Swanky Tent Co - Going from £0 to Half a Million in 12 months

Going from £0 to Half a Million in 12 months, using Marquee Tech

Video transcript

Tim from Marquee Tech :

Okay. Awesome. Cool. Yeah. So thanks again, Toni, for doing this. I'll just do a quick background to start with. So you guys were obviously doing business before, but you started the marquee company about two years ago. Was it during COVID or just before?

Toni (00:22):

We started literally 12 months ago.

Tim from Marquee Tech (00:25):

Okay. So right in the thick of COVID.

Toni (00:30):


Tim from Marquee Tech (00:31):

And so you've done one successful season, just about to start another one. And you started using Marquee tech straight away. So first question really is what, obviously it was a while ago now, but what was the main thing that made you want to join Marquee Tech rather than the other systems available?

Toni (00:50):

At the time... So we started literally a year ago, so March 21.

Tim from Marquee Tech (01:05):


Toni (01:05):

And we had other businesses, we still have other businesses that we've had for 20 years or so. So we know about business, but we didn't know about Marquee's. So we needed something that would really, really assist us with the whole process and make everything easier for us. So, and that's what Marquee Tech does, everything from the quoting and the way it takes you through all the individual items, when you're quoting, to the managing the stock, the calendar, it just makes it really, really easy. So even for us that had never done Marquee's before we could just pick it up and get rolling with it, really.

Tim from Marquee Tech (02:02):

Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yeah. Kind of like a plug in and go type solution.

Toni (02:06):


Tim from Marquee Tech (02:06):

Yeah. Okay. And then, it's a bit of an open question, but what would you say is the best thing about using the system? What brings you the most amount of value from using the software?

Toni (02:21):

Well, last year was a bit of a rollercoaster for us.

Tim from Marquee Tech (02:24):

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Toni (02:25):

So we started off at the beginning of the year with just 70,000 pounds of stock.

Tim from Marquee Tech (02:31):


Toni (02:32):

Which was a petal pole, like four stretch tents and three pagodas and four by four in a trailer.

Tim from Marquee Tech (02:40):


Toni (02:42):

And we've in the space of a year gone from that and only one Marquee company, we now own three Marquee companies and we've got half a million pounds worth of stock. So the point I'm making is it's been such a rollercoaster and everything's moved so quickly. We wouldn't have been able to do it without the technology making life easier for us, because right at the beginning there was literally just me and Ben doing things. Now we've got sort of 10 events out every weekend and staff and all sorts of things going on. So the software saves a lot of time.

Tim from Marquee Tech (03:34):


Toni (03:35):

And if I was trying to do this all manually, I don't know where I'd be, to be honest.

Tim from Marquee Tech (03:44):

Yeah. And it is quite impressive going from literally zero events on a weekend to 10 events in a weekend, within a year.

Toni (03:54):


Tim from Marquee Tech (03:54):

And I guess, like you said, without a system in place to make all of those processes easier, it could be nearly impossible.

Toni (04:03):

I don't know how we'd manage it. I mean, I remember thinking back to doing our first quotes a year ago.

Tim from Marquee Tech (04:15):


Toni (04:16):

And following the system on the Marquee Tech and it just makes it really easy because you guys helped us set it all up. So as you're going through the quotes, you literally, you start with your marquee and your key in the size, and then it takes you to the next thing that you might need, which might be tables and then chairs. And then it follows you through every single part. So you can't get it wrong, which was really important, obviously, when you're starting out and you do don't really know what you're doing.

Toni (04:49):

And even now that I would say, we do know what we're doing, it just means you can't forget anything really because it takes you through that process when you're quoting. So... The software is a huge, huge time saving, and it just organizes us completely. All of our staff use it or all of them, whether it's me and Ben and James, looking at the jobs and working with the customers, to the riggers, knowing what to pack to the ware ice house guys, managing the stock. It's central and pivotal to everything that we do.

Tim from Marquee Tech (05:37):

Awesome. I remember when we chatted probably six months in to when you started using it, one of the key memories I have, which I guess is a really direct result from using Marquee Tech was within six months of again, starting from creating a brand new business. And then six later you've already built quite a large amount of money in terms of new... You've got the booking in, you've won those bookings and converted the quotes into confirmed events for the year. And I remember that was one of the things that I thought was really awesome that you went from a brand new company and then within six months, you've been able to quote when booking and you've got a whole calendar ready for the season. And, have there been any other similar or different results that you've directly can say that's a thing that's helped you get there?

Toni (06:32):

Excuse me. So when I'm talking with a customer on the phone, I will talk them through everything that we have available and I'll work out given their budget and what they're trying to achieve, what's the best thing for them. And then I'll get the software up once we've decided all the different details they want for their marquee. And I'll use the software to quote whilst they're on the phone.

Tim from Marquee Tech (07:00):


Toni (07:00):

Because, I think a lot of other marquee companies perhaps don't do that. And it can sometimes be a bit of a timely thing trying to get quotes from any suppliers.

Tim from Marquee Tech (07:14):


Toni (07:15):

And the fact that they can ring me up and go, I'm thinking about a marquee for three months time or whatever, and it's this, can I just get an idea? And by the end of the call, it might be an hour later, but by the end of the call, I've talked them through everything. I've gone through the quote with them on the phone. And by the time I've gone through the quoting system, which literally takes a couple of minutes, the actual quote itself, they're kind of amazed that they've got a prize literally in a phone call and then just the icing on the cake. And I find this wins a lot of customers over is, I'm booking a marquee for, let's say it's a traditional pole marquee for hundred people. So I know that needs to be, say a 12 by 18.

Tim from Marquee Tech (08:12):


Toni (08:16):

And obviously I'll tell them that in the call. I think you need this, I think you need that. This would be suitable. And then at the end of the call, I could say to them, do you know what? I can just draw this up to scale so that you can see it. They're absolutely amazed by that. Amazed.

Tim from Marquee Tech (08:33):


Toni (08:34):

So, I can then click on the floor plan generator and pop, the buttons are there, just literally press, press, press, press, press the tables, the chairs, dance floor, et cetera. And your floor plan is generated in the space of less than two minutes. And you can talk to the customer about this as well, while you're on it, right. I'm going to put this here. Where would you like this? What do you think to this?

Toni (09:03):

And then I've generated the floor plan. I click show on quote, I email it straight to them while they're on the phone and they get that floor plan up. And they're just gobsmacked because of the whole professionalism.

Tim from Marquee Tech (09:22):


Toni (09:22):

Of the experience from start to finish. From the beginning of the call, they have literally no idea what they want. And by the end of the call, they know exactly what they want. And they've got an exact price for it. And they've got it all drawn out for them to scale so that they can see, and they are absolutely bowled over by that. And that's why we get, I think a lot of bookings.

Tim from Marquee Tech (09:49):

Yeah. And like you said, at the start, if you compare that to a lot of other companies who might get back them a day later, sometimes a week later and often they're just sending a black and white PDF that looks like 10, 15 years old.

Toni (10:05):

A lot of the customers do say that, I've rung three companies today and nobody's picked up or...

Tim from Marquee Tech (10:18):


Toni (10:20):

So their experiences, and obviously it's not a criticism of any other companies at all, but just the way we do things and using the software really works and we have a high conversion rate. I can only comment on what we do really, but it works. It works for us. And we've...

Tim from Marquee Tech (10:37):

Yeah, I like...

Toni (10:38):

Got sort of six times the growth in the last, we started off with 70 grand and now we're half a million and it's still growing. We're on our third warehouse. Yeah.

Tim from Marquee Tech (10:54):

Busy. I think that's what I do like about you guys when you're using the system, is obviously you've got staff who put the tents up and your managers who are using it as a logistical tool. But then I think what you do personally really well is also use it as a really good sales tool and go and summarizing and what you said, you can from one phone call, build a quote of a customer, send it to them, change that quote, give them a floor plan. And by the end of the phone call, and I remember you spoke to me before in the past, you've had customers who want to book and want to send you the deposit after 20 minute phone call, which usually...

Toni (11:30):

Yeah, they do. Yeah.

Tim from Marquee Tech (11:31):

Yeah. And tent hire, it can take a month easily to get a customer to that point. And I think, yeah, what you guys do really well on Marquee Tech is use it as an operational tool, a logistical tool, but also you use it really good as a sales tool as well. How do you think looking five years to 10 years from now, how do you think the system's going to help you moving forward in the future?

Toni (11:57):

Well, we are aiming the idea... Maybe it's a mad idea.

Tim from Marquee Tech (12:04):

Right. Okay.

Toni (12:06):

But to be huge.

Tim from Marquee Tech (12:08):


Toni (12:09):

That's our aim.

Tim from Marquee Tech (12:11):

Mm-hmm (affirmative). Biggest in the north? Or big as in England? What's the plan?

Toni (12:15):

I would say, other than the really big boys that are doing the massive structures, obviously we don't touch those. Ours are mainly 12 meters or petal pole, traditional poles or stretch tents. But along those lines, we're already I would say one of the biggest in the north.

Tim from Marquee Tech (12:36):

Yeah. Agreed.

Toni (12:38):

So we've already achieved that within...

Tim from Marquee Tech (12:40):

Definitely in terms of stock. Yeah.

Toni (12:41):

Within 12 months. But ultimately we'll probably go UK wide.

Tim from Marquee Tech (12:51):

Yeah. Awesome. And if you could just do...

Toni (12:57):

And I couldn't contemplate doing that without some software.

Tim from Marquee Tech (12:58):

Yeah. Yeah. It would potentially be nearly impossible.

Toni (13:04):

I suppose we all did it once didn't we?

Tim from Marquee Tech (13:07):

Yeah, true. Yeah. Definitely did it once, but probably had a lot more stress than a lot more sleep at night. So that's the long term is use, as well as obviously the stock, your staff, your team and marketing, but using the software to help you get to a much larger company and hopefully one of the biggest in the UK.

Toni (13:30):

That's the plan.

Tim from Marquee Tech (13:33):

Well, we'll be to help.

Toni (13:37):

Of course.

Tim from Marquee Tech (13:38):

Well, yeah, appreciate your time, Toni. And I think that's, yeah. All the questions for today. So I appreciate that. And is there...

Toni (13:45):

Okay. Well, if you have any customers that want to ask...

Tim from Marquee Tech (13:49):


Toni (13:49):

Or prospective customers that want to speak to somebody that already uses it, then just give them our number.

The Swanky Tent Co
🇬🇧 West Yorkshire
Frame, Clearspan, Petal Pole, Stretch Tent
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