We had the good fortune of connecting with Kasey Hicks and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kasey, what role has risk played in your life or career?
Risk taking is the core of not only entrepreneurship, but of life. No risk no reward! I feel like we take risk in our everyday lives directly and indirectly. For many people where I grew up leaving from home itself is a risk, for the fact that it’s possible one won’t make it back home. In this day and age as shameful as it is, being a Black male or female is wonderful yet risky. People are intimated by this and consider you to be a threat. So, daily life is a risk.
As far as my career taking risk plays a major role in my success. As stated no risk no reward. Although every risk I take may not be “rewarding” in the sense of being successful. However, there’s always a lesson learned which can make that “failed” risk a successful one in the end. Being an entrepreneur I’ve had to take a risk to start. I had to let go of fear and replace it with faith. Growing up my parents always encouraged me to take risk and chances on whatever it was that I wanted to do. One thing they’d say that stuck with me was “The only way to beat failure is to try”. Me taking heed to that provided the courage to take each and every risk. Risking my money from working long hours to invest in my own brand not knowing how the end result will be. Yet having the faith that everything will workout. Taking the risk of stepping out of my comfort zone, leaving behind those who were once considered friends and family to move more in tuned with my own creative and personal quest.
As I continue to take risk on my journey of entrepreneurship rather it’s with my clothing line Mind Over Matter Clothing or with my production company KK Management and Productions, LLC, I am confident in the decisions and strategies that I make because I live by the quote “Sometimes All You Need Is Faith”.
Please tell us more about your work. We’d love to hear what sets you apart from others, what you are most proud of or excited about. How did you get to where you are today professionally. Was it easy? If not, how did you overcome the challenges? What are the lessons you’ve learned along the way. What do you want the world to know about you or your brand and story?
I’ve always been into music and fashion. Growing up I always participated in the fashion shows/plays.I also was in the school chorus. However, I never wanted to be a musician. I was interested in the behind the scenes aspect of the music industry. With that being said in 2009 I started one of the not only Black owned but soley woman owned Management and Productions company in the city of Pittsburgh,PA. Starting out after hearing my little bro (Flatline Nizzy [may he rest in peace] and a group of friends rap I wanted to help them get their music heard. Being quite the social butterfly I thought it’d be easy, well I was wrong. I came to realize managing and promoting artists was very challenging. A lot of the challenges I faced early on was finding out what to do and where to start. Coming from my city a lot of music dreams are far fetched, many lack knowledge and direction. There were a select few who actually knew the game and what steps to take, but they didn’t want to share that knowledge or help for that matter. To date, over ten years later I’d have to say that was my biggest obstacle. Everything I did was trial and error until I found something that worked and ran with it. As I begin making connections from other cities and even within my own, advice began to be thrown at me as far as things that needed covered behind the scenes. I began to research the advice amongst other things and applied it.
When it comes to fashion I always felt that I was pretty stylish and others thought so also. The fashion and music kind of went hand and hand with one another. I’d always tell artist what to wear for shows, videos, photoshoots, etc. From that stemmed merchandise and so on. After many attempts of starting independent clothing lines with partners, I now have my own independent line, Mind Over Matter Clothing. Starting an independent clothing line I’ve faced many obstacles as far as manufacturing. That may have been the biggest yet, not knowing whom to get manufacturing from, to the quality. Again just like the music it’s been trial and error. You might find one that has a great price then the quality isn’t the best or shipping takes 90+ days.
Along this journey I’ve learned to have perseverance and faith in whatever it is you’re doing. Things become difficult and overwhelming at times, but the feeling you get when you overcome those obstacles and challenges is exhilarating. You got to have the willpower to keep going when everyone tells you no or when nobody believes in what you’re doing but you. A word of advice that I would give is to never be afraid to ask for help. You can’t do it all on your own.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
At this day and age those that know me knows that my favorite place to be is home. Nothing like being able to chill out with the candles lit along with some good music or a good book, a glass of wine or tequila (lol), and a home cooked meal. However, if I do decide to step out it’s always a good night of fun and food. With a friend visiting, I’d definitely be able to provide them with a weekend to remember. We’d start off Friday afternoon finding out where the Sooo Delicious food truck is at and get one of the famous chicken and waffle sandwiches. From there we can slide downtown (strip district) and have a little arcade/pool hall style fun at Coupe De Ville. After much fun playing duck pin bowling, arcade games and filling up on Moët, it’ll be time for another meal. We then will go over to the southside to Soul & Sea for seafood and soul food. Once we eat and freshen up, we’ll hit the heart of Homewood (Eastside) and go to Lounge 7101 to party (drink and dance).
If my friends are anything like me hangovers are what happened during our younger years. So, Saturday morning will get up and go to breakfast at Everyday’s A Sunday in Garfield (Eastside). After we eat we’ll be ready to hit the town for some fun. We’ll go Downtown/ Northshore and visit the Andy Warhol Museum, The Science Center, check out the stadiums (Heinz Field and PNC Park),sit and take pictures on the water steps, walk the river. We’ll then go over to “The Point” (Point State Park), take some pictures, sit and enjoy the water, and chit-chat. Everyone that knows me knows one thing about me is I love Mexican food (hence I like to sit at home with a glass of Tequila ⬆️⬆️). So, we’d go over to Condado Tacos for tacos, chips, and margaritas. Just like myself, all my friends are stylish and like to shop. Next stop, Ross Park Mall (Northhills) there they can hit all the high end/fashion stores (of course they’ll be showing support and buying some Mind Over Matter Clothing). We then will go back to the house freshen up and get ready for the evening/ night. We’d go have dinner at Monterey Bay (Mt. Washington, Southside). Since we’re already in Mt. Washington its only right to go down to the Overlook so they can get a picture perfect view of the city of Pittsburgh lit up at night. We can then take a quick ride on the incline. We would then end our Saturday night downtown at Savoy Sports Bar and Lounge.
Sunday’s are fundays right ?! We’ll get up and go straight over to the Northshore. First stop The River’s casino. There will have breakfast/brunch then go test our luck on the slots and tables. We’ll then go across the street to Heinz Field to see the Pittsburgh Steelers play. Once the Steelers win the party must continue. We’ll go over to Eon Bar & Grill for some Sunday Funday partying, drinking, and eating. After the game, and day partying we’ll freshen up and end the night with laughs at The Improv Comedy Club.
All in all those are just a few of the many things to do in Pittsburgh. There isn’t enough time in a weekend, week, or a month to capture the true beauty and fun that the city has to offer.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I definitely have to give credit to my family for the continuous support in everything I do (My parents, siblings, aunts/uncles/cousins, “MY FAITH”, and friends). They always support and encourage every endeavor. To some of my mentors and team members that I’ve worked with from the early stages when nobody really wanted to help, Dev Hammonds, Lee Davis, Kay Bey (Da Button Pusha), Dion Dupree, Felicia “Aunt Dee Rock” Harvey of the Black LGBTQ of Pittsburgh, PA, Ryan “DJ Afterthought” Haynes, Derrick Davis (HLR), Robert “Worm The DeeJay” Burke, Stephan “Stevi B” Richardson, Corley “Yung Curl” White, Joshua ” JoshofYNC” Heatherington and the countless DJs and promoters of the city of Pittsburgh as well as those in other cities and states that gave me a chance. I also have to give credit to the many artist that I’ve worked with over the years, Amir White, Juiced Up Joey, CoronaBiggs just to name a few. Their trust in me with their careers means more than anyone would ever know. Lastly but never last I give credit to my love ones and friends that have now transitioned into the next life, I dedicate all I do in their honor.
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