From techno to Christmas trees: Rejigging business to survive the pandemic

PUBLISHED: 12:00 02 November 2020

Tom with two-year-old Alfie. Picture: Tom Parkin

Tom with two-year-old Alfie. Picture: Tom Parkin

Tom Parkin

A Romford DJ booker tells the Recorder how he went from booking world-touring DJs to launching a Christmas tree delivery service.

Tree fir tress is Norfolk. Picture: Tom ParkinTree fir tress is Norfolk. Picture: Tom Parkin

Pre-pandemic, Tom Parkin, 39, was a booking agent for DJs playing at the biggest festivals such as Glastonbury and Leeds.

Working from an office in Bethnal Green, he was looking after techno and drum and bass DJs touring across the world. But as Covid-19 cases soared for the first time in March, “everything fell out of the bottom of the bag very quickly,” explains Tom who has a wife and a two-year-old.

“We went from having all our DJs playing at all the clubs and then day by day, 10, then 20 shows started cancelling or rescheduling - everything just fell away.

“At the beginning promoters were being positive and confident, but around July and towards the end of the summer, it became apparent from a financial perspective that I was going to have to do something else and I would never let pride get in the way. I’m ready to do what is necessary.”

Tom Parkin showing off his trees in Norfolk. Picture: Tom ParkinTom Parkin showing off his trees in Norfolk. Picture: Tom Parkin

Tom sat down with a close friend, who had also lost income due to the pandemic, to decide what they could do to make ends meet.

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Looking for gaps in the market, they decided on a Christmas tree delivery service.

“We were thinking about what people are going to do for Christmas and it feels like people’s buying patterns have changes. Because of the restrictions it’s a lot more online and so it made sense to apply that to Christmas.”

They will deliver pre-orders of real trees, stands for the trees, wreaths and door bows all sent different sellers around the UK. There will be a selection of delivery slots to pick from and the DeliverMeChristmas team will be servicing all of Havering and Brentwood.

“It’s been a total sea change, and really pushed me out of my comfort zone, but you do what you have to do to get by,” Tom said.

“I am dying to get back into the music industry, I do miss the excitement of it but it’s also with a big slice of realism, nothing is going to happen by January but we’re hoping that there’s going to an uplift into 2021.”

DeliverMeChristmas will also be partnering with Crisis homeless charity, with a portion of the proceeds going to the charity.

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