One of the great things about working with local businesses is getting the opportunity to learn about the interesting stories of their origin. In the case of the American Small Business, a vital institution that is cherished by so many, it isn’t uncommon for such a story to be every bit as much of a personal tale of the Founder, how he or she arrived here, and even what they had to go through in order to win! Irene Vaksberg first became aware of her natural talent for hairdressing at the young age of 16, and at the age of just 18 she moved to Los Angeles to pursue her dream of owning a salon. Now, 36-years later, Irene is still doing what she loves, where clients are still receiving her personal touch. Sounds like your standard, celebrated “started hot, and never looked back” type of business success story, right? Well, it’s much more compelling than that.
There were early challenges, such as raising a daughter as a single mother while starting her business. There were twists and turns - and even collisions - such as the automobile accident that left her in chronic pain, with sympathetic nerve damage, anxiety and depression. And there was triumph over adversity, because just like so many great success stories, it is in the face of such a serious challenge that a person like Irene chooses not buckle...and this resolve ends-up separating her from her competition. “Hair has always been my passion, and I love what I do. Hair is who we are, and how we feel about ourselves,” says Irene. “But when I found myself in pain, and doubt, and with the need of rebuilding my business after the accident, I wasn’t sure I would be able to do it.”
It was at this point that a friend of hers introduced her to wearable neuro-technology (affiliate link) and products engineered to create homeostasis in the brain, which not only relieved her pain and empowered her to rebuild her business, but it gave her the idea to make this transformative technology a part of her business. That’s correct, you can Vaksberg Salon to demo the products for yourself. “So now, I have two passions,” Irene continues. “Beauty, and Neurotechnology!”
So you see, she’s not just accomplished, warm, genuine, and hands-on with her Clients. Irene Vaksberg is also quite funny. However, a closer look inside her little quip above reveals the most interesting part of the Vaksberg Salon Story, her story, and, yes, this story: The challenges inherent to being a young, single mother building a business for yourself and your child (“and grandchildren,” she made certain to add) are one thing. But the trial brought into one’s life by a serious, nearly catastrophic accident, combined with the tribulations of an elongated recovery (before she found the neuro-technology products, she trembled, visibly), are another altogether.
Such experiences have ever-been touted as the fertile soil that grows tremendous character, and tremendous gratitude.
Sharing time with Irene Vaksberg is an exercise in seeing - with crystal clarity - just exactly how grateful she is; to still be here; to have a healthy body and business; for the friends and family who were there when she needed them; for her business partners; for her faith, which was tested by this life; and most of all, for her Customers and Clients. One is left believing that the reason the people keep coming back to Vaksberg Salon in Mid-City, is because they leave with a sense of Gratitude within themselves. We certainly did.
By Patrick Pitre
One of the great things about working with local businesses in Greater Los Angeles, is having the opportunity to learn about the compelling stories of their origin. In the case of the American Small Business, a vital institution that is cherished by so many, it isn’t uncommon for such a story to be every bit as much of a personal tale of the founder, how he or she arrived here, and even what they had to go through in order to become the success they are today. For Jeff Haas, Founder & President of Haas Entertainment, the story is about passion; one that began with a love for hi-fidelity audio as a teenager: Jeff set-up shop in his mother’s garage in Ladera Heights, California, installing high-end car stereo systems. The year was 1978, and years of success would follow. Yet even the multiplying business activities and responsibilities associated with the growth of an already thriving company, were no distraction from the changes Jeff was observing in the global electronics marketplace. Like the wise entrepreneurs of his time, and before, Jeff looked at his core competencies as a company, and identified keen alignments with a Home Theater marketplace poised for booming growth.
“I started-out because of my love of cars and audio,” he says with a nostalgic warmth. “Over the years, expanding into new areas of business has been a simple matter of staying connected and educated on industry trends,” he continues. “So, Car Stereos grew into Audio/Visual Systems for friends that owned restaurants, and then to integrated, high-end Theater Systems to upscale homes.” Indeed, Haas Entertainment counts among their loyal customers an elite, Hollywood clientele, The types of folks who require signed non-disclosure agreements prior to an installation. “With such an audience, you can imagine how we responsively expanded into Light & Shading Technologies, and even Automation within the Smart Home space,” Mr. Haas continues. “Heck, Automation is becoming even bigger than Home Theater these days,” he concludes.
Sales Executive Chris Quilisch-Rock provides additional insight into how Haas Entertainment’s close relationships with their clientele lead to the addition of new technology-offerings: “Some of my favorite clients are the celebrities,” he states. “I mean, we go into their homes, and they’ll have an armed security force and what have-you, and we’ll set-up surveillance cameras that tie-into Artificial Intelligence to provide data analytics, and even facial recognition software of who visits.” That isn’t to say that Jeff, Chris and the team ever lose sight of the original passion, that put them on the map: Audio. Chris continues: “We have a hip-hop artist client who’s extremely successful and popular. We’re doing his home audio system, and he loves what we’re doing, and how the system performs, and the way it sounds…and this is a guy whose business is professional entertainment!”
Garnering rave reviews and attaining the highest levels of trust from customers who might spend, say $100,000 on a Home Theater System isn’t easy, however. So how do they do it?
The answer to that question, is possibly the most compelling and impressive thing about Haas Entertainment: Through a genuinely progressive company culture that promotes high levels of collaboration, transparency, and visibility among all members of the team; so that all are intimately familiar with customer and project requirements. “Every talented person here needs to be able to understand what everyone else is doing, and why, at the very least,” Mr. Quilisch-Rock says, in closing. “That’s why you don’t see a formal title on my business card. None of us really have them, because we all have to be able to guarantee the highest levels of service and responsiveness to our clients, at all times. And we do this through a shared passion for expertise, and a shared commitment to our culture.”
Expertise. Collaboration. Commitment. Passion. Refreshing business values in our day and age. With any luck, it will one-day this writer who’s inviting them to my home. No NDA will be necessary, Jeff & Chris!
By Patrick Pitre
Swift Chip: Optimizing Managed IT Services, Cybersecurity, Technology & Computers to help Los Angeles Companies Grow Their Profits
“Anyone talking to Business Owners these days knows how prevalent Data Security is in the discussions they’re having.” Michael Paul, Chief Operations Officer of Swift Chip wastes no time in getting started. “‘How do I protect my Data - and our Client Data - in today’s environment?’ is the question they’re asking us,” Mr. Paul continues. “Our team has the answers.”
Cyber Security is just one emerging business area for this Culver City-based Technology Consulting & Services company...but it’s the newest, and it has already become critical to their clients. “One of my partners is a ‘Certified Ethical Hacker’ who brings great expertise in assessing vulnerabilities within the customer technology ecosphere...which is something we already manage for over 400 companies in Los Angeles and Ventura counties right now,” Mr. Paul adds. “We see nothing but more continued, steady growth of client needs in this area over the next 5-10 years, and we are proud to be in a position to be responsive to that call. “Cyber-Security is a natural and powerful extension of the core technology deliverables Swift Chip has developed and deployed for over 10-years now.”
Those core deliverables have been: Managed IT Services, Voice-Over-Internet-Protocol (VOIP) Services, Telecom Services, Computer Services and Cloud Services. “Our tagline - ‘We take the SH out of IT’ - is still supremely relevant,” Mr. Paul says with a chuckle. Swift Chip’s clientele includes Law Firms, Wealth Management Firms, Entertainment Companies, and even Technology Companies (many of whom outsource all of their daily and weekly IT requirements) to Mr. Paul and his Team. “We’ve got over 50-years of combined experience consulting and advising on all of our customers technology needs; from Customer Record Management (CRM) Software Selection & Implementation, to Website Design and Search Engine Optimization (SEO); from Cloud Based Data Storage & Management Solutions; to Computers, Servers and Hardware...and more,” he continues. “Take for example, the case of local companies who tell us that their aging technology infrastructure is a reliability-concern, or that they’re planning to move to a new office location in the near future. Some of them may want to take this opportunity to start-over from scratch.”
And when your Managed IT Services & Technology Consulting company has successfully provided service and solutions to more than 1,000 companies in Los Angeles and Ventura counties over the last decade, you’ve got the knowledge-base and proficiencies to commence high, mid-level and even lower level technology consulting engagements to solve almost every imaginable tech problem.
Closing this discussion with the same authority and pace with which it began...may not have been Michael Paul’s intent at the onset of this interview...but it’s exactly what happened in the company of this writer when he delivered the gist of Swift Chip’s value to the LA technology marketplace. “We approach our clients focused on one central mission: To help them leverage their existing technology investments, while adding new technologies where necessary, so that their optimized environment will be a multiplier of the things they’re doing well today. The things that are challenges or vulnerabilities reveal themselves through our engagement.
And if we are allowed to help , they’ll grow their business...and their profits.”
Visit Swiftchip online:
One of the great things about working with local businesses is getting the opportunity to learn about the interesting stories of their origin. In the case of the American Small Business, a vital institution that is cherished by so many, it isn’t uncommon for such a story to be every bit as much of a profile of the owner and/or founder who is making their-own way to be the most competitive in the marketplace. In the case of this profile, Malene Blaedel’s expertise in the Marketing specialty of Content Strategy & Copywriting is paralleled only by her passion for people, and for genuinely connecting with them.
“What we do at Blaedel Studios, is help Brands tell their story and deliver their message; to the right people, at the right time. We utilize Marketing strategies to connect the dots between what you want to say and what your audience wants to hear.” A younger company, Blaedel Studios is already in high demand, and they have plans to be growing in staff in order to keep up with the needs of her growing clientele. Possibly the most compelling and impressive thing to note here, is Malene’s assertion that her European heritage (she’s Scandanavian) is one of the primary contributing factors. “In Scandinavia, there’s a very strong sense of order, and people stay in their roles,” Malene explains. “They’ll wait for the light to turn green, even if there’s nobody around! I think there’s an honest, diligent professionalism that I bring to Los Angeles - and the Marketing/Advertising world - which is a byproduct of my upbringing.”
As very few of us (who would read a piece like this) are rookies in the Advertising Agency or Digital Marketing space, we know that the only way Brand Owners and Managers are going to engage, consult and collaborate with on such a high level is if they believe-in the relationship they are creating. Sustained relationships are the key to Malene’s business strategy. Los Angeles is a city teeming with activity in this space, and this writer has heard claims of market-saturation more than once (which makes Blaedel Studios early-yet-sustained success on behalf of their Clients and their Brands, truly amazing), so there’s a barrier-to-entry to be dealt-with here. Smart business people understand that gaining traction from zero in highly collaborative relationships with their clients... is much less than optimal for business. ”I like to get to know my clients, and learn what they’re all about,” she states. “And I have also found that it’s a special bonus for me to work for people that I like!”
But building and retaining lasting clients takes more than even Malene’s dedication to her engagements. It takes something special. So what’s her secret recipe for success?
“I’m all about personality,” Malene says, smiling. “I think that Brands need to be brave and show their personality, without being afraid of not pleasing everyone.” In today’s nearly hypersensitive culture, such an attitude of support and brand-validation...sounds like a tonic.
This writer and interviewer can see why, at Blaedel Studios, the recipe is the right one.
Amid the hustle and bustle of Hollywood, it can often be easy to overlook Los Angeles as a whole when it comes to the arts. With the latest information on box office booms and bombs, the largest artists in the world hitting the stage every weekend, we can miss the forest for the trees. This is where smaller events that evoke a sense of nostalgia can be great palate cleansers and the LA County Fair has been quickly becoming that option.
With the biggest stars of yesterday hitting the stage at different times throughout the venue, you have the ability to check out MC Hammer perform on the same stage as Biz Markie and Coolio. Hip-hop heads of the area will have more than their fill of some of the biggest names in the game over the last few decades, while also taking in the various other sources of entertainment the event provides. Giving you more than enough options when it comes to your musical fill while leaving room for other festivities as you peruse the days long showcase of fun.
One of the major benefits when it comes to a musical line-up such as this one is the fact that a majority of the acts are rather family-friendly, despite being in a genre of music that can generally be considered touch and go to most parents. With a variety of music styles and the danceability of specific artists, it can be a great time for the entire family as you can bring the little ones without fear of boredom or exposure to lyrics or subject matter you’re not comfortable with, making it an even better option for everyone involved.
Something to appreciate when it comes to events of this type is the capability to see to a number of entertainment desires in one outing. From rides to food, music to games, the LA County Fair provides a variety of options in order to ensure that everyone in your party is having a great time. From those who have lived in the LA area for their entire lives, to those making the trip into the city in order to experience some of the fun they hear about, it’s a time that can be used for celebration and a family outing alike.
Whether you’re a long-time fan of the groups performing or are just looking to see what all your friends are excited about, taking the opportunity to get out to the fair is a throwback to the times we had growing up. Listening to music we grew up with brings out that sense of nostalgia and the capability to share both with friends and loved ones can be an experience unlike any other. Whether you’re from the LA area or making your way into town, you can be sure that the fair will be something that provides memories to carry with you forever.
Attempting to adapt to new laws can be troublesome for just about everyone involved, but when it comes to operating a business, it can be a severe financial investment to discover the latest workaround to implemented legalities. We saw this in its true form for the first time back when prohibition was introduced, not only changing the landscape of restaurants and bars across the country but also giving rise to the thousands of speakeasies which began cropping up in every state in the US.
Now, as marijuana faces legalization across the country, with more than half of the states currently lifting the illegal nature of this drug, new ways are being discovered to provide consumers across the country with the means to obtain it as they see fit. When it comes to marijuana specifically, one of the most often utilized means of use is that of consumption. Whether this is THC infused foods, edibles or drinks, it can be difficult not only to obtain the items but also to be able to serve them to the public in a way that fits their needs and the requirements of the law.
These are the problems that were faced by Lowell Farms, a local eatery looking to combine the cannabis market with food service. Finding the means to operate their business while adhering to the variety of requirements in place wasn’t an easy task and eventually came to a point where they realize they would have to split the business into four separate entities in order to provide the singular service they were looking to deliver. With two sections dedicated to cannabis consumption, and whether to food and yet another is an exterior café.
This level of dedication to getting the property opened that they had envisioned is one that demonstrates the current unprepared state of the Los Angeles area when it comes to providing a multitude of services in one location. There is a stark difference between alcohol consumption and marijuana consumption, as one can be enjoyed relatively on your own whereas the other is typically smoked, which of course has been an action in public that has been slowly deregulated over the last couple decades, creating its own share of problems when it comes to legalizing the public consumption of marijuana and its products.
You have to give it up to the level of ingenuity put into place on the part of the owners, finding a way to work with the city in order to both accommodate their desire to open a restaurant with its own personality and niche as well as conforming to the necessary regulations that are in place as we begin to develop our relationship with the legality of cannabis in the Los Angeles area. It may be worth going to check out the restaurant for yourself, even if you don’t partake in this particular drug, just to congratulate them on their fortitude.
Being buried alive is one of the top three fears experienced by individuals across the country, which makes it all the more confusing as to why individuals would choose to live that experience voluntarily. Ahead of the Halloween season though, this was the challenge put forward by Six Flags Magic Mountain, challenging brave individuals across the Los Angeles area to spend more than an entire day encapsulated within a coffin, only to come out for bathroom breaks and various challenges used to eliminate contestants.
This wasn’t just an event for the fun of it though, as contestants were competing for a variety of different prizes. A suitable cash prize of $666, a gold pasta Six Flags Magic Mountain and other winnings were on the table, prompting the participation of a variety of individuals in this otherwise unthinkable situation. We can just imagine not only the level of fear that individuals experienced while spending time entombed but also the level of boredom that must’ve been experienced spending over an entire day locked in one location barely larger than yourself with no means of escape without forfeiting.
Competitions such as these not only allow you to put a competitive nature to the test but also provides you with the capability to face any such fears you have when it comes to situations of this nature. Being faced not only with the thought of being trapped within a small space but also the amount of time that you can spend within your own head when there’s nothing else to do. Being able to overcome this situation and to enforce your own sense of will in order to make it through is something that can’t be underestimated even on a competitive stage.
This is all not to even mention the lack of spectator ship that an event of this nature provides, with the exception of the various elimination challenges carried out throughout the day, which can make it difficult not only for those who are hosting the event but especially for those who are taking part in it. Of course, the incentive that comes with not only winning a challenge but also the various prizes that are on offer can be a great motivator to see past not only your own fears but your own predications where activities of this nature are concerned.
For those who managed to sum up the courage to face their fears, those who pushed boredom to the back of their minds in order to win and of course those who managed to get through the entire 30 hours without dying of boredom, we have nothing but congratulations and look forward to seeing a whole host of additional individuals taking part in next year’s version of the event. It’s a great way to drum up interest and intrigue in the Six Flags Magic Mountain venue as well as putting on a show that others can enjoy as well.
They say that no publicity is bad publicity and in today’s marketplace of businesses attempting to get attention by any means necessary, we are seeing more and more companies willing to cross the line between marketing and bad taste in order to get a rise out of anyone who bears witness to their tactics. The most recent company to follow suit with this approach is apparently Twitter, raising concerns from both residents and city council members in Los Angeles and San Francisco alike in their recent move.
The Banksy style approach, used to spray paint their advertisements across various buildings, infrastructure and other such locations, have skirted the line from marketing into pure vandalism. With quotes taken from their platform, carefully re-created on public property and made to look as though they’ve been integrated in that location for a period of time, the idea itself needed to be called into question long before it was ever put into place. This not only sends an incorrect message when it comes to advertising but also as acceptable behavior for the billions of members who take part on their platform.
The biggest concern that this raises when looking at it from an outside perspective is the disparity in punishment that large-scale corporations such as Twitter face versus those of everyday citizens. Being slapped with a fine of a few thousand dollars can be detrimental to normal individuals who carry out the act of graffiti, yet when these approaches are carried out by large businesses, it’s barely beyond pocket change. This imbalance in approach makes it seem as though the only risk that these companies face is potential negative press, which is only served as a benefit over the last few years.
We are continually seeing companies of all types take bigger and larger risks in their advertising approaches, sometimes depending on a negative reaction in order to boost viewership and interaction between the companies and those who may not be engaged in their product. The level of punishment that companies face is relatively low, leading to a lack of true consequences for their actions. Ultimately, it’s an almost fruitless effort to even try and implement a deterrent in order to keep any type of fear in place when it comes to stepping over the boundaries of the legality in favor of visibility.
This not only affects individuals across the San Francisco and Los Angeles area when it comes to having their buildings defaced or having a criminal action carried out with no worry of consequence but also demonstrates a lack of care for our surroundings, by so brazenly defacing property for simple Internet points. We should make more of an effort to ensure that these guerrilla tactics are not only unsuccessful but also serve as a detriment to the companies who choose to bring this type of approach to their advertising, regardless of the impact it makes on individuals or the cities themselves.
There are few things viewed as time-honored traditions that are related to door-to-door sales. Yet, the annual arrival of the local chapter of Girl Scouts brings a sense of familiarity and can be the doom of your diet planning. As their visitation periods have become more prevalent over the last few decades, the expansion of production of their famous Girl Scout cookies and the level of accessibility that online marketing provides, we prepare for Girl Scouts the same as we do for trick or treaters.
It has been recently discovered though, that upwards of 3 million boxes of Girl Scout cookies will be arriving in Los Angeles over the course of the weekend, giving our young uniformed ladies a lot of product to push. This means that you can look forward to seeing their stations set up outside of retail outlets, on street corners, at events and of course, through their standard door-to-door practice. For those who look forward to the arrival of Girl Scout season, this can be fantastic news and others may want to hide their wallet just in case.
The advent of door-to-door cookie sales has been one of the cornerstones of the Girl Scouts and has come to such a synonymous relationship that we begin to look forward to their visitation each year. For those who have been considering enrolling their young women in the Girl Scouts, this provides a capability to interact with members of the community, to get experience not only in sales but also in public engagement and of course the sense of self-satisfaction that comes with being able to successfully move your product to a variety of individuals across the LA community.
If you are one of millions of individuals across the country who look forward to the arrival of Girl Scout season, being prepared for the high level of visibility that you’ll likely experience as well as having the necessary cash on hand for when you hear the knock on the door can be productive. With such an influx of Girl Scout cookies making their way into the Los Angeles area, you can be sure that at one point or another you will have interaction with these young saleswomen and depending on your level of self-control, you can find yourself as one of their best customers.
We look forward to seeing our local young women out there, not only partaking in an aspect of their enrollment that they seem to enjoy but also having the capability to effectively interact with all members of the Los Angeles community. If you see your local Girl Scouts making their way up your driveway, you have the option of either opening your wallet or keeping the door closed and whichever you choose, hopefully it’s not a decision you come to regret. For the Girl Scouts about to make their journey into the neighborhood, we hope you are wearing comfortable shoes.
One of the biggest accomplishments a film composer can hope for is the instant recognition that comes with fans of movies. This level of appreciation has only seemed to grow over the last number of years as film soundtracks have become widely used formats for classical music events across the country. From Star Wars to Jaws, there are iconic pieces of music that have been composed for the silver screen that individuals across the world have come to recognize and appreciate and wish to witness firsthand.
One such masterpiece of musical composition is not of Jurassic Park. Another of the timeless series of music from the mind of John Williams, one of the most prolific movie composers of all time. For those looking to experience the soundtrack that we’ve carried with us throughout our lives in person, the Los Angeles area is playing host to a number of performances highlighting some of the most iconic pieces of music to be released film. Performed by an all-star cast of classical musicians, it’s an event that’s definitely worth seeing for fans of Jurassic Park as well as music aficionados of all types.
One of the biggest benefits that comes with partaking in a concert of this type is the ability for both adults and children to enjoy the show. Adults will be able to marvel at the technical prowess of musical composition whereas children will instantly recognize the music associated with a film that they’ve come to appreciate. Not to mention the capability to spend time with other members of the community who also share your passions when it comes to music and theater, giving you a common ground with the hundreds of other individuals there alongside you.
Whether you’re a long-time resident in the Los Angeles area or a visitor coming into appreciate the show, having the capability to experience live music of this caliber is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that just about anybody can enjoy. Though Hollywood and the silver screen may tend to get more attention in the area or to be a higher draw for those coming into the Los Angeles region, the music associated with the films that we love are just as iconic and just as much of a reason to make the trip into the LA area in order to experience it in person.
Whether you’re a fan of movies or theater or combination of the two, having the capability to experience the two of them melded together in a series of performances delivered by individuals who truly have passion is an experience unlike any other. If you’re looking for the full experience, providing you with both visual and auditory excitement, taking the time to look into performances of this nature will open your eyes to a whole new way to enjoy what you love. Whether a fan of classical music or not, the works of John Williams are timeless and ones that anyone can appreciate.