Monday, March 9, 2009

The Top 3 Myths About Skylark

Myth #1: Jessie is no longer booking/no longer works here.
No one can remember where they read this, but I have always booked bands here and I couldn't stop working here if I tried, since I'm the owner. It's easy to see how people could get confused about this though, since I have had help over the years from several awesome ladies. Local comedian Jen Seaman booked some comedy and music shows last year. Jamie Henkensiefken (of kickass local band H is For Hellgate) booked Thursdays for a few months. Currently I'm lucky to have a music writer on staff–Jessica Harbert–and I regularly force her to write press releases and send confirmation emails when she is not slinging brunch here or writing for Seattle Sound Magazine. Apparently I only hire women whose names begin with the letter J. Because we are the best.

Myth #2: We are pay to play.
Haven't heard this one in a while but I did once get a curious email from another local booker wanting to know my secret and how I got away with it. I think he may have wanted to start charging bands too! Wow. For the record, we don't charge a cover and never have, and we are not pay to play in any way. Bands are always paid according to their draw–to the tune of about $20k per year plus another $17k in drink tickets and food discounts. It's not much money for each band, I wish it could be more, but it's a guarantee. Bands are not charged for the sound person, the door person, or any of our marketing costs out of that guarantee. At the end of the night bands get a receipt with their cash that shows them exactly what they earned and how it was calculated.

If you choose to submit an EPK to Skylark through SonicBids, where I have an account, SonicBids charges you a fee. Last I checked it was $5. I get half of it, which ends up being about $62 per year. If you don't want to pay SonicBids, there's no need to. Just send booking a direct email instead.

Myth #3: We are going out of business/our space is for lease.
Nope, you must be thinking of someplace else. The "For Lease" sign on our building pertains to the space next door, not Skylark's space! Here you can get a delicious home-cooked meal for under $10. Our live music is always free. We have a buy-seven-get-the-eighth lunch or brunch free punchcard. We have happy hour sliders for $4. I have basically always run this business as if it were during the Great Depression, because we were determined to beat the odds. We were just barely profitable in 2008 and are profitable so far in 2009, which no one expected except for us. I keep a close eye on costs and try to advertise as smartly as possible (sorry, print weeklies). My motivation is that I do not want to go back into the corporate world! I love running a venue and want to keep doing it and someday–even–get paid for it.

Of course, times are hard everywhere lately and yes, sales fluctuate. Cash flow is tighter than usual, and we never had it where we wanted it before. Closures due to bad weather do not help at all, so this holiday season was a bitch. A few people seem to be dealing with the economy by drinking a lot but not tipping, which is tough when employees rely so heavily on tip income. And then there's the problem that's hard to call a problem: I have more quality employees than I have shifts to give them. So come on down more, so I can justify adding some extra shifts to the schedule!

Really, if you're worried about us staying in business, the best thing to do is just come on down and order something. If you're not a fan of our establishment and are just looking for us to fail because you want some good gossip, keep looking. I surely can't predict exactly how stock market collapses and mortgage foreclosures will affect the restaurant business as a whole–I can't imagine it will be pretty–but I don't see any basis for the rumor that we are going out of business any more than anyone else. Don't worry your pretty little head about it. I am going to go back to booking bands for June now. Our 3rd anniversary show is going to be incredible.

1 comment:

  1. Glad to help you stay in business. The Skylark is a great place to hang out and eat and play or listen to music.