A couple of weeks ago we held a Barre Class at an art and event space called Light stage on Hollywood Road – and the atmosphere rocked, felt very different to working out at a regular studio the energy levels were up and walkers by even stopped to view what was going on. So read on the know the story of Kalina and Jody the lovely duo behind the space.
What’s your story?
We are both city girls with unquenchable wanderlust, and learned (not born) entrepreneurs who believe passionately in Hong Kong and this iteration of the sharing economy.
K: I hail from San Francisco but have lived in Asia for almost my entire adult life. Hong Kong’s now home. LIGHTSTAGE just feels right. It has incredibly tied together my interests and experience in finance, consumer retail, real estate, art, marketing, entrepreneurship into one amazing challenge. Favourite secret activity at LIGHSTAGE: practicing handstands on the back wall.
J: I’m a Hong Kong native and eager to bring in the pulse of culture and edge that I’ve seen travelling and studying abroad in Southern California. My background is in PR and real estate, most recently with Jones Lang LaSalle. Favourite secret activity at LIGHSTAGE: pumping dance music late-night while we’re doing renovations.
What inspired you to start LIGHTSTAGE?
We saw first-hand how difficult it was to find event space in Hong Kong beyond the traditional hotels, restaurants and corporate function rooms. We felt that this aspect of Hong Kong hadn’t kept pace with all that is happening with the new creative tribe of Hong Kong — entrepreneurs, brands, artists, enlightened consumers. So it started simple: to find/create a venue in HK that people love to visit, and companies are proud to call their own. We are inspired by big-city lofts and the converted industrial warehouse movement that has redefined Manhattan. We are inspired by big skylines, the simple magic of light and space, Minimalism, and an unyielding priority on putting clients first.
How did you ladies find and choose the space? What was the criteria?
We were searching for months, and then when we found LIGHTSTAGE things sped up. We had an accepted offer within 12 hours of visiting 218 Hollywood Rd for the first time. It helped that Jody has a background in real estate — specifically locating retail leases for brands in Hong Kong — and has a keen eye when evaluating the potential locations. We had a lot of criteria yet were open to options. LIGHTSTAGE blew us away when we first saw it. High ceilings, an unobstructed main hall, and at heart, this calming environment — all expansive space and light — that could clearly be transformed in so many creative ways.
What kind of events have people been using the space for ?
We have hosted a huge variety of events, from fashion collection previews and press events to VIP mixers, long-table dinners and retail popups, and even a few community events. Clients and guests so far have loved the clean, minimalist lines of LIGHTSTAGE and our location right on Hollywood Road.
Are you ever nervous of the rent – most small businesses in HK find it hard to survive due to killer rents?
Yes, rents are extraordinarily high. High rents for retail businesses in Hong Kong is part of what inspired us to start LIGHTSTAGE. We are passionate about the sharing economy and bringing access to this luxury of space to more brands, companies, and artists.
What is your long term vision for LIGHTSTAGE?
Let there be space, turn on the lights… Raise the bar for what Hong Kong expects in terms of beautiful spaces and creative events. This means potentially new venues, partnerships to provide our clients with event services as needed (from catering to flowers to signage), building a platform for art and events we believe in.
This year, we are launching our own calendar of events including a performing arts collaboration with Kate March of “An Evening of Meat” fame. I AM @ LIGHTSTAGE will launch with DUETS, an ‘aperitif’ of short performances and free-flow drinks of drinks showing 4 times on Valentine’s Day evening (Saturday, 14 February, 2015).
Stay tuned, and we welcome you to #StepOnStage…
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