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Santa Cruz Best New Business of The Year: Collective Santa Cruz

Presented by The 2023 NEXTies
The Collective
Jalen and Kendall, founders of The Collective Santa Cruz, at an event they hosted for The Collective at Harbor Cafe in September 2022.

Jalen Horne and Kendall Denike launched Collective Santa Cruz last year - and hit the ground running. The Collective has been widely popular across Santa Cruz with their events featuring local artists, live music, unique collaborations, and food pop-ups.

Now, having several events under their belt and drawing larger crowds each time, they are planning ahead for the years to come. Their goal is to bring a whole new vibe to local events and eye catching marketing.

They are a business to watch with new ideas, collaborations, and events popping up every day on their Instagram.

Get to know Jalen and Kendall below and be sure to join the NEXTies award show happening at Woodhouse Brewing on March 31. Get your tickets here.

Describe what you do in two sentences:

Jalen: Our mission is to build community and spread creativity. We achieve this by taking a design-driven approach to events & partnerships featuring local businesses/individuals.

The Collective
Jalen and Kendall, winning Best New Business of The Year, are continuing to expand The Collective across town and always finding new themes to launch for their branded events.

What inspired you to pursue your current path, and how did you get started?

Jalen: We are two Santa Cruz natives who have been friends since middle school, with a shared passion for creativity, socializing, and our incredibly unique hometown. We created the Collective as a space that inspires others to connect with, and celebrate, the people and places of Santa Cruz in the way we do.

What do you consider to be your biggest achievement so far in your career, and why?

Jalen: Winning this award. It shows that our hard work is paying off. Gaining recognition from our community means a lot to us, and makes us want to work even harder to continue pursuing our goals.
Kendall: Over 100 local businesses & individuals have asked to join our “Vibe Check” sticker campaign. A “Vibe Check” sticker is a badge of honor that represents commitment to the Collective mission: building community. It blows my mind to have over a hundred supporters so far, ranging from brand-new storefronts to businesses/artists that have been staples in the community for 50+ years.

What are you most looking forward to in 2023?

Jalen: Growth. We’ve tapped into something special in Santa Cruz, and we’re ready to take it to the next level. In 2023, we’re ready to build our brand, events, and community to be bigger than ever before.

What are your future career goals and aspirations?

Jalen: With the fluidity of the Collective, there’s many different paths in which we could take the business: events, design, apparel, social content. Our biggest goal at the moment is to keep pushing the boundaries of what’s possible within these paths.

What role do you believe mentorship and networking have played in your success?

Jalen: We are honored whenever someone, whether it’s a friend or stranger, asks us for advice on how to start their own brand or business. Mentoring others allows us to reflect on everything that has gone into creating the Collective: all the hard work, lessons, failures, and successes.

How do you stay connected with your community?

Jalen: Events and social media allow others to stay updated on our latest projects.

What does being a NEXTie honoree mean to you?

Jalen: For me it’s a sign of validation. Validation that our vision is resonating with the town around us. At the end of the day we want to connect with the people, and give them something they can feel a part of. Winning this award means our efforts are working.

Kendall: It’s exciting and inspiring to be honored alongside so many other individuals/businesses that are at similar points in their personal and professional journeys. We’re all in different industries/categories, but we all share the same passion and drive to make change and create something new in Santa Cruz.

Who will be joining you at this year’s NEXTies award show on March 31?

Jalen: We’ve got a solid squad of family and friends joining us at this years award show.

Anything else you would like to share?

Jalen: Mark your calendars for April 8th. The Collective is throwing our biggest event yet - you won’t want to miss it!

Get your tickets today
  • Event
    Celebrate with your NEXTies
    Dress up and come out for an evening in honor of those in Santa Cruz County who inspire the community.
    Friday, March 31, 2023 - 6:00 PM

11th annual nexties