An interview with Jazmine Gonzalez, owner of Loft 21 in Lincolnshire.
Q: Tell us a little bit about the Loft 21.
A: It's a Chicago urban loft venue in the North suburbs with a distinct blend of industrial and ultramodern design. The event space offers the latest in audio visual & lighting design. With the ability to make mechanical walls move by the push of a button, you can create a personalized layout and have your guests experience a grand reveal. The exposed brick wall, four terraces, private parking, nature preserve with walking trails and four ceiling trapdoors for dramatic entrances are all unique elements in the design of Loft 21 and are sure to elevate your imagination.
Q: What type of events do you host?
A: Weddings, bar/bat mitzvahs, charity galas, social & corporate events.
Q: Tell us about your original business, h.y.p.e. Productions.
A: I started h.y.p.e. productions 21 years ago. It stands for how you prefer entertainment. I wanted to create an entertainment production company where the client has control to create a package that fits them. They can choose from DJ's, bands, dancers, game shows, photo stations, team building activities and so much more. We love working with clients to help them figure out what their personal stamp is and design entertainment that will be memorable for their guests.
Q: How did you get into the industry?
A: I started working for a DJ company handing out party favors at parties. Then I quickly climbed the ladder to head dance, MC, choreographer and then doing sales. All of this was while I was going to college to be a news anchor. After re-evaluating and the encouragement from several event planners, I switched gears and started h.y.p.e. productions.
Q: Loft 21 used to be cubby bear north. Tell us about the renovation.
A: It was a difficult process to take an older building and not only cosmetically change it but completely transform it from the inside out. New everything. Electric, HVAC, plumbing, roof, flooring, walls, absolutely everything. It is a great location but needed a new life. Amazing hotels, restaurants and entertainment along with the closeness to the airport, I knew this was the perfect spot to create a new event space. We are proud to be a part of a great city like Lincolnshire. They have been very helpful in the transition.
Q: What are people in your industry taking about? What's trending?
A: People want control in their creativity. They want to pick their own menu, bar, layout, lighting and visual design. Loft 21 allows them to be as hands on or off with the planning of the guest experience. Clients are not looking for the same old thing, they are hungry for something new and exciting. With today's technology, people get bored easily and our goal is to always keep them excited about what is next.
Q: Tell us a little about yourself. What is your past experience in the industry?
A: I grew up in a small town called Sauk Village. We didn't have much and I watched my parents work hard for everything we did have. Their work ethic created a solid base for me to learn from. I have played softball and volleyball since I was 6 years old and learned from my coach, Don, to be fearless. Between the 3 of them, I learned that failure is not an option and to set my goals high and never stop til I succeed. The entertainment production world is a male dominated industry. When I was told "a girl will never succeed at this," well that just pushed my competitive nature even more.
Q: Tell us one interesting fact about the business that most people may not know.
A: Most people don't realize that loft 21 and h.y.p.e. are two separate businesses. While I do own both companies, they are different. We don't want clients to ever feel handcuffed in choosing one or the other or even both. People want freedom to design a customized creation, both companies give them that on their own terms and budget.
Q: Two people we should follow on Twitter and why?
A: Simon Sinek because his thought process is inspiring and will push you to be your absolute best. Neen James. She is brilliant with people skills and much needed life lessons. Our world needs to be reminded of the simple things.
Q: What is one question I forgot to ask?
A: What are your future goals? My goal is to continue to grow loft 21 and h.y.p.e. productions to be companies that create an opportunity for employees to prosper by sharing their passion for the event industry with clients.
My goal is to continue to teach my daughters, Aubriana (8) and Alexia (6), that they can have it all. They can be a wife, mom, entrepreneur, athlete and never stop working hard to reach their goals. Be leaders.