Mixing business and pleasure

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Savvy Marketing challenges the notion that you cannot mix business with pleasure.

It is not just about partying with Savvy Marketing. So far the plan has been to expose their audience to sophisticated and cultural events that not only serve as a means of fun and entertainment during one’s down time, but also as an opportunity to network and build with each other. Savvy is a lifestyle!

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PARTNERS—Savvy Marketing owners Thomas Anthony, left, and Justin Nwokeji.

The owners of Savvy Marketing are Justin Nwokeji and Thomas Anthony.

Nwokeji met Anthony when he went to the University of Pittsburgh to visit Anthony’s cousin and ended up at the same college, California University of Pennsylvania, and bonded from there.

“Over the years we developed a friendship and we decided to start a company in 2007. Our first event was the Light of Life Foundation Charity Dinner and then we hosted events throughout the city of Pittsburgh,” Anthony said. “The Light of Life Foundation Charity Dinner was hosted at the Champagne Room and it was a fundraiser. There is a popular quote by an unknown artist, which is one of Justin’s favorites and it is ‘Make the world your playground.’ We are both culturally social young brothers and we wanted to give other people the opportunity to experience what we consider a good time. We wanted to create our own social utopia in a matter of speaking.”

It was a natural progression moving and maturing from the college scene and becoming young Black professionals. It was only natural for Anthony to get involved in the field of entertainment. He had a background in business banking for five years and has done independent consultant work. He also has several real estate companies in the area and is pursuing a master’s degree in the fall in entertainment business.

They are pulling investors for different projects, but they are the sole owners of Savvy Marketing.

“In five years, I see myself running an entertainment company and expanding beyond the Pittsburgh territory,” Anthony said. “We do look to expand into other markets, but Pittsburgh will be our home-based office. Artist management is the next direction for our company especially with me being a singer. I would obviously be the leading artist that we promote from the door and there are a few producers that are soliciting our services. After the dust clears from some of the stuff we are working on now, I will get back into the studio and try to complete my own projects. I’ve done several shows and I look forward to doing more. My music is (a combination of) hip-hop/R&B, soul, jazz but I don’t like to box my music because music that sounds good is my genre. As long as it’s great music, that is all that counts.

“It is about grinding and calling a lot of wrong numbers until you get the right one. I would say where there is a will there is a way and you should always try your best. If there is an artist that cost $100,000 and you only have $1,000, that doesn’t mean you can’t bring in that artist. It means that you have to put together a pretty compelling situation for someone else to give you that extra $99,000. Even if you cannot make the profit you want, at least you will have learned a valuable experience from trying. You profit as much as you put into the project. The experience holds just as much value to me as making a profit because you learn as you go along the way. It prepares you for the next project and with anything you may take two steps forward and one step back, but it’s a life learning experience,” Anthony said.

Nwokeji came up with the name Savvy Marketing. Some people have the concept that business and pleasure do not mix, but they disagree with that because business and pleasure do mix.

“If you surround yourself with good company, then you will only enhance your own lifestyle,” Anthony said.

Historically, First Fridays evolved from people who did not want to be the only (Black) people in the room at a happy hour, so they developed an event for all Black professionals to get together and network with each other. It grew and to some degree turned into a networking party. There is a ton of great ideas to be gained from having an event such as First Fridays because of the networking opportunities. Jason came in and brought First Fridays back to Pittsburgh because it had been here in the past, but it died off. The partnership between Savvy Marketing and First Fridays Pittsburgh began to grow and it took off. There is a discussion on the table to move First Fridays to the August Wilson Center of African American Culture in Downtown Pittsburgh which would hopefully be a permanent home.

An investor approached Savvy Marketing about bringing comedian/actor Kevin Hart to Pittsburgh. The investor mentioned that Hart has been touring and performing all over the country. It made sense for them to bring him to Pittsburgh because of the numbers. Every venue Hart has performed at prior to theirs has been sold out. Currently, they are sold out of physical tickets on hand, but there are tickets still available.

“Kevin Hart is now a household name across America. All ethnicities and ages from teenagers and up can appreciate his sense of humor. When Savvy realized that Kevin began breaking records on television and the movie theaters, booking him seemed like a winning decision,” said Nwokeji.

Hart will perform Sept. 17, at Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall in Oakland. Doors open at 7 p.m. and he goes on at 8 p.m.

(Nwokeji or Anthony can be reached at savvymkt@gmail.com. Tickets can be purchased at http://www.Kevin­Hart­Pittsburgh.com.)

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