By  on August 25, 2009

The recession has put everyone on the offensive. But how about responding to the economic downturn with a road trip?

That’s exactly what Alek Bimbiloski and Skender Dragovoja, owners of the year-old New York sales showroom Istok, did this past June. The two rented an SUV (a black Hyundai Santa Fe, to be exact), borrowed a friend’s GPS and headed off for a monthlong tour of the United States. Their objective: to get face time with as many boutiques and specialty stores as possible. But what began as a way to personally introduce their stable of designers to retailers — “the whole nature of exchanges during market week was just so fast that it was difficult to create a real connection,” says Dragovoja — soon developed into an extensive video blogging affair. Meet the “Burn Rubber 2009” project. Bimbiloski and Dragovoja interviewed buyers and owners, taped their appointments and have been gradually posting the clips on Istok’s Web site. (Read more about some of the stops on the Burn Rubber 2009 tour.)

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