Based in New York and originally from Toronto, Jake Rosenberg spends most of his time everywhere else. As Co-Founder and Creative Director of global media brand Coveteur, Jake Rosenberg is making quite the name for himself.
It was while working under photographer Chris Nicholls that Rosenberg met his now business partner, Stephanie Mark. In 2011 they launched Coveteur as a passion project and the site crashed on day 1. It has since grown to be the leading destination for a luxurious, behind the scenes look at all things fashion, lifestyle, and culture: “He’s one half of the duo shaking up lifestyle media by producing lucrative native advertising campaigns for luxury brands including Chanel and Dior.” We had a conversation with Rosenberg himself about how Coveteur came about and what it’s like traveling 25 days out of the month.
Helen: So are you a photographer first?
Rosenberg: Overall, I would say I’m a cofounder of Coveteur first, and then I split the creative director and photographer role.
H: How did you start?
R: It really was a passion project right from the beginning. I was 23 years old, living in Toronto, and assisting photographers in the industry here. I had just graduated from Industrial design at the Ontario College of Art and Design so I was extremely excited about branding and experience design and just creating something new and innovative. And that’s when I met my business partner Stephanie Mark. We worked together on a project and the next day, this kind of just happened. We got together, we decided to start something new and we built a brand, created some content and we published it. The first day the site was live, it crashed and we like “omg, whats going on?!” Shortly after that we decided that this is what we’re going to do full time. Six months after we started the site, we started to get new clients and then pretty much right from there we just kept on going. Six years later, we have an office in Toronto and in New York, great staff, a lot of great clientele, and we published a book in October.
The book is Coveteur: Private Spaces, Personal Style. It features 43 people from around the world in their homes covering their styles, their interiors, etc. It’s a very iconic imagery of Coveteur.
H: What kind of content do you create?
R: We offer luxury lifestyle content across the board, predominantly women’s focused. And it covers fashion, beauty, health and wellness, travel.
H: When did your career start taking off?
R: I like to think that I’m still building my career and this is the first amazing project that I’m getting to build and work on but creating Coveteur has definitely led me to work with so many inspiring people and brands that I never expected to work with. So being able to spend time with people like Oprah and Cindy Crawford and having them allow me to photograph them and work with them in such close proximity, I would say has definitely helped my career.
H: What kind of projects do you do? Lifestyle media seems like a huge umbrella.
R: Predominantly as a company, I oversee the creative direction of the company so the full vision of the company, kind of making sure that everything stays in line with our creative vision and then I spend most of my time working on the native content for the site. So working in collaboration with brands like Chanel or Gucci or Saks to put together a piece of content in a series that really speak to our audience. And help serve their brand and their product
H: What is your favourite project that you’ve worked on?
R: Any project with Chanel has been spectacular but I think in terms of the company as a whole, I think working on the book. The book I really took time. Being able to publish and work on, so intimately, a coffee table book, published by one of my favourite art publishers I think was a very big moment for me and spending time with all the people that worked on the book. The book has 703 images, about 241 pages. It’s beautiful, it’s exactly how I wanted it to turn out. That project for me was very exciting and I’m very proud of how it turned out.
H: Where do you draw inspiration from for your projects?
R: From all over. Because I did study industrial design, I do pull a lot of inspiration from brands or designers or product that I interact with on a daily basis- and also Instagram. I mean Instagram is such a great tool for finding new and exciting people and things.
H: It says here that you travel 25 days out of the month. What’s that like?
R: It’s exciting and challenging at the same time. I get opportunities to go places and see people and have experiences that most people in the world don’t get to do so I would say I’m always excited about my next trip. But at the same time, it is a very big challenge to be on multiple time zones a month, sometimes a week. Generally I live out of a suitcase. I’ve gotten really good at doing that, I’ve done that for a long time so it’s fine. I think it’s also a really big challenge to work with the staff in the office when I’m on the road for so long. It just means that everyone has to work a little bit harder or stay a little more connected because sometimes I’ll be on a 12 hour difference time zone shooting in Thailand. So ill be done my day there and then they’d just be getting up. So that means we all just have to get in that extra time whenever I can but fore the most part, its amazing. I’ve literally spent countess hours, miles traveling the world and I love it.
H: So you don’t have a typical day?
R: I don’t have a typical day no. I have a typical day in the office and then I have a non-typical day when I’m on the road.
H: Are you doing work most of the time or do you kind of get to explore where you are?
R: Generally it’s work. I mean any kind of free day when I’m abroad is usually a resting day. Travelling that much is hard on you mentally and physically so when I do happen to have a free day, I try to rest. And because of the nature of my job I like to think that it’s kind of all mixed together. So depending on the project, I was just in Thailand or Aston or wherever, they all kind of overlap in terms of work and exploring kind of thing. And I think because of what we do at Coveteur, a lot of the time we go to a new city and meet local people and they always kind of end up showing us their little world which is think is such a great insight into that city from a local’s perspective
H: Where have you been so far?
R: The furthest I’ve been is China, and Russia probably. I was in Dubai twice in 10 days. For the book alone, we went to London, paris , LA, Moscow, Antwerp, Dubai, New York- a lot of places. And then Thailand.
H: What was your favourite place to travel?
R: I think Barcelona has been one of my favourite places to travel. I spent about a week or almost 10 days in Barcelona. I just had an amazing time. I loved the city, the culture, the people, the energy. So that’s probably one of my favourite places to travel. Also I think Toronto. I don’t get to come here so much anymore but Toronto’s where I’m from. I love coming home. I love visiting Canada. I think Toronto is still one of my favourite cities, out of every place I’ve ever been. And then I think St. Barth’s. I was recently there and it just reminded me how special it really is. It’s such a small unique island that I’ve grown to love. I feel like it has such a unique community there that has a very exclusive aspect to it but it’s just beautiful and I love it there
H: Do you have any destination hotspot recommendations? (restaurants, places to go)
R: Actually you know what, Brazil is one of my favourite places in the world. I went to Rio. I would recommend everyone to go to Rio at least one time. I mean it’s like an urban centre built into the jungle on the coast, and it is just so lively and energetic and it is fun every single day. Once you’re in Rio, if you just take a little trip down to Florianapolis- or people call it Floripa. That’s probably my all time favourite island on the planet so far. I think I was there over Christmas and New Year’s so it was more of a vacation. Half the island is posh and I think it has like 42 beaches on the island. It is a spectacular place to visit and just relax and have fun.
H: What’s one place that surprised you?
R: I think Dubai surprised me. I had no preexisting expectations for Dubai but I had a great time. I was there twice, once for the Chanel cruise show and then I went back ten days later and I was a guest of one of the royal families. I had a great time. It was definitely different from anywhere else I’ve been. The people I met there and the experiences I had were all great.
H: Do you find it tiring ever?
R: It’s challenging. If you’re changing time zones as much as I do, it becomes tiring.
H: Is it hard to balance work and time off or just time for yourself?
R: I think as as a co-founder, I think that’s the biggest challenge to have that work life balance. I’m just so passionate and dedicated to what I do. I get to have fun with it, although it does get to be a challenge when it comes to taking time off for myself. I think anytime I do, it’s when I really need to. That only allows me to recharge and come back even stronger. But I’m always excited for it.
H: Do you have any favourite spots in Toronto?
R: My backyard with my family haha. A good friend of mine, Janet Zuccarini has a couple restaurants here- she’s got Gusto 101, Cafe Nervosa, and Pai- all of those restaurants I would recommend. I would always recommend just going down to the waterfront, going to Trinity Bellwoods in the summer, just hang out and listen to music and all that kind of stuff is really fun. Go to a baseball game, go to the islands, check that out. But usually when I come home, it’s family time.
H: Where would you like to be in 10 years? Do you still want to be traveling?
R: I think I’d always like to be traveling. There’s so many places in the world I’d like to see that I have yet to see. I am excited for the next five to ten years of Coveteur and the growth and opportunity that lays ahead. I think we’ll keep growing and exploring new opportunities and new avenues for business that will bring our brand to the next level.