Event entrepreneur capitalizes on Christchurch market – Matt Maclean, Emanation

Emanation is a one stop shop in Christchurch for all things entertainment. Matt Maclean, the founder and proud owner of Emanation, earns his bread organizing events from weddings and stag parties, to extravagant product launches. But Emanation has been so busy filling their portfolio that they have not even had time to launch themselves yet. Even though Christchurch is still slowly recovering from the catastrophic quake of 2011, Emanation is almost growing faster than Matt can handle.

Matt’s thriving business was conceived while he was managing an event for a friend of his.

“People really loved it,” he said. “I really enjoyed it, and then people just started giving me work after that, so I started the company.”

With a rich background in hospitality, Matt knew all the inner workings of the entertainment and catering industry, and how so often it fails to actually cater to the client’s needs.

“I guess the inspiration was that I just don’t feel like there are a lot of people doing what I do with quality, so I wanted to make it a really good event company that people would look up to in years to come.”

Maclean is not one to shy away from hardship. As entrepreneurs, we are usually forced to start our businesses with caution, launching one or even several services at once to minimize risk and measure success. Matt is not any entrepreneur.

“I went all at it at once, just to see how the market would trend,” Matt told us, “By offering so many services, I really want to push being a one stop shop for entertainment. People can use Emanation to look after them for their staff party, their product launches, and all that sort of stuff, and it’s one bill.”

Starting all of those services simultaneously didn’t incur a lot of cost either.

“I do most of the organizing of the events, and they all tie into each other. So I can use my sound company and my lighting company for my live gigs, product launches, and weddings. It’s all really one service, and it’s the same with the promo girls. I can use them for product launches or I can use them for promotional events and my live gigs, and charge the clients out for that as well.”

So how has a product launch company been able to find so much work that they haven’t been able to find the time to launch themselves? Without hesitation, Matt told us it is all about advertising and placement; while pushing not what you do, but who you are.

 

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“Personally I have to thank Google for my company [growing] as well as it has. I have spent a lot of money joining up with them and yellow pages, but it definitely has paid off. My web presence is massive in the event industry, and that’s because they have targeted my market, made ads to suit my company, and even given me a layout each month on what works and what doesn’t. This has allowed me to make wee tweaks to my website to suit the trend at the time, keeping me one step ahead and helping Emanation grow.”

The ever so helpful Bussiness.govt.nz website warns about not becoming another failure statistic, stating that “70% of new businesses in New Zealand capsize within the first five years.”

According to Matt, businesses may have a harder time weathering the tough economic conditions because they market themselves wrongly. They push the wrong message.

“I’ve only been going about 2-3 months but it would seem I’ve been going a lot longer because I seem established. It’s all about the way you market it. None of my ads online or anywhere push what I do. They push the brand ‘Emanation’ and in a couple months time, thats when I’ll push what I do. A lot of businesses fail because they broadcast ‘We do this, we do that.’ People don’t pay attention to that, whereas if you push your name – like how I’ve got my logos and my name everywhere – then people go ‘Oh yeah I’ve heard of that.’”

 

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The economic environment has not been unkind to Emanation, but that’s because Maclean sees the positive in every negative. Christchurch is a city that has been rebuilding itself both physically and financially for the last two years. Matt believes that, although many see this is a cause of difficulty, it may be a blessing in disguise for business owners.

“I think after the earth quake the poorer got poorer and the richer got richer. A lot of people came [out of it] better off. A lot of business moved and a lot of business changed. They might have been [previously flourishing] doing one thing, but after the earthquake everyone [may have] needed one of their other services. Businesses here are moving and changing so much that they need launches because people don’t know where they are anymore. They need radio ads because customers have gone to [where business used to be] and they’re not there anymore. They’ve moved.”

Global event expenditure is also slightly less than it was 4 years ago, but Matt is finding that events are becoming a necessity in Christchurch.

“Nationally, product launches have decreased, but in Christchurch there is a real need for it. Thirty three bars are opening in the next three months. You can offer drink specials, but that is what every other bar is offering as well, so you need a point of difference.”

Emanation is capitalizing on the fact that the business district was literally shaken up. It is the ability to recognize opportunities like this, and possess the experience required to take advantage of them, that distinguishes the successful from the unsuccessful. Emanation’s portfolio is a clear indicator of which category they fall under.

Do you think 2013 is a good year to be an entrepreneur in New Zealand?

Yep! I think in Christchurch after the earthquake there was a lot of old money that was freed up, and properties and all that. Our great granddad had all this money in this property and it wasn’t worth anything, and now it’s worth a sh*tload and vice versa. I think if you’ve got a really good idea, then yeah, it’s a perfect time in 2013 to start a business.

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