Fridays with Flea Style: Sweet Tooth Hotel Founder + Artist Jencey Keeton
Jencey Keeton has worn many career hats. She understands how to leverage experiential and social media to generate brand buzz and successfully convert an audience after years at Clear Channel Radio and doing digital marketing for companies such as the AT&T Performing Arts Center and Fossil. She’s a musician at heart and her band Smile Smile has toured with or opened for major acts from Bob Schneider to Loretta Lynn and Ryan Adams. She’s even spent time in commercial real estate.
All of these roles laid the foundation for Sweet Tooth Hotel, an experiential creative incubator that flexes her eclectic skill set, creative spirit and deep contacts in the art world. We sit down with the entrepreneur to talk about her seat at the booming Dallas-based business where she handles artist curation, marketing, merchandise and operations as well as her plans for national expansion.
Describe your business/job role in 300 words or less.
Sweet Tooth Hotel is an experimental art venue focused on creating immersive and interactive experiences. Since our opening in 2018, our venue has become a center for creativity in Dallas. We offer a space to show unique curated art installations created by local artists, and give creatives the platform to reach thousands of people every week. We showcase traditional mediums like painting and sculpture, while also incorporating New Media, such as projection mapping and mixed realities. We engage the local communities every week by hosting events in our space, like immersive theater, comedy shows, silent discos, and artist talks.
My role at Sweet Tooth Hotel ranges from visionary to artist curator to marketer to handyman on a daily basis. Running a small business and one that is so hands on requires me to wear a large number of hats which I’m trying to spread out as we move forward with our expansions.
What advice would you give to others who are looking to make a drastic change in their professions?
Life is meant to be lived and chasing your dreams might be scary but that’s part of truly finding your path. Especially if you’re trailblazing, you can’t follow in anyone else’s foot steps and you have to accept there will be lots of things you don’t know. So learn from your mistakes, celebrate your successes and don’t wait to change your own future.
What do you wish you had known when you started out?
I wish I had known that Sweet Tooth Hotel would start hosting so many events! Thinking about the way we would design our space now would be completely different.
If anyone could play you in a movie, who would you choose?
My favorite actress is Natalie Portman because she’s clever, endearing and has a firm sense of who she is along with how she can help others. I have so much respect for her as a person and it would be amazing to see her telling the Sweet Tooth Hotel story.
Who has made the biggest impact on you in your career?
My husband Cole Keeton has made the biggest impact because he gives me the confidence to chase my dreams and to look past any obstacles in front of me.
Dream client or collaboration?
If I could collaborate with anyone it would be Wes Anderson. His sense of story, design and narrative is so unique and unparalleled. He’s been able to create such a successful career creating movies outside of the normal Hollywood blockbuster formula which is a triumph in my opinion.
Tell us something people might be surprised to know about you.
I’m actually a very shy person and I have to wear hearing aids because of middle ear hearing loss which makes meeting new people even more difficult! So if I ever meet you and don’t respond or stare at your intently just know I’m trying to figure out what you said, ha ha.
What does the next year look like for you?
At Sweet Tooth Hotel we’ll be launching our fourth installation and looking to travel to other cities. It’s time!
Don’t miss Jencey’s podcast. It’s so good! Check it out along with other Fridays with Flea Style episodes on iTunes here. Want to nominate somebody to be a guest on our show or have a question for Brittany to answer? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org!