Working as a DJ can be very rewarding. It takes not only good networking skills, but also talent and a drive to succeed to position oneself as a professional in the industry. Expanding one’s business to include another service, however, is an entirely new experience. I have learned a lot about networking, marketing and sales from adding event lighting services to my repertoire. I have also discovered the challenges of adding event lighting to my business, but reap the rewards, too.
Before I started A Posh Production, I was the general manager of another company and helped build the lighting division there. However, I have always been interested in architectural lighting in general. I also thought offering event lighting went well with the DJ market; we already provided lighting for the dance floor. Why not advice expand on that and offer it for the entire room?
Much of what I have learned about event lighting can also be attributed to attending seminars at conferences in the DJ industry. From the Mobile Beat Conference in Vegas, two that really stick out are Jason Weldon with Synergetic Sound and Lighting and Ben Stowe with NLFX Professional. I’ve also learned a lot about event lighting from my competitors and have maintain friendly relationships with them, as we have helped each other with services that we may not have in-house.
I originally started offering event lighting as an add-on to my current DJ services. However, I soon realized it could be a completely separate part of the company. I am able to book more events and cut costs through offering both DJ and event lighting services. Additionally, it is a lot easier to control the quality of lighting services over DJ services.
Adding event lighting to my business’s services has certainly influenced my strategy. Not only have I started marketing to brides, but I have been working hard at creating relationships with other vendors in the area. I work closely with florists, venues and even other DJ companies interested in providing lighting service to their clients. As far as the client knows, I work as a lighting expert for the DJ company they have contracted with.
Additionally, a lot of competing vendors rent equipment from me that they are not able to provide in-house. They come to my office on a Friday to pick everything up and return it on Monday. Having these mutual relationships has expanded my marketing strategy and strengthened relationships I have made in the wedding industry.
ADVICE TO DJS
The advice I would give to DJs interested in adding event lighting services to their business is to start small. Think about what you can provide without losing quality in your work, to avoid getting in over your head. There are a lot of different options out there in event lighting, but unless it is done right, it is not worth it. Additionally, I recommend not throwing event lighting in for free for clients that book DJ services; it will only discredit your service.
CHALLENGES AND BENEFITS OF WORKING IN EVENT LIGHTING
Event lighting does come with its challenges. Just like other wedding trends, such as photo booths or chocolate fountains, other vendors can start offering event lighting as well, until it is no longer looked at as an add-on to services. Selling uplighting rather than using it as an add-on feature changes the way I market my business to brides.
Another challenge in event lighting deals with reception halls becoming involved in the practice. Uplighting is now so popular that a lot of reception halls are throwing it in at no charge. However, the halls are not necessarily experienced in lighting. They don’t understand the best location for setting up uplights or how to color match properly. For example, the inexperienced people that work at these venues typically don’t understand how to achieve different shades of colors, like a dark purple vs. a violet to match with the brides’ colors.
While working in event lighting does have challenges, it can be enjoyable, too. Brides look at lighting as a part of their décor budget, not the DJ service. The DJ is usually the last thing they book. When they find me to do lighting and then find out I am a DJ as well, it allows me to book them on DJ services or photo booth, too. Additionally, from a financial standpoint, if someone from my company is already going to be there (myself, or one of my DJs), I can reduce my overhead cost for the event.
I also love transforming a room with event lighting and believe you have to have passion for it if you are going to add it to your business. To be able to start with a blank canvas and end up with a “work of art” is the best feeling. The opportunities with lighting are endless, from intelligent lighting for spotlighting bridal party introductions, to cake cutting and more. I love trying new things such as washing a ceiling, hanging Italian lighting from rafters, trying new break out patterns on walls, or pin spotting center pieces. The list of cool effects just keeps growing!
Filed Under: Issue #142, Issues from 2012, Lighting
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