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