Providing Entertainment for Weddings and Special Events
By Darin Henderson, Owner
I grew up loving music. From the Casey Kasam Top 40 Countdown to the Country Music albums my Mom played every Saturday while we cleaned house. I listened to anything anyone played, and didn’t tie myself down to one type of music. I ended up with a wide range of knowledge about various music genres and I could listen to any type of music and find something interesting. It didn’t matter what they called it, be it Country, Jazz, Blues, Rock, or Classical – if I thought it sounded good, I certainly didn’t discriminate. I have always known that music would be a part of my life, and always hoped I could someday work in the music industry, whether as a Musician or a DJ or a Producer, or a Songwriter, or even a Roadie. I just wanted to work around music.
Well, as is often the case, life sometimes gets in the way, and our dreams are pushed to the back burner. I ended up getting married at 20 and working a full time job at a bank. I had learned to play the guitar and piano as a teenager, so I still had that to keep me occupied in my spare time. Also, I had been buying albums and tapes since my first lawn mowing jobs, and kept up that hobby also, building myself a very nice music collection. I thought this was probably all I would ever do with music – enjoy myself playing the guitar once in a while, and listen to my mix tapes all the time. Then I met Dwayne.
Dwayne worked with me at the bank, and we hit it off from the moment we met. He was like my long lost brother. We shared the same sense of humor, liked the same movies, and just like me, he loved all kinds of music. I found out he was a drummer, and had played in a band with his Dad. Well, of course we ended up "jamming" together, and talked briefly of starting a band, but nothing came of that. Then one day he asked me if I wanted to help him DJ for his cousin’s wedding. DJ at a wedding? Hmmm, I hadn’t thought of that, and wondered what was involved.
Dwayne’s cousin didn’t want to put out a lot of money for a professional DJ, and she knew Dwayne had a big music collection, so she asked if he wouldn’t mind providing the entertainment at her reception for $50.00. He said I could come along, bring my records and tapes, and he’d split it with me.
Man, I thought, all I have to do is play music all night, (which I love to do anyway) and I’ll get paid too - that can’t be bad!! We borrowed the P.A. system from Dwayne’s Dad, and took our own turntables and cassette players. We had a great time. We played a bunch of good old funky dance music and got out on the floor ourselves quite a bit. Also, Dwayne was pretty outgoing on the microphone, so he acted as Emcee for the cake cutting and garter toss.
During and after the reception, several people came up and asked us about playing for a party or another reception, and wanted to know if we had business cards. We both realized we had hit on something that could be a pretty good little side business. And something we would enjoy doing. Anytime you can combine something you love with making money, I figure you have discovered true happiness.
That was 1989. I called around to find out what other DJ’s were charging and was shocked at how much we could make playing records. Dwayne and I went out and bought ourselves a mixer at Radio Shack, and we went to a local print shop and had some business cards made up, and started telling everyone we knew that we were available for, as our cards say, "Parties, Weddings, Reunions, Special Occasions, and Dances." Through word of mouth and handing out plenty of business cards, our business grew. With each show bringing in $250-$350 we were able to buy a lot more records, and get new equipment. Now, some 10 years, numerous shows and 1000’s of songs later, we have replaced our old turntables and cassette players with CD players; added lights, fog and a mirror ball, charge double what we did when we were first starting out, and STILL have a great time playing music and entertaining people. I recently quit my day job to concentrate on the DJ business along with a couple of other businesses I have started, and to pursue freelance writing.
Just this year I built a website for our company, and we have also started using some different means of advertising. I am writing an E-book, "How to Start a Successful Mobile Disc Jockey Service." You can E-mail me for info, and watch for it here on BizyMoms soon. I’m including tips on how we built our business, what kind of equipment you need, what to do at the show to provide a memorable time, ways to advertise, and how to get repeat business.
Darin Henderson, Owner
D & D Professional D.J.