Time and again, we’ve heard it said that blessings are fertilizers that encourage more to come. But sadly, so many favors from above aren’t made full use of because those who enjoy them would rather keep them to themselves.
Not RJ and Tin Jimenez.
This young couple know a thing or two about the art of becoming a blessing to others, having learned it in the two years since they’ve put up their own Vantage Events and Music Production, an events and music company which roughly coincided with their marriage.
“When we are blessed, we are given the chance to share our blessings to others,” shared Tin, in many ways RJ’s “discoverer” and original fan, who was the one who got the Miss Kita Pag Tuesday composer to join ABS-CBN’s Pinoy Dream Academy in 2006.
Marriage is a company
“[Our company] gives up-and-coming artists an opportunity to showcase their craft. I believe there are many people out there who are brimming with talent but who for some reason don’t get the attention they deserve. They’re just waiting for that one big break that may never come. We are here to help them,” said RJ, mentioning how Vantage helped up-and-coming musicians like Dane Hipolito and Issa Rodriguez get their music videos on My Myx and release their own albums.
“Not only that. We employ people. We help people help themselves,” added Tin of their growing company of 14 people, which finds companies like Sony Philippines, ABS-CBN, Clorox among its clients.
But it was quite a gamble trying to start their on their own, especially so that they’re newly married, not to mention the tough competition.
Though Tin was quite at home with events organizing, neither of them had a background in business so they had to learn almost everything from scratch.
“It took a lot of courage … and faith, really having to engage in this venture. We weren’t sure at first whether this would turn out well. But thank God so far it has. And it helps that I was an employee before,” shared Tin.
‘Golden Rule of Business’
According to the Jimenezes, a considerable part of Vantage’s success is their employees.
“I don’t make them do things I myself hated when I was still an employee… And since we take care of our employees and we treat them as family, they have no option but to give us their all … their 100 percent,” Tin explained.
However, everyday isn’t smooth sailing. There are times they find it difficult to secure a deal.
“It’s a dog-eat-dog world industry. Crab mentality is real. People … will try to pull you down. But we don’t mind them,” she added.
According to her, stooping down to their level is not an option.
Helping one’s own
Of course, the singer-songwriter is only too familiar with what life is like for the proverbial struggling artist.
He used to be one of them.
Before his short stint at Pinoy Dream Academy, the reality TV show that made him a household name overnight, the Thomasian from Pasig City was just a simple obscure freelancer torn between his engineering studies and his passion for music and whose biggest audience at that time was perhaps the same people in his church.
Until he and Tin crossed paths. While the two went to the same college, it was only much later after graduation when Tin, who worked in a casting agency, offered to manage him that they had the chance to know each other better.
They were together when RJ was the hottest topic in the local music industry, when FM stations alternated in playing his songs, and also until they stopped playing them.
It was also the time when RJ would unwittingly witness the party and drugs scene of showbusiness as well as receive “scratch-my-back-I-will-scratch-yours” offers which he wisely turned down.
“Many are quick to write RJ off as a snob [because of that]. He’s not. They tend to equate his uncompromising outlook in life with careless indifference. If anything, he just lacks the patience for the politics of showbiz,” explained Tin who shared about how RJ received offers to endorse political candidates he didn’t believe in, in exchange for money.
“Maybe I was too innocent. Showbiz has its own ways of shocking the wits out of a person. I would have turned out differently if the values I picked up from my family and my community aren’t in place,” RJ said in Filipino.
More than professional partners
And to cut the story short, years of professional-artistic collaboration later, their relationship blossomed into something much deeper.
“We were the last people to know that we’re in love,” said RJ, a statement to which Tin agreed.
Despite the fact that he had barely Php 20,000 in his bank account, RJ woke up one day day finally deciding that he was going to propose to his girlfriend of 5 years.
“It came to a point when I had to decide once and for all. Until that time, my personal insecurities would hold me back from popping the question. I realized waiting for that perfect timing wasn’t useless because there would never be a perfect timing. Just leave everything to God,” he added.
Their marriage in 2014 would give birth to their “first baby”, Vantage Events and Music Production, Inc.
In a very literal way, Vantage Events allows RJ to give back to the industry that has been nothing but good to him.
“I was a nobody before. I wouldn’t be where I am now without the people who helped me and believed in what I can do. It’s my turn to help my fellow artists,” he said.
Aside from mentoring independent musicians, for the past two years their small company has been doing what it does best organizing events and shows for corporate clients and composing jingles.
Being married to your business partner
It’s a wonder how the two have managed to get along both as business partners and lifetime partners at the same.
Goodness knows how many times we’ve been reminded how bad it is for people in love to engage in business together. Given the amount of emotional involvement there is in such a setup, it’s nearly impossible to separate the professional from the strictly personal.
“Honesty is very important. Keeping secrets is a big no-no for us. Never underestimate the value of communication,” said Tin, who is now ten weeks into her pregnancy.
“Husbands, swallow your pride. Of course, it takes two to tango, but I think men have to work on this more than women. Master the ability to be open and to understand how your wives think,” he added.