A moon or two ago, the stars began to align, hovering above friends destined to become business associates.
The path steered toward a magical, musical trip down the information highway.
Once the universe of players collided, www.MadSpiceParty.com, a world-wide YouTube marketing campaign, was launched last week to promote Madagascar Spice and Trading, a California original.
Morro Bay’s Leonard Gentieu, owner of dinner cruise yacht Papagallo, built a career in the food industry, networking with corporations while cooking in Taft, Bakersfield, Cambria and Morro Bay.
“I was 10 years old when I wanted a boat,” Gentieu said. “At age 55, I realized my dream by combining my love of cooking on board the yacht I purchased from the Gallo wine family.”
Two years ago, a Bakersfield friend, Kent Halle, who’d spent 25 years perfecting an all-in-one spice, insisted Gentieu join him as a 50-50 partner to market the product.
“He’s bright,” Gentieu said about Halle’s engineering background and degree in chemistry, “and I’m creative. He knows how to mix the spice formula, and I know how to use it.”
Yet with rave reviews by associate chefs, distribution was the piece of the entrepreneurial puzzle that wasn’t working.
Gentieu consumed how-to-success books and brainstormed marketing ideas with his Los Osos friend, Jim Davis. They cultivated a mutual respect when Gentieu helped Davis’ nonprofit, God’s Haven for Children.
Davis reciprocated by sharing online expertise he’d garnered coordinating local music talent for the Morro Bay Music and Harbor festivals and now the Sunset Savor the Central Coast event.
Davis introduced Gentieu to the Red Skunk Jipsee Swing Band while filming their music video at the Biddle House in San Luis Obispo.
Chef Len was hooked by their music even before he learned they’d performed at Live Oak Music Festival and the Sacramento Jazz Festival.
“I decided if Toyota marketed online, it was good enough for Mad Spice,” Gentieu said.
Play With Fire Productions and Nerds Prime joined the creative team.
“We used all local talent on and off camera, transforming a dull party into a wild, crazy Mad Spice Party. It took six months to develop and five days to shoot on board the Papagallo,” Gentieu said. “I’m energized by these young people in business today. They have a different attitude about life. It isn’t all about money. They enjoy the creative and have fun just like the ingredients I use to craft Mad Spice recipes.”
Will their video launch Mad Spice worldwide? “We’re certainly getting lots of hits by friends telling friends to view it. We’ll know soon if our fun producing it translates into sales.”
Reach Judy at 801-1422 or firstname.lastname@example.org.