Melodi House brings immersive social experiences to Northwestern

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Melodi House brings immersive social experiences to Northwestern

The Melodi House is now a resident at The Garage and has hosted four more major banquets in locations like Ice House Gallery, Creative Spaces and Margarita European Inn.

The Melodi House is now a resident at The Garage and has hosted four more major banquets in locations like Ice House Gallery, Creative Spaces and Margarita European Inn.

Daily file photo by Lauren Duquette

The Melodi House is now a resident at The Garage and has hosted four more major banquets in locations like Ice House Gallery, Creative Spaces and Margarita European Inn.

Daily file photo by Lauren Duquette

Daily file photo by Lauren Duquette

The Melodi House is now a resident at The Garage and has hosted four more major banquets in locations like Ice House Gallery, Creative Spaces and Margarita European Inn.

Yunkyo Kim, Reporter

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The Melodi House, a social experience startup founded by three Northwestern students, sends no Facebook invites for its events. It also doesn’t have an Instagram account. Yet, at every banquet it hosts at different venues around Evanston, over 100 students show up through word-of-mouth invitations to enjoy art, music and shared social interactions.

When co-founders Selin Yazici, Alexandre Halimi and Arno Murcia met in an entrepreneurship class their sophomore year, they discovered a shared passion for art, music, meaningful connections and a craving for more immersive social interactions. They subsequently launched the Melodi House in the fall of 2018, hosting events that bring students, live music and creative activities together off-campus.

“We realized that we were all really, really excited about the idea of creating an alternative social event and social life on campus,” Yazici, a Communication junior said. “We were like, ‘Why don’t we just create these events that we’re all really excited to attend, and with the whole mindset (that) it’s all about conversations rather than anything else?’”

To start their first search for a client base, Yazici, Halimi and Murcia did something daring: They connected with old and distant friends on social media. The Melodi House team members video chatted, grabbed coffees and met up with casual acquaintances. These friends became a part of their focus group and were among 90 participants at their first event, held at Halimi’s apartment.

The Melodi House is now a resident at The Garage and has hosted four more major banquets in locations like Ice House Gallery, Creative Spaces and Margarita European Inn.

Their current client base includes up to 150 people, all willing to pay under $15 per unique event that may include painting canvases and jean jackets, a 1920s-themed rooftop soiree, film showings and more. Still, all of these attendances are achieved by word-of-mouth — and most guests tend to bring a plus-one, Cristina Barclay, a Melodi House experience team member and a Weinberg sophomore said.

“Through Melodi, I’ve met so many people in the international community and people from totally different backgrounds and the conversations I get to be in are so organic,” Barclay said.

Barclay started attending Melodi events spring of her freshman year. She said she enjoyed the Melodi House experience so much that she applied to join the company through The Garage’s startup matchmaking event. Now, she helps with event planning and management.

Karam Hansen, a Medill senior, said he found out about the Melodi House through his friend and co-founder Murcia. Among the first to attend the startup’s events, he has attended up to three events and said that he would plan his weekend around attending a Melodi House event. He preferred it to attending other on-campus weekend activities, he said.

“I know what kind of crowd (the Melodi House) brings and the whole thing is set up for me to have an experience,” Hansen said. “You know it’s going to be different than something you’ve done before.”

In its second year, most of the Melodi House’s members and original audience are on their way to graduating, Murcia said. The startup will be looking for participation among younger Northwestern students, and if their recruitment gains more traction, they will work toward expanding the event service to other campuses.

But for now, the Melodi House is for Northwestern students only, Murcia said. The startup team will be focusing exclusively on Northwestern and helping students broaden their cultural and social scope.

Even the startup’s name is a tribute to social exposure it wants to bring to its students through its events. Yazici, who is half Turkish, said the word “melody” is spelled with an “i” in Turkish, and the Melodi House is a nod to an “unspoken language” of social unity through art and culture.

“Having all the different people’s wavelength, in a way, come together into one big melody is really what we’re trying to do in the end,” Murcia said.

Email: yunkyokim2022@u.northwestern.edu
Twitter: @yunkyomoonk

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