Shoreditch London has benefited greatly under the management of Andrew Clawson. For the past 7 years, Andrew has managed a wide spectrum of music and cultural events and venues including Culture Night Festival, Black Box in Belfast and Kings Place Music Foundation in London. Andrew is also co-founder of Halcyon Halcyon, a bespoke floral design and event production company.
Since joining Shoreditch London five years ago, Andrew has expanded the Shoreditch London event team to deal with an increase in bookings. Andrew shares his insight and experience in our latest Q&A.
What are some of the biggest daily challenges you face in your job?
"One of the main challenges I face is quickly interpreting a client’s brief, and helping them understand how we can successfully deliver their event in one of our spaces. I look after all the initial enquiries for both Shoreditch Studios and Kachette; from the first contact, until the event is contracted. When an event is confirmed it’s then passed to Dan & Kate, who manage the production side of things. I enjoy working with clients, and overcoming this challenge, so they can get to the exciting part of planning their event."
Shoreditch Studios and Kachette are different size venues with different features. Which events are best suited to each venue?
"Shoreditch Studios is perfect for corporate events, conferences, hackathons, weddings, private parties, product launches, press events etc. The two arches are interlinked by a sliding door, and this works really well for events as it gives more flexibility. The space also has a private courtyard, which can be used by guests until 8pm.
Kachette is perfect for product launches, press events, private parties, wedding receptions and exhibitions. It’s very popular in the drinks and fashion industries, and due to our internet upgrade (100Mb symmetrical) we’ve held a lot of gaming events there recently."
What are the benefits to booking a dry hire venue?
"In terms of Shoreditch London’s spaces, you are given a blank canvas which has the infrastructure in place to deliver a high-end event to your own specifications. Although the spaces are dry-hire, we do include a Duty Manager, in-house PA systems, high speed internet, basic lighting and truss, and post event cleaning, which help client’s deliver their events with ease.
I feel the benefit of choosing a dry-hire venue is flexibility. We don’t restrict clients at Kachette and Shoreditch Studios to in-house catering and production, or charge a corkage/buyout fee for those clients who want to use their own suppliers. We work with a range of preferred suppliers who work at our venues regularly and understand them, however I appreciate client’s can already have longstanding relationships with external suppliers (therefore we don’t penalise them for this)."
Staying to budget can be difficult when putting on an event. What hidden costs should people look out for when making a venue booking?
"The Shoreditch London team are completely transparent from the start with our clients about the dry-hire rates, and any potential additional event expenses. We pride ourselves on being as transparent and flexible as possible with the clients, giving them the freedom to create their event within our spaces, rather than creating their event around our restrictions.
Clients are made aware that all live events require security and waste collection to be provided through our suppliers. We also require a refundable damage waiver which is returned post event. They can use their own suppliers for catering, furniture, AV, production etc. without incurring any additional fees. It’s extremely important we give clients the opportunity to work out their budget in full before confirming the event. We can also help clients deliver their event to a set budget if we know in advance, through our preferred supplier list."
Are there any new trends emerging in the events you host?
"VR. In the last six months there seems to have been a tangible advancement in VR technology; although Virtual Reality has been around for quite some time, it’s taken a while for the technology to catch up with the creative ideas. We’re now seeing VR spreading into everyday life, not just for avid gamers. We’ve hosted everything from corporate training (Jenson8), to product launches (Google Daydream), to gaming events (PlayStation) at our venues."
What impact have new technologies had on the events industry over the past few years?
"Previously events would have focused on the experience for people attending the event, whereas now a lot of the events we host are also focused on targeting the online audience, through Iive-streams and social media, and generating content. Every public event has it’s own hashtag for Twitter and Instagram, and we’re seeing an increase in things like Snapchat filters and Facebook live streams. An audience for 200 guests now has an infinite reach online."
Referrals and positive client reviews are important in the events industry. What are some of your past clients saying about your venue?
"Client feedback is paramount. We send out questionnaires post-event, and give clients the opportunity to let us know about their experience. We don’t always get it right, but on the rare occasion that we don’t, we need to know about it and learn from it. Past clients always praise how quickly we reply to any emails or phone calls. We also have great client feedback for all of our team members from production and event management through to our friendly and helpful security team."