A few weeks ago we teamed up with the founders of Toasted Life for the inaugural feature in Blavity’s #DoYou Campaign, a series of videos and stories featuring “who’s who” of influencers and creators across the country. Check it out!
Based out of the Bay Area and founded in 2013, Warren and Matt started with vision to connect and provide exposure for this growing community through parties and events. Their goal is to create a lifestyle brand that serves as an escape for the hard working individuals that attend their social gatherings.They are working to create a support system that encourages entrepreneurshi
Where are you guys from?
Warren: Somerset, New Jersey
Matt: Cleveland, Ohio
Both of you went to Morehouse. How has that shaped you and your approach to what you’re building?
Morehouse is all about brotherhood and being your brothers keeper, which essentially means to look out for one another. Toasted Life is an extension of that mentality, helping those around us to connect, create, and do dope shit.
Tell us about how Toasted got started.
Toasted was created out of necessity mainly. Both of us moved to the bay within a few months of each other and immediately recognized that there wasn’t a go-to spot for young diverse professionals to consistently vibe out and feel welcomed in the party scene. We heard complaints from fellow peers that there weren’t enough people that looked like them or that a lot of these venues weren’t playing the right music. Not only were folks in our network thinking this, but so were we. So we decided to fix the problem and create a vibe that would be culturally diverse, authentic, and true to us.
There are hundreds of event companies, and even more promoters. How do you separate yourselves?
We created Toasted by challenging norms. Everyone was doing night parties so we went day party. Several other brands felt exclusive and we focused our parties around being inclusive and open. We took what we disliked from the game and made it the focus of our business. We are not party promoters, we curate our own events and focus on providing a great experience. We don’t do this for money, we do it for the smiles and love from our people. #Toasttothat
When did you know that Toasted could be viable as a business?
The fact that so many of our friends and colleagues supported us right out the gate was huge, but it wasn’t until a few events later that we realized we could really run with this if we do it the right way.. our way. Now we are just applying our own creativity along with the things we learn from our day jobs to take things higher and make things better.
Many people go into business with their friends, and it ends up getting messy. Do you have any tips on managing friendships and business?
It’s really about respecting and valuing what each person brings to the table. Understanding that you are very good at at least one thing and your partner(s) is very good at something also, and allowing the difference in skills to work in unison. That Yin & Yang -ish. Where one of us falls short the other one steps in.
Once you’ve identified each others hustle and expertise, then with time and patience, you can focus on best ways to communicate effectively, being transparent, honest, and most importantly leaving egos outside. No team/business is going anywhere with egos taking up all the room. #word
What makes a great event?
No drama LOL. Unfortunately there is always a level of drama behind the scenes at least, but the main success is identified when attendees don’t experience any and are able to fully enjoy themselves. Executing this aspect is highest priority more than anything. Definitely not easy.
There is also a lot that goes into the preparation for an event. [Tweet “We are meticulous when it comes to curating the right feel around the moment.”]
Depending on what or who we’re toasting to, whether its a birthday, a promotion, graduation, or whatever; that process is heavily thought out, along with finding the right venue, brainstorming around the design and promotion strategy.
Other aspects that add to success are making sure our DJ’s are taken care of, as well as making sure we’re on the same page as the venue managers and staff. It’s a bonus when the images or video we’ve captured during the process tells the story we want to be portrayed. Sometimes that aspect is a hit or miss to be honest. Overall, you get out what you put into it.. and we put a lot of care into what we do, so we expect great results and try to keep building.
The problem with a lot of us is how busy we are, so we tend to overcommit. How have you kept your attendance up at your events?
The thing about us is that we genuinely care and try to establish relationships with the people who attend our events. We want to know what you are up to and what’s going well in your life. It’s the personable and hospitable qualities that go unspoken at times and we think that definitely helps even when things seem out of our control. We don’t want to be intrusive in people’s lives so just treating our guest as people and not numbers goes a long way.
Any brands and people you are looking to work with in the future?
[Tweet “Collaboration is in our DNA.”] We are always looking to work with talented people, groups, and brands, but it’s all about timing and knowing when to say yes or no. We have a few in mind and when those experiences or opportunities unfold, hopefully you guys will be right there engulfed in the dopeness as well.
If anyone reading is looking to connect and/or collab, hit us up. Lets figure out ways to make something special for you, us, and them. #realtalk
What’s next for Toasted Life?
Honestly at times we don’t even know. Of course we have a vision and checklists on our board, but we are truly just in growth mode. Outside of more community outreach/engagement we are focused on pushing forward, trying new things, meeting new peeps, and having fun with this thang.
#Toasted is the motto and a Toasted Life is what we live. Peace!
Stay up to date with the #Toasted movement! Follow them on Instagram