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Meet Shae Mutu of Sweet&Chilli in West Side

Today we’d like to introduce you to Shae Mutu.

Shae, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
Sweet&Chilli started 16 years ago in London, launched our Sydney office in 2010 & in 2015, launched our LA-based office to handle Red Bull’s national account, which is based in Santa Monica. Having worked with Red Bull since 2003 in London, they had a need for S&C’s hospitality services including festival artist lounge experiences, BA training, bar operations, consultancy, content plus logistics all around the country. To date, we have humbly managed & operated for our clients in 28 different states. We are proud to have retainers with both Red Bull & Diageo nationally & work closely with clients such as Apple Music, Marc Jacobs, Adidas, Vampped, Peroni, NVE, 1Oak & Universal Music, to name a few.

Sweet&Chilli is a hospitality specialist with all three services under one roof. Cocktails, cuisine & VIP table management. We lead with cocktail experiences & have events like Seth McFarlanes Xmas party as case studies, beautifully presented food for the event Jamie Foxx’s BET Afterparty, as well as managing VIP tables for events including the 1OAk Coachella closing party & Republic Records event at Zenyara.

We globally have 120+ staff & we’re constantly growing our enthusiastic, young & vibrant USA team, we have a bar which we host our clients & friends for tastings, we invite anyone to stop by when you are in the area… cocktails, of course, are on us.

Our list of services goes on but we are truly a hospitality ‘one stop shop’.

Has it been a smooth road?
We always laugh and say there is nothing united about the United States of America with various tax brackets, employment laws and general new business start-up challenges that differ from state to state. Outside of this we have been so warmly welcomed into the US market, with the majority of our HQ team & ground teams having an accent from NZ, Australia or the UK, the support for us to do well here has been amazing & everyone just really wants to see us do well, which we love!

We learn a lot on our global experience, our Australian & UK markets have a great presence & collectively we like to share relationships, trends, successes, ideas, and general digital workflow to constantly evolve our business, if we aren’t able to change with the times, we’re really not growing at all so we like to remain proactive in this space.

We’re focusing a lot on the development of our local California business right now, however, have ambitions to have offices in NYC and/or Miami by 2020.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Sweet&Chilli story. Tell us more about it.
Sweet&Chilli is a global agency specializing in hospitality, we can handle a small one man (or woman) martini experience in the Hollywood Hills to a GA facing festival bar with 80 staff in Las Vegas. There are no restrictions to what S&C can offer & behind everything we do, is the love for looking after people, we consider hospitality apart of our businesses DNA from client management to the guest experience.

Our global presence & internal sharing of right insights is a core strength, having this at our reach is so helpful, however implementing into a local market & adapting is always the fun challenge & not always one size fits all.

We’re well known for our trade relationships which in turn helps us to work with some of the best hospitality experts in the country. We won’t name drop but they know who they are.

We’re most proud of our people, we spend so much time working that loving what you do is paramount at S&C when hiring, the cultural fit & attitude is first for me, you can train amazing people the skills, but you can’t train the people with skills to have an amazing attitude.

How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?
Our industry is constantly evolving & the trends so quickly change, spirits & bars move in a constant circle, tiki is hot, then speakeasy’s are, then gin gardens are the vibe, then they circle back to the start. Health conscious & low ABV, light/fresh cocktails seem to be growing & with the world becoming more aware of the availability to fresh, quality & healthy ingredients, this has changed the average consumer to be far more educated which demands the service side elevate also. This is great for the industry.

The big obvious shift is the relevance of simplifying your work, ensuring your food/cocktail experiences look great on social media is something we are focusing on & everybody seemed to see as important… of course.

We are most proud of something we are working on called ‘Human Sustainability’, unfortunately, I can’t share too much just yet, we 100% see this as something for the future and we want to be at the forefront of this incredibly needed & thoughtful movement. Watch this space!

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