Talking with Real Business for its Founders Diaries series, co-founders of luxe club-chain Toy Room Jordan Rocca and Luca Maggiora unveil the opening of Toy Box, a new nightclub venue in Manchester.
They said: “Toy Room is now a global brand that people recognise across the world. Our partners have worked very hard to create a network which feels like a family.”
Founders: Jordan Rocca and Luca Maggiora
Company: Toy Room
Looking back on your achievements, what most surprises you?
JR: I arrived in London as a broker and then completely switched industries and opened Project nightclub which was a smash success. We had top artists and DJs in our venue. Immediately, Project was recognised globally, which helped open further ventures, and eventually lead to Toy Room.
LM: I came to London 11 years ago not speaking a word of English and without knowing a single person. Thanks to the supportive people and team around me, I have built one of the most successful hospitality businesses in London, and hopefully soon, in Manchester!
How do you measure success?
JR: For me, success is not about money or ego; it’s about when everyone around you respects you and is happy to see you. They recognise the fact that you are a pivotal person who creates a nice experience for them.
LM: Success is a combination of loyalty and commitment, and should be delivered from a team that works cohesively together. Success is also making yourself an example for the younger generation trying to make it.
How is the business funded?
JR: The business was funded by myself and my partners – including, of course, Luca Maggiora!
LM: He couldn’t have done it without me!
What are your plans for the future?
JR: Next month, we will take Toy Room to Delhi in India and Sao Paolo in Brazil. We are also looking to expand into China. In the long-term, I see the business growing all over the world with more powerful franchises.
LM: I also see us expanding worldwide. In nightlife, the environment constantly changes so I can’t predict the future, but there will always be people who love to go out and have fun.
What’s been the best technology boost for your business?
JR: Social media – Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. You need it to market in the right way and attract international clients.
LM: I agree, social media is key for engagement. It’s a must nowadays for lifestyle and entertainment groups looking to promote themselves and engage with prospective consumers.
Do you have any rock-bottom moments you want to share?
JR: I’ve had many people who tried to destroy my career. In the nightlife industry, there’s strong competition and strong personalities. I failed with a restaurant I launched called 5 Pollen Street in London’s Soho, but life’s lessons make you stronger and more resilient.
LM: In the past, I have trusted the wrong people who lost me quite a bit of money. But I had to take the heat and move forward to overcome my losses.
Living and working in the UK, what are your views on its politics?
JR: The UK government should help international individuals who have worked hard and contributed to the country’s economy. The UK is a melting pot of different nationalities which is why England is such a superpower in today’s economy.
LM: What would I want to see from the government in an ideal world? I want to see it setting examples by inspiring the young generation to do better and be better. Brexit is also a concern, and it could affect the nightlife industry. This is why we are envisioning the establishment of more franchises abroad.
Any advice for budding entrepreneurs?
JR: Don’t hold back. Just go for it and take risks to achieve big things. If you fail, stand up and persevere. Nothing will simply come to you.
LM: Don’t lead someone else’s dream. Lead your own. You need to wake up every morning, so be credible, be focused, and be committed. You need to be sure that you deserve a better life than the one you’re living.
What makes one a better leader?
JR: A good leader should always articulate things in the right way and lead by explaining the reasons behind miscalculations and mistakes. I still have a lot to learn for that.
LM: You either have it or you don’t!
An app that you can’t live without?
JR: Probably my personal Instagram @thejordanrocca and my business Instagram accounts @ToyRoomLondon @toyboxmanchester
LM: The one app I use the most is probably my own Instagram account @lucamaggiora
What’s your daily routine?
JR: I wake up, go to the gym, and then go to the office. It’s always good to get your blood pumping before you need to use your brain!
LM: I do 25 minutes of meditation and drink a cup of coffee. Only then do I feel ready to check my emails!
What’s on your reading list right now?
JR: The book I recommend is “The Monk who Sold his Ferrari” by Robin Sharma. It’s a story about society and it explains that money isn’t the key to success or happiness.
LM: “48 Laws of Power” by Robert Greene, it’s a book I always revisit, pick up a copy and find out why!
Any life philosophies you swear by?
JR: I think when you are a better person, everything will come your way.
LM: How can I beat that one!?
What’s on your TV hotlist?
JR: On my watch list is “The Apprentice” TV series. I am always curious to see how other entrepreneurs deal with different problems, I find it really stimulating.
LM: The Netflix “Dr Dre” documentary, it’s an inspirational real-life story, and a must-watch for any potential entrepreneur!
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