A short drive into Oakland on a Friday afternoon brought a group of CCP participants to the Suite Treatments East Bay HQ – a creative workspace, at first reminiscent of a generic warehouse from outside, but bursting with innovation within. Dedicated to providing the most unique, refreshing, and stylish experiences across the event design and VIP lounge industry, Jacqueline Barsotti, the so-called “Chief Executive Optimist” of Suite Treatments, kindly welcomed us into her very non-traditional workspace. It was clear from the very start when she showed us her signature charging stations disguised as decorative statement pieces in the waiting room, that Suite Treatments wasn’t your everyday event planning service. Throughout the tour of her workspace, Jacqueline showed us all sorts of statement pieces that her team made for various industry events – everything spanning from cool graffiti art to giant wooden walls covered in lemons (the “lemon wall,” as Jacqueline like to put it). There was much talk of a giant ball pit constructed for a recent event, but sadly we did not get to see (or play) in the ball pit. In any case, it was clear that Suite Treatments aimed at providing the best possible experience for its clients – from Netflix to Bonnaroo and even Prince.
I was personally inspired when Jacqueline spoke of her own story, having risen up through the ranks from her humble beginnings as a production runner for Bill Graham Presents. After realizing how much money people were willing to spend on decorative pieces for VIP lounges, Jacqueline went out on her own and started selling palm trees from her van. From there, with her entrepreneurial spirit, she went on to form an entire business dedicated to event design. It was super inspiring hearing that it’s possible to start somewhere small in the music/entertainment industry and work your way up –– as someone who’s certainly starting small, I felt proud to be part of the CCP program and hopeful that there are always exciting things in store if you’re willing to take risks.
Gabriella Fooks – Special Events & Marketing Intern