We had the good fortune of connecting with Jesse Kivel and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jesse, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
My close friend Michael David and myself were recording some songs together in 2012. During that time I had been DJing about 4 nights a week in LA and it was incredibly taxing to be out late that many nights a week. Mike was finding success with his group Classixx and I had recently gone to a wedding at Smog Shoppe. The place kind of opened my eyes to the possibility of what an alternative wedding space could look like and it brought into focus the idea that my peers would soon be getting married and wanting music that represented them. Mike and I had a strong network of performers and players and realized that there was room in the market for a design minded and stylistic company like Dart.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
At Dart we have spent the past 7 years figuring out the best way to deliver music at a private event. These events have different demands than club shows or festivals and we wanted to be truly meet the needs of these guests. I think our customer service and keen attention to aesthetic detail is what has helped build Dart into the company that it is today. In terms of lessons learned, one of the main things is to not overcommit. Deliver on the services you know you can execute at a high level. Staying true to this has kept our company top of mind to the highest level planners and coordinators in our industry.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I would definitely start at Che Jay in Santa Monica (if you can actually go anywhere in this hypothetical moment in time). Bloody Mary’s and eggs. From there I would go to Malibu, walk along the beach near the Bel Air Bay Club. Have lunch at The Reel Inn and drive back to downtown to connect with other parts of LA. I would go to KazuNori for dinner and get a quick drink at Otium. The rest of the week I would hit some of the more iconic parts of Los Angeles and even drive up to Alta Dena to go on a couple nice hikes.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Michael David deserves all the credit in the world here. It is literally impossible to find people you not only are friendly with but who push you creatively. Michael and I have a perfect work flow that is truly the reason we have been successful. He is level headed, creative and always available to push even crazy ideas to their logical end. I would also shout out Gigi Kalika who’s wedding first gave me the seed of this idea. Additionally, Gigi let Michael and myself pester her with questions about the wedding world (she worked at C Magazine at the time) and designed our original logo. I have always owed Gigi a debt though as I borrowed about $100 from her over the course of 4 years in High School (I always wanted to eat the school lunch instead of my packed lunch)