New Yorker. Sneaker Freak. Smooth Operator. We spend some family time with the Team Epiphany Co-Founder.
“It’s a pretty busy morning in here – it’s kind of like a ballet.”
Coltrane Curtis’s Tribeca apartment is quiet when we arrive, shortly after 7:30am on a Wednesday morning. He answers the door wearing a New York Knicks jersey and trailed by his wife, Lisa and two small dogs. We stand in the sunlight that pours through the wide living room windows. Stacks of colorful children’s toys line the walls. “So,” Coltrane asks after a brief powwow. “Should we wake up Ellington?”
Coltrane spends his days leading the creative efforts at Team Epiphany, the marketing and branding agency he co-founded with Lisa. Their clients include big names like Heineken, Nike and Cadillac. Coltrane, who was raised in the business of building brands and ideas – his father ran a marketing company for 25 years – has a natural ease and magnetism that would later land him a role as an on-air personality with the MTV Network. These days, his most important gig is ‘Dad.’
Ellington is Coltrane and Lisa’s two-and-a-half year-old son. “Everything,” Coltrane tells us, “is focused around getting him out of here in the morning. And no matter how efficient we are, he’s always late.” Ellington stands in his crib, wide-eyed, beaming. Coltrane smiles. “You gonna wear your jersey today like me?” Ellington nods. As Lisa changes his diaper, Coltrane whisks us away to the kitchen, where he’ll get started on breakfast.
“It’s a pretty busy morning in here – it’s kind of like a ballet,” he jokes as he spins to grab an egg from the refrigerator and frozen waffles from the freezer. “Breakfast is quick – I make Ellington an egg, some cheese, a waffle, fruit, maybe toast… and Mommy whips up some green juice with kale and some other things.” Ellington waddles out of the bedroom and turns towards the TV. The news program on the TV turns quickly into cartoons. “We used to be very cool people,” Coltrane mutters over the noise of the TV. There is a knock at the door – the dog walker has arrived. Coltrane uses the distraction to toss on a T-shirt and a pair of jeans and runs water over his face in the bathroom sink. “BioSilk products are the key to my world,” he says as he picks out his goatee with a comb. “I wash my beard with it – it keeps it fresh and gives it some shine.”
Every morning, after hanging with Ellington, Coltrane goes down to storage to pick his sneakers for the day – a process that involves three different elevator trips. “I really dress from the feet up,” he explains as we walk into his storage unit. The walls are lined with hundreds of plastic bins, each housing a pair of kicks. “I want to wear a lot of these,” he shakes his head. “But how do I get to them?”
“I really dress from the feet up.”
Back in the apartment, Coltrane dresses Ellington (“The best part of the day”) from his impressive closet before calling downstairs to the garage to have the car pulled around. He’ll drive his son to summer camp before trekking to Team Epiphany’s offices in midtown. Ellington dances in the lobby as Coltrane chats with the doorman. A silver SUV pulls up onto the curb, and Coltrane lifts Ellington into his padded car seat. He checks his watch. It’s past 9:00. “Man! ”He grins. “Late again.”