Event management and entertainment businesses took a hit during the height of the pandemic as social events folded under the might of health regulations which prohibited public events and gatherings.
But as the regulations were gradually lifted and events are back into full swing, the demand for those services has once again mushroomed.
For Allyson McLeod this was the right time to get into the market.
In March, she launched her entertainment company, FunkyFitz, hoping to cash in on doing what she loved – planning events.
In an interview with Business Day, she said the company was created to "revolutionise the fete experience" and refine this art form while providing a mutual benefit to shareholders and stakeholders.
"Right now our service is hosting events, but soon we would like to branch off into merchandise by selling our FunkyFitz merch whether it be T-shirts or any other apparel. Also in the midst of all of this and creating these sources of income, we would also like to give a percentage of our income to charity."
She said some areas she is working to focus on are helping students pursuing their tertiary education and young and upcoming people in this industry. McLeod said it's her way of giving back to society. She added that this is just some of what FunkyFitz plans to offer in terms of paid services and helping build communities.
This idea came to McLeod when she hosted her first ever boat ride back in 2012 and wondered what more can be done to continue the growth of this new flame within her.
"This led to the formation of a group we called 'Happy People' and over the years we hosted numerous gatherings including one of the largest turnouts for calypso semifinals under the Happy People Promotions group," McLeod said.
She added, "In March 2022, when we decided to host a birthday party with invitees, it unexpectedly transformed into a 'birthday fete.' The success of this event sparked the idea to develop an entertainment company, to continuously reproduce such experiences. The brand represents high quality entertainment, unique ideologies of how to create and appreciate enjoyment and embracing diversity of class, status and all walks of life, which tend to bring widely varied contributions and personalities together and contribute seamlessly to elevated levels of excitement."
The Happy People Promotions group was made up of family members at the time of its origin and quickly grew after the calypso semifinals. She said now, the group has grown since then, but the family element remains.
To give people an insight into what FunkyFitz has to offer, McLeod held a launch party called Altitude for her brand on the roof-top restaurant at the Brix in Cascade on October 23.
Patrons were seen making use of the empty spaces in front of them and it was swiftly dubbed the designated dance floor of the night. The guests varied in age, but none were deterred from linking hands and showing each other the different dance moves to accompany the songs being played.
Only local genres such as calypso and soca were played and even when the guests got tired, entertainer and host Jason Williams, aka JW, would encourage them to get back out there. To get their spirits even higher, he started a conga line and grabbed anyone nearby to join and soon enough almost the entire party was a part of the line wading through the tables and decorations in place.
"The launch was prestige and sophisticated event where we invited corporate executives, established artistes and support people who were interested in attending the event due to the dynamics of the brand."
She said the decorations and the ambience they tried to offer was to replicate that of a fete and though there were around 150 people present, their mission of making a statement to revolutionise the fete experience was successful. McLeod said FunkyFitz business model began with the brand's launch and with the content from the launch, she hopes there will be more traction thus more business and revenue. She added that the responses after the launch was overwhelming and hopes to achieve more especially with many interested in investing in their company.
"The launch encouraged a lot of people to be attracted to the brand just because of the exclusivity of it, how reasonable our costing to attend the event was and our collaboration with the Brix to get rooms at a discounted price. It was to allow people to enjoy our launch and party with us very reasonably and have accommodation."
The cost for one person was $550 and $900 for two people and she said after paying staff for the event, the income is given to the charities they want to expand on and the rest goes to FunkyFitz. She wasn't able to give a percentage for these since Altitude was their first ever event so far.
McLeod said this is just a taste of what's to come as she plans to take her brand to other locations locally, regionally and internationally with the aim of entertaining and getting people to enjoy themselves. These plans will actualise after she and her team executes a "grand quality fete" called Start It on December 11. McLeod has already planned for next year with four events in the queue waiting to be made public. Aside from only hosting events for adults, she said children can look forward to celebrations for Thanksgiving and Christmas in 2023.
She said the awareness of their brand can only get higher as the brand was able to reach over 7,285 accounts generically in just under 30 days of publishing on Instagram.
"We have always enjoyed throwing and attending events, therefore the organic growth of the company came as no surprise," said McLeod.
She added, "It feels self-rewarding, and we are elated to see the growth of the company thus far. We estimate our future plans may propel us into leading positions in the entertainment industry, therefore we are grateful for the current status but are composed about whats happening as we are committed to much greater advancement and achievement."
Though this industry is one with many options, McLeod said she doesn't see them as competitors, but as collaborators.
"We will be empowering people by working with them," said McLeod.