“Build A Strong Support System To Grow Your Business”: 5 Growth Lessons With Fabiola Hesslein, CEO Of Tryon Entertainment
“Arrange help in as many areas of the business from the very beginning even if you have to barter or take additional capital out for it. You may want to be in control of it all during the start-up phase but you’ll get ahead faster and smoother with a great support system in place. Prevent burnout and learn to let go especially if you’re a control freak like I am. I am just now getting better at it.”
I had the pleasure of interviewing Fabiola Hesslein, CEO of TryonEntertainment.com. Fabiola Hesslein has led a rewarding career as a multifaceted entertainer for over 25 years. Her instincts and abilities as a dancer, choreographer, singer, actress, and designer were instantly recognized by industry professionals at an early age and ultimately propelled countless credits spanning the spectrum of the entire entertainment industry. Fabiola’s entrepreneurial spirit led to the launch of Tryon Entertainment with her husband and business partner.
Yitzi: Thank you so much for doing this with us! What is your “backstory”?
As entertainment professionals, we’ve been in the industry for over 25 years with credits that range from dancing with Michael Jackson to producing music for Jay Z. As with most industries, music and entertainment changed after the 2008 ﬁnancial crisis. It was at that point we saw an opportunity to redeﬁne creativity and launch Tryon Entertainment as an Event Entertainment company oﬀering new and refreshing concepts that would ultimately reinvigorate special events and live productions. Event producers were very intrigued and starting knocking on our door.
Yitzi: Can you share the funniest or most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company?
Since the creation of “So Shady” (our chic human lampshade concept), we’ve always had the pleasure of watching people’s startling reactions when they encounter our lampshade models and realize they are actually humans.
In one incident, an event producer saw this and oﬀered to fund my own fashion line because of the reaction. She said “You’re truly on to something. I’ll invest in you!”. It was a compliment I’ll never forget.
Yitzi: So what exactly does your company do?
We are a full-scale production company that creates custom entertainment experiences for special events including launches, experiential marketing, corporation functions, fashion events, holiday productions, and milestone celebrations.
Yitzi: What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
We provide unique concepts and experiences that have an extreme wow-factor and bring about amazing reactions that last beyond an event. Our clients praise the quality and innovation of our work and how we run things like a tight ship. We have a high success rate of repeat clients because of it.
Yitzi: None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are?
We owe it to more than one person. We wouldn’t be where we are without a great team. We have stellar performers who deliver every time and excellent personnel who keeps it together behind the scenes.
Yitzi: How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
We give back to our community by taking our team to various NYC charity organizations including women and children shelters and soup kitchens. We’ve produced nonproﬁt events and have a few new philanthropic initiatives in the works.
Yitzi: What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Became CEO” and why?
1. Support System — Arrange help in as many areas of the business from the very beginning even if you have to barter or take additional capital out for it. You may want to be in control of it all during the start-up phase but you’ll get ahead faster and smoother with a great support system in place. Prevent burnout and learn to let go especially if you’re a control freak like I am. I am just now getting better at it.
2. Work-Life Balance — Stick to hobbies or interests outside of work and ﬁt that into your schedule no matter what. Being a CEO will become your entire life — only if you let it. I neglected most of my other interests since I became one. Now after almost nine years later, I’m ﬁnally getting back into those things I enjoy to give me work-life balance.
3. Work Space — Invest in space that works for your business long term. Find deals and negotiate a long-term lease. NYC’s real estate market changed drastically in just a couple years which we did not foresee. It has made it challenging to retain commercial space at a price we were used to only a short time ago.
4. Marketing — Invest in marketing early on. Find the strategies that work best for your business and be as interactive with it as much as you can. One formula doesn’t work for everyone. But try many avenues before deciding what does the trick. Instagram is amazing for our business.
5. Your Mentor — Find a mentor you can always talk to especially during your early start of becoming a CEO. You’ll appreciate turning to a friend, colleague, or a professional coach who’s been there or is currently in the same position to share thoughts and get insights.
A fellow CEO once shared something with me that has stuck with me throughout my journey. I wish we could have met up more to keep sharing experiences.
Yitzi: Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why?
Mark Cuban; I encountered him once at a Fashion Week after party for just a brief moment but I’d really love to have the opportunity to sit together and pick his brain. I would also love to sit with Elon Musk. It would be amazing to sit with such a visionary. He’s shaping our future in very exciting ways.