We had the good fortune of connecting with Spags and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Spags, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
Thanks for inquiring. This is a topic that I’m passionate about!
Throughout my experiences, (mainly in business, but can certainly be applied to all aspects of life), risk-taking has played an essential role. I simply look at risk-taking as another expression of “following your gut”. More often than not, taking a risk is perceived as something negative or dangerous, because the short-term outcome can feel like failure, embarrassment, or discomfort. However, if you’re looking to go the distance, taking a risk will always result in a valuable, learned experience, that will move you closer to your goal. It’s a critical action in maintaining perpetual growth and forward momentum.
Saying goodbye to my comfortable lifestyle, many, many years ago, in order to pursue my passion, was ultimately the most important decision of my career. That choice was, without a doubt, perceived as a risk. However, I was fortunate enough to recognize that the real risk lied in NOT making that choice. Looking back, I can see how I was battling between listening to others (advising me to play it safe), and listening to my gut (advising me to take the risk). In the end, your gut is always right. The more you listen, the more you stay on track. Yes, I know…easier said than done ; )
Oddly enough, as I am writing this, I look down at my desk and spot an old fortune (that I saved from a fortune cookie), that reads: “The greatest risk is not taking one.” So, there you have it!
Risks, when executed properly, are not risks at all. They are, simply, making the choice to follow you intuition.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
Developing a business has, unexpectedly, been a wildly creative and fun process for me! My intent was never to own my own business, but like the saying goes, “necessity is the mother of invention”, and that saying rings true for me and my story.
I currently own and operate, Spags Music Entertainment, which is a boutique entertainment agency, that books a carefully curated group of elite entertainers, for corporate events, fundraising events, weddings, and social parties! In its early years, the business was really just me and my violin. But, I would find myself on event after event, wishing things could be done differently…done better. I have found that, in every industry, there can be a tendency for people to “phone it in”, and really do the bare minimum. Maybe it’s my OCD, but I tend to fall on the opposite end of the spectrum, typically going overboard with attention to detail and the desire for things to be the best that they can be. I really started bringing my own team of audio techs, dj’s, musicians, dancers, and cirque performers into the picture, because I wanted to offer a better experience to my clients. That was the sole motivation for expanding this business, and to this day, offering the best experience to my clients, remains my sole motivation.
One of the best lessons that I’ve learned, along the way, is to allow the business to evolve naturally. I have a tendency to be impatient, often wanting to fast-track a process. However, learning to slow down, and allowing things to go their own way, and in their own time, has proven to be a much better approach. In the long run, it connects the dots much more effectively and efficiently. There is a true sense of ease when I take this approach. It’s something that I have to constantly work on!
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 love wandering the streets of the downtown Arts District. This community is full of hidden gems. Exploring the area by foot, and without an agenda, is a must. The Urth Caffe, in the Arts District, is my favorite coffee shop. It has such a warm and inviting atmosphere, and the staff is the best! I also adore Manuela, a really cool restaurant, at the Hauser & Wirth museum, also in the Arts District. It’s an expansive, warehouse style, indoor/outdoor setting, with large hand painted murals, an organic garden, and a cute little chicken coop. It’s a pretty neat place.
The Magic Castle is another gem. Admittance can be a bit tricky, as you have to be on “the list” and adhere to a strict dress code, in order to enter the castle. But if you can figure out how to get in, you won’t regret it! You can’t find many (or any) pictures of the inside, as they have a “no photo” policy, which, in my opinion, is part of the allure! It’s a one of a kind experience, with numerous rooms, from formal theater style, to casual bar setting style, where you can be entertained by some of the best magicians in the business. You just have to experience it for yourself!
If you’re into live music, then the Monday Night Jazz Eclectic at The Sofitel Hotel in Beverly Hills, can’t be beat! This speakeasy style lounge is technically called Riviera 31, and it hosts a super fun, and always spontaneous, night of live music. While the night starts off with a more traditional approach to jazz, the real goods happen later in the evening, when musicians from all over town, start showing up with their instruments and sitting in. By the end of the night, it’s a raucous party, just short of people swinging from the chandeliers!
For daytime activities, hiking at Griffith Park, with a stop at The Trails Cafe is just good for the soul. Take your dog, and they will offer up their highly addictive, cult favorite dog treats! And, of course, there’s truly nothing like the iconic beaches of Malibu. Spend the day, take a surf lesson, wander through the Malibu Country Mart, and cap off the evening with dinner at the celebrity drenched, Nobu!
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
When I trace back my steps, from childhood to present day, there are, without a doubt, many people and experiences that shaped my success.
Looking back at my early years, my parents and grandparents were the obvious first stepping stones in my creative journey. My grandfather was a jazz musician (although I didn’t discover this until well after his passing). He was the first one to get me hooked on a musical instrument. He had this old jazz organ, with the push buttons and the pedals. When I was about 5 or 6 years old, I can remember him teaching me the ragtime blues. I would sit and play for hours. My parents quickly picked up on my musical interests, and had me enrolled in private piano lessons, and private violin lessons, from an early age. They continued to nurture and support my musical interests, all throughout my childhood.
I was extremely lucky to have GREAT music teachers, all along my journey. But if I have to dedicate this Shoutout to one, Mr. Eugene Reichenfeld, hands down, takes the prize. This man was a force. To this day, I have never come across anyone like him. He taught a full roster of students and also ran numerous community orchestras, to which I belonged. He claimed to have been raised in the woods by gypsies, and this man just walked to the beat of his own drum. He ran the most successful music programs in all of Pittsburgh. He was loved by the community. I’ll never forget how he continued to give me private violin lessons, at no cost, after my father passed away (I was just a young girl at the time). He truly believed in me, and I truly felt that. As it turned out, Mr. Rechienfeld continued teaching a full roster of students into his 100’s. Yes, he was 104 when he died, and was teaching up until the end! Talk about inspiring! Down the road, when I choose to retire from the Special Events Industry, I would love to pass along my knowledge and skills to students of my own, in the same way that he did for me.
Ashley Paige Photography