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Meet Charles Kuykendoll of RNBHouseParty

Today we’d like to introduce you to Charles Kuykendoll.

Charles, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I LOVE LA!!!! I’m never leaving here!!! These are my true sentiments one year into living here and being an event planner in this market. Before I get into why I love LA so much, let me take you back to the beginning and the start of this thing called, RNBHouseParty.

RNBHouseParty was birthed out of a need to create a party experience my wife and I could enjoy. We are true lovers of r&b music, and at the time of us living in NYC in 2016, all the events were based around rap. We wanted to create a space for potential love connections and based around a genre of music that got people dancing and singing which wasn’t currently in the party landscape. We started very small and targeted our friends as our initial attendees, upon showing them the time of their lives at our first event, we knew we had something scalable. We put infrastructure and framework around our events and maintained a goal of making each event feel like a “house party” where everyone could feel comfortable being themselves. We believed there would be brands that would align with our goals and we began to seek strategic partners to help us produce these events which led to partnership events with Revolt, AT&T, Wild-N-Out, AfroTech, SoFI, Twitter, and Beats By Dre to name a few.

Our professional careers brought us to Los Angeles, where we’re both recruiters for top Tech companies, and it was important that we launched our event series here. Having activated a number of top markets around US, LA was place where we truly felt if we were able to succeed in the land of Hollywood, there was no telling where we could take this event in the future! LA has been a dream come true for me and my family. We have the best of both world here having a bustling social life and having a city that caters to our family dynamic as well. We’ve recently bought a home and plan to settle in and impact this community in a great way long term.

In order to accomplish that, we needed to launch our event here and become recognizable faces in this city. In 2019, we hosted three events independently and in partnership with a couple recognizable brands in this market, @Brunch2bomb and @toastedlife. We have had over 1500 attendees in our three events in 2019, but it was the connections built through this medium that we are most proud of. We spend a lot of time hosting events in our home (previously apartment complex), from NBA Dunk Contest watch parties, to BBQ’s, to brunches, we are all about connecting people here in LA. Our network is growing at a rapid rate, and we want to use our platform to connect people and also give back. This led to the recently launched @BlackcollectiveLA, which I created to be a medium for events outside of the club in partnership with tech companies who’s mission is to truly impact the communities of which we live in a positive way. We are very excited for what 2020 will hold for us in LA. That’s what makes LA so special, there’s so much opportunity here to be the change you want to see.

Has it been a smooth road?
Scaling is not easy. We have had a number of events earlier on where we lost revenue and ended the night net negative. Those were the learning though that enabled us to be more strategic in our planning. You have to be mindful of saturating and not doing too many events in the same market, as well as picking a strategic date in the right market where the appetite for this event will be greatest.

I also had to understand why people were attending? Was it the music? Was it the big brand name partnerships? Was it me, as the host having an infectious good time? Digging in deeper to understand our target demographic’s wants, we were able to focus on what aspects of our event were most important to them to keep them coming back. That led to creative partnership events that would keep the brand fresh and keep our demo excited as the party wouldn’t be the exact same as the last time. We’ve added performance aspects as well and have had a number of live r&b artists perform recently. to be honest, failure has been the greatest part of our growth journey because of the positive learning we were able to take away from those experiences.

Please tell us about RNBHouseParty.
Our business is a party, but it’s so much more than that. It’s the curation of a memorable experience between you and the other attendees. It almost feels like church in that regard. You go to one of our events and for those four hours, you leave real life and immerse yourself in an experience that will leave you uplifted, leave you hoarse from singing, and also with an expanded network from some new friends you’ve met under the common denominator of a love of r&b music.

What we are most proud of is the feedback we get from attendees of our event saying it was the best time they’ve had out in a long time. Whether they are young or old, our party is for everyone! When we achieve that cross-generational synergy, we feel like we are accomplishing our goal of creating a safe space for all to enjoy. We have a few relationships, and maybe babies from our events (lol), waiting on our first engagement story, though lol.

Is our city a good place to do what you do?
Los Angeles is the perfect city for events. Primarily because there is a non “Hollywood” demographic of locals and transplants that aren’t going to Avenue and Booty Bellows to party with the celebs every Tuesday. They enjoy having a good time as well. So we have focused our efforts on being a conduit between the Hollywood demo and locals. The intersectionality of these crowds is where RNBHouseParty plans to make our biggest impact long term in LA. We want to take away the pretentiousness that sometimes exists out here, and create a space where everyone feels welcome to let loose and have a good time. The beautiful weather we have almost all year round makes LA the best city I’ve ever lived in and there is great opportunity to do a number of creative events in this area.

What we can do to improve is have venues see the value in what we are trying to build. It’s been a struggle to get venues/clubs to open their doors to us without being a part of the “old guard” who are legacy to LA. But I trust as the brand continues to grow that will be easier, or maybe we need to set our sights on building our own space… Let’s just take it day by day though lol.

Contact Info:

  • Website: rnbhouseparty.com
  • Email: info@rnbhouseparty.com
  • Instagram: @rnbhouseparty

Image Credit:
@devwats Devon Watson

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