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    The Porch — Bunn DJ Company

    RALEIGH HUSTLES HARD - THE STOCKROOM / GLASSBOX / ALL SAINTS CHAPEL

    We all remember that epic wedding, hilarious company party, or life changing networking event. Whenever groups of people gather together, memories are made. However, behind those amazing memories are preparation, planning, and vision. There’s a team making sure all the pieces fit together perfectly, so we don’t have to. Mollyann Russell and Alexandra Hughes, the event managers behind The Stockroom, All Saints Chapel, and the newly minted Glassbox are the team behind the scenes making the magic happen. If you’ve lived in Raleigh long enough, it’s pretty likely you’ve attended a wedding at All Saints Chapel and/or an event at The Stockroom. Both buildings, rich with history, have emerged as Raleigh’s premiere event venues. With holiday season (which means holiday parties!) quickly approaching, we sat down with Mollyann and Alexandra for our latest installment of Raleigh Hustles Hard.

    The Stockroom is housed on the second floor of 230 Fayetteville Street, a historical building that used to house Raleigh’s bankers, doctors, and insurers in the early 20th century. The venue has been restored into a chic event space with exposed brick and beams, as well as rustic hardwood floors. All Saints Chapel has an even deeper history. After being built in 1875, it has since been moved (intact) twice, landing in 2006 in its final home (with a $1.5 million restoration) at the edge of historic Oakwood in downtown Raleigh. But with such rich history, it’s important to craft a vision for the future. That future is The Glassbox, a beautiful and bright open space at the top floor of 230 Fayetteville Street (above the Stockroom) with floor to ceiling windows, and a living room sized rooftop patio overlooking downtown Raleigh. Open since June, The Glassbox was created to function as a private event space or an add-on bridal suite for weddings.

    Mollyann and Alexandra took over management of the venues in May of 2014. They may not be business owners or entrepreneurs, but their hustle is undeniable. With only two (2) weekend bookings left in 2016, the proof is in the data. Managing three thriving event spaces comes with a multitude of ever-changing demands, but Alexandra and Mollyann are built for this. Both are NC State alums, and jumped knee deep into event management directly out of college. Mollyann who graduated in 2011, first managed events with Empire Eats, eventually transitioning to event management for the properties side of the company. She studied Interpersonal Communications at NCSU, with the hopes of an event-planning career in the future. She was always the one planning, organizing, and hosting events in college, even working with Live It Up on Hillsborough Street for a short period. “My mom was a room mother when I was growing up, and was always the one to organize the events, so I guess it got this from her.” Alexandra, who studied parks, recreation and tourism management with a concentration in program management, started her position the Monday following her graduation in 2014. “This was my first job out of school, but as a student I interned everywhere I could to get experience.” She worked with caterers and event planners in Raleigh and Charlotte (during the summer) and even returned to the Queen City to work the Democratic National Convention in 2012. “That was the craziest, most hectic week ever, but I loved it so I knew this what I wanted to do.”

    Clients have the opportunity to book all three of these amazing venues as a package deal, or rent each venue exclusively. For Mollyann and Alexandra, change is a virtue. “Although we do a lot of weddings, we like the variety of events. It keeps things really interesting. There is no wedding off-season for us because our venues are inside but towards the holidays it tilts more to company holiday parties and events, which is fun.” Currently, Mollyann and Alexandra run the show with just a single intern but with business growing and with the addition of The Glassbox, they see a potential need to expand the team. Currently, they split duties based on pre and post contract. Mollyann handles all the sales and marketing, including (but not limited to) pre booking tours, and contract negotiations. Although, she admits her favorite part of the job comes the night of the event. “Whether it’s a wedding bringing together family members who haven’t seen each other in a while, or people gathering collectively to benefit a cause. The hug from the brides mom at the end of the night makes it so rewarding.” But before that night can happen, Alexandra handles the day-to-day planning and vendor coordination for the event. With the venue(s) soaring recognition on wedding websites and magazines, Mollyann admits that cold leads are hardly necessary, but referrals from other vendors in the industry are vital, so networking is a must. Alexandra tells me, “I really enjoy the collaboration with other vendors. We network a lot internally with other professionals in the industry and it’s great because you meet a lot of great people and develop professional friendships. Once you continuously work with a trusted colleague, the professional relationship becomes pretty personal.”

     

    Both Alexandra and Mollyann grew up elsewhere, but like so many others who come here for school, they never left. Raleigh has become home to an amazing mix of young professionals, entrepreneurs, and creatives all working towards one common goal - the constant improvement and vibrancy of our community. We're lucky to have Mollyann and Alexandra as a part of that future.

     

    Looking to book an event?

    Email mollyann@empire1792.com or call 919-459-3212

     

    Learn about some of Mollyann and Alexandra’s favorite places around the area below:

     

    Thanks for stopping by the porch,

    Porch Fly Clothing

    RALEIGH HUSTLES HARD - BUNN DJ COMPANY

    If you’ve ever been to a wedding or corporate event in North or South Carolina anytime in the last decade there’s a decent chance that you’ve heard of Bunn DJ Company.  We recently sat down to talk with the owner, Joe Bunn, to hear about how he went from a small town act to owning one of the most well respected DJ companies in the Carolinas.

    Joe grew up in Wilson, NC loving music at an early age. You’d be hard pressed to pinpoint a time in Joe’s life where he wasn’t involved with music in one way or another. His parents were music lovers and had an extensive collection of albums that he would listen to and eventually sample. Growing up, music was on everywhere, all the time. “I’m the same way now. When I walk in the house and it’s silent, I hit a button and turn noise on immediately.” At age 13, Joe booked his first paid gig at a teen club in Wilson, NC. “I had about 90 minutes of music for a three hour party. I feel certain that I played Stairway to Heaven like, three times,” said Joe laughing at the memory. After a couple of years playing to local kids in the teen scene, Joe started booking events regularly around Wilson. Soon after, he got an opportunity that many entrepreneurs crave- “This DJ in town says he’s going to be the new golf pro at a country club and wants to know if I want to buy his business. I was about 16 at the time because I remember driving over to get this trailer full of equipment. From then on, it really felt like a business.”

    Growing up, Joe played drums in a band called, Warning. “We were terrible”, Joe put plainly. In the 90’s, he produced music and managed emerging North Carolina artists. All the while, continuing to DJ.  “I was just playing at bars at the time which was helping to fund other projects I was working on.” After a while, Joe started booking weddings and corporate events and began to make the pivot towards creating Bunn DJ Company. He incorporated in 2000 and quickly hired his first DJs. Clients can now choose from a roster of 15 DJs under the Bunn DJ Company umbrella, a few of which have been with him from the beginning. “My guys are what make the company. This is the best group we’ve ever had and without them, this company could never be successful.”

    Today, Joe plays the role of DJ and booking agent. With locations in Charleston and most recently Charlotte, he spends a lot of time managing relationships. “There’s a guy operating on the ground in each city, completely autonomously, both who used to work for me in Raleigh but have relocated to help expand the brand.” The vision is eventually franchising the company, but the current focus is establishing the Charlotte location.

    Joe is a true North Carolina native. He grew up in Wilson, attended school in UNC Chapel Hill, lived in Wilmington, and eventually found his home in Raleigh. “For me, Raleigh is the perfect size and there’s everything here that I love to do. I love to go see live shows and plays. I love to go to the beach and mountains. After all these years, there’s no better city and state to live.”

    It's refreshing that unlike most life-long entrepreneurs; Joe isn’t married to that life. He admits with the right circumstances, shared vision, and room for autonomy, he could see himself working for or with someone else. “As long as the money is good, there’s room for creativity, and a chance to make a difference then I’d consider it.” But like most of us, Joe is drawn to the allure of control and self-management that comes with being an entrepreneur. “I love the freedom to be able to do whatever I want (to an extent). I’m 9-5 like anyone else, but if I want steer off the path, I have that ability. The freedom that owning your own business allows, to be able to take a turn at a moments notice, is the real beauty.”

    Book your next event with Bunn DJ Company and learn about a few of Joe’s favorite small businesses in the area below:

     

    Thanks for stopping by the porch,

    Porch Fly Clothing