“In retrospect” will hopefully be the start of a life-long project.
I will attempt to write a bit about different periods in my life and the learnings I take with me.
From what I did here in Stockholm before moving to New York, what I did there in different stages, my studies and work since moving back to Sweden.
And eventually “recaps” on future stages in my life, hopefully with new insights that I have found and how I came to find them.
Let’s start from where it starts to matter (to me at least).
It was the late 80′s, I was about 18-19 years old and I was attending Fredrika Bremer Gymnasium in a suburb to Stockholm. A technical education was the only option even though I secretly dreamt of studying at Beckmans, Berghs or Konstfack. I was stuck doing differential equations and drawing up blueprints of mechanical objects.
A friend of mine was throwing parties at different venues in the city and I approached him about doing a few parties with me. We started out with a couple of modest events at Collage (located right behind Riche) before making the move to a weekly event we came to call Ckontrast.
Ckontrast started out in a small basement on Kungsgatan in Stockholm where we brought people in by offering great music and surprise guests with no cover charge. We also spent a lot of the money we had made from the previous events on making the flyers etc. We quickly learned the ways of effective flyering. (and giving away “free” passes to a selected few – even though the event was free.. but still – it worked)
We also had our first encounter with the law. Someone had glued our posters to a telephone booth on Birger Jarlsgatan and boy was Televerket pissed!
The events on Kungsgatan went on for about five weeks before the venue became too small.
We needed a bigger space!
The answer came in the form of an “all you can eat” restaurant located by St.Eriksbron called Pinocchio. (which no longer exists)
We kicked off the opening night at the bigger venue by hosting what we called the “Batman Premiere Party” since the first Batman movie premiered the same night.
It was a madhouse! We had people from Lorimar calling saying that they had people from Hollywood coming by, letting us know what time their limo would arrive. Meanwhile, the line went up the block about 200 meters.
It was a raging success!
We also started charging a small fee at the door. (which could be reduced if you “became a member”, in which case we had your home address *no email – this was the 80′s* so we could reach you at home)
We had a new theme every week and we designed a new flyer for each one, that we actually sent to people’s houses. We put stamps and address labels on over 2000 postcards every monday. At least I had a computer and a database program that I think was called “Pandora”, or something like that. This way I could get all our members’ addresses printed onto labels with my brand new dot matrix printer with “tractor wheels”..
After the opening night I remember seeing an article in the leading evening paper Aftonbladet in the entertainment section about our club. Instead of pictures from the night, they had published a picture of a riot fence saying that this is what we needed to control the massive line at the entrance.
This club-night lasted for a few months and at the end of the year Aftonbladet named Ckontrast as number two in the list of “best clubs of 1989″.
Over all, I see this time as a crash course in marketing. Especially in learning what triggered our customers. The laminated membership card that you wanted to show to your friends to the postering in strategical places to perfecting the way we handed out flyers and free passes to just the right people. We quickly became good at spotting the people that made the decisions in that particular group of friends. A bit sneakt and low, I admit, but what the hell, we were 18-19 years old, still living at home with our parents and we knew very little about the world.
This was about to change..
(to be continued..)