Stephane Cohen is more than a
A successful french export
Originally from Paris, Cohen settled in South Africa after visiting with a Stade Francais rugby tour 21 years ago.
‘I moved to South Africa to play rugby. After a few
An inherent mixture of strength and sophistication have served Cohen well in this frenetic and competitive world, as well as a
A marketing creative
Catering to the jet-setting elite of South Africa’s ‘Big Apple’ is no mean feat; they have high expectations and a desire to feel part of a global VIP network. So what keeps the clients coming back? Cohen claims that the key elements are contradictory:
‘You have to be very consistent offering the same product all the time with the same music the same
But at the same
Cohen’s clubs play host to numerous events, often sponsored by leading vodka or cognac brands and featuring guest appearances from stars of the urban music scene.
Harem will also soon play host to a charity event that spans the continents - The Global Party collaborates with the world’s leading
‘Being part of an event that spans 5 continents makes us feel very special…’ says Cohen.
Considering that Johannesburg is not a tourist magnet, Cohen’s clubs do very well. In fact, he claims that this is one of the greatest challenges for a
‘We have to be very creative because we entertain the same people over and over. Very few tourists come visit Johannesburg and there are hardly any International conventions or fairs bringing international visitors. Cities like Paris, London, New York and Las Vegas are flooded with tourists which bring fresh new blood every weekend. We have to be very clever to keep our clients visiting us every week.’
‘I design my own clubs. We change the decor every 3 to 4 years to keep fresh and exciting.
I travel a lot - from Moscow to North America, Europe and South America every year to visit clubs and get inspired. I would never copy but take sometimes a few elements that I feel would work in our spaces.’
It may sound like a very glamorous life but Cohen is quick to point out that it’s not a career choice for just anyone wanting to party:
‘Becoming a club owner is a long process...it is a real job that requires training and experience. A lot of people open clubs thinking it’s a quick and easy way to make money and acquire fame or recognition. Most people open clubs for the wrong reasons and fail.’
A born host
Understanding and genuinely loving the world of hospitality should be part of your DNA if you are going to be a successful nightclub owner:
‘I come from a hospitality background - my parents used to own restaurants in Paris. I also learned a lot in America when I was young and worked in restaurants in L.A. I love people and I always want to make sure they are having a good time. When you look after people and make them feel you are there for them, and not the contrary, they will give you the respect you deserve.’
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