The Path to the Next Normal: How Nitro Music Pivoted and Thrived Through the Pandemic

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Hi, I'm charlotte

In this week’s episode, I am excited to share with you about an amazing wedding DJ business. I had the opportunity to speak with Neil Lariviere, the Owner & DJ of Nitro Music, the ultimate destination for DJ services and Live Music in Southwestern Ontario. Nitro Music is committed to helping make dreams become a reality. 

Constantly challenging themselves to improve their skills and be the best entertainment company in the Waterloo Region, they have been recognized as the top Wedding DJ company in the region since 2013 by the Ontario Wedding Association. Neil’s vision is to connect the wedding industry in Ontario to help create better weddings and events for all couples and clients.

About Neil Lariviere and the work he does 

Neil is the owner of Nitro Music, a DJ company that primarily does weddings in Cambridge, Ontario. Aside from weddings, they also provide DJ services to corporate events, and birthday parties, and basically, if an event needs entertainment, they’ll be there. They also offer photo booth services, specialty lighting like custom monograms, uplighting, and big moving headlights. 

He is also the co-founder and president of the Ontario Wedding Association, a group of wedding pros in Ontario that comes together to build a community and make everything better for the wedding pros in the region. 

The story behind how Neil Lariviere started as a DJ

Neil’s humble beginnings started with being a DJ at friends’ and families’ events. Since the technology wasn’t as advanced as today, he would bring everything whenever he played at his friends’ and families’ events. He would bring the whole set of his computer, including the monitor, mouse, keyboard, and everything that would be required in his setup. He also started with a basic mixer where he had to adjust the volume from time to time. He would use his mom’s 5-disk CD changer and connect it to the stereo system just to make sure he would have all the music that he would need. Especially for the instances that the guests might have certain music requests, he did this to ensure he will have the good amount of music variation he needs. 

As time went by, he became really interested in learning more about the nature of being a Professional DJ. It was at this point that he decided it was time for him to be more serious, and get the right tools and software to properly mix the music. He even improved his services by renting speakers for the first few events. Eventually, he determined that it was time for him to make a business out of it. He and his friend started Nitro Music and has been part of the wedding DJ Industry since 2013. 

What is the best part of being a wedding DJ based on Neil’s experiences?

Neil explained that the reason why Nitro Music is really big on weddings is because of the fact that his favorite part of being a DJ is seeing and being a part of the joy of the couple’s wedding day. Knowing that it’s the happiest moment of the couple’s lives, seeing everyone have an amazing time, and bringing all the wedding guests together. The music that he plays and being the reason behind a rocking wedding party that all the guests are what really brings him excitement.

How Neil adapted to thrive in the new normal of the wedding industry 

At first, Neil did not know what to do because he had the assumption that the lockdown would just be a few weeks or a month. It quickly changed when he had to take into consideration the overhead expenses. That made him think really hard that he needed to figure something out in order for his wedding business to stay afloat.

The wedding couples who are postponing their weddings into the next year are what really inspired him to continue surviving so he can still be around to help them on their special day and ensure that they won’t be left in the dark.  He didn’t want to be the DJ that folded because of the pandemic, so he eventually thought of ways how to make things work. 

This is when he started figuring out live streaming, so they will be able to bring that into ceremonies and the other wedding guests may still be able to attend virtually. This is how he came up with the idea of WedLive, Nitro Music’s wedding ceremony streaming service. This offer would help couples to customize how they want to stream their wedding ceremony and avoid confusion especially if they’re not familiar with the tech involved. This new offer served as the stabilizer for his wedding Dj business for most of 2020, especially for couples looking for ways to still have their guests be a part of their wedding without physically being there. 

They also partnered with the city of Cambridge and their libraries where they helped facilitate a virtual prom for all the high schoolers who are graduating and couldn’t have a prom. He was also able to work with The Reklaws where they played a little acoustic set for the students that were a part of the virtual prom.

Aside from this, they also did a musical bingo, where they had to work a little bit more on the back-end to make sure everybody gets their bingo cards on time and appropriately. For Neil, it was a ton of fun because they would change themes, and do it every other week and the best part is they did it for free.  Even before the pandemic, they would do trivia nights at local bars in the KW area. The platform that they used for it developed an online system which they still do now. 

Conclusively, they tried to adapt and change things a bit so they could still be active, and bring entertainment to people so that people will still remember Nitro Music name as a top-of-mind wedding service provider that also helps the community thrive at the same time.    

How Neil helped the Ontario Wedding Association transition into a Successful Networking Platform strengthened by Wedding Professionals

It all started with the aim to connect the community to wedding professionals, learn from one another, and be better. According to Neil, when they began building the Ontario Wedding Association, they didn’t think that it would be such a big deal and that they would need to find a better way to help their members reach more couples since in-person shows weren’t allowed yet. 

That’s when they thought of organizing a wedding planning summit via the Zoom platform and letting people go into breakout rooms. It seemed to work fine at first, but then they realized they still have to try and get us a similar experience to the couples so they could still have a good time in their planning process. They wanted to make sure that these couples will still treat the planning stage as an exciting time for them despite all the restrictions and limitations.

Part of their wedding planning summit was offering VIP bags so they could still have some take-home things via a curbside pickup in their office. They thought the zoom idea would work out really well because of the 1 on 1 conversation between the wedding pro and the couple in order to really figure out if they are really a good fit. 

Neila and his team eventually figured out that in-person conversations allowed couples to self-navigate more and have the freedom in checking other wedding pros that might be able to help them in their wedding planning. It came to a point where they finally found a new system to help the couples get a better experience. This is so that the wedding pros can still talk to the couples, get to know their needs, and have more flexibility to promote their services to those who might be a good fit with them.

The new system that they used is called Airmeet, an online platform for hosting virtual events. The features of this system have provided a smooth-sailing process for their virtual wedding planning summit to support the needs of the couples through the feature virtual tables, encourage the wedding pros to prosper in the new normal, and act as a networking platform for the wedding pros to collaborate, share best practices and work together on how they can better serve their future wedding clients.  

Neil’s advice to wedding businesses who are feeling a little left behind despite being in the wedding industry for years

For Neil, the worst thing any wedding business can do to their business is to stand still, they need to learn how to adapt and figure out how to still help couples out while helping each other along the process. 

Neil expressed that as long as they are doing something for their business, making the necessary pivots that may work, and being part of an active community, they will not feel left behind. He explained that taking a look around the market, seeing what others are doing, and using their own proactiveness to foster partnerships with other wedding pros would be the best way to combat uncertainty and learn from different experiences, and share best practices with one another.

To second Neil’s statement, having the attitude of a life-long learner is very important as every single industry is evolving and changing over time. If we are not educating ourselves and consistently learning from our community, then we will really have a tendency to get left behind. 

This is also one of the reasons why I love the Ontario Wedding Association. The education sessions, network opportunities for wedding pros from all levels of experience, and the  recognition of those who have made a difference in ascending the quality services of Ontario’s wedding business industry.

All of this while keeping all the members updated about the latest trends and different possibilities to keep the wedding business moving forward. Rather than wait and just be stuck in the old ways, maintaining your digital presence to market your services will be extremely helpful as most of the potential wedding clients are also now a bit more reliant on the digital platform. 

How to Grow your Wedding Business to the next level with the help of the Ontario Wedding Association

Being the one behind the success of Nitro Music, Neil wants to make sure no one gets left behind. For the wedding businesses interested in becoming a member of the Ontario Wedding Association, you may visit them on their website at https://www.ontarioweddingassociation.com/ and get a chance to win a free membership valid for a year by just using the coupon code NITRO. Benefits of the membership include being part of the online listing of their wedding pros official directory, learning opportunities from the education sessions, trade discounts, and more. 

Don’t let go of the chance to be part of this awesome community to not just grow your wedding business, but also widen your network to better serve your future wedding clients. Connect with Neil via their website, Facebook and Instagram.

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