Accountant-turned-entrepreneur, Michele Ware, has officially infiltrated Harlem with Upper Manhattan’s very first “escape room.â€ If you’re not familiar with escape rooms, these are experiential venues that allow attendees a limited amount of time to use clues to escape thematic, locked rooms.
This concept itself screams exciting. If you add style, taste, detail, comfort, luxury and theater into the experience, you get Ware’s Hoodwinked Escape. Hoodwinked Escape features four distinct rooms, currently an asylum, hangover room, military installation, and Spirit of Harlem. Using teamwork, analytic, and cognitive skills, “clue-findersâ€ (that would be you) discover, analyze, and decode clues that eventually, hopefully in an hour or less, lead to your escape.
There are no cellphones, no obvious answers, and no way out (kinda). It’s just you, your team, and your collaborative brilliance.
This is hands-down, one of those things you just have to experience. The sense of triumph exhibited with every found clue leading to your escape will be enough to render you addicted.
BlackEnterprise.com was not only intrigued by the Hoodwinked experience, but also by the entrepreneurial leap taken by owner Michele Ware. We caught up with Ware to find out how she stumbled upon something so awesome.
Black Enterprise.com: What made you leave a lucrative career in Corporate America to start your own thing as an entrepreneur?
Ware: It started way back. I’ve always had side jobs growing up, from rÃ©sumÃ© writing to babysitting. I’m constantly thinking what is that billion-dollar idea? I experienced escape room for myself when I took a team I managed as a CPA. I immediately developed a passion for the concept. In the escape room everything is about communication, team building, and creating fun along with educational opportunities. Given my love of mentorship and inspiring people it just seemed like a natural fit.
Not being really fulfilled in my executive position, I woke up one day and decided to quit my job and work on my business plan.
Why not Harlem?
As an entrepreneur what are you actively doing to ensure your business’s success?
It’s forward-thinking. I’m engaged with my clue-finders to find out how they feel about the experience. I’m always thinking about what we can do to stay ahead of the escape industry. I also have an amazing PR and marketing team. The key is also in retraining. I retrain my staff so we don’t get too comfortable. Training is huge so that we can maintain a level of customer service that our customers deserve.
Please do yourself the favor of experiencing Hoodwink Escape. For more information visit http://hoodwinkedescape.com/.