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Hidden Gems: Meet Mike Martin of Casual Socialite

Today we’d like to introduce you to Mike Martin. 

Hi Mike, so excited to have you with us today. What can you tell us about your story?
Ever since I was young, I have loved sports and entertainment. Growing up with a summer birthday, I had an annual birthday pool party at my parents’ house. This is where I found a passion for planning events.

Graduating high school and continuing my education as an Ohio University Bobcat, I knew I wanted to be in the Entertainment Industry. I chose to study Communications and Business Marketing. Knowing that I needed experience to land a job at a record label or concert production company, I started a business called One Mic Entertainment. I built a music blog website that informed people of new music releases, local musicians, and events. After getting a buzz around campus, I met some talented musicians and DJs, built a roster of artists, and booked gigs at the campus bars.

As a people person, I networked with a lot of my peers which led me to be a part of one of the biggest college music festivals in the nation at an early time. I was on a small team of young professionals that worked on “The Number Fest,” a music festival in Athens, OH. A few of the artists that performed on our stage were Mike Posner and Machine Gun Kelly, very early in their careers.

After graduating from Ohio University, I moved back home to Cincinnati and continued to pursue my passion by producing my own events. During this time, I discovered the experiential marketing industry. By working events around Cincy, I learned how the other brands built an experience for their customers. These gigs were a perfect way for me to make some money and at the same time, learn strategies for my own company. I got paid to be at a cool event and talk to people about brands or new products.

At this time, I was organizing my own events plus working marketing operations. Having a lot of connections in the city, I had an opportunity to manage musical artists. This took off pretty quickly, and we were on stage as an opening act for Big Sean, J. Cole, Machine Gun Kelly, and many others. I got insight that a concert promoter was planning a four-city tour for this kid from Pittsburgh, Mac Miller. This was in 2010 and Mac was fresh out of high school, and Kool-Aid and Frozen Pizza music video just broke one million views on YouTube. I knew we had to be a part of those shows. We traveled on the tour and my artist opened up for him during the Cincinnati show, and we formed a relationship with Mac’s team. After this tour, we continued to do our own thing for a while, but I grew out of the role and decided to move away from artist management. The music business is a hard industry, and if you’re an artist, you have a one-in-a-million chance of making it big. With that being said, I switched gears to focus on myself and my company.

I knew that there had to be more to the experiential marketing industry. After researching marketing agencies in the US, I reached out to them about bigger projects. During this time, I was invited to be a Tour Manager for platinum recording artist Outasight as he traveled with the Warped Tour. This was in 2013 when the tour added an electronic dance stage, and his song Tonight Is the Night was 6 on the Billboard dance chart. This breakthrough led me to manage sixteen other branded tours nationwide.

Some of the highlight events I got to attend while traveling on brand campaign tours were eight PGA tour weeks, MLB All-Star Week, College Football Championship, Made In America, Lights All Night, Lollapalooza, Breakaway, and Bunbury music festivals!

After eight years of non-stop traveling, I got burned out of the roadie lifestyle. In 2019, I came back home to Cincinnati to rebrand “One Mic Entertainment” and relaunch it as “Casual Socialite.” Things started to take off. I stayed busy throwing events in the city which led me to take a risk. I rented out a bigger venue for a New Year’s Eve event and was lucky to land a unique space called the American Sign Museum. That event was a huge success, and I could not wait to see what 2020 had in store for the company.

Unfortunately, in 2020, COVID-19 spreads, and the entire world shuts down in a global pandemic, and the Event Industry gets hit the hardest. I had to go into survival mode as I just bought my first condo and was in the middle of a flip. I put a lot of marketing ideas and plans on paper during this time so that I would be ready when everything opened back up again. In 2021, things were getting back to normal; I told myself that I had to throw the New Year’s Party again or the branding would fade away. I booked the MadTree Barrel Room, and I returned to social media for Something Different NYE! We sold out of tickets days before the event, and I couldn’t have been happier.

Enter 2022, and Casual Socialite is shaping up to have the best year yet. We are working with a lot of cool venues, promotion companies, and other entrepreneurs in the city to continue to raise the bar with original things to do. We work very hard every day to make a cool city – a lot more fun to live in.

Be sure to follow us on social media for daily updates on fun things to do, and if you enjoy sports and recreation, Sun Bum Sports (@SunBumSports) is on the rise this year as well!

Mike Martin

Founder

Casual Socialite LLC

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not, what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
As an entrepreneur, everyone knows it’s a roller coaster journey starting a business. The highs are high, and the lows can be very low. You have to keep your head up and keep pushing!

I’ve had some very low times in my life where depression and anxiety have taken over. I’m telling you right now if this ever happens to you, talk to someone or a doctor immediately. Do not be embarrassed to talk to people about your mood changes, as this happens to so many other people. You will be glad you did when you get back to your normal self.

Some tips that I have found that work for me are: be thankful for what you have, wake up and make your bed, shower every day, exercise, drink a lot of water, get off technology, go outside, get a dog, and a significant other that supports you!

We’ve been impressed with Casual Socialite, but for folks who might not be as familiar, what can you share with them about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
I loved the word socialite so I needed to add another word to that to make it a brand. A socialite is a person who is well known in fashionable society and is fond of social activities and entertainment. Socialite sounds classy and formal so I needed to make it appeal to the masses. So I checked to see if CasualSocialite.com was available and open on social media. Luckily it was, so I ran with that. I like to say that a Casual Socialite is a person who likes to do fun things and meet new people naturally.

For the past decade, we have been producing original events to keep things fun in Cincinnati. We bring our ideas to life with venues and partners who have interest in doing events with us. Reach out to us if you’re interested in chatting about your venue, upcoming event, or need any marketing help!

Before we go, is there anything else you can share with us?

1. Be honest, have good integrity, work hard, be loyal, never forget where you came from.

2. “Overnight success” takes 10 years.

3. If you can’t go a day without thinking of something, go after it!

4. Do not let your day job suck the life out of you! You need to be working on your business goals when you get off the clock.

5. God first, make money, and don’t stop!

6. Follow @CasualSocialite on all social media platforms

7. Check out our website – www.CasualSocialite.com

Contact Info:


Image Credits

Joe Binford
Mitch Schry

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