We had the good fortune of connecting with Ronni Rice and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Ronni, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
I have had many, many jobs over the years, never having had that one career path. I found myself at this point in my life, my kids were now grown & flown, the pandemic was over, and I just couldn’t sit around my house doing nothing. I had been searching for my “what’s next”. Everyone says to do what you’re passionate about. I just wasn’t sure what that was. One day, a friend asked if I could teach some of her friends how to play Mahj. I realized how much I missed teaching, and the joy it invoked in me was undeniable. My friends were all very encouraging and supportive, and I felt I simply had no choice but to make a real commitment and start my own business. Thus, Marvelous Mrs Mahj was born.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I was raised in a world filled with Mahjong. My grandmother, mother, aunt, and all their friends, were avid players. I would fall asleep at night to the sound of the tiles clicking, and the ladies calling our their “bams”, “craks”, and “dots”. But, it wasn’t until my kids were in elementary school, when I learned to play with a small group of moms. Our games were sporatic, and when my daughter started high school, a friend and I started a group called “Mahjong for Beginners and More” with the sole goal being to play more Mahj ourselves, and teach others how to play. We started with 16 players, and just prior to Covid shutting us all down, we had over 170 players on our list. We would hold monthly events, which included beginners tables, and tournament style play. As the world reopened, we started our group back small, with just our regular players. But, I missed teaching. Thus, Marvelous Mrs Mahj was born.
I love teaching. I love spreading the joy of playing Mahjong. I love helping people keep their minds sharp and active. The “business” aspect of setting up and running my own business has been challenging. Keeping up with social media, getting my name out there, finding new clients, has all been a huge learning curve for me. But, the actual teaching makes the work worthwhile. There is nothing more satisfying than knowing that my students are out there, playing Mahjong, making new friends, and working their brains.
When people say to follow your passion, they are telling the truth. I honestly never expected that this would be my next chapter in my life, but I am so excited about my work, the future friends I will make, and the fun I will have and share!!
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Besides teaching anyone who visits how to play Mahj, and hanging out at home with the dogs and cats, we would have an adventurous week! I love taking friends shopping and eating (brunch at Butcher’s Daughter) along Abbott Kinney and strolling the Venice canals, a driving tour around Hollywood, the Warner Bros. Studio Tour, lunch at Grand Central Market downtown LA, perhaps a visit to Little Tokyo or Chinatown. I always take guests to Griffith Park, and drive up to Dodgers Stadium. Hiking in the Santa Monica mountains or hiking up in Vasquez Rocks. Visit the Grove and Farmers Market. A walk down Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills. There’s no shortage of fun and fabulous things to do in LA!!!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
The entire Mahjong community is one of the warmest, most welcoming, groups of people in the world! I have made incredible friends through playing this game, and continue meeting awesome people through my teaching. I would have to thank my mother, grandmother, aunt, and all their friends for raising me in a world of Mahjong. I also have to thank my dear friend, and partner in all things Mahj, Helen McCusker for starting Mahjong for Beginners and More with me pre-Covid. I would like to acknowledge Michele Frizzell and Debbie Barnett for their inspiration, mentorship, and support of Mahjong instructors. And, a huge thank you to all my friends who continually support me, send their friends my way, and come play Mahj!!!