Backstage Pass: Unfiltered COVID Talk
This week’s episode of Backstage Pass got #real. We wanted to give you a behind the scenes look at our business, how we’re handling postponements, how we are preparing to rock a new kind of event post COVID-19, and our plan to rock with you all for another 10 years.
Watch this video or read the transcript below to learn more about how we’ve got your back during this time.
Here are some resources for you to stay excited about wedding planning:
Jessie: I’m Jessie with Our DJ Rocks, tonight we are here to give you a behind the scenes look at our business, how we are handling postponements, how we are preparing to rock a new kind of event post COVID-19, and our plan to rock with you all for another 10 years. I want to give everyone the disclaimer that we have never done anything like this before – we are normally very careful to only show you guys the fun stuff. As a DJ company – we bring the energy and the excitement. So we hope you’ll all understand while we take tonight to be a little more serious and maybe even a little vulnerable. We want to be transparent and honest and we hope that our couples, clients, and vendor partners appreciate our efforts to be genuine with you and find comfort that we are all in this together.
If you have questions on this topic you can email them to me at email@example.com and we will get you an answer!
Jessie: Let’s start from the beginning, how did you go into this 45 days ago?
Kristin: I think it began with a feeling – I want to share that I knew when this began, everyone would feel this deeply and there wasn’t going to be ONE person NOT affected by it. Whether this was worrying about job losses, family members getting sick, or wedding plans being shifted. So I knew we were going to be in for an emotional ride.
I do want to share with everyone watching and who will watch, that this is meant to reassure you. Tonight, I want you to know that I am here to be open and honest with you and I’m here tonight as CEO Kristin, not DJ Kristin. I know most of you are used to seeing me as DJ Kristin which is positive, energetic, and inspirational.
The CEO side of me isn’t one that I always show, and I want to thank you for joining us tonight as we hopefully build more of your trust.
Jessie: Let’s start with the easy questions! We are all feeling really blessed to still be working right now. We’ve been really lucky that we haven’t had to furlough any of our team members, so tell us about what the team is doing! What are the DJs doing? What kinds of things are you working on or creating right now?
Kristin: Oh goodness, we are doing ALL THE THINGS!
When we went into this, we knew our couples would want to be more in touch with us than ever. We didn’t want anyone to feel ghosted; we wanted to build relationships through this process. We made an intentional to-do list, looking at what resources can we create to make it easier on our couples after all this and reassure everyone that we are still here and ready to rock.
- Our Office Team is:
- Continuing to take care of all our couples whether that be postponements or upcoming couples who are planning
- Updating SOPs
- Streamlining our operation
- Recording How To videos for our online planning system, and training videos for our team.
- Updating resources like YouTube videos, Pinterest, blogs
- Figuring out what we need to do to stay safe after we’re allowed to be together again
- Our DJ and Event Team is:
- Staying connected to couples and vendors and strengthening our vendor relationships.
- Keeping their DJ skills sharp and creating mixes
- Making Spotify Playlists for our couples so they can stay connected to them.
Lastly – and most Important to our hearts, celebrating our 10 Year anniversary. We’re working on our Love Lead Excel initiative with YouTube, live videos, etc.
Jessie: And we are going live on facebook every thursday! It’s been quite the 45 days… some that most people can’t imagine. Would you mind sharing with us some of what your days have looked like?
Kristin: Oh man, yes it’s been completely turned upside down. I’m used to going into the office and being CEO and general manager, running an entertainment business, and then DJing on the weekends. So this has definitely been an emotional ride for us as much as it has been for our couples. Our days are crazy. I’m still practicing DJing, I’m going live, I’m creating mixes I never thought I’d do before. I had to change up my daily routine and I think this is hard for everyone right now.
So instead of getting to the computer and logging on at 8 a.m. and going at it until 8 p.m and giving everyone emotional support, I had to change it up. Now I wake up with gratitude and I’ll look up an inspirational quote or I’ll find inspirational music because I still do want to attach to my purpose which is infusing positivity and energy. I wake up every day with the mentality of, how do I build stronger relationships through all of this? I KNOW how devastating this is for our couples. And I am giving all the love to our venues and planners out there who are the first touch point for them.
I’m trying not to cry, but being that team support….I’m a worrier. I worry about our clients, I worry about our industry, and I worry about our team. We have a full-time office team,we have event staff, we have a small little mighty team of about 32 people. I worry about everybody. I’m mama bear, so I may not have a routine to have a zoom call every Tuesday to check on everybody’s mental health, but I’m like okay… you know, how’s this team member today let me send her a text or I facetime someone or give them a call to just check in. I think the hardest part for me is seeing the real life struggles that you guys go through. When I am when I see our office manager dedicated and wake up every day and help all of our couples and at the same time kiss her a husband goodbye to go work on the frontlines to fight what is going on in the world – that’s hard. I worry about Jennie whose husband got laid off from his job. I worry about you and Alex you know I know he can’t fly right now and we don’t know when it will go back to normal so I think it’s just carrying a lot of that worry… I have to wake up with the mentality of how do I infuse that positivity into you guys? How do I still encourage our couples and how do I really be that light that is my purpose?
*Cue the tears!! Sorry y’all!!*
Jessie: Speaking of balancing and taking care of our couples — How have you been handing couples that are postponing?
Kristin: Moving dates and deposits for more than 150 clients was a challenge we weren’t expecting to face this year. But the second this started, I immediately created a massive spreadsheet and updated our system to be able to keep careful track of everything. I’ve had extensive chats with our business advisors and legal team to ensure that no matter what we do, our couples and our business are both protected. We are careful to look at every situation and make a decision that will take care of our couples, and make sure we are still in business years from now.
We are really doing our best to not force any of our couples into a “standard policy” that doesn’t work for them. We are looking at every postponement on a case by case basis and communicating with them on what options they have that would work for them and be best for business. This might mean adjusting the package you had originally booked, or going back to finding a new comparable date.
We’ve been asking every couple that reaches out to be as flexible as they can with giving us 5+ date options. We’ve had so many couples impacted that new dates fill up quickly. If you are a couple that is still planning their wedding for Fall 2020 or 2021 – definitely book your vendors now!
Jessie: So you’re still booking new weddings and events?
Kristin: Yes!! We have so many couples and clients who now find themselves with time on their hands to finally make decisions and get a lot of their planning finalized. New bookings are keeping our business thriving and they’re what’s allowing us to be available to you right now.
We know our couples are worried about personal finances. We know they want to make sure we will still be here if they give us a deposit, they are asking what the policy will be later on and we feel that 100%. We are really just being flexible with our clients and keeping an open conversation to do what’s best for them and the business.
Jessie: Speaking of being in business years from now, a lot of small businesses are worried about making it out the other side of this. We started out 2020 by getting ready to celebrate our 10 year anniversary. As a business owner – what steps did you take to guarantee we will be able to celebrate our 20 year anniversary – or even our 11 year – and make sure we are still around for our couples booked in 2021?
Kristin: This is where I get VERY vulnerable. Because to me, our purpose is to create moments… it just so happened to turn into a business. But in order for us to make sure we were able to continue to create moments, I had to get smart about business. I remember the days of when I first started this company. I told Mark: welp – I have enough money to pay rent and eat Ramen noodles… you in? And he said yes – and so that same concept applies. Cut everything you possibly can, to just survive and make it through.
It’s all about financials at this point. Cash coming in and Cash going out. I stayed on the phone with every utility company, our lease provider, our loan companies for our work vehicles, health insurance, workers comp, etc. to try and cut as much as I could. I removed wifi hotspots from our bill that we use for photo booths. I reassessed workers comp and insurance – anything to alleviate our spending for the time being.
What it boils down to is the things our couples don’t see. That and really getting smart about business and getting strategic and creative with how we can cut back, how we can handle now so we can continue to rock in the future.
Jessie: We have been accommodating almost 3 months worth of weddings and adding that workload into the already full calendar next 6-12 months. How are you anticipating handling the workload so far down the line?
Kristin: I have an incredible team to rely on. Our DJs have all been through our busy seasons, working 2-4 events every weekend, and have honed the skills we teach for staying efficient and organized.
Now more than ever – we are re-charged and we are ready to go! A lot of times, people realize how many weddings we do a year. Between our operations team and our DJs, we’re used to going and going, so being at home is like – LET’S GO!!
We also have an amazing operations team to help keep the behind-the-scenes running smoothly as well, making sure that our couples are contacted in a timely manner, that any last-minute adjustments are relayed to the DJ, and that our delivery team is prepped and ready to roll.
Jessie: Are you using Photobooth props?
Kristin: Right now we don’t even know when weddings will come back, but when they do, we will follow the CDCs guidelines. And if that means no props – then we’ll have fun without them AND ALL NATURAL!
Jessie: The world is starting to celebrate differently, we’ve seen drive by bridal showers and things like that. How are you seeing the industry and the types of events we do evolve with the times?
Kristin: Oh man we are so ready to have a rager!!! But… if you have to change your plans, we are here to help too. We are really going to rely on the venues and what they will allow and what guidelines they set.
We will collaborate with our couples to figure out what entertainment will work best for them and their party. If they still want to pack the dance floor – we are ready to rock. If they want to turn their photobooth into a contactless experience, we are prepared for that too.
I think we as DJs are really going to have to go the extra mile to create a special moment for them. This might mean coming up with some new ideas using music to create a moment. Whether it be taking their first dance to the next level with a cloud, or adding in more slow dances to keep distance on the dance floor.
If they have to shave down the guest list and have an intimate dinner and dessert celebration, this would mean the music is more important than ever with a curated set list of music used from the introductions, to the special dances, to all of your favorite songs while you enjoy dinner. Depending on the size of the venue, you would still be able to have a dance floor, because there would be more than enough space in the room. It could also mean dancing is now outside in a tent, so that it relieves some of the guidelines and creates more safety.
We want to make sure the couple is still feeling celebrated, so this means our DJs will work with each couple individually to create the best vibes and feels if there are dance floor limitations.
Jessie: What are your plans for adjusting what our DJs do when the world re-opens?
Kristin: Oh my gosh – I cannot WAIT until we can celebrate again! I think people very soon are going to start CRAVING human interaction again, so finding a safe balance of social distance and closeness will arise. We will still be able to celebrate, just in different ways and with different guidelines.
- Are you putting limitations to how many people you will DJ for? Right now, no. We are monitoring the news and updates very closely as they come up and taking the necessary measures. One thing to keep in mind is that a DJ could be in a booth space, and 50 ft away from people, so I’m also keeping that in the back of my mind as well.
- Are you concerned for your fall weddings? I am not concerned at all. I am so hopeful and excited! We have partners across the US that I am keeping in touch with to keep perspective on what might possible be an option for Florida. I also have partners and venues who are on our Governor’s Task Force in the Wedding Division that keep me updated on what might come down the pipeline.
- What precautions will you need rehearsal and ceremony sites to have in place for you to dj? This is a great question. I think this will all depend on where we are at in the current state. It’s going to be up to what each state governs and how the venue interprets it. We as the DJs and entertainment are going to show up ready for anything!
Jessie: One of the ways we’ve been going the extra mile is staying extra in touch with our clients. We’ve sent update emails and shared with them inspiration to keep them wedding planning. We KNOW this has been hard. And we are here for you. I wanted to bring DJ Jennie on to share with you some of the feedback we’ve been getting from all of you and we really appreciate and love all of our clients.
Jennie: Thank you Jessie! Yes we are so attached to our couples more than ever right now. As soon as I got this email I had to share it with the team – and then we had a cryfest. And so I asked the client if I could share this email, SO here is what she wrote:
Kristin: If you are a client of ours – we know what you are going through. We know it’s hard. We are so grateful for these words of positivity and gratitude. We love when you share things like this with us so please keep it coming. This re-inspires us.
Jessie: Thank you to everyone who tuned in tonight and supported us, thank you to our couples for trusting us and letting us create moments for you, thank you to our team for keeping up our energy and excitement through all of this, and thank you to Kristin – for not only keeping us strong through this, but having the vision that got us to be where we are today.
If you have any questions for us on this topic you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Stay safe, stay inside if you can, wash your hands, and join us next Thursday for another episode of Backstage Pass!