We had the good fortune of connecting with Andrea Rafiei and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Andrea, have there been any changes in how you think about work-life balance?
My husband and I have been working together for 1o years now. After we got married in 2013, I left my arduous career as a commercial interior designer to join the family business, Houston Sports and Social Club. It was a huge relief to have complete flexibility and control over my day. I was also very thankful to take 4mo of maternity leave when our sons were born in 2015 and 2017. Now I’m ramping my career back-up and getting more engaged with our our multiple businesses. I am also able to serve on three non-profit boards. I often tell people that having your own business is being able to take off whenever you want, but you’re always working.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
In addition to founding Houston Sports and Social Club in 2011, we are now part of the new ownership at Wakefield Crowbar which is a neighborhood bar and grill in the Oak Forest/Garden Oaks area. This new endeavour has been a huge success and this is no ordinary bar and restaurant. In addition to having 3 regulation sand volleyball courts surrounded by a spacious deck outside, Crowbar also has an indoor private party room that’s perfect for large corporate events and social gatherings. As owner of Houston Sports and Social Club has rented court space from Crowbar for sand volleyball leagues since its inception in 2011. As the focus for HoustonSSC has continued to shift toward corporate teambuilding offerings, it was a natural fit for us to expand the business. Our community is very excited about the changes already made under the new ownership, including a new menu and kids playground!
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Definitely I would recommend that they stay at my nanny’s vrbo that is across the street from Wakefield Crowbar. We’ve got really awesome neighbors including Decant Urban Winery, William Price Distillery, and Walking Stick Brewery. We love our community and all the options that have come into the GOOF (Garden Oaks/Oak Forest) area over the last 10 years. We live and work in this area so we pretty much don’t have to deal traffic.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My husband, Omid Rafiei! We’ve encouraged each other along the way, but Omid’s education and entrepreneurial spirit is what drove me to become a business owner. Here is a quick summary of our relationship. Omid and I met on a free agent Kickball team in Austin in the Spring of 2007. We were friends for about a year before we decided to start dating. Then when Omid lost his home builder estimating job during the recession, he moved to Houston for a job in the oil and gas industry. As a newcomer to the city, he joined another adult sports league and found it was missing some things he was looking for. There seemed to be a need and demand for another recreational sports and social league in Houston. His MBA focus was entrepreneurship and he always dreamed of owning his own business, so in 2011 Omid founded HoustonSSC and then I moved to Houston as well. What started as a side project, grew to full-time and Omid left his job in the oil and gas industry in 2012. In the spring of 2013 Omid and I got married, and then I quit my job that fall so we could take on another big project, Oktoberfest Houston.