There are those in life who look at an empty space and see nothing. Then there are those who will look through the eyes of their vivid imagination to see elements of wonder, shadows transformed through rays of color and the opportunity to create a new and awe-inspiring reality. The latter is the approach of entrepreneur Wendy McLean. In 2005, this event planner established the premiere Brooklyn destination, Denim Lounge. The space, which is known for its opulence, artistic panache and sleek ambiance, has serviced clients such as MTV, BET and the Oxygen Network.
McLean is also the owner of Brooklyn’s non-alcoholic juice bar, Main Squeeze, which she uses as a vehicle to support nonprofit organizations dedicated to diabetes and obesity awareness. McLean’s success has been recognized with several awards,
including The Proclamation for Community Service Business Award from Rep. Edolphus Towns D-NY 10th District, The City Council Citation from New York City Councilman Albert Vann, and more.
McLean spoke to rolling out about how her father inspired her as an entrepreneur, her secret to keeping customers partying, how karma helps her run her business and more.
How did you get started?
I started as a child watching my father, Wallace, run his own bars and lounges. With that knowledge I started planning parties at the age of 16. My first party in New York City attracted over 200 people and my second one had over 500 people. At that point I realized I could draw people and make them feel happy and have a good time. That’s when I officially started my own business.
What is unusual about the way that you run your company?
I don’t look at it from just the perspective of being a business owner. I’ve been on both sides of the fence as a partygoer and as an event planner, so I look at it from those two perspectives. That allows me to make the customer happy and people recognize that I’m very sincere when it comes to my business.
The nightclub business is known for having a cash flow that can be difficult to fully track. So how important is it for you to trust your employees?
My style is not to micromanage people, so I’m blessed with a staff that I can trust. They run the business when I’m not there. Plus, I’m spiritual and believe in karma. If someone steals from me they really steal from themselves because they have to live with that.
Where do you see your company five years from now?
We are opening a children’s division to Denim Lounge and Main Squeeze. I also plan to franchise Denim Lounge throughout New York and in a few other states.
What would someone say if they saw you on the dance floor?
There is something about that girl that lights up a room.