podcast: tricia costello chats with the workshop downtown

Where does Fresh Wata’s Tricia Costello find inspiration for so many magical events? What hurdles did she overcome in 17 years of business, and  and how does she de-stress? If you’ve wondered what it takes to be an all-star creative at the helm of a nationally-recognized events company, you don’t want to miss this fantastic interview by The Workshop Downtown, a podcast that brings listeners real, behind-the-scenes stories of being a business owner.

  1. 23 – Starting Your Own Creative Business with Tricia Costello, CEO of Fresh Wata

Listen here, or scroll through some of the highlights below. And, if you like what you heard, don’t forget to check out The Workshop Downtown’s additional episodes!

How is it working with your sister?

She was always the big sister living in L.A. and she was so cool and treated me great. Even from a young age, she was awesome and I looked up to her. You know, we have our own accounts, so we’re not always together. But you can say anything and blurt things out with your sister and you know that she’s dedicated to the business.

How long have you been in business?

17 years!

Okay, so we’re definitely talking with someone who has a lot of experience as a small business owner. Also, female owned and operated…

Yeah! I definitely think we’re big enough to handle large projects. But, small enough to still have that quick mentality. We’re right in the middle with about 55 people [on staff].

So, do you have locations all over the world?

Christine is in Arizona. We have a team in LA off of Fairfax in Santa Monica. One of our creative directors is in Austin, so we do a lot in Texas. Ohio….

This is so awesome! Did you come up with the concept with your sister?

She was already doing events and was just a super cool sister! When I was in college, she’d say, “Would you mind coming to LA for the weekend and be the polaroid girl for a Melrose Place or 90210 parties?” So, I was a polaroid girl, and that’s how I started…

I was a polaroid girl, too!

You’ve got to learn how to hustle those polaroids.

We’re in a room with the coolest art installations! How do you explain your office in Las Vegas?

We just built out a bunch of different rooms! So, this is the woods and forest room… you’re sitting next to a leather bear. It’s kind of the camping room, and we usually have all our plaid coffee mugs in here.

What’s a challenge of creating different experiences for your clients?

When companies have a new product and they want to create an emotional tie to the brand, something that really draws you into that product. So, we spend a lot of time thinking about what can really draw an audience into that product, whether it’s video, social sharing, gesture-interactive, or RFID. It’s all about creating the most engaging environment possible. There are definitely tricks to creating an engaging environment.

How has Fresh Wata evolved over the last 17 years to creating brand activations?

A lot has changed over the years. There’s holograms and interactive augmented reality now! But it’s important to remember that you don’t have to use technology for everything — there’s a time and a place.

What are some lessons you learned from scaling your business?

Finding people who are a good fit is really important. Doing things like background checks, calling references… Definitely focusing on the internal aspect. Especially in events, a lot of our business is rooted in people. Also being fully prepared! When you open up shop in a new city, you need to know everything — even what time the local Home Depot closes.

What keeps you inspired?

Meeting people who are doing cool things! Whether it’s a chef or a musician… I could even read an article you just get inspiration for something.

Who do you follow on Instagram that inspires you?

Right now I’m really into the local scene and just trying to know everyone here.

What would you say is the heart of your business operation?

We sell an experience! Let’s say you have 100 people that work for your company, and you want to get them all together to improve your company. Maybe some employees are flying all the way from Germany… these people don’t see each other often.

So, to really make sure they’re engaged and inspired, you take them to different things! Maybe you start the day with breakfast and yoga, then bring in keynote speakers. We’ll create an entire 3-day program for executives and companies that results in an overall great experience.

Is there anything coming up that you’re excited about?

We’re really excited about a New Year’s party that we’re doing! Not sure if you have New Year’s Eve plans, but we’re dropping an astronaut at midnight to celebrate the future of Las Vegas. It’s a locals event — we really wanted to do something for the community.

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