Below is a full transcript of our podcast episode, titled Wedding Deposits, Plans, and More w/ Decibel Entertainment. The episode was hosted by PlanEvents.ca, and our guest was Khanvict, the founder of Decibel Entertainment. Scroll down to see the transcript and/or listen to the episode here.
Kamran (PlanEvents.ca) 00:00
Welcome to the PlanEvents.ca podcast. This is episode nine. This is your host, Kamran. And today we have founder of Decibel Entertainment, Asad.
Khanvict (Decibel Entertainment) 00:13
Thanks much for having me.
Kamran (PlanEvents.ca) 00:14
Yeah. Nice. Nice. Thanks for coming up before we kind of jump into like in more in depth intros about, kind of want to set the do some housekeeping in terms of disclaimers. So we’re going to be talking about I think what I would consider fairly sensitive topics to both couples and vendors. So disclaimers are, you know, none of the content of this podcast episode should be taken as legal advice, financial advice, contractual advice, or anything like that aside, and I are just two people who have nothing to do with those fields, talking about current events in the Lower Mainland B.C., as it relates to weddings. Awesome. So another disclaimer, and Asad keep me honest. So I think at least when you and I chatted earlier this week, it seemed like there was an emphasis on the fact that you yourself, are not tied to the wedding industry. But your company Decibel is. I wanted to make sure is that Am I understanding that correctly? Or is there some kind of nuances to that?
Khanvict (Decibel Entertainment) 01:18
Yeah, I mean, I think I’ll always have deep connections to the wedding industry, just because of, you know, the last decade of my life, I’ve spent most of it in the wedding industry, DJing weddings and stuff. But also building my business, Decibel, within the same industry is just I personally no longer take on any weddings, other than maybe like five or six a year for like a close friend or something that I’d make an exception for. So I’m pretty much you know, I’m out of the industry in the sense that I used to do 80 or 90 events a year, at least, by myself, but now I know I’m picking choose maybe five or six, like close friends and family as more of a celebratory thing. But I am no longer sort of like an active DJ on the festival entertainment roster. But I still help sort of manage the sort of bigger picture decisions that double makes and sort of business direction and stuff like that.
Kamran (PlanEvents.ca) 02:11
Just for some context, you know, not necessarily related to the main topic of this episode. Can you just share with us a quick elevator pitch on how you started Decibel and kind of where it’s at today in terms of size? Because when you share the number of employees now that worked for decimal, I was really surprised. I was completely unaware. So I think that that would be interesting for the listeners to know as well. Yeah, I think the the sort of context to that number is that Decibel Entertainment, represents now a group of companies, it’s not just just one business anymore, it’s become a group of three or four different fields that are under the same umbrella. But yeah, that’s what started 2014 was our first full wedding season in the Lower Mainland in Vancouver. And I had already been teaching here for a couple of years. And with two or three other DJs that I was friends with, we started the business, I had a vision that I thought work could be a bit more professional could be a bit more you know, ahead of its times in terms of tech and using technology and online social media marketing to our advantage, I thought there was a there was sort of like a missing gap in the industry where, you know, if you wanted a DJ, you paid somebody 500 bucks cash under the table, I became a DJ. There wasn’t like DJing wasn’t at that time considered to be like, your first four or five vendors that you booked, you know, you book your Gurdwara, you book your hall, you book for women, a lot of time it’s bride, it’s a lot. You know, makeup artists are a really big vendor that they worry about photographer videographer, but DJ at the time wasn’t deemed as essential a booking you were kind of like getting a call, you know, six months before the wedding, like hey, we need a DJ show up your thing. So at that time in 2014 I figured that if we can set up something that’s super pro and you know, the guys are like looking the part they wear suits and suits and ties and receptions they bring all this sort of fresh this outlook to the art form than I thought it could work and yeah, we started in 2014 with four or five people, just like most small business stories out of my garage like I was, you know, that was my storage. And yeah, now since then we have built it to a fairly I would say it’s not it’s not a large I would consider like a mid sized business or small to midsize business but it employs close to 60 people between this one entertainment Decibel AV which is our production company that does all the lighting and lasers in the screens. And then we have Decibel’s dance floor studio, which is now called Subverse. We do vinyl dance floors through that
Khanvict (Decibel Entertainment) 05:00
So yeah, between those three companies, there is about 60 people that we employ throughout the year.
Kamran (PlanEvents.ca) 05:06
Wow. That’s, that’s really impressive.
Khanvict (Decibel Entertainment) 05:09
Thank you. Yeah, I’ve been very blessed.
Kamran (PlanEvents.ca) 05:11
Yeah, no problem. That’s awesome. So, um, I guess I kind of provide some context as to how we ended up on this podcast. So about a month ago, I saw on Instagram, like dozens of vendors, sharing the exact same post is kind of like the nine slide, but don’t quote me on this, but it was a large number of slides being shared on Instagram. And I happen to already be connected to Bancy farms. And I noticed that they had posted that and so I started asking them, like, who put it together? And, and I was talking to some other vendors. And they’re like, they remember it sounded like it was basically Decibel, took the lead. So then I was curious, kind of like, you know, what was Decibel’s views on on the current situation? So then, you know, I reached out to to Decibel over Instagram. And I kind of got an answer, that was what I would consider pretty humble. Because the response I got was, you know, all credit to the vendors. Decibel was no different than any of those vendors. But you know, even when I asked the other vendors, it’s like, for whatever reason, you know, given to Decibels. So that’s how we ended up here. And I kind of would love to understand, you know, literally the days leading up to that communication of the about the real, I will call it like a relaxed or adjusted postpone postponement policy for about 140 vendors, like, what was your role as a Asad? And then what was Decibel’s role? And was there any difference? And kind of what did that look like, during the days leading up to it, and kind of shortly after the release?
Khanvict (Decibel Entertainment) 06:53
Yeah, I think for the one thing to really note here is that we made a decision to respond to a situation that was presented to us, which is unprecedented, and basically threatened, obviously, to cancel most, if not all events that we were going to be partaking in as vendors and that, you know, that goes for everybody. And also, more importantly, actually, for people whose special events these are because they’ve been waiting their whole life for their wedding, and their, you know, families coming from all over the world and everything. So I think for whereas, like to ask your question, what was my role was Decibel’s role. In that case, I think it was, it’s the same thing, because I did presume control of the business at the time, and I feel felt like we had to respond quickly to clients. And the intention was to come up with something that makes it easier for clients to figure out what they can do, because like, if I think my thought process was that if I’m a, if I’m a client, and I have, you know, if you start counting anywhere from like, the whole to the DJ, to the turpentine guy to the car, to the transportation, you’re dealing with, like, close to, you know, 30 to 40, plus vendors per wedding for person. And I was like, that it’s gonna be such a nightmare, if I have to call every single client, every single vendor hope, first of all, that, with the chaos that’s going on, they have the time to take my phone call, and they can respond to me swiftly enough. Which obviously, you know, there, everybody’s gonna be bombarded by telephone calls from every single client that they have. And secondly, it would be just, it would just be an organizational you know, if I was gonna use a word with profanity, much if we can use profanity on this podcast.
Kamran (PlanEvents.ca) 08:45
You could. This is a raw podcast.
Khanvict (Decibel Entertainment) 08:47
Okay, cool. I was just gonna say it was an absolute shit show for for me as a person to reach out to 40 different vendors and find out what their policy is, well, how they’re responding. Now. And I think there’s a little bit of background context, that’s really important to understand, which is the fact that most vendors when we take a deposit, it’s, it’s usually protected by an Act of God clause that says in the event of an act of God, cancelling the event, whether that’s like, really bad weather or BC Hydro, for example, cannot do power in our city for like a month or whatever happens, then usually to protect ourselves. We have actually got clauses in there that say the contract remains as a as a deposit is non refundable, blah, blah, blah. And obviously, that’s not good enough in this kind of a scenario because it’s not like you have to God is only hurting one or two people if this is happening to everybody at the same time. So I figured that if we can come up with a way for our clients, our clients to know that, hey, listen, like we’re gonna work with you. These are the new rules and regulations that have been set forth by the health organizations that and at that time that and I think this is a part important part of this, this podcast is that we’re talking about this now but knowing there’s I have a I have a mentor who, you know, taught me something that’s kind of stuck with me. And he said that you always have to compare the decisions you make when you made them. You know, or in real estate, there’s a saying that says you get paid for the decision when you make the decision. So at the time, when you made that decision, we only knew that the party sizes were being down to 250. And the social distancing stuff did not was not in place yet. It was you’re allowed to have events, as long as they’re only 250 people or less. And so we figured that, okay, if we can, as Decibel, what what do we want to do? I figured if I can respond to all my friends and say, Hey, if you have to move dates will work with you. We’ll give you guys a bracket of time in which you guys can move your dates around without penalty. And sort of the premise was that if we can be flexible with our clients, and moving as many of these dates to the offseason, quote, unquote, in Canada, the offseason is, you know, anywhere from, I would say, September to like April next year, then we can try to fill some of the dates in that time. And that will be easier for them to reschedule within that time than it would be for the following year. Like if they had to, if you have to try and move all the weddings from this summer to next summer. It’s very difficult, because next summer is already booked, like people have already booked halls people have already booked all owner. Pardon me, they’re already booked. vendors, we ourselves have close to 300 events already booked for next year, you know. So I my thought process was that there is no way that if most of these weddings have to move next year, it would work. But if they can find the clients kind of in the middle and give up some wedding and build for a winter wedding, and we can move that over without any penalties and everything, there’s maybe a happy medium there. And when I presented this at a meeting with a bunch of vendors, everybody seemed and this wasn’t all my sort of articulation, we were kind of just throwing out ideas and picking the best one. And at the time all of us agreed on that statement. And well, I guess that’s it, we’ll assume a bit of a leadership role is that because we have, we’re really lucky with a very efficient, hardworking staff, I was able to kind of take all of that information, put it on one piece of paper and get everybody to sign off with a yes or no or cheat, articulate it all. And within sort of one day get 140 vendors to sign off, which is in itself is unprecedented. Like there’s not that kind of convenient. Community Action is not really common in the, in the wedding industry, like you know, we don’t interact a lot with photographers, you don’t really interact with us a lot, you know, for the other photographers have a little community, you know, DJs have their own little community. And yeah, we know, we have lots of friends in the other sectors of the industry, but it’s not. It’s like far from imaginable that 140 vendors will agree on one thing on the same date within 24 hours. And I think the sort of the unprecedented nature of the situation, was what gave birth that unprecedented action. No.I would say we’re our roles was we just like I had a few ideas, it would be outside if we were able to help kind of coordinate and put it together. And I actually noticed that that was copied to the tee and shared by vendors, kind of across North America, like I saw it pop up in Chicago, in Toronto, Southern California and so forth in Alberta as well, which is really interesting to see quickly be taken on by I think people were looking for answers. Like most people were looking for something to latch on to an answer or solution. And we were able to add that time again, knowing information we knew then come up with something that would have worked if that had stayed. But obviously, we’ll get into the rest of the podcast, which talks about how things have changed so fast. And maybe you know that policy is known, obviously no longer applicable for the most part.
Kamran (PlanEvents.ca) 14:08
So there were a couple points that really stood out to me. The first is you kind of mentioned your what your mentor alluded to is, and I’m probably not going to remember the exact words you put essentially, it’s about like if back then we knew we knew and we knew what we know now it’s like things would have been different. And the reason it stood out to me is so the couple episodes ago, Episode Seven, I actually interviewed a guy who went back to Pakistan like I think like the first week of March and still had his wedding events three days straight throughout mid March. And one main thing he said was, you know, there was no clear answer on like, social distancing rules, and they ended up having a you know, triple number of people
At least one of those events. And he was saying, you know, if now that he knows what he knows now, he’s like, even that guest list seem too large, but it’s just like at the time we’re dealing with kind of limited information. So yeah, like, I can definitely understand that.
Khanvict (Decibel Entertainment) 15:16
Oh, yeah, I mean, I mean, back then I was willing to put my DJs in a room of 250 people, because I was ignorant, I didn’t know the extent of how bad this was, you know, and knowing what I know, now, I even if I had a client who was like, you know, I guarantee that, you know, it was, it would be within sort of the rules and regulations, I wouldn’t feel safe sending my DJ, because that’s literally risking his life, the life of his family at home, and all and not to mention that, that, you know, by doing so, you’re also enforcing an event that is risking the life of so many more people that are coming to the event.
Kamran (PlanEvents.ca) 15:53
Khanvict (Decibel Entertainment) 15:54
I had a client, actually. So this is a good example, I had a client who had sent us a message on Instagram, and I’m actually going to read this. So I can like, quote this out, and I won’t name the client. But I think there’s a point there that is really important. And who had basically reached out to us and said, Listen, like, what happens if I want to continue to do this event, even though the government is telling me otherwise? And you don’t show up? Do I give you Will you give me the money back because I still want to do the event, you’re the one who’s choosing not to show up. And I remember seeing that and thinking, like, this person has no idea about the severity of how much this can harm somebody and how much you know how, like people’s lives, our lives are at stake here.
And I don’t think I’m gonna be able to find that. I’m just trying to see if I can, yeah, but anyways, I’ll just, you know, I’ll give the gist of what it was. But he had basically said that, because he’s not gonna follow the rules and regulations and do the event anyways. And I am choosing not to come to this event by following the you know, orders of the Health Organizations, then technically he should be getting a refund from me because the event is still on. And I said to him that no, in that case, actually, we will not be refunding any of the deposit. Because you are choosing to put you’re asking us to choose to put our lives at risk.
Khanvict (Decibel Entertainment) 17:23
And that’s that’s a good enough reason for me to back out and don’t have to pay you anything back because you’re choosing to do that not, you know, I’m not going to put my damages, and his family and those of that of your guests life at risk by agreeing to do this. Yeah, because I’ve had time people just didn’t know, like, it wasn’t like, like, obviously, that person does not understand the severity of how bad this is that 1000s of people are dying. And at the time, we didn’t know that it would go from 250 to 50. to nothing, you know, write that message from like, Is it is it was a days ago, or weeks ago, or how it was around? It was it was right after we had made that statement. I and right, right after we made that statement, it was you know, we had a couple of people messaged us, mostly very positive feedback, I would say, and we’ll get into that and the confusion that some people face. But yeah, that was a comment I received now and I looking back at that I just realized that, you know, there’s no, there wasn’t a lot of information that was given to this person fast enough for them to probably realize how severe This is. You know, because there were there was this CCTV video going around with people in Surrey still doing a Maiyaan and Jago and like, you know, 150 people at the house and I’m just like, Come on, guys. This is not Yeah.
Kamran (PlanEvents.ca) 18:40
Yeah, I saw videos like that. And I just thought to myself, that is not something I would do. And that is definitely not something I would like want my neighbors doing. Yes, I saw videos like that. Another thing another the second point that kind of reminds me of something was you had mentioned that you know, after I will call it like Decibel and these 100 plus vendors kind of sent out a shared communication how, like, you saw other communities do the same thing. So I also saw that I saw, I saw like, I saw one come out of Alberta and I was like, what’s going on? There must be like one consultant that’s just doing this for like every cuz…have ever have you ever looked at like the terms of services for like websites, they almost look like copied and pasted. And so he probably invented in like, everybody else’s kind of like reused, and that is like there must be some common source. So I remember seeing that. So I mean, you know, I think it’s good in the sense that that response addressed kind of the What do they call it, the white elephant in the room, like the white elephant in the room is we really don’t know when this is gonna get situated. But in response, here’s what we can work with. When it’s right…
Khanvict (Decibel Entertainment) 19:54
If this is the way things are gonna be we will work with you and you know
Kamran (PlanEvents.ca) 20:00
That, that you know that that is a source of anxiety, not just for people getting married or vendors, it’s like for anybody that had depends on working to make a living and or paid something that they might not get any more like, it affects a lot of people, not just this community. But I thought that was definitely interesting. And I think a good step forward for a lot of other communities that kind of learn from it.
Khanvict (Decibel Entertainment) 20:25
Yeah, thank you. Yeah, I thought, I mean, I think one big positive from that was just seeing the Indian community or South Asian community or I should call it, come together with that kind of solidary solidarity that quickly, not just to the benefit of their businesses, actually, but to the benefit of their clients too. And I think that’s a really important piece of the puzzle, like, anytime that there’s solidarity amongst a group of vendors that you are using for a service, and you know, that they’re all following the same sort of response policy, it makes life a lot easier for the end user to try to reschedule you know, their respective vendors and, and for the most part, that was the feedback we’re getting from brides who are calling me like, Hey, thank you so much for doing this at least like, I know, I can try to find dates in this time. And yeah, they’re, you know, obviously, there were some people who felt like, Oh, this isn’t fair, you guys should return all the money. And, and that’s a natural response. And we expected some of that to come. But I think there’s also a little bit of education that has to happen there about how that was also not not a realistic response. And yeah, we can get into that whenever you know, the podcast.
Kamran (PlanEvents.ca) 21:31
Yeah, so I was thinking, um, so it was, you know, kind of upcoming areas I wanted to cover, you know, I want to bring up one area was like the common problems that brides have kind of shared with me, that we can kind of discuss here. And then I want to also get some coverage on you know, you and I already discussed the second part, but I thought it’d be really helpful for listeners to hear to it. So the second area is, you know, why it’s not necessarily practical to amend that up that policy for March, again, anything in that same vein, talk about the the aspects of like, why it’s not as simple as just put sending a deposit back for every single scenario, and where the, where the vendor economics come into play and all that. So that’s kind of what I was thinking.
Khanvict (Decibel Entertainment) 22:19
For sure. Yeah.
Kamran (PlanEvents.ca) 22:20
Yeah. Awesome. So for, like the the common problems that I’ve seen, there’s, there’s there’s two primary ones. The first one is, and I think I kind of alluded to this earlier when we spoke a few days ago. So the first one is, there’s uncertainty on when to postpone the wedding events.
Khanvict (Decibel Entertainment) 22:39
Right. Right. Yeah.
Kamran (PlanEvents.ca) 22:42
Yeah. And so you know, right now, and I’m trying to put it in very objective terms, is if the world’s smartest scientists can’t give us like, at least a specific month, and year in which they project the vaccine to be available by for humans to use. And it’s like, it’s really, it’s like, I can’t, I can understand why it’s hard for regular people like the rest of us who aren’t working on that problem to figure out how we plan the next major events of our lives. Right. So one of those being weddings. So that’s one common problem. And the second one is, if if couples do choose to try to rebook within like that, I think by let’s just call it for all intensive purposes by spring 2021. Because I don’t have the slides in front of me, but let’s just say if they try to do that, there’s the other problem. It’s more it’s like really a coordination problem. How do you align the dates of availability across all your vendors?
Khanvict (Decibel Entertainment) 23:38
Kamran (PlanEvents.ca) 23:39
You know, what, if one vendor, some vendors are available for a day and others are not, so that’s the second problem. And so that’s where like, common kind of feedback that I’ve gotten from brides is, you know, in those kinds of scenarios, you know, why? Why can’t either that spring 2020 2021 ish timeline be either extended? And if vendors aren’t available, even then why can’t they, you know, give refunds. So I’d like to get your thoughts on it. And you could speak to the areas where you think you’re comfortable speaking to and maybe kind of state areas you think, you know, maybe you don’t feel as comfortable speaking to,
Khanvict (Decibel Entertainment) 24:18
Um, I think the one thing that I just want to get, I know you put this disclaimer out as well. And I just want to reiterate this, I’m by no means an expert in any of this. I went to school for electrical engineering. So I don’t know, I wasn’t trained about the wedding industry. I did it all just kind of knowing what I know as a person. So take my advice, and what I’m saying with that knowledge, like I’m not, I haven’t studied market systems for weddings and stuff like that. But that said, I will say that so the first point that you made, that is a concern for couples is that we don’t know when it’s going to go away. And again, I’d like to reiterate the fact that when we decided that we will do the end of spring or next year, we were acting based on what we knew at the time. And at that time. I remember one of the the press releases from the BBC health minister, being very clearly that this isn’t, this is temporary, this is not permanent. We’re going to revisit this at the end of 30 days. So beginning of April, beginning of May, and so forth. And I think by that time, vendors and people and clients and just the general public in Canada in general, we did we hadn’t quite hit the level of, Oh, no, this thing is here to stay as we have now. Like, now, when I look at my calendar, I don’t see any July wedding happening right now, like, and I could be wrong, but I just don’t see it happening.
Kamran (PlanEvents.ca) 25:47
And I and I, I’m hoping I’m wrong. And I you know, I don’t know, because but I just don’t see in the foreseeable future weddings happening anytime soon, especially our weddings, then the grand nature of Indian weddings in the above 20 weddings, I think there’s going to be if I’m invited to a wedding, I would think twice about going to a large gathering. It’s not just what the government allows it, it’s also whether your client, whether your guests would feel comfortable bringing their moms, their dads and everybody to a massive public gathering. And so with that knowledge, because we at the time, we’re not we didn’t know when it was gonna, or if it’s gonna, it was going to become a thing that was going to be that belong, then I would say, then, yeah, then that definitely is a valid point, which is why we haven’t we issued a new policy, because I can’t speak on everyone else’s behalf. But for Decibel, we had we learned very quickly, as soon as they went from 250 to 50, that now we’re dealing with every client on a one on one basis. And that requires obviously a lot of resources and overhead.
Khanvict (Decibel Entertainment) 26:55
And a time where you don’t have any income coming in to employ your overhead. But that’s just the cost that we’re having to pay right now to keep our foot we have three phone lines running all day. So that if there’s anybody who wants to get a hold of us to figure out what they’re gonna do with their wedding, they know what to you know, they know that we’re here, and we’re listening. I think that’s what people expect, I think people, our clients have been so understanding and so nice, just because we’re picking up the phone, and we’re talking to them, we’re giving them our best option based on their scenario. And honestly, that goes from selling deposits to new clients who are coming to book us for the following year. I’m saying, Hey, you know, if you have a deposit of X amount of this person that wants to get rid of this deposit, do you mind this transfer or something like we I we have come up with so many creative ways to move the money around and people help them out that I think for the most part, like it was a girl that went on the B.C. vendors Facebook page, I’m sure if I come across that this morning, and she wrote a really nice thing about, you know, our team going above and beyond. And if there’s any vendors listening to this, again, with a grain of salt of like, I’m no expert in this. But I think what’s really working is just being letting the human factor of this whole thing kind of take prevail. And knowing that people who are, will put the money forward to do these special events are going through a difficult time, just like we are financially. And if there’s absolutely anything we can do to help each other, we owe it to each other as humans in this time to come together and do that. So it you know that that first point of Brides, our couples feeling that they don’t know, I completely agree. And I think if I have to go back and rewrite something from for Decibel and I wouldn’t you know, I wouldn’t be ready for everybody else just because it’s it’s difficult to what I learned from doing that was that no good deed goes unpunished? And I’ll tell you why that is it’s because it’s not because I still think like festival, and everybody else coming together was one of the best things we could have done because a lot of people a response. Imagine if there was no response, then what would clients be saying in your in your podcast?
Kamran (PlanEvents.ca) 29:03
I think it’d be it would just be havoc and, and
Khanvict (Decibel Entertainment) 29:06
It would be havoc. There was no response, then there would be absolute chaos. And that’s why the response was done was to avoid chaos. So and then.
Kamran (PlanEvents.ca) 29:15
Yeah, but I didn’t want to interject, I knew you were going on a thought. But you know, one of the reasons I initially reached out to you is I was thinking hey, like these vendors are actually busy running the business. And I would not i’m open because this is before you explain the process. By the way, I wouldn’t go into that conversation with you thinking you know, maybe I can me and my team can take on this and we can kind of provide a platform for you know, vendors and couples to kind of works civilly together. And then you explain like needing to get legal consent from all these vendors on like, you know what? That sounds like a really big responsibility. So it’s a lot of work that I made. You know that Yeah.
Khanvict (Decibel Entertainment) 30:01
Yeah, yeah, it’s a lot of work. It’s a lot of work. And I honestly, I don’t mind doing it again, if if there was a definite timeline, like if there was a timeline that says, Hey, guys, COVID-19, all this stuff is gonna go away by July 2021. And now start planning, then I would be like, Guys, let’s get in the room, let’s, you know, let’s get our best brains forward. Let’s bring the smartest people in the industry. And in sort of business management and everything together, the vendors, let’s get their input. And let’s find a common common ground. And I’d be more than happy to do you know, as much as I work off that for from Decibel’s point of view, as possible. But the reason we’re not doing that is because I we don’t know, like you said, it’s the same point works both ways. And our response is also not not certain, because we also don’t know how things are going to unfold, because we also have clients for 2021 that have all these holds on these dates next year, who are already emailing us and wondering, Hey, what’s going to happen for our event next year, and I don’t have an answer for them. Because I am also as new to this as they are, you know.
Kamran (PlanEvents.ca) 31:09
So knowing what I know. Yeah. So I so my girlfriend and I, we plan on we already have a few things booked for March 2021.
Khanvict (Decibel Entertainment) 31:18
Kamran (PlanEvents.ca) 31:20
Thank you. Now I haven’t proposed to her, our parents met, awhole nother story because like, We’re from different religious backgrounds. You know, we got roped in all that. Yeah, hurt, I are very well prepared mentally to say, Hey, you know, we’re not postponing our wedding. If in March, you know, shit hits is still hitting the fan. Because as far as I’m concerned, if there’s no vaccine, then I’m not optimal. I’m not necessarily gonna bank on anything, right? Yeah. So I’m ready to trim down the guest list to you know, very, very small, you know, you know, under 50, or 40, if possible. And if it gets worse than that, then, you know, I’m ready to kind of like, possibly lose the deposits that I have put down. So I’m kind of coming at it as a future groom coming at it from I think a very, what I would say, pragmatic standpoint, so that, you know, that’s my two cents if you’re planning your wedding for 2021.
Khanvict (Decibel Entertainment) 32:17
Yeah, yeah. I mean, just I want to make sure I answer both your questions. So the first one was, you know, the brides, not knowing when it’s going to end. So I totally agree with that. And because of the same reason, it’s really difficult for us to give a new strategy and we just, you know, I, I’ll give you the I’ll tell you a background story about for example, for Decibel, I honestly have not done any administrative work for decimal for probably three years, as soon as I was like, Alright, guys, I’m, you know, I built a business, I hired a business manager, I have a partner and on the business, I have a really good admin staff. And I’m like, you guys, these are the systems we have built, like, I’m an engineer, so I’m very systems driven, or like, I like building things like if then if then I could build the systems, I’m like, this is how it’s gonna be, go ahead, follow the system, this works. And I don’t like doing administrative work. But ever since this thing happened, I’ve been taking phone calls and emails every day personally since because I understand that it is really important. If that’s, if that’s the thing that I can do that helps my clients feel like they’re looked after, like us, as himself is answering the call and saying, look, we’re not gonna want like, my one promise to my clients is like, we’re not looking to like, run away with your money, one way or another, we’re gonna make sure that you guys are looked after. But what I when it comes to returning the deposits, and this is where the economics of the business are really important to understand is that we and I, again, I don’t speak on behalf of every vendor, I’m only speaking on behalf of knowledge I have from owning my to do business in the industry. We are in a business that survives solely on deposits and balance payments, we don’t have any regular monthly income. Like, you know, where, you know, most people, if you work, you go to work, you come back, you have a paycheck that comes out every couple of weeks or monthly, or whatever it is, and that’s your monthly budget and you build your life with that and so forth. Whereas with us, we’re not a year round business, we’re not. We’re not in we’re not like a guaranteed source of income of a certain number. It is all about how many gigs we can manage how many gigs we can do in the summer. And we usually have from, you know, Primetime starting now to August, let’s just say end of August, September. And then the money that we make in those months using gays and then deposits during the wintertime is what we use to sustain ourselves in the winter. So just like everybody else, we also have like I mentioned earlier, we have 60 people who depend on this income for their mortgages, their rent, their food, their whatever. So we have been sustaining all these people. Since offseason, October, November. So are like in general, the wedding industry vendor accounts tend to be quite depleted by the time March, April comes around. And now in March, April, if you ask people, if you ask these vendors to give you all the deposits that they have received, I can’t speak on behalf of everybody else. But I can definitely speak on behalf of Decibel, that it is actually impossible. Even if I said, Guys, I’m going to give every single deposit back that wants to cancel, I couldn’t do it. The money’s just not it’s just not the economics of business aren’t they don’t work that way. Nobody, you know, no smart business person has that amount of cash just sitting. It’s not. You know, it’s just not how it goes. And so what we’re doing is we’re saying listen, like, you know, with on a case by case basis, if you’re trying, if you’re moving the events over, we’re going to work with you, we’re going to move the deposits over we’re going to move DJs over, if they’re looking to DJ that was more expensive than the other DJ, because he’s not available, obviously, what we’re not charging them the other teachers price, even if they’re getting a top tier a DJ for to see price, whatever we can do to make it easy and as cheap as possible for them to move and relocate and whatever we want to do. But when somebody comes and says, Hey, I’m canceling all together, can you give me all of my, my deposit back right now in this moment? The problem with doing that is that if I make the exception for one person, the lead is so unfair to the rest of my clients.
Kamran (PlanEvents.ca) 36:27
Right? That’s the precedent right? For sure.
Khanvict (Decibel Entertainment) 36:29
Yeah, like you once you have done it for one person. And I have given deposits back, because I’ve given them back when there has been family medical emergencies that were just like, there’s no way that those people could could could relocate, you know, like there was I had a client who her dad has respiratory conditions that just make it impossible for them to even conceive being around the crowd anytime soon. So in cases like that, I do make exceptions. And we do make exceptions again, because we want to be humans first. And you know, vendors and business people second, think one big, really big thing that I if you go on our Instagram, if you go on to the page, right? Where that post was made, there’s a bunch of people that said that one person wrote a comment about, Oh, you guys should stop, you know, conspiring and taking people’s money and stuff, which is like an ignorant common comment, because you don’t know what you’re talking about. You’re just trying to stir up stuff online, you have Twitter fingers on the hiding screen in your living room at home, and you stay want to stir up some shit online to go and do it. But you don’t understand that like this business that you’re trying to make look bad is working, you know, 10-15 hours a day, still calling these clients on a one on one basis, and trying to help them in every single way that they can, while also trying to keep its employees afloat and its own. But I also have a home, I also take care of my family, you know, it’s not one of the things that kept saying these people was to please understand that this isn’t vendors versus clients. This is a global pandemic versus humans. And we’re both on the same side. And I think that’s the key. And I think as soon as people put that thought process first, and come from a place of love and kindness, and the rest of it will become very miniscule problems in comparison to what the world is facing. I genuinely if I if I was capable of giving every single client who’s canceling their wedding 100% deposit back and still keep my team and my family, nobody else float, I would do in a heartbeat. You know, I do not want to owe anybody money. It’s like the worst feeling in the world. So, but yeah, that’s where it becomes tough. And secondly, the one really important part is that when 140 vendors are coming together to sign off on something, there are certain things that they can sign off on certain things that are very particular to their respective pockets and their respective business health, I might say, or one home or somebody else who’s had a stellar 2019, and they have a bunch of cash flow. And they go, you know what, yeah, I have an extra X amount of dollars sitting, I can afford to pay all my all my vendors back. Great. That’s the policy they make. But then you have this other person who has had a weaker year last year because some other competitor came into most of the business and this year, now they’re struggling to make ends meet, that person is not in the same position. So it is impossible for somebody who’s coordinating 140 vendors to sign off on a condition that is dependent on their individual business and financial health. That is a decision I don’t have the right to make or even persuade them into being into the into signing off to. So that’s why that was not brought up neither discussing not putting there. And that’s what we have tried to explain to our clients like you if you have a financial issue with any of your vendors, you should need to do with them not one on one basis. And my biggest I think the biggest thing that upsets people during this time is when vendors take too long to respond to people and usually that’s it. That’s a bad enough habit, I think anyways in business, but I think, especially during a time of uncertainty and nerves and nerves and all this stuff, you’re when your clients deserve at the very least your attention. And I think that’s where things go sour really quickly when clients who have paid good money in deposits, and they’re trying to reach out to the vendors, and they’re not getting back to people. You know, my, my biggest pet peeve, usually with my my own staff is not performance numbers, and you know, quarterly goals and stuff. It’s usually, hey, I saw one email where the client said that they called you and you didn’t get back to them. I don’t, that’s my biggest genuinely, I’m telling you, that’s my biggest pet peeve for my business is when I see that one of my clients is trying to reach my stuff, and they’re not responding. And I think that, yeah, that’s where the problem comes from. Because if these clients are calling their their vendors, and they’re saying, Hey, listen, like I know this from experience, because I’ve talked to maybe 150, vendors, clients, since this all started on the phone directly myself. And I’m telling you from experience that 95% are such amazing understanding humans, as soon as you are vulnerable, and human yourself in your explanation of why you are unable to fork out the funds right away, but you’re willing to work with them on transferring deposits, a lot of clients, some deposits and moving days, or whatever it is, you can do, you know.
Kamran (PlanEvents.ca) 41:31
Kind of to that point, you know, one thing that PlanEvents, or website launched last week was basically a simple, I’ll call it a marketplace, you can post up your deposit for sale. And if people want to reach out and buy that deposit to you, you can do that. And right now, actually, my girlfriend is in the process of like, buying one of those deposits. So it’s it’s a, it’s a working thing. And the reality is in this situation, everybody is not going to get exactly what they want. I think there’s compromise on many fronts. And so, you know, if folks find themselves in a situation where they’ve kind of hit a dead end, where, you know, it’s not really practical for them to get that refund, there is always an option. Although it’s not guaranteed that you’ll have a buyer there, there is still the option to at least put put your deposit up for sale.
Khanvict (Decibel Entertainment) 42:24
Yeah, yeah. And I think I think that’s a really good idea. Actually, I was thinking about that today. I was just mentally kind of thinking about our compensation I was working out. And I remember thinking about the fact that this there is I think there is some tech solution there that’s waiting to be established. And I’d love to work with you guys on that, because I think I have the resources in terms of access to tech and staff who might be able to put something together where I think vendors can, you know, you can choose, you can organize data in a very efficient database kind of a way. Just like kind of thinking from like my engineering brain here. But, you know, it’s, you can organize data in a very efficient way where people can just be like, you know, city and like venue and like, and then it’ll show you like all the vendors that are available for that date. And all the clients that have deposits for that for those dates, and so forth, which at which, you know, you’re already you’re already taking lead on, which is awesome. So yeah, I think that that’s a really smart, smart way of coming together and working. And I think you guys, you know, kudos to you guys for for thinking of that and setting that up. And I hope that more more vendors and more, you know, more users are able to take advantage of that. And if you know, there’s anything we can help with in terms of spreading the outreach out to our following and, and getting other vendors on board, I’d be happy to help coordinate some kind of response to that, for sure.
Kamran (PlanEvents.ca) 43:45
Awesome. Yeah, I’ll send some some more details on that after the episode. So as we kind of come up on time, you know, I the kind of the final area I’d like to touch on is, you know, let’s say that because this is this is a scene that you’ve talked to so many, a lot more people than I have, I’ll tell you that. But the folks that I have talked to, they’re, you know, there’s a question of, you know, what will vendors do if social distancing rules are in place, you know, on the date of their event, and I think this really speaks more to like people who have, you know, postponed their events due to the current situation we’re in. And then let’s say their new day, we’re still in a some sort of social distancing period, you know, what, you know, what, what do you think kind of from the decimal standpoint, decimal would do and do you think you might have any, I guess, anticipation of what other vendors might do?
Khanvict (Decibel Entertainment) 44:41
I will again say that, I don’t know. vendors will do and I can’t speak on their behalf. But I for decimal, I think, I mean, it’s hard for me to give you a direct answer on what exactly we would do because I obviously I would need some more time to think about the response business situation. But I think just the way Decibel does business is. So customer first, like we, within reason, obviously, we’re going to put our customers first and see what we can do to help them out. While we can also make sure that we’re sustaining and able to look after our own people and make sure that they’re also, you know, able to pay their bills and so forth. Like, you know, before the, the Canadian government announced all the funding that it did to support people, you know, the culture at Decibels are very much is very much a family oriented culture, like it’s not set up like a big corporation, it’s very much so like a team of people who call each other family and love each other. And I think families understand that when things get tough for people around us it, you know, we have to come together to help in any way we can. Yeah, if I can give you some advice that I think you should take from this podcast, it’s that if you treated your vendors exactly the way you would want to be treated, if you were in their position, you’re going to be okay, you’re never going to have everybody love you. It’s just not, you know, when you do a business that’s so public, and you’re in the public eye, you always want to have people who, even though they’re not your clients, they’re going to write things about about you on social media and stuff. That is, you know, unserving, anybody have anybody. And that’s okay, because you can live with the contents of your character, if you have actually been honest with yourself and the people that you serve. And from our point of view, if that’s the case, if the if dates change, and clients are still unable to do the event, and we are going to do absolutely everything we can to make sure that they are treated fairly, if we’re in a position to give money back, we’re going to give them money back, if we, if they want to move dates, we’re going to move dates, if they want to relocate deposits, we’ll be looking at whatever the clients are able to do, we’ll help them do it. Also, at the same time, doing the best we can to keep our team afloat and our and our people, you know, capable of being able to provide the necessities that they need to provide for their families. And I think now that there’s a lot more support from the government, that gives us a little bit more flexibility.
Kamran (PlanEvents.ca) 47:05
That remind you one more thing. So speaking of government support has, you know, if of any vendors that have had any success, it’s kind of I don’t know, if Canada offers is but essentially any sort of assistance programs during this time for small businesses, have you seen any vendors, exercise that to kind of, you know, keep things afloat and kind of support both their needs and client needs?
Khanvict (Decibel Entertainment) 47:32
Not Not to my knowledge, again, of other vendors. But for Decibel, there’s a couple of things that that came up that we thought we qualified for, that we have applied for, but obviously, that was just like, last week, so we don’t know. But there are if you’re a Canadian vendor there, are you listening to this, and you’re Canadian, obviously, I’m sure you’ve heard by now of the Canadian funding program. And, you know, we’re blessed to be living where we live, there’s a lot of support for people who have been laid off, there’s a lot of support from people who are business owners who are struggling people who are struggling to pay rent people who are, who have homes, they need to pay mortgages, for this mortgage relief programs, we have major banks are, you know, not taking, not forcing you to make any payments for six months, or whatever it might be. So I think everybody looking into that and doing their best, and then that part is going to help us all stay afloat. And it’s and this is really a time where, where greed has to make way for compassion, you know, compassion has to be number one. And and, you know, if you don’t need the extra money from the government, you don’t you know, you don’t you if you don’t need it to survive, I think, you know, leaving that on the table for somebody that might, and vice versa. And same same thing, like if you are in business and you’re able to help help others do the best you can help each other and, and those are the things that I think are going to get us through this. But unfortunately, when this happens, there’s no there’s always speculation there’s always talk and sometimes it’s positive, sometimes it’s negative and, and that’s part of the game, that’s part of the business that we’re in and it’s part of life and dealing with that to the best of your ability with humility and kindness and understanding that even people that are putting you down and they’re just, you know, they’re unsure of what to do and circumstances and that kind of acting out of a place of hurt more than anything else. And you have to have empathy for them to be yeah, that I don’t know of, if any vendors have been able to secure funding and you know, I definitely can’t speak on anyone’s behalf. But I know that there are programs and I know that desperate as as decibel, we have reached out to see if we can get some support so we can start laying off people and they can start getting some support from the government.
Kamran (PlanEvents.ca) 49:37
Awesome. Cool. This is a really excellent conversation enjoyed it, I hope. I’m sure listeners will find this helpful, both couples and vendors alike. What is the best way for folks to you know, see your work, see what you’re up to and when I say your I mean both Decibel, and then I said because I saw so I just saw it have like a half an hour before the podcast, you have kind of your own persona and profile on Instagram Are those the best ways to kind of see what Decibel? And you are up to?
Khanvict (Decibel Entertainment) 50:08
Yeah. Yeah, Instagrams a great source, Decibel is actually evolving quite a bit from just a wedding company into a cultural movement for South Asian artists. We are, we will always, you know, serve wedding in the wedding industry as DJs. But, you know, I have dreams of playing, you know, big festivals and I have started to play seminar, I want to build that dream for the Khanvict. Khanvict is my stage name. So for that project, and I personally, I make like a tronic music that has a bit of a Eastern flavor to it, if I can call it that there isn’t really anybody doing that on the mainstream world in North America, at least. So I’d like to take that there and Decibel. Yeah, we will continue to do weddings, private events, but also shaping, you know, events in the festival, helping with ad production with events like five x festival. And I also own a record label called SnakesxLadders that I’ve set up to help. I call them that would run from Delhi and Dublin. And we actually set that up to help young South Asian musicians, men and women who are making music, who don’t really have resource on how to get their music out, it’s distributed properly, so they have as much traction as possible. So those are kind of the three or four things that Decibel with, but yeah, you can check us out on IG, Khanvict is just Khanvictlife and DecibelVan for Vancouver. And yeah, if you’d like to connect, send us a message on either of those platforms, we’ll be happy to get in touch.
Kamran (PlanEvents.ca) 51:41
Awesome, awesome. So yeah, I’ll drop both of those Instagram handles for you listeners out there. I’ll drop both Decibels, Instagram handle, as well, as I said, Instagram handle. And I think we are just about done. Awesome.
Khanvict (Decibel Entertainment) 51:56
And if anybody you know, if I if I said something that upset, anybody that’s listening, just want to say, you know, please allow me a chance to have a conversation with you. So I can maybe help you understand it better. Or maybe you can help me understand where I might have misspoken or made a mistake. So feel free to reach out to me. And I hope I was able to help address some of these questions and concerns. And I just want to thank you guys for putting on this platform and allowing us to express, you know, a little bit more information that hopefully helps ease a little bit of tension between both parties, and allows us to see that we’re both kind of taking, you know, a pretty major hit in this. And we’re in this together. And hopefully through, you know, kindness and working with each other, we can all find solutions that that can get us through.
Kamran (PlanEvents.ca) 52:38
Khanvict (Decibel Entertainment) 52:39
Yeah, one one thing I just wanted to touch on that I think is also important from Decibel’s point of view is that I actually, and I and I don’t want to name any vendors or other, you know, other parties, but I actually received a little bit of criticism, for responding to COVID, from even within the industry, because, you know, some people felt that it was not good for business to like scare people from events and so forth. And while that is on a purely financial level maybe true – What I was telling them was that listen, like, we’re both going to be on one side or the other of history. After all of this and we can be I can, you know, we can either be the people that are hoarding the toilet paper, and groceries or we can be the people who are still going to work as doctors and nurses and whoever to do their part to help people in any way they can. And I don’t think I want to be in the first bracket on the other side of this thing. And, and that’s why when we when we did, that’s what actually did a video interview with four doctors who are close friends of mine and also previous one of them is actually a client for this year, who’s a bride for this year. And she’s a she’s affected by this. And she was on the interview and it’s on our IG page and on on YouTube, talking about why it is so important to cancel these events and stay home. And by all financial means that’s against my business, but we did it because it’s better for people and it’s better for the community. And we wanted to get the word out. And I think that’s really important for people to understand that this is, you know, any grievance that anybody might have had, at least where Decibel, about their booking and so forth. It’s not about the money. It’s just about what our means allow right now. Because if it was about the money, we wouldn’t be putting in the effort to host on our own platform. You know, a video that says, hey, no more events no more. There’s no more of that. Like I was advice against that by people in the same industry. But I think I am glad I knew better to know that the right thing to do is to provide people accurate information that allows to make safer decisions, even if that comes at the expense of financial loss, no. And I think that little bit is really important because when I hear when I go to the Facebook page, and I see people talking about, like, Oh, these are every vendor is greedy, or Everyone knows that it’s actually quite unfair, I have find for people sitting at home to just blast that out. And I understand that that’s not something we can control. But, you know, there is something to be said about I there are some amazing vendors in this industry, who I know are good friends, and they’re bending over backwards day in and day night for their clients to make sure that they’re happy. And I think those people deserve recognition and, and deserve to be highlighted. And I’m glad some of the clients are taking the time to do that on these pages.
Kamran (PlanEvents.ca) 55:44
Absolutely. And that, that that was a big part of why I wanted to have this, this podcast to like, so that people aren’t just typecasting each other. And, you know, there’s an actual face and human mind, you know, to the side of the table. So it totally makes sense. For sure. All right, man. Appreciate your time. And thank you for coming on. And hopefully, we can all kick COVID-19 in the ass so we can move on with our lives.
Khanvict (Decibel Entertainment) 56:14
Yeah, exactly. I hope all this stuff goes away by the time your wedding rolls around. And, you know, I wish you guys all the best. And yeah, let me know if I can help in any way. Where are you based out of? Are you based out of? I think you said Seattle …
Kamran (PlanEvents.ca) 56:29
Yeah, so yeah. So um, by the way, folks, if you listen to this podcast episode, it’s technically done. But I’ll leave this part recorded if you are still wanting to listen. So yeah, I’m based out of Seattle, and my other two partners that they are husband and wife, they’re based out of Edmonton. And so the story behind it and kind of to add to that, I know my partner’s through my girlfriend. So basically, I’ve been with my girlfriend since 2013. And then I met her cousin who’s a girl. Yeah, in like 2014. At some point, she and she used to live in Washington State. At some point, she met this guy who’s a third partner, the guy who’s from Edmonton. And then they got engaged, they decided to quit, like several years ago by the domain PlanEvents.ca. During that time, I was working long hours, I was working for a big consulting company. So I didn’t really have time plus the issue of conflict of interest. As soon as I left that consulting company, I started working for Actually, I’m in the engineering field as well, particularly software and on the software side. So I started working for Nordstrom, by the way, you know, even they’ve had to lay off like furlough, furlough, 30% of their corporate and non corporate workforce to stay afloat. But I started I’ve been with them for the last Yeah, exactly. I’ve been with them for the last year. So now I’m doing that obviously, day job and then PlanEvents with my two partners in Edmonton. And that’s kind of how things have come together.
Khanvict (Decibel Entertainment) 58:07
Yeah, that’s awesome, man. It’s exactly how I started I had a, I was working as a consulting engineer for a company called Amec.
Kamran (PlanEvents.ca) 58:15
Khanvict (Decibel Entertainment) 58:15
Out in Vancouver, downtown. And then at the same time, I was setting up Decibel and eventually just transition full time into that. But, uh yeah. hey, it’s gonna happen. tactics, a shit ton of work for the first three years, unfortunately, of course, but once you put those three, four years in, then it happens. It does happen.
Kamran (PlanEvents.ca) 58:35
For sure. Yeah. Cool, man. All right.
Khanvict (Decibel Entertainment) 58:40
Thank you so much again, man. I appreciate you reaching out and setting this up. And yeah, if I could just maybe have a quick Listen, before we go public. That would be awesome. Just want to make sure if there’s anything we can we can go through.
Kamran (PlanEvents.ca) 58:50
Khanvict (Decibel Entertainment) 58:53
Absolutely. Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. Cool, man. Thank you so much for doing this. I look forward to hearing it. And let me know if I can be of any assistance with anything else.
Kamran (PlanEvents.ca) 59:02
Will do. I’ll send you a copy of this before we make it public.
Khanvict (Decibel Entertainment) 59:05
Thank you. I appreciate it. Thanks.