09 Aug Creative Entrepreneurs: The party never stops with Amahle Jaxa from UNTIL UNTIL
Have you ever found yourself at Great Dane on a Wednesday night or random Sunday afternoon? There’s a group of young good looking people ‘eating their youth’. You, of course, form part of this group, you’re having the time of your life with your friends, amidst the fun, the good music and the dancing, you start wondering how a group of young businessmen and women constantly succeed at throwing the best parties in town? What’s their secret?
Until Until is a music-driven activations agency that works on brand activations, sponsorship acquisitions, event production, event compliance and brand building. The agency is behind some of Joburg’s most vibrant, groundbreaking events such as Genesis All Black, Barcardi Holiday Club, Sunday Roast, Braamfontein Beach Party, Pyjama Party, and #FakeFriday.
Judging from the events the agency has put together, it’s pretty evident that the group has taken over Joburg’s party scene.
Here, we chat to Amahle-Imvelo Jaxa, one of the founders and seven members of the Until Until Group.
How and when was Until Until established?
Until Until was started in 2013 [officially registered in 2014] after we saw a gap in the market to throw unique events that we felt Johannesburg was lacking.
What is your role in the business? And what is your day-to-day routine like?
In agency, my role is that of Chief of Operations and in events, I am one-third of the events production team. My day to day includes managing all admin, some finance, and making sure all the other moving parts of the agency are working well together.
I also have a role as the human resource manager. When we are creating an event, my day involves sourcing suppliers, artists, site reccies, and all things production.
How have you been able to sustain the business?
Until this year, we sacrificed having salaries so we could grow the business to where we are now, which is the biggest thing. Our strategic department prides itself on being ahead of the curve and all trends, which has helped when competing with more established agencies – who are bigger and have been around for longer. In all honesty, it hasn’t been easy.
It is a known fact that starting and running a business is extremely costly. Did you face any financial challenges? If yes, what were/are these challenges?
Our biggest financial challenge, which we still face today, is that we didn’t start the company with any capital. This heavily affected and still affects our cash flow. Trying to find investors to back our business has been extremely hard, in fact, we still don’t have any sponsors.
Getting loans from the bank has been equally hard considering we are all under the age of 30 and don’t own any assets, but somehow, our doors are still open.
What other challenges have you been faced with?
The other challenge has been getting brands to believe in our strategic ideas and the fact that Until Until isn’t just an events company, but a marketing agency as well. We find that brands buy our ideas, but don’t hire us to execute them. In the eventing sphere, due to the economy, fewer people have enough disposable income to go out – and so we have been experiencing less numbers at our events. However, this has allowed us to create more intimate and experiential events, which was why Until Until was created in the first place.
What makes Until Until stand out from other companies in the same line of work?
We believe in honest creativity. We don’t fold just to please clients or consumers or do things that go against our pillars as a business. We believe in being as organic as we can possibly be in all our dealings, and I think that’s what has made people not only love our strategies, but our events as well. It helps that we are also a really fun bunch.
Do you plan on expanding your business and/or venturing into something slightly different?
We plan on expanding the business by employing more young South Africans when our finances allow us to do so.
What advice would you give other creatives who are looking towards starting their own business?
Authenticity is key, and you won’t make it in this industry without good financial management.
Are there any highlights that can be shared?
Highlights for me was our first major corporate gig where we were given an opportunity to throw a Gala dinner for BRICS. Bacardi Holiday Club was also a huge one for me, we had a crazy idea of throwing an all-inclusive event, where once people walked in, they don’t have to pay for anything, and recently, we have started working with Pepsi on activations.
Learn more about the Until Until group by visiting their website.