John & Fallon The Secret Ingredient: Meet The Seymours pt1.

August 6, 2018

 

 

 

 

THE SEYMOURS

(set two, family of five)

 

When  a young  aspiring model  from Trinidad came  to New York and fell  in love with the son of  Irish immigrants, it was impossible  for them to have known then what they  know now; the spark of their love and dreams  would ignite the creation of an empire. John and Fallon  Seymour have lovingly created a beautiful universe of their  own, one that has three beautiful daughters, multiple successful  brands, and thousands of fans orbiting around it.

For  those  who don’t  know, John (@johnseymour_nyc)  might appear to be at the forefront of the  limelight with his nearly 23K diehard Instagram  followers, where his social media provides anecdotal snapshots  of a self-made man, father and husband. He can also be found  in magazines or on TV, profiling his career and culinary skill,  or photographed alongside his best friend and business partner, Nas  (yes, that Nas).

On  any given day  in New York, you  probably have crossed  paths with the entrepreneur at  one of his restaurants or coffee shops,  or at an exclusive social gathering with  his close knit circle of friends and celebrities. One  would be mistaken to think that this family is solely  a patriarch at the helm running the show. Standing beside  John since day one with a silent swag in her presence is, and  always has been, Fallon. While Fallon may not have the kind the engagement  on social media as her other half, she doesn’t want it. Fallon heads up her  own successful businesses (Pearl’s Bake & Shark, @pearls_caribbean and Clyde’s Quality cocktail  lounge next door) in addition to co-parenting duties with John, owning her share in one hell of  an incredible marriage. While it would be easy to affix the label of “John’s wife” to Fallon, it would  serve as a lazy shortcut and a gross injustice to the many facets of a powerful woman in her own right.  Within just one conversation with Fallon, it is apparent that she stands on her own as an entrepreneur and visionary.  

The  success  of the Seymours’  brands, both personal  and professional, stems  from a characteristic rarely seen  today in the restaurant industry. It  is something that isn’t easily  defined but  is constantly undervalued  in today’s increasingly digital  world and often neglected in business, authenticity.

 

 

 

JOHN

SEYMOUR

(One  of Two)

A  native  New Yorker  from a working class  Irish neighborhood, the  former mover,  electrician  and bartender now  boasts of the heavyweight title  as CEO and co-owner of Sweet Chick  (@sweetchicklife) and Ludlow Coffee Supply  (@ludlowcoffeesupply). Are  the brands not familiar?  Because they should be. Sweet  Chick has carefully curated a lifestyle  that stretches across music, family, fashion  and food. The popular chicken & waffles spot  has gone beyond just a place to have a meal, but  instead, developing a culture of its own. Our social  media following is well over 90K, with 4 locations across  3 boroughs and on the West Coast, with no end in sight. Leveraging  that momentum, another concept was created by John and his team for people  to enjoy good company, great music and even better coffee with two locations  of Ludlow Coffee Supply. To get to this level of success, however, was not easy.  John had to rely on his humble roots and his family legacy of unmatched working hard.  Very hard. was not always as successful as I am now [nor] the great human being that I  am now. I was wild when I was young,” John laughs. “But Irish people are very proud people.  The thing that I find as an Irish New Yorker as something really important to us was always an  emphasis on work ethic.” Initially, John was unsure of what to do as his career, especially having

gone  an untraditional  route without a college  degree to fall back on.  But after floating across multiple  blue collar jobs, he stumbled into what  he loved: building and creating brands. John’s  father, a bartender, used to make burgers for the  guys in the neighborhood, which inspired John and Fallon’s  first restaurant – a burger joint aptly named “Pops.” But the  catalyst for John’s first step into owning a dining establishment  was one inspired by not just his roots in the service industry, but  ultimately by his best friend. “I was a bartender  but I did  not want to  get into the restaurant  business, that was Fallon’s  dream She was the one who pushed  this idea and it just so happened  that that was one of the only things  I knew about she was encouraged us to make  a move,” John reflects on the beginning of their  first spot. With Fallon and John spearheading the way,  the pair did everything to lay the foundation for “Pops”including digging  up the floors themselves.

Fallon  was then  responsible  for the menu  while John handled  the finances. Once they  opened, it was Fallon who  jumped on the line “working  and sweating like crazy”

if  the cook  didn’t make  it in while John  managed the front.  Over time,” Pops” became  the well-oiled machine the  couple worked hard to build  from the ground up (literally).While  brainstorming  new restaurant concepts  for the next venture, John was  intrigued by the roots of chicken and  waffle restaurants that were first created  in Harlem jazz clubs. Legend  has it that  a jazz musician told  the kitchen one evening  during a late show that he  could not make up his mind between  breakfast or dinner for his meal. The  cook said that  they had  leftover fried  chickens and they  had waffles, starting  what would later be known  as a classic combination. The  strange but now beloved combo was  then turned into  a household  name by the west coast’s  famous Roscoe’s Chicken and  Waffles. 

 

John  loved the story  as a means of bringing  people together to converse, enjoy  music and  thus began the foundation  of “Sweet Chick”

“I  didn’t  go into  [Sweet Chick] expecting  anything, but we knew we  had a concept that no one was expanding  on. We had multiple different flavors, we had  the cocktails,” John reflected. “We were also readily  available for opportunities.” Perhaps that is what has  kept Sweet Chick’s success going, even as more places offered  chicken & waffles, on the east coast. John’s flexibility to take  risks and go beyond just a place to get a meal, laid the seeds  for an organic culture to emerge.“I used to ride around on a bicycle with  a boombox with my friends, that’s what we would do growing up everyday,” John  explains of the restaurant’s emphasis on hip hop integrated through not only the ambiance,  but through their company mantras. These internal values for Sweet Chick which include Biggie  lyrics that can be seen throughout the establishment.“Biggie has been very inspirational to me,  Brooklyn and Sweet Chick. We’re about hospitality. ‘Spread love it’s the Brooklyn’ way is one of our  mantras. Another is ‘we took a negative to a positive,’ which to us really applies to how things will  go wrong in the restaurant industry and we  all will  have bad days.  Orders will get messed  up and shit happens. But  it’s about how we change that into  possibilities.”It  then  only made  sense that on Sweet  Chick’s one year anniversary, John  and the Sweet Chick team strategically  built the context to bring the restaurant’s  ties between food and music together.What better  way to ring in the a milestone than with a surprise performance  from Wu-Tang  Clan’s Raekwon the  Chef? I made ten phone  calls, met his brother,  who is a  homie to this  day and that was  the first time he  did a live performance.  No one was really doing that  in a restaurant, and it surprised  everyone. I said, “Bring The Chef  out from the back!” and everyone was  expecting a cook, but it  was Raekwon.  People were asking: “Did  you hear about what happened at  Sweet Chick?” From there, we had Slick  Rick come in doing Children’s Story with  a live  band.”As Sweet  Chick continued to gain  momentum across both the restaurant  and the music space, the brand partnered  with FILA to release a sneaker collaboration.The rest was history  [With] building a restaurant  culture out of Sweet Chick, I  would look around the room and see  people of all different colors and backgrounds  not from NY and from NY and it was magical,” John says  with a proud and nostalgic smile of the milestone achievement.  It’s not everyday a brand transcends into a lifestyle, after all. On  Instagram, many fans can follow John’s adventures with his businesses, Fallon  and their three girls, Jette, Milann and Berry. When asked what he’d hope the  girls could take away from his mistakes and his success in business, he noted it  was key for them to find something they loved – even if that meant they have to be  broke first.

 

“You  have to  take chances  and risks in life,  you can’t just play  it safe. I never knew  what I wanted to do. I was  an electrician, a bartender, lived in  halfway houses, [I’ve] been locked up.   Anything is possible and you never know what  tomorrow is going to  offer  you but  you have to  show up for it.” And  John admittedly would not be  where he is today without his wife,  Fallon.After their joint success in running Pops  and John’s flourishing network of businesses had become strongholds,  John consciously made the decision to not to have any part in officially  “owning” a portion of Pearl’s financially. And while John did provide support  to Fallon as she launched Pearl’s, but felt the project was  ultimately  Fallon’s to  bring to life,  noting that Fallon  “put the hours in” and  that it was “her baby. “We  have three  human babies,  but that restaurant  is her baby.

Some people tell  me they love Sweet  Chick but that Pearl’s  is their spot hands down  and I like that,” John says. Astutely  aware that he tends to be more in the  limelight or off the tip of everyone’s tongue,  John gives ample credit to Fallon for her contributions to  their  family and  empire. A lot  of men get threatened  with strong women. Why wouldn’t  I want my wife to be looked at  in that light [as a strong woman]?  I think she is a huge inspiration. She  has a business, she takes care of three  children. She’s picking them up from school everyday,  I drop them off at school. We trade. We’re partners,”  John explains. “We’ve also learned from each other. When we  met, we were not the people we are today. We have grown together.”But  what’s next for the man and the man and the family that seems to have  it all? “The way I built the business from day one was that I bring it  back to the Biggie mantra of positivity – take a negative into a positive.  Anything is possible. We have so many things on the table and if half of them  even come true, that would be amazing. I’ve seen crazier things happen,” John says  with a laugh. “Find lanes where you don’t see them.”

Words by @_lizziemac 

Photography by Gerardo Mendez

Clothing by @deathtotennis








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