it’s all about relationships. So says Jake Saady, vice president of marketing for The Light Group. Creating relationships is what drove Saady into the industry in the first place, and it’s what keeps him attending events, spending time at Light Group venues and adding names and numbers to his already massive database. That’s one very thick black book.
You grew up all over world. What was that like?
I was born in Taipei and lived in Hong Kong for four years, Singapore, the Philippines and then traveled a lot over the summers to the south of France, south of Spain, all over Indonesia. My dad was actually a toy manufacturer, so he was building factories in mainland China and all over Asia for products like the Cabbage Patch dolls, stuff like Alf and Teddy Ruxpin and all of that.
When you travel today, do you look for restaurant and nightlife inspiration?
I do it nonstop. Every year I go away for two weeks to a different part of the world, and I take my vacation really seriously. ... A big part of my trip is obviously relaxing and trying to stay as out-of-contact as possible for that short period of time, but also absorbing the traditions and cultures and trends of everything around me, from culinary trends to nightlife trends to travel and leisure trends in general. I have an amazing travel agent out of New York who puts together these really custom, one-of-a-kind trips.
Wait. You have a travel agent?
He only works on a referral basis and he doesn’t advertise or anything. He puts together these really custom travel experiences for his clients, and you fill out a 10-page survey of types of experiences you enjoy and what you’re comfortable and uncomfortable with: Do you enjoy sleeping in a tent under the stars or do you like sleeping in air conditioning? He really gets to the core of what you’re looking for. It’s a completely irreplaceable service.
What have you seen evolve in Vegas nightlife since you moved here in 2003?
The whole landscape has changed, from the way people go out to the way that people market, everything’s changed. Social media has become a huge thing. I think that’s the biggest change—being promoted to through Facebook and Twitter, rather than a personal invitation, or a phone call or a flier that a person would drop off at your work.
When did you realize you could do this for living?
I was the social chair for my fraternity, and I then became the GAMMA chair, so I oversaw all the fraternity and sorority parties on campus in my last years. At the time, I was majoring in international business and minoring in French, Spanish and Italian, and I was busy. I just really always wanted to stay involved. There was a hunger for meeting people. ... That’s why I think hospitality was such a welcoming outlet for me, because it’s the easiest way to meet as many people with as many different stories as possible.
What did you do when you first moved to town?
I started as a promoter. Not for The Light Group but for a company that was promoting for Light Group venues. That introduced me to how the system worked in the city. ... I showed up with a flip cell phone with 72 phone numbers in it from Phoenix, and now I’m way over 20,000 contacts, if not more. That’s what I learned really, really fast, that you are who you know and you are who your network is.
Do you ever get meeting-people fatigue?
I don’t get tired of meeting people. Everyone’s got an interesting story. There’s always something interesting to find out about someone. It’s your job to figure out what it is.
Jet closed recently and is being remade into 1Oak. How do you know when it’s time close a club?
That’s a tough question, cause you don’t really. Ultimately, you know that it’s time to close a place or that it’s time to try something new, but it’s really difficult. Up until its final days, Jet was packed. The club was beautiful. The sound and lighting were ahead of their time. The staff was professional, attentive and excited to be at work. It’s just a part of the industry. It’s not about taking something down; it’s about starting something new.
So what can we expect from 1Oak?
The place is going to be gorgeous. It’s going to be just so sexy, and people are going to love being in the space. They’re going to want to be in there more than once a week. I think it’s going to give locals something they’ve never seen before, and just like any other Light Group property, we aim to please. We’re definitely going to impress with this one.
Hospitality is your business. When you go out, do you have fun?
When I’m in our own venues I’m always really comfortable. I’ve spent so much time at the Bank at Bellagio ... and I don’t miss a single Sunday night there. I really feel like what we’re doing on Sundays at the Bank is we’re building a community. In our own way, through nightlife, we’re building this amazing group of people who care about each other genuinely, who want to see each other every week. –Sarah Feldberg