Building an EEEmpire (1 of 4)
Posted on December 24, 2017
You know, everyone is all so focused on building one of these nowadays.
My journey started just about ten years ago; when I worked as a Trinipulse.com intern. My responsibility was to write articles about contemporary issues but I was more focused on how social media was empowering event promoters.
A few months prior I made a Facebook event for a friend’s treasure queen cruise with good results. I decided to pioneer this movement and create an association of promoters who use fb as their primary means of promotion. I decided that I should create an association for these promoters to support each other & It would be an Empire. This organization would be all encompassing and allow people to support each other using Facebook so it became not just an Empire for Entertainment, but for everything. Thus the Empire Entertainment Everything title.
As a catalyst for this movement I partnered with a group called MAD People Entertainment. At the time they were a huge party group, having just hosted a party with then Dancehall superstars Meritol.
Together we decided to host Facebook the Party, Part 2. My idea was that we would have each committee bring one of Facebook’s elements to life such as the fb wall and their many apps.
At the time, EEEmpire was lead by me with Jonathan Morgan as the main investor. I invited my close friends to join the committee, gentlemen like Quacey Titus and Armani Fernandes. To spread the word, we used physical invitations and promo photoshoots. As a result of this, our event at Club Ibiza on Tragarete Road overflowed with people.
People said there were disagreements between the committees I wanted to bring together so my dream of an association was never truly realized – but my goal to connect people was still fresh in my mind. I moved on to host EEEmpire’s first ever outdoor concept party at TSTT sports club. I remember choosing the venue after attending a huge party called Threesome held at the sports club. The concept was that all would wear white n use markers to write on each other. In true avant-garde style we partnered with a graffiti artist to paint life-sized murals for display in the event.
In our first year of having events I would construct an elaborate concept and corresponding event budget and ask my close friends Jonathan, Armani and my then girlfriend Kristal to invest parts of their salaries. Their investments would cover minimum payments as I would leverage my reputation of always paying and having no debts to delay payment times. At the time I was truly dependent on ticket sales. There was no backup plan; if my tickets didn’t sell I’d have been owing everyone.
My first partnership allowed me to get a small taste of making profit and I learnt to do my own accounts from the folk at Mad People Entertainment. Their values of transparency & diligence stuck with me and I kept these values for my next event series Graffiti.
The First Beach Lime
During the summer of 2009, I hosted the first ever EEEmpire Beach Lime. One committee member, Jasanya Jones’ had a Birthday beach lime and that was so much fun I decided to make this a thing. I wanted to make going to the beach cool again, at the time youngsters flocked to the club and outdoor events were all in car parks.Where was the Island Life? This was just another way for me to achieve my goal of connecting people.
Our Beach Lime featured beach games and actual sea bathing. I also announced my plans of hosting the first ever beach games and I distributed the rules for it so people could give me feedback.
Later that year I hosted my first ‘bus’ party. At the time Coco Lounge was a new prestigious place, the star of Ariapita Avenue. I asked someone to reserve a date for me but it was never really reserved, as that person only pretended to be in charge. As a result when it was time for me to pay I couldn’t as the club itself was not available for rent. This was several weeks into my elaborate advertising campaign. We had printed jerseys with the date, promoted heavily in parties and within the University campus.
This time the concept was Old School based. The idea was to have arcade games and real old school music throughout the night. The scramble for a new venue forced a date change and absorbed all our resources in keeping the party alive. I remember paying off for the venue on the day of the event – we didn’t even have enough money to block around the area of the party with cloth. The name of the event was Old School Overdose and we surely overdosed!
We depended on sales at the door but when people arrived and saw straight into the venue they left immediately after. To save ourself I left my event and cut a deal with another promoter who had a party at the same time. The deal was simply to allow my patrons into his party and I cancelled my Old School party on the same night.
I remember Irwin Hackshaw, a fellow promoter and friend telling me that he can see that I could do it. Later that year Irwin would suggest me for a job that would change my life forever. At the time however, not knowing the future I felt as though my event planning days were over and EEEmpire would never be able to survive.
November that year I hosted another Beach Lime. Unlike the summer installment which was attended by about 100 friends and other popular people this November beach lime had only 15 attendees. This beach lime lasted longer as we moved the lime from Maracas to Nanans where we partied into the night.
None of my committee members showed up for this November event. I couldn’t blame them as they had followed my leadership months before and the last event imploded. Notably in attendance at this event was my friend Nesta Boxill, also known as Sekon Sta.
I shifted my attention from my concept events and that December hosted a launch on behalf of my colleague Sekon Sta. I organised the event logistics and promotion and Sekon Sta brought all his artiste friends to sing. Behind the scenes I struck a deal with Jillionare of Major Lazer, then known as Chris Leacock, the owner of Corner Bar. At the time my life was consumed with visiting studios and promoting the career of Sekon Sta as an upcoming Soca Artiste in the Soca Star competition. Sekon Sta never won, or even placed in the Soca Star competition, but event in Corner Bar was a success and the friends and connections we made that day benefit us to this day.
The success of the event at Corner Bar allowed me to garner new support and regain the trust of my original committee members. The next year the Triple E Family was born.