We had the good fortune of connecting with Meredith Crockett Soper and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Meredith, what is the most important factor behind your success?
The most important factor behind the success of @didHOUknow is transparency. Most people use the word transparency when needing to go into defense mode. Does that make sense? When you hear someone say “Ok, full transparency here…” that usually means they’re about to get real with you and provide you with feedback defending a choice or a statement they made prior. Transparency to me and my brand is better defined by honesty, vulnerability and clarity. The content I provide through @didHOUknow is clear, simple, factual and interesting (hopeful emphasis on that last adjective!). Being transparent prevents second guessing and hiding information. I by no means own any of these facts provided through my account. It’s all public knowledge and I just happen to have direct access to this little niche. There’s really nothing else out there that provides this array of HOU trivia in one credible place. I try to be as transparent as possible with my content, because that’s what I would expect and respect from someone else’s content. The next time you need some good content or material for a gathering (socially distant or video chat room), we are here! Think of us as a novel “Sunday comic” that you look forward to in starting a new week, or a conversation starter go-to page if you’re in need of some fresh material at a cocktail hour.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I’ve always been more of the creator / artistic type than the mathematician / numbers and studying type. I loved school and finished college but my favorite parts that I focused on were volunteering, meeting new people, and making connections, drawing inspiration from different cultures and backgrounds of the acquaintances I met along the way. What sets me apart from others isn’t that different or shocking, it’s just that I am an individual. I am not worthy of praise nor am I better than anyone. I’m not a trained artist. I didn’t graduate with an arts degree, rather I didn’t know what I wanted to do, so I got a 3-minor degree to be as generic as possible. Thinking back on my decision to go down that degree route, I think made it possible for me to think more creatively and outside the box, not being pigeonholed into one department or subject. Now, with that being said, I had to be careful and not forget about my future. I was not careless in my job search right out of college. I tried to follow my passion for marketing and sports, and when I wasn’t finding any openings, I took a job with a property management firm in downtown Houston. This opened my eyes to something that I never thought I’d ever be confronted with…corporate America. Though, my job consisted of meeting new people as I worked the front desk in a property management office. I was able to design communication for my tenants, coordinate building events, assist in revising and updating marketing materials for my company. It was a blessing in disguise and exactly what I wanted to do. It’s funny how life works out, it really is. You can be so driven and so set on one particular path and future, all mapped out for you, down to the retirement plan. And then something happens, or something doesn’t happen, and your path takes a turn, most times for the better! Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you respond to it (credit unknown…thanks Pinterest!) Long story short, my career has made it possible for me to continue my passion for being creative. I am exposed to Houston and its history in a way that most people are not. I find beauty and positivity in everything around me. How else are you going to spend your day? The buildings I work in, they all have a story, they all were developed for a reason. The streets they live on, they’re named after someone or something. And that someone or something has a story. You go down this beautiful intriguing rabbit hole of knowledge that may have gotten lost forever if no one took that dive. If you don’t ask the question, you’ll never know for sure. I take that dive and I ask those questions on the reg and I put it with a photo and post it on Instagram for the world to see. I hope you enjoy it and continue to be curious and ask questions.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
An itinerary for Houston!? Gosh, this is so ironic…whenever I have friends come into town, heck whenever my sisters and I have a Saturday together, I am the one shelling out an itinerary for everyone! Whether we have 3 hours or 3 days, I maximize our time to the fullest! Ok, so first, after picking them up from the airport (most likely Hobby because it’s closer) we’d go back to my home in Townhouse Manor (a great little historic neighborhood just inside the loop) and start with a fun cocktail (maybe a citrus margarita with agave) in my sunroom. Then, we’d change into comfy chic clothes and head out to dinner at El Tiempo on Richmond for some queso fundido, fresh table-side guac, some mixed fajitas to share, and of course a couple frozen margaritas. The next day (let’s say it’s a long weekend, so it’s Friday now), we’d do some free outside yoga with Gibson Hall at Eleanor Tinsley Park or maybe just stroll along the Buffalo Bayou outside downtown and then grab brunch at Bella Green in the Heights. They have an amazing brunch menu and it’s all fresh healthy and super yummy dishes. Plus their mimosas are delish. Then I’d take them downtown, show them a few of my old buildings like Pennzoil Place (where we had our wedding reception), and a couple of my secret spots I can’t share on here or else they won’t be my little secret anymore! Pass by Allen’s Landing, walk through the tunnels because they’re open during the week and then head to lunch at either Goode Co. Seafood off Kirby for some campechana and flounder or just drive thru Chick-Fil-A honestly! Can’t resist that diet lemonade and classic sandwich with some BBQ sauce…my mouth is watering just thinking about the waffle fries, guys. No joke. Ok, fast forward to Saturday, if we aren’t shopping along 19th Street in the Heights or Highland Village, I would take them to EaDo and check out Truck Yard and 8th Wonder Brewery, grab a couple Dome Fauxms and end up at Sunset Houston, to watch the sunset over downtown. It is a MUST if you haven’t been there yet! Saturday evening, we’d venture to the Rooftop Cinema Club and catch a classic 90s RomCom or black and white film, then head to dinner at Le Colonial in the River Oaks District and enjoy their boho chic environment, a bottle of rosé and some Brussels sprouts. Down time is for Sundays, so Sunday morning I’d order Skeeter’s breakfast because it’s an oldie but a goodie and reflect on the awesome weekend we just had! Most likely we’d be laying out by the pool in my neighborhood sipping on Aperol spritzes or Gatorades…depending on the night before. Houston is so fun to visit if you have the right tour guide. Otherwise, you’re driving all the way to NASA or Lake Conroe, which are great places to visit, but you’re not enjoying central Houston for what it truly can offer…a great time with great people and everything is kind of within 10 miles of each other if you do it right. Stick with me, kids. Let’s go explore!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
The driving force behind my passion for HOU historical / trivial content stems from the great Mr. Gerald Hines, founder and chairman of Hines Interests Limited Partnership. At first it was just me walking around downtown on my lunch hour during my first year of employment just in awe of the buildings up close and the history woven into the downtown fabric. The more I learned about the buildings, what they used to be called, when they were built, how they’ve been adapted to modern times and who built them, it seemed there was a recurring common denominator…Hines. Whether Gerald Hines developed, owned, sold or managed the building, it always brought me back to him and his company, Hines. So I started asking more questions to my managers, my colleagues, my dad who’d been in the commercial real estate industry for the majority of my childhood and the more questions I asked, the more answers I got and the more questions that stemmed from those answers. I fell in love deeper and deeper with my city and its history. Gerald Hines started his company, Hines, back in 1957 and has ever since built the most iconic and mind bending structures, starting here in Houston. I almost can’t point to a building in our skyline that he didn’t touch. He is a risk taker, a dreamer, a doer. I respect the hell out of him and what he stands for…family (blood and work family). The drive from knowing about the buildings and their history lead to knowing about the street names of downtown, the construction of the bayous piercing through the Greater Houston Area, the first this and the first that…who built Lamar High School and why? What and who is Montrose named after? So many fun questions that a lot of people do not even think about asking but when told the information, keep it in their hearts forever because Houston is more than a city, it’s a hometown, it’s a lifestyle, it’s a story…it’s a family!
Other: Personal Instagram @mermerc