The Magician: The dFm’s Jesse Lee

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Jesse Lee outside of his office in DTLA. Photo by Nate Williams.

Jesse Lee must have magic powers. Otherwise, how do you explain how the media mogul handles so many projects without even lifting a finger? Think of Jesse as the fairy godmother of this city, who turns pumpkins into carriages and balls into legends. The new dFm space is at the intersection of work and cool, more commonly known as DTLA. Jesse shows me to his office, which sits behind a wall of glass. His approach to everything is transparency. He has six post-it notes stuck to a blank wall with his five (current) ventures: the dFm, Basic Space, Westwood Westwood, Mirage Magazine, and Alma Collective. “If I don’t have many things going on, I get angsty,” explains Jesse.

Mirage Issue 4 via
Mirage Issue 4 via

The dFm is no ordinary creative agency. It identifies as a discovery agency, being bored with the conventional PR game. They’re investing in human interactions. “All individuals are brands,” says Jesse. In his mind, he doesn’t work with enterprises. He works with people. Many of those people run the city. Literally. As an early supporter of Eric Garcetti’s mayoral campaign, he organized fundraisers with Shepard Fairey and Moby and casually DM’s the mayor. “I’m not gonna email him at his mayor’s office,” he says.

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The dFm’s roster packs a formidable punch.

The magic is sprinkled over his other projects as well: Westwood Westwood produces video content about the movers and shakers in the creative entrepreneurial scene; Mirage Magazine is the hedonistic publication run by Henrik Purienne, who might be the next Hugh Hefner; Alma Collective provides socially conscious chow to die for; and Basic Space, a curated marketplace app launching in March. As I realized after talking to him, Jesse has been the wizard behind the curtain at almost every cool thing I’ve ever been to in LA.

Update: The dFm always has a strong presence at Coachella, so naturally, we asked Jesse to curate his top 5 Coachella parties. Check it out after the jump.

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