Donna Alexander, a Dallas mother of two, has discovered a brilliant way to turn the anger that everyone feels, and their need to subsequently express it, into a steady stream of income as a resourceful African-American business owner.
For a set fee, those who visit the Anger Room, can feel free to smash furniture, destroy, and otherwise feel free to express unbridled rage to their hearts convent, while in a safe, sealed environment.
From the Anger Room press kit, provided by Donna Alexander:
“Anger Room, founded back in 2008, was established to provide a fun, alternative method of dealing with anger and stress.
We believe sometimes it’s good for people to do what feels natural and lash out when frustrated. But, doing so in real life will bring about real life consequences. So, Anger Room provides people an opportunity to do just that; but, do it in a controlled environment with supervision free of ridicule, consequences and legal ramifications.
The Anger Room is a place where you can let loose, gear up and destroy mocked rooms that simulate a real life workplace, living area, or kitchen. Each room setting includes a wide range of breakable items from computers and desks to televisions and couches. Each customer has the option of getting a general room setting equipped with add-on items (i.e. mannequins) or a custom room setting made specifically for them. Anger Room is also great experience whether you are visiting us alone or with a group.
We have provided our services for individuals, couples, company outings, fraternity parties, birthday parties, bachelor and bachelorette parties, just to name a few.
So no matter what walk of life you come from, your profession, education level or background, we all get angry.
Anger is a part of human nature and is natural emotion to experience. At some point or another in our lives, we deal with stress, whether in the workplace, in our relationships and even at home.
At some point in our lives, we’ve wanted to lash out, throw something or hit something in an effort to relieve ourselves of frustration and stress. So, Anger Room is here to offer you a laid-back and fun environment to deal with these feelings.
Anger Room provides its customers with an opportunity to do everything we were told not to do since we were children without having to pay the cost of replacing, restoring or having to deal with all the “real life” repercussions.”
We recently interviewed Donna Alexander to learn more about Anger Room:
1. How would you describe your business to someone completely unfamiliar with it?
Anger Room is an entertainment facility geared towards helping everyday individuals release stress and anger. By way of destroying mock room settings in a safe and controlled environment. People are allowed to break items like televisions, computers, living rooms, kitchens, glass and more, all to have fun and/or get some stress or anger out.
2. How did the idea for your business originate and then become a reality?
It originated from an idea I had as a teenager and seeing violence and crime from growing up in Chicago. The idea moved into a business when I moved to Dallas in 2002 after waiting to see if the business would be discovered by someone else, which did not happen.
3. How did you decide that this business was a realistic business idea and how did you get it to what it is now?
Through my own research and trial runs out of my garage with friends and family, it became very clear that this was more than an idea, it was a business that had promising potential and proven demand for the service it provided.
It’s a true example of one of the first things learned in business on the topic of supply and demand. As a business owner you want to supply a service or product that is needed and that’s what I did: supply an alternative solution to a problem, which is individuals with stress and anger who need a better way to release. I started it in my garage from 2008 to 2011 and open my first store front December of 2011.
4. Did you encounter any obstacles when starting out?
Sure. Finding a location because of the nature of my business. I got hundreds of No’s but finally found one yes. Insurance and other normal business obstacles were also present. It wasn’t at all easy in any way, but very well worth the work.
5. Did you actually build the physical room yourself? Is it transportable? Are there more than one model or type of room?
No, it’s not transportable. Rooms are designed to fit the customers needs.
No, I did not build the physical room; they were per-existing. Rooms are fully customized for any way a customer would like.
6. Why do you think your concept is so popular?
Maybe because its something people always wanted to do, I think:) It’s pretty cool and super fun to do! And the fact that it hasn’t been done before makes it that much more appealing.
7. Have you found any generalities in terms of who customers are? For example, do you have more men than women or more of any particular ethnic group than another?
Not really. Ethnicity is pretty much spread out among all races and backgrounds with no general groups or types at all and the men to women ratio is 50/50 evenly. So it’s very broad.
9. If you’re already getting franchise requests, are you getting any from other countries or interests in altering how the Anger Room works now?
Yes, all the time. The requests have been globally and not many, if any, want to change how Anger Room works, they love it for how it is and only want to help add things to it for the most part.
10. As an African-American businesswoman, do you have any advice for other minority professionals wanting to start their own business? Were there things that you learned along the way that you would change if you could go back?
I’m actually Puerto-Rican, Native American & African American (a little mixture of minorities, lol:), but my advice for any minority professional wanting to start their own business is assess their overall purpose of their business idea, find out if there is a need or demand for what they are offering.
Also, most importantly check for your “bottom line,” ask yourself “Is this Profitable?” That one question determines if your idea is a true achievable business or an just a idea.
Once you have made that determination, the next thing for you to do is Go For It! and don’t stop until your’e done what you set out to do:)
There is nothing that I have learned along the way that would ever make me go back and change a thing. My only curiosity is if I could have done this in my earlier years, lol. But I have concluded that everything happened exactly when it needed too! I am extremely grateful.
We’d like to thank Donna Alexander for her time and effort, and (of course) wish her much continued success.
Jerry “JT” Tran is quite simply a “mack daddy.” He has transformed his own life and has successfully built a financially rewarding career out of helping others do the same thing; by teaching otherwise shy or reserved men the secrets to
He’s written books, has multiple offices, and has built an empire to envy. He’s even given lectures at great ivy league institutions such as Yale University, the University of Chicago, and Wharton’s School of Business.
Interrace Today recently interviewed Mr. Tran to get some background:
1. You started out as a spacecraft systems engineer. How and why did you transition from such a highly-specialized technical career to what you’re doing now, (which is also a highly-specialized career)?
JT: I was a very traditional Asian son. I studied hard, went to college, and got a job.
Over time I realized I wasn’t really advancing in my job place even though I was busting my ass and seeing my peers surpass me, not through quality of work, but quality of their networking abilities.
Everyone around me seemed to be getting promoted for doing less work. I began to realize that this was because I was Asian, quiet, and not outgoing. I got fed up with a 9 to 5 that wasn’t fulfilling me emotionally, socially, or monetarily. I discovered the pick up community on the internet and it became an outlet and a savior for me.
I learned a skill set that set me apart from the “average” guy. It freed me from the stereotypes and constraints of being a passive drone archetype and having to settle for second or even third best.
I started probably the first Asian American dating blog, before the whole blog thing was even popular and my career sort of spring boarded from there.
2. There are alot of offensive stereotypes about Asian men that persist today. Do you feel that they can ever become self-fulfilling for Asian men in particular?
JT: I believe both the media and some Asian guys are are our own worse enemies. It’s very easy for Asians to buy into the limiting beliefs that are being fed to them in the media and society. I’ve met a ton of Asians who actually perpetuate these stereotypes and misunderstandings.
I try my best, in my industry, to dissolve these rumors, myths, and stereotypes by being a positive masculine role model so that Asians as a whole, can finally be a confident group.
3. How did you switch careers and then build your media business to what it is now?
JT: To be honest, a lot of what I have learned was through a self-taught, trial by fire method. I read a lot on business and marketing and made a lot of mistakes along the way. I also saw what was working for others, even in different industries, and made it my own. It wasn’t an overnight transition-it was over several years that I was able to build up my image and brand.
4. How long did the process of building your business to what it is today take from when the idea first came to you? Did you have a mentor? Do you have any suggestions for aspiring minority entrepreneurs who would like to emulate your success?
JT: I initially did have a pick up artist mentor, but not necessarily a business mentor. I’m still growing my business every year and have not yet reached my ultimate goals. But from quitting my job as an engineer to actually being able to survive and flourish on a daily basis, I’d say the process took about three years of blood, sweat, and tears and a recession!
My advice to anyone growing a business would be, don’t be afraid to make mistakes!! That’s how you learn the most! Also, you have to be cautious, but no one ever got anywhere by playing it safe. It’s also important to brand yourself right away and see what niche you can fit into.
5. Interracial dating is still taboo to many people. What can be done to open more hearts and minds and create a more open dating arena?
JT: Well, I feel like I’m opening more hearts and minds everyday through my company, it’s message, writing, and speaking. No matter how hard anyone tries, there is always going to be racial prejudice.
For many people, it goes generations deep and will not be undone overnight. I think it’s important to stay positive in my own way as well as open minded to why some people may have these prejudiced opinions. By understanding their motives, I can better assess my approach to dispelling their feeling on the matter.
6. Has the need for your services increased or decreased with the economic down-turn?
JT: When everything started tanking around 2008, I was naturally concerned. In my head I was thinking, “Who’s going to be worried about self-improvement during these times?”
However, I was shocked to see that there was no downturn in my business, there was actually a spike. It’s one of those pleasant surprises that you secretly hope for, but don’t expect. We’ve garnered more positive publicity than most of our peers in the industry.
The media portrays these companies as womanizing,exploitative, misogynists, but we’ve been fortunate enough to being very well received. I’ve been invited as a special guest speaker to Harvard, Yale, and Wharton not to mention being featured on ABC’s Nightline. All of which have been positive and hopefully inspiring experiences. I consider our services a personal investment and I think a lot of guys were thinking the same way.
7. China has a disproportionate male to female ratio, and Japan does as well to a different extent. Why do you feel those inequalities exist and do you see that developing in other countries as well? Does one gender have a mathematical advantage in terms of negotiating? Are you received differently by different ethnic groups or do you have more clientele from any particular group?
JT: A lot of inequality has to do, in part, to China’s One Child Policy. There was a huge amount of female infanticide that will have long lasting consequences not simply today, but in future generations to come. The one child policy is going to catch up to China very quickly because that generation is going to come to maturity around 2020. There is going to be an even larger gap between the number of males vs. females.
There is a long-standing idea among Asians that male children are somehow better-perhaps because they carry on the family name-among other things. I believe this gender gap is going to result in more Asian males traveling to other countries to find a wife simply because there won’t be enough females in their countries.
Our clientele is very diverse. Of course we get a lot of Asian students because I’m Asian. However, we get all types of races and cultures.
8. Do you actively measure a success ratio? If yes, what is it?
JT: A lot of what we teach is immeasurable. Each student progresses at his own pace, some are naturals and some will take a little more work. I can list off who kissed a girl on a bootcamp or which alums have gotten married because of the skills they learned on a bootcamp. But a lot of what we teach is for personal growth and is individual.
To me, success is taking a lot of these shy, socially awkward guys, and making them come out of their shells. It’s amazing to see the progression of success form night one of our class to night three.
9. Do you work with women as well as men, or just men? Would you consider working with other groups such as gay men or gay women or other minority groups?
JT: We already work with a large range of minorities. As for females-what we teach in particular can’t really be transferred over to females. It just doesn’t work. The same could be said for the gay and lesbian crowd. Even though we are teaching men how to approach women, our techniques wouldn’t work for a woman to approach a woman because the dynamics are different.
I think it’s important to be very good at what you do and for me to branch out into other areas of seduction would be a disservice. Maybe in time we’ll branch out to offer different service products, but not now.
10. Have you ever considered matchmaking or hosting a reality program?
JT: Naturally my company gets equated to matchmaking and dating service sites but we don’t do that. I don’t think I’d really like to get involved in that. I like teaching guys how to have choice in whomever they want to talk to. I’ve been approached to do television, but I am a private person. I don’t think I could live with someone constantly following me around with a camera. I like to keep my work life and private life very separate.
Hats off to Jerry “JT” Tran.
Below are a few videos featuring JT Tran. First there’s a story about him on Nightline, then a few videos of him at Yale:
JT on Nightline: