get to know jian and page magen of the magen group, 1
  • Name: Jian Magen and Page Magen
  • Company: The Magen Group
  • Years in Business: 23

So how’d you both get started?

When we were in high school, we both got into trouble for acting up during our school’s fashion show rehearsals. As a punishment, we were given the task of throwing the show’s after-party. 

We had to find a venue, get tickets, figure out music and then get people to come. We were like “We can make money? Let’s do this.” To promote the party, we went to a bunch of high schools in Toronto, walked into classes and threw flyers into the kids’ faces. It was like we made it rain with flyers, long before making it rain was a thing. We landed a venue called Ardy’s near Bathurst and Elgin Mill. Around 1,700 people came, and we made $17,000. The cops shut the party down.

When we brought home the money to our parents, my mom thought we had robbed a bank – she couldn’t believe it! It was the launch of our business. We started throwing parties every month. Then every week. It was like, Halloween? No problem. Thanksgiving? No problem. Valentine’s Day? Sure. Bob Marley’s birthday? Done. We would make a party out of anything. 

After our parents’ business went under, we became the breadwinners in the family. This ultimately gave us our first big break as what was meant to be a little shindig turned into anything but little! 

What was the hardest part about starting your own business?

Taking that initial first leap is always the hardest part. You have so many doubts which are primarily based on the unknown. Once you get over this hump the rest is all based on the work you put in. 

How did COVID affect the business? What have you had to change since?

For 20 years, we worked six days a week. We worked with around 300 vendors. When the pandemic hit, we had to cancel around 400 events booked between March to June, 2020. We were on the verge of bankruptcy and things were absolutely chaotic: people were asking us for deposits back, moving their dates from spring to fall, asking us questions that we didn’t know the answers to, and so on. At first we returned deposits, but as our financial situation deteriorated, we started offering credit instead. Then all of a sudden, that was it. There was no one calling. It was silence. We went from getting dozens of inquiries a day to nothing. We started thinking, “What are we going to do? Is this the end of our business?

In retrospect, COVID ended up reshaping how we think about and operate our business. Fortunately, we were able to weather the storm and implement new processes that have essentially reinvented how we do things as a business. Looking back, this actually ended up being a pretty big blessing in disguise.

Learning from failure is a valuable and inevitable part of most entrepreneurial journeys. Looking back, what failure are you now grateful for given the lessons learned?

Our best failures taught us that in the end, everything – both the good and the bad – are ultimately a teachable opportunity. 

Back when we started, we would just show up to venues and not think to ask any questions about load-ins or logistics. For one event we did, we had no clue that the hotel’s elevator was down and that this meant that we would have to carry all our equipment up…. 33 stories! We would never make that mistake EVER again and now we contact all our venues multiple times prior to event day to make sure we aren’t inadvertently missing some key piece of information.

get to know jian and page magen of the magen group, 2

How has the job/profession/industry changed since you first started?

Jian: Like all industries, the events industry has evolved a ton over the years and it’s important to keep up with the times and trends. From a client’s perspective, it isn’t just about playing the right music anymore. 

Page: Customers are much more savvy now and have many more options than in the old days. Being able to provide a precise option for every client is truly a skill that we are so blessed to have. 

What drives you?

Jian: With the world kind of going upside down, we are driven by bringing people together and providing happiness. To have this as your job is truly a blessing and is what drives us daily. 

Page: Of course my family is first. From there I am completely motivated and driven by making the world a better place and there is no better way to do this than making people smile. This is a big motivator for me and something I am truly grateful for. 

What’s one big tip you would give to up-and-comers in the industry? 

Jian: Volunteer as much as you can. Gaining experience is the key to your development and without it there is a good chance you are not going to get to where you strive for. You can only bring value to an event when you are given the opportunity to be a part of it.

Page: Go and buy yourself a pair of high end ear plugs… It will be the BEST investment you ever made. 

What was your first job in the industry? 

Jian: Hype Man/Dancer + Promoter!

Page: Casino Dealer + Promoter

And now for the Bonus Round…

get to know jian and page magen of the magen group, 3

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up (and how does it relate to what you do now)?

Jian: A wrestler. We loved the whole theatrics and action that pro wrestling brings. Its a bit of everything. Sports, theater, comedy, action and more. I still want to be a wrestler but know that my days are limited, so we bring that same intensity to events! A guy can still dream right??

Page: Comedian. I love comedy and making people laugh was always something that I connected with. These days, while I am not a comedian (except in my own head!), I am working alongside some of the best in the biz booking them on events all across the country. 

Favourite childhood memory?

Both: Going to the Maple Leaf Gardens when WWF came to town!

If you could have dinner with anyone, dead or alive, who would it be?

Jian: Freddie Mercury is someone that i have always been in awe of. He was pure magic. To have been able to have a moment with him would have been the coolest!

Page Magen: Bruce Springsteen is my favorite! They don’t call him the boss for nothing! To be able to have a moment with him to tell him how much I love his music would be really great. 

What was the last fun thing you bought?

Jian: A signed Hulk Hogan WrestleMania III stadium seat

Page: Signed Sandy Koufax jersey

What was one of your less glamorous jobs you had when you were younger?

Jian: Kosher fish market

Page: Kenny Rogers Chicken