Award winning website The Cool Hunter does many things for the reader — it inspires, it brings out desires, and it celebrates creativity and design in all it’s manifestations.
“I started the website to cater for the editors. In the first month I had 40,000 readers but I realised I had to start feeding it regularly. “Each month was getting bigger and the hits were getting bigger and bigger and I noticed every time I updated the content, the more I had to find interesting things around the world.” Bill Tikos
From architecture, to shoes, fashion and food, founder Bill Tikos finds the aesthetically pleasing modern creations and thrusts them into the global stratosphere.
The evolution of the website was a natural progression.
Working as a literary agent, Tikos was used to sourcing out the finer things in life along with photographers and is the successful author of The world’s coolest hotel rooms.
Ready to face his next challenge, and armed with an eye for style, Tikos found himself writing a weekly column for the Sunday magazines of the Herald Sun and Sunday Telegraph.
The column was syndicated to 20 different publications around the world. The editors wanted more and in order to meet their demands he entered the online arena with The Cool Hunter in 2004.
“I started the website to cater for the editors. In the first month I had 40,000 readers but I realised I had to start feeding it regularly.
“Each month was getting bigger and the hits were getting bigger and bigger and I noticed every time I updated the content, the more I had to find interesting things around the world.”
The content on the website is vast and varied and comes from many sources but mainly from the keen eye of Tikos.
The hard-work is evident in the standard of design and creations that appear online.
The website steers away from being saturated with favours to be kept to public relations agencies and maintains a dignified quality not quantity approach.
“I see myself like a curator of an art museum,” explains Tikos on how he sources the content.
“I decide what goes on there. Most of the content comes from me searching, some does come from public relation agencies and people submitting ideas, but most comes from me researching things. “I am not putting content on there to just generate hits.
I want (my readers) to feel a wow factor when they visit for the first time.”
He knows his demographic well, for he is one too. They demand quality, they snigger at trends and passing fads.
They want something modern yet that has a classic appeal. They work / live / play fast and hard and are seasoned international travellers.
They have a distinguished taste and won’t take second best in anything in life, especially not this website.
High-quality photographs whet their visual appetite as they yearn for more. And they want it there and then. If Tikos says it’s cool, they know it to be true.
But knowing and admitting that his version of cool may not agree with someone else’s, and creating a website that can be so subjective, how does he remain so successful?
“I think my success lies in the fact that I am so selective.
I want my readers to be inspired by what they see not say that I have so many readers.
“For me cool is something that has the wow factor; that is aesthetically pleasing.”
For someone who lives and breathes culture and design and is known by this tag world-wide, there has to be some amazing perks to this job.
Tikos laughs as he reminisces about his three-month stint in Italy. “The marketing manager of Maserati was a subscriber and I thought I would ask him if I could loan a Maserati for the time that I was there, as a joke, and he said yes, no problem.
“When I was in Rome, a truck arrived at my hotel and a Maserati came out and I thought you are kidding me.
“For half an hour, I was in the car not moving because I couldn’t work out where the hand-brake was.
I had to call the head office in Milan to find out the hand-break was a button.
“When I finally worked out how to drive it, I drove around on the streets of Rome doing 60 kilometres an hour with people beeping at me.
Things like that happening make me strive for bigger things.”
And striving for bigger things and new challenges is what keeps Tikos invigorated and inspired. Once he’s completed a challenge he asks himself what’s next?
“The next level is to create off-line events and big experiences to bring all the community together.”
The Cool Hunter events and exhibitions give his readership a chance to be inspired first-hand.
Through his site, he has developed a consultancy firm where he advises people on what product design and development has a confident worldly appeal.
He has just launched The Cool Hunter Design, a graphic design studio offering branding and other graphic design services.
Tikos may be a trail-blazer but he is one that’s done it on his own, and on his own terms.
“When I first started the site, about a year after, Time magazine did a mini-story on me and then all the networks from Los Angeles were calling me asking me to do a television show. The Americans wanted to make it into a reality show which I thought that wasn’t going to work. They wanted to get five globetrotters and throw them into big cities and try and find the cool bars and places there”
“But then I thought if I do this it’s on my terms and my way which I want to launch later this year. I want to do it myself on the side.”
He is always on the search for new ways to make The Cool Hunter a true creature of it’s own, a creature that grows and evolves constantly. However, the essence and spirit of The Cool Hunter will always stay true to it’s initial intentions.
“The Cool Hunter is for creative types to get their creative juices flowing and see what is going on around the world, to get their minds around what other people are doing and to create extraordinary things.”