We asked Portland-based Creative Director Christiann Koepke 8 questions about her world of creative directing, photography, and recipe curation during her recent stay at San Francisco Proper. These are #ProperStories.

What you do for a living?

I discover, create, and capture beauty. Being a Creative Director, Photographer, and Recipe Curator allows me to do this in a multitude of ways. I don’t believe perfection is that interesting so my idea of beauty is driven by that belief. My work with a variety of brands ranging from hotels, to food/beverage companies, to retailers, to tourism clients around the world and beyond provides constant opportunities to bring this take on beauty to life.  

Championing the beauty in imperfection leads to unexpected, moving moments captured behind the lens  – moments that I hope encourages people to pause and imagine an even more beautiful life that is truly attainable.

What does a normal day look like for you?

A normal day for me always starts with coffee. I like to take time to savor the peace of an early morning before my day is in full swing. A hot cup of coffee and a few moments to read and pray helps me ease into the day. Email is always a priority so my work day begins with at least an hour of email communication. What comes next depends on the day of the week.  

I structure my days to maximize time. A few days a week are dedicated to business and project planning, at least one day a week is dedicated to prop sourcing and creative concept development, one day on recipe testing, and at least one day in-studio or outdoor to produce and shoot. Production days are typically at least 12 hours on set. Needless to say coffee plays a big role on those days 🙂 .

As you travel out a lot, what are your top 3 destinations in the world?

Can’t help but mention how incredible my recent stay was at Proper Hotel in San Francisco. Every element was stunning. Highly recommend a weekend trip to this incredible foodie city, paired with a beautiful stay at Proper.

I’ve definitely been to many amazing countries, but I have to say,  my top 3 destinations are places I have not been to yet! Keep in mind this could change…but, right now these are my top 3:  Austria is on my list because I am obsessed with their approach to tourism. Asia and Africa are also my list because there is so much rich history and culture that varies based on the country you are in. These places are so vast it will take several trips, but that makes it more exciting. I’m all in for the adventure.

Where there are a lot of destination options within a particular place of interest, I ask those close to me for their recommendations. For instance, someone I work closely with mentioned a hotel in Morocco that is owned by woman named Meryanne Lourn-Martin. It’s been 18 years in the making. Her story is fascinating. I would love to start there. And, not to mention, the food they serve is a fusion of Mediterranean and Moroccan cuisines, much of it organic, as the hotel grows its own produce. A dreamland for me!

Where do you see influencer marketing & content creation heading towards in the future for brands?

I see brands becoming more selective about their investments. Brands have figured out that quality is as important as quantity. If not more so. The definition of “content creation” has expanded. It is no longer about a one-off image and a mention. It is about storytelling and scale.  Storytelling includes compelling copy and beautiful photography that can be used on more than one platform. Social is now the beginning of a larger launch plan.

One example of this is the fact that I am getting more requests for global image and content licensing.  When content can be extended to a brand’s website and print/digital campaigns etc, there is a stronger ROI case. This shift will require influencers to adapt. I work with a sharp brand strategist who is also a great writer.  She gets it and has helped me adapt to these changes so I can continue to meet the needs of my clients.

What is your favorite social media platform?

I love all of them. They all offer different ways to connect and communicate with your tribe. I am foodie, so food shows up in almost everything I post, no matter the platform. Like music which is another strong passion of mine, food is also a universal language.  Existing on multiple platforms exposes my work to people who speak this language and those who are curious about it.

I am so thankful for platforms like Instagram and Pinterest that provide a way to showcase the beauty of imperfection visually. I won’t ever grow tired of creating and contributing to a global creative community. Also very much love seeing what my fellow creatives are curating around the world along the way. It’s incredibly inspiring.

We see you create also create food recipes for various publications – Which recipe is something we must try immediately?

You know, there are actually 5 recipes you should try immediately! As a gift to my followers, I publish an annual free ebook with my favorite recipes. It’s super easy to download. You can do one recipe a week and share your tasty dishes with friends…or keep it all for yourself. 😉 Just be sure to message me to share how each of your creations turned out. I’d love to hear!

What are you currently listening to on your playlist?

I love fun, positive and inspiring music. My friend Steffany Gretzinger just released her new album and I can’t get enough of Blackout or Confident. Also –  Rachel Platten’s “Broken Glass” and “Fight Song”, and all Alessia Cara’s hits but especially “Stay”are on repeat. These songs also have great videos. Sometimes I want visuals with my music experience. Love that YouTube will play endless videos by any artist.

What is your favorite thing to do in your hotel room?

Absolutely NOTHING!  I work hard, so by time I walk into a hotel room, all I want is room service (the food has to be good) and sweet sleep. When I arrived at Proper, all I did was lay on the bed, sip wine and savor the moment. Every design element in the room was perfect. I felt so inspired and refueled.

That’s exactly the way a hotel stay should be. Refreshing and inspirational.

Don’t forget to follow Christiann on Instagram and find out where she’s exploring next.

What is Proper?

Proper began as a feeling, not as an idea. The feeling was something akin to empathy; an acute awareness that despite the current proliferation of “boutique” and “lifestyle” hotels and residences, there were precious few properties designed for and around today’s global creative nomad. Many in our milieu share the same daunting challenge: staying fresh and focused, energized and inspired—all whilst bouncing between London and Hollywood and Austin and San Francisco and Portland and back again. For them, intuitive service is a given. Mere table stakes. What they need and seek beyond accommodation, even at its most luxurious, is an inspiration. From the elevated and often surprising interiors imagined by Kelly Wearstler. From the sense of immersion in, and connection to, the vibrancy of the local culture. From the highly curated amenities. From the inspired collaborations with the city’s best and most innovative chefs and mixologists. From music and art. From every detail, every interaction, every moment. This is only Proper. And no one else.

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