In My Business: Stacey Wilson Squares Up with Parties, Art and Design!


By: Young H

The popular adage “Find a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life” rings more than true for 33-year-old Philadelphia entrepreneur and Jill-of-many-trades Stacey Wilson. As co-founder of the event planning company Squarebiz, she is widely known as one of the city’s premier party promoters, and is also a graphic designer and a budding visual artist to boot.

With a creative spirit and ambition that sets few limits on her achievements, it is rather evident why she was chosen as one of Philly 360’s ten Creative Ambassadors in 2009. Stacey is a true inspiration to anyone hustling to make their own mark in this world. She took a few moments to talk with about her passions, and let us peek into her unique career path.

Tell us a little about your job and side hustles. What do your day-to-day duties involve?

Stacey Wilson: Well, I’m not quite sure what my main job is really. My day consists of juggling: art, graphic design, event planning, promoting, marketing and finding more opportunities on top of holding down home and enjoying my life. I have no set day-to-day schedule, I just like to be up fairly early to get a start on my day to make some things happen! There is a great feeling to get up and wonder what you’re about to create, and because I have a few job titles there are a ton of opportunities at my feet. I love that.

How many jobs did you take on before you got into your current career?

SW: I’ve always worked within the hospitality/nightlife industry. In 1995 I went to Hussian school of art for graphic design. I had been working for the Bynum brothers at their jazz venue named Zanzibar Blue. I was also designing fliers for the local promoters at that time. From there, the Bynum’s opened a nightclub called Brave New World and i was asked to be the manager.

This is where I began to plan events for the club in addition to being their sole designer. Once I left there in 2000, I created Squarebiz with Questlove [of The Roots]and [producer/songwriter] Yameen Allworld.

With Tastytreats you have one of Philadelphia’s longest running and most recognized weekly Hip Hop parties. How did you get your start throwing parties and what do you believe has been the key to your longevity?

SW: Throwing parties was a natural progression for me considering the background I had with managing and marketing. Questlove, Yameen and myself were a tight crew back then. We hung out every night together, hopping from one venue to another only to realize a void in the nightlife scene at the time.

From there we created Tastytreats, our weekly party at Fluid (613 South 4th Street) every Saturday night since 2001. This year we’re celebrating our nine-year anniversary by having a multitude of DJ’s spin with us all year, to lead up to the 10th anniversary.

The key to our longevity is being consistent. In 10 years, I have not slowed down on promotions (which is key!), booking special guest DJ’s and having not switched up our format to cave into a trendy scene. We have stayed completely true to what we set out to do nine and a half years ago.

What would you say are key factors in throwing a good party?

SW: A concept, the right venue, attention to detail, and a following. I think there are folks that think it’s really simple to throw a good party. I don’t want to make it seem like rocket science either, but some parties are just more special than others, and it takes a good combination of those things to create a really great night.

What are the best parts about your work?

SW: For me, the best part of my work is that I get to do whatever I want. If I want to throw a party, curate an art exhibit, paint live, whatever – it’s up to me to make it happen and there is really nothing stopping me from any idea I have.

What is the biggest misconception that people on the outside have about your work?

SW: That I’m ballin’ [laughs]. Don’t get me wrong, it’s great money but it is a struggle. I work for myself which means it’s unpredictable. People don’t know about the nights where everyone gets paid but you or when although everyone is having fun at a party or show things may be falling apart behind the scenes.

If you had to choose just one, which of your passions would you say you enjoy the most?

SW: I honestly could not choose. This is a lifelong issue for me, I struggle sometimes with whether I need to pick one thing and focus on that, or if it’s ok to be creative in so many facets that it sometimes all seems like one job. But honestly, I really enjoy everything I do, and there is so much more to do! So I figure I’ll stop when i feel like it. [laughs]

What is your best advice for balancing career and personal time?

SW: I most definitely make time for me, you have to. But I am a workaholic, because I can multitask well, I have no problem cooking me and my boyfriend dinner, with my computer in the kitchen answering emails at the same time. [laughs]My work and personal life are so intertwined that I’m never too far from either one of them.

How do you manage to make time for all of your varying ambitions?

SW: I am a great multitasker! I may paint a painting but I’m knocking out two fliers for clients at the same time. Even though I juggle a few hats right now, that in no way means that there isn’t more to do that I feel I don’t have spare time for. But everything will happen as it should, I have some long term goals that I’m building towards… but in the meantime I’m stretching every creative muscle I have to do anything and everything I want to do.

What words of wisdom would you give to up-and-coming multitalented renaissance people?

SW: Do what you love, and learn how to brand yourself.

You can find out more about Stacey on her site and follow her on Twitter @FlyGirrl

Watch Stacey Wilson’s 2009 Philly 360 Interview:

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