. Don’t underestimate this. 

Jan: Many things don’t make sense, and that’s ok. 


Parlor Social Club Website >> CLICK HERE <<



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