Heidi Klotzman knows how to throw a party.
When Klotzman was 17, she organized an outdoor fundraiser for VH1's Save the Music Foundation at her home in Phoenix in Baltimore County, complete with multiple bands and a professional stage, lighting and sound setup. About 250 high schoolers showed up for the event, which raised enough money to open a Baltimore chapter for the charity, which benefits music programs in public schools.
Now 29, Klotzman has become one of Baltimore's most influential event promoters. She has her own LLC, Heidn Seek Entertainment, and reaches more than 30,000 through her e-mail list, website (hnseek.com) and sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. She welcomes people from all walks of life, and has thrown events at locations such as the Havana Club, Club One, Red Maple and Milan, where she currently books Saturday nights.
People can be fickle. How do you plan for that?
You have to overcompensate. If you want 200, you invite 400. Half the people probably won't come.
How do you persuade people to come to your events?
It's about having the guts and the instincts to walk into anywhere — to be in the mall and see someone you want at your event. You go over to them and say, "Hey, you give off a cool vibe, and I'd love to have you at this event." You have to have a personal touch. The e-mails only go so far.
The real things that matter are personal messages, phone calls, getting other people invested in what you're doing. They become loyal, and they want to, on their own accord, support what you're doing. It's reciprocity, not just a business of filling a place with bodies and collecting at the end of the night. It's much deeper than that.
You seriously walk up to total strangers?
Absolutely. Are you kidding me? I'm completely shameless. Since I was little, I like to be friendly. I like to meet people.
What separates good events from great events?
The people, the music, the service. You feel it all coming together in front of you. You see it, you hear it and you feel it. If it's a really cool place, they even pay attention to the scent. Captivating all the senses is what makes it special.
What was one of your favorite events?
We did a "Legally Blonde" event at Mosaic where we turned half the club into a salon and had girls getting their makeup, hair and nails done, and massages, shaves and shoeshines for men. We had Elle Woods look-alikes, and everything was pink. … I like making it seem like a private party in a public place.
You've been called an honest promoter in a field that doesn't have the best reputation.
The entertainment business is really cutthroat. Personally, I'm honest but I'm tough. You can still keep your integrity and make good deals. No one's perfect, but I succeed more than I fail. I think that's all you can ask for in life. … I want to be admired. I want to be someone I can respect and I can look up to. I haven't achieved close to anything I want to achieve.