underway – except for the intersection at Ashland Place and Fulton Street where inside someone at the bar was drinking up his day’s wages from a shot glass. I was glad I came to these negotiations with my mother because at 17 years old, I would have probably disappeared into this den of iniquity called “Ashland Place” neighborhood bar, never to be heard from again.Who was I to judge this venue; however, the location was perfect. It was a nice sprint from our high school, and even on a spring evening’s night, if you decided to go straight home after the Brooklyn Tech Spring Fashion-Talent show, you still had to pass the night club first on your way to the train station.
Even the most obedient teenager would be tempted to stop in to dance to one song. At least that was what I was counting on – after I got the $5 admission fee (with a ticket stub or $7 without), I didn’t care what they did with their time.
And so I hatched my plan with the bar owner, “Half of the door/All of the Bar,” I offered.
I wasn’t 18 yet. I couldn’t purchase liquor, let alone sell it as part of the rental contract. I could only buy space. Most of us who were going to be in attendance weren’t 18 either. I offer half the door because I didn’t want to take the risk of paying the rental fee upfront if, for some reason, my fool-proof plan didn’t work. I secured a contract for the location. The only thing left was approval to advertise the After-Party on school property. The Student Government Organization adviser said I could do it as long as it was SGO function – meaning the proceeds would go back to SGO. Perfect, I thought, I wasn’t in this to make money – I was in it to get the experience for promoting.
Hip Hop was in its early stages, and we had our own resident MC Stevie Dee and his Dee Jay that was crazy on the “wheels of steel.” I knew because I hired them for my Sweet 16 party. I negotiated a price with him to do the gig – and he brought in the speakers, turntables, and his microphone. It was on and popping.
In addition to getting ready for the fashion-talent show, I was busy promoting the After-Party for weeks leading up to it. I had posters plastered everywhere there was a poster for the fashion-talent show.
I knew from observing the years past, students were so hyped after the fashion-talent show they needed somewhere to expend that energy they built up after sitting in those hard seats in the auditorium.
I was right!
My after-party at the night club –
Read: neighborhood dive was a smashing success. I had to turn people away at the door, and I made more than a thousand dollars that night. My business venture proved so successful, in college, I majored in Marketing.
I hadn’t even stepped one foot inside the hallowed halls, and already The Marketing Mix: Product, Price, Place, and Promotion was part of my vocabulary.