At Kimberfire we specialize in diamonds and diamond jewelry, which means we play a part in many people’s marriages. We work with our clients from their engagement and wedding rings, to gifts for the big day. Working within the wedding industry is very special for a business because it means that people trust you enough to be a part of one of the most important days of their lives. We are interested in exploring other businesses that work in the wedding industry and learning how they are successful, as well as providing insider tips that will help anyone who is planning their own wedding.
Recently I spoke with Andrew St. Royal, who is the founder and owner of St. Royal Entertainment, a company that provides musical event entertainment based out of Toronto. I actually had the pleasure of watching his company in action, as they provided the live music and entertainment for our CEO Jonathan Goldberg’s wedding. I was extremely impressed with their talent and professionalism and wanted to learn more about what they do.
Andrew, please tell us a bit about yourself and your business.
My education background is in civil engineering. After school I went on a work/travel trip to South Korea and ended up spending 8 years abroad between Korea and Australia. During that period, I was leading and performing in various different bands as a musician. By late 2010 I had developed the idea for St. Royal and returned to Toronto ready to turn my passions into a business.
St. Royal Entertainment provides everything music for special events. We have a huge stable of talented performers, musicians and DJs that perform in many styles and configurations. Our sister company, St. Royal Production provides audiovisual & show production elements like lighting, staging, sound systems, live video and 3D CAD modelling to support the entertainment and event needs.
How many years have you been in business?
St. Royal Entertainment is five and half years old and St. Royal Production is three and a half. The company started as a single 7-piece live band and our first performance was at a friend’s wedding. I was so nervous that night I didn’t sleep at all! Since then we have done over 400 events.
On average, how many events do you perform in a year?
We’ve been growing every year since we started in 2011. We’re doing about 150 events this year and of that about 70% are weddings, and 30% are corporate events, private parties, fundraisers and brand activations.
How would you describe the St. Royals Bands’ musical style?
The St. Royals Bands are well known as Toronto’s Kings of Soul! Their repertoire of Soul, R&B, Funk, Motown, Pop and Top 40 is designed to move people. It’s a great variety that we know both younger and older generations will enjoy dancing to.
What tips would you give to a couple who are starting their search for a wedding band or DJ?
Music is key to a great event so look for good references and try to see bands live. Look out for signs of disorganization or artists who are too laid back about the performance. A wedding is a once-in-a-lifetime event so look for someone you can trust!
What is the most unique wedding you have performed at?
We’ve done some acoustic camp-fire style weddings, weddings for celebrities and athletes and have played at so many venues across Ontario and New York State. Each wedding is unique due to the makeup of the guest list, the music tastes of the clients, and inevitably the flow of energy from ceremony to dance floor always has its nuances. That’s why it’s so important to get the music right.
Have you ever had something go wrong the day of an event, and how did you handle it?
One time in the early days we were performing at a private residence and the fuse blew for the power circuit the band was on! The band was quick to realize, and the horns and drummer started an impromptu acoustic version of some New Orleans brass tunes while we investigated the issue. It turned out the photographer had setup some big lights on the same circuit as the band which overloaded the circuit. Our on-site tech worked it out quickly and we were back on in no time and the party never stopped! Since then we’ve become much better at identifying power needs and we often provide generators for venues via our audiovisual sister company, St. Royal Production.
What is the most challenging aspect of your job?
Being an entrepreneur means you have to do everything. I’ve definitely had to improve my accounting and bookkeeping knowledge over the years but for sure time management is the most challenging aspect of running a dynamic and growing business.
What is the most rewarding aspect of your job?
It feels amazing to receive praise and accolades from clients after a great event. There is so much planning and build up to these events, and weddings in particular. It is so rewarding to hear from our clients that we exceeded their expectations and they have a celebratory memory to last a lifetime.
How do you help motivate a crowd if people aren’t dancing on the dance floor?
Our primary objective once the party has started is to get a crowd moving. Our performers have lots of experience with this and our band’s repertoire is deliberately designed to be multi-generationally friendly. One tip that I always give to our clients is make sure the bar is as close to the dance floor as possible. Some venues have the main bar quite far from the dance floor or in another room. This is a party killer! No matter how good the entertainment is people will naturally gravitate to the bar so move it closer or setup a temporary bar and voila! The party will stay right where you want it.
How much does social media play a part of your business?
Social media is mandatory for any business. We use our social media to promote our showcases and public events, which in turn generates a lot of good awareness for the company. We also actively post live content from our bands on our YouTube channel to let everyone see the full talents of the St. Royal Family.
What sets your company apart from the competition?
Our approach to music design and our client service is the big difference. Our mission is to guide the flow of energy at an event to a peak, usually on the dance floor. We approach music with the objective of using it to steer the movement at an event and to progressively build throughout the evening. Through consultations with our client we aim to plan music and moments to a great degree of detail and to give our clients a true feeling of peace of mind when it comes to the music – so that they can enjoy the moment along with their guests.
Having been a part of so many weddings, what advice can you give to a couple on how to get the most out of their big day?
Make sure you enjoy the moment! The way to do this is by choosing vendors that are worthy of your trust, and then develop that trusting relationship. The couples who build a good team of vendors around them, and who are willing to trust them with the execution end up being able to live in each special moment and authentically enjoy it along with their guests. They will be more present, and they will truly enjoy the celebration, as opposed to worrying about something on their wedding day.
Thank you so much for sharing your business and your experiences with us.
If you are interested in learning more about St. Royal Entertainment or booking them for a wedding or event, please visit StRoyalEntertainment.com.