Entering our third year with full steam

I am pleased to announce that Jonny Stax Presents, Inc. has turned two years old. Only an estimated 66-70% of small businesses survive two years. Half make it to year four. One hurdle down, and we’re ready to jump the next.

When we began the company on April 20, 2010, I was frustrated to learn that most lenders (and what few grant opportunities there are out there for small businesses) would not work with a company that had less than two years under their belt. Now I know why. Look, I went into the start-up phase with good thinking and great planning. However, it was based on a slew of assumptions that had to be proved or disproved in order to settle on the business plan that would work within the reality that the company exists.

We have that model now, and I am very confident and inspired by its shape and chances for success. We have the right core team to make it happen (minus one member for which we are currently looking). Calidonia Olivares is a fantastic artist and entertainer and has the right experience and mind for being a kick-ass business manager. Sylvain Bosquet has a great communications and marketing mind and is a blessing to us as a full-time, year-long intern from France. We continue to have great part-time, short-term interns that do much more than interns typically do. And, of course, I am forever inspired by Scott Bradley’s talents, dedication, and brilliance as our creative producer.

Our business model in a nutshell: Jonny Stax Presents, Inc. is a Chicago-based company of artistic entrepreneurs that produces creative ventures and manages creative services and consultancy.

Our creative services and consultancy grow out of the fact that many people could use the talents, experience, and networks we have amassed over the years. So, we provide them access. We tailor entertainment for their private functions, help them plan and implement their marketing and communications strategies, and guide them through strategic planning processes. Basically, if you are trying to accomplish something and want to tap minds that are freed by creativity but grounded in productivity, and we know enough about what you are trying to accomplish, we can help.

We produce creative ventures that have something positive to offer and are unique, compelling, and commercially viable. Our premiere production is The Scooty and JoJo Show. We have had great success with such beautiful mash-ups as The Carpenters music with the movie Halloween, the John Hughes-Molly Ringwold trilogy, and the music of Queen with the Alien movies. We are now in the process of securing all the necessary rights to grow these products. This takes us into two totally new areas of knowledge attainment and business experience: 1) the legal and contractual steps necessary to secure rights and 2) establishing relationships with major producers to produce these shows at the scale they deserve. In fact, join us for our GoGo Legit fundraiser on June 1.

We have a perpetual open door invitation to artists with entrepreneurial spirits that would like some help getting their ideas off the ground. June 1 will see the debut of a new 35-person (and growing) choir that is our most recent creative venture. A project of Jonny Stax and Nicholas Davio, this choir will introduce new music to the world, provide a balance of musicality and accessiblity that will make it highly compelling, and be a profitable venture. We are excited to see it grow.

The creative venture we are producing this year that will demand the majority of our attention is Chicago Lab and Urban Retreat. This will be a citywide campus where arts creators and their neighborhood partners can share ideas, generate new works, and create cultural alliances within their home neighborhoods. This project grew out of a few realities:

  1. We have envisioned a rural lab and retreat space for quite some time. Starting in an urban setting like Chicago give us access to resources, serves a real need for Chicagoans, and can be a great balance for city and country creation;
  2. The creation process for new works of art requires elements that are hard to come by for the average artist, and many artists spend more time gathering the elements than actually creating art; and
  3. There is a wealth of partners that exist in each neighborhood throughout Chicago that have access to the elements necessary to support the creation process and would love to share those elements and build alliances with local artists.

Our first resident artist, Lacy Campbell [LINK], is making the first presentation of her new wordless puppet piece this weekend. We couldn’t be more thrilled to be a part of her process. For those in Chicago, we hope you can join us and give her your thoughts, feedback, and encouragement.

Some of you we have met in the last two years of doing business. Some of you we met when we moved to Chicago or one of the other great cities in which we have lived. Some of you have been with us since we were little children stirring up trouble. It takes all of you to shape us into the people we are today to jump the hurdles ahead. Thank you, and here is to two more years!